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When is one preferred over the other?

This is in the context of the door to a large room. My sense is that "into" is preferred for closed spaces and "onto" for open spaces. This situation is kind of on the cusp.

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  • Your analysis is good, but a door does not open onto a room of any size. To avoid getting your post closed, check our tour to see that you need to show a bit of research. – Yosef Baskin Jan 12 at 21:34
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These Google ngrams, for

  • open onto the living room
  • open into the living room
  • open onto the garden
  • open into the garden

enter image description here

support the sensible explanation you put forward.

  • Open onto the garden seems to be used more often than open into the garden (I'm sure this would be more pronounced with 'patio', most easily pictured as a 'flat space'), whereas
  • open into the living room seems to be used more often than open onto the living room (I'm surprised people use the latter).

Of course, there are 'the doors are open into the garden' and 'the doors open into the garden' tokens commingled in these results.

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