WINDOW TREATMENTS FOR SLIDING GLASS DOORS: IDEAS & TIPS
Sliding glass doors are architectural gems of the new age that help to blur the indoor-outdoor divide and save plenty of space. While these smart features thrill us, finding the right window treatments to dress them can become a daunting task. To assist you in this unique design challenge, let us walk you through the best window treatments for sliding glass doors so you can find the perfect solution for your space.
The Challenge with Sliding Glass Doors
Sliding doors are one of the most challenging elements to dress up. You want to dress these stately doors becomingly but without compromising their functional ease. The grand dimensions make it difficult to find window treatments that fit the sliders with perfect coverage. Often custom treatments are the only solution and that can cost beaucoup dollars.
Further, the way the doors stack is a matter of consideration too. Whether they slide across in both directions or get stacked on only one side can help you decide if you should go for treatments that stack on one or both sides.
And however the doors may stack, you need to check where you’d like your window treatments to stack. Depending on whether you have room on the sides or on top of the door – you’d need to decide if you’d like the dressings to stack sideways or on top – ideally without taking anything away from incoming light or views beyond.
Also, you need treatments that don’t infringe on the door’s handles. For a fuss-free operation, you need to factor in the dimensions of the doors’ handles and find treatments that clear off the handles.
Depending on whether your sliders are placed on the external walls as is the case when they are your patio doors, or they function as room dividers, you’d also spare a thought about the rear side view of your window treatments. Ideally, they should look equally presentable on both sides – especially if the doors are internal space dividers.
Finding a window treatment for your sliding glass doors that is functional, chic, and worth the bucks is necessary but challenging. We discuss below in detail the various available options for sliding glass door window treatments so you can discern for yourself which one best suits your interests.
Top Five Recommendations for Sliding Glass Doors Window Treatments
While choices abound in the types of window treatments for sliding doors, we are huge fans of fabric treatments for the way they can spruce up any space with color and vitality instantly.
They are packed with personality, and softness outdoing all non-fabric options in these aspects, no matter how well-designed. And since every detail is so customizable, you can get them to voice your personal tastes and interests like no other.
Secondly, when it comes to doors, we recommend side-stacking options over top-stacking ones considering the huge dimensions that sliding glass doors engage. Side-stacking window treatments are more accessible and can be maneuvered easily when you want to pass through the doors.
Also, most clients are looking to soften the door trims while top-stacking treatments will leave them bare when not in use. Additionally, some treatments could be so sleek that they may disappear totally when closed, adding nothing to the interior design of the space. While side-stacking treatments add presence, texture, and color to the space even when stacked to the sides.
Yet, we also understand that side-stacking treatments may not be suitable for all homes, or all decor styles. If you have no wall space on both sides of the doors, top-stacking treatments might be the best space-saving choice. And, if you have kids and pets who like to have a sport with all things textile, top-stacking treatments might be the wisest choice you can ever make. So, we also have two popular top-stacking ones that are apt for sliding glass doors.
On to the recommendations and tips to style them correctly:
Curtains & Drapes
Since sliding glass doors are default focal points, we give drapes the number one position on our list of recommended treatments considering their sumptuousness, softness, and stylishness. If put up thoughtfully and with care, this timeless window treatment can help you attain the luxurious look you desire.
No matter what decor style you follow, curtains and drapes can sync in as they can be easily designed in any fabric, color, pattern, or style of your choice. Together with endless choices of fabrics, the vast types of hardware, accessories, and add-ons that accompany them blow the design potential over the top.
If you have wall space on the sides of the sliders to accommodate the drapes when drawn back, consider this option above all others. Because, whether your priority is elegance or functionality, drapes give every other window treatment a run for their money.
So, if you’ve made up your mind about drapes, here are some important tips and details to consider when dressing your sliding glass doors with them:
One-Way vs Two-Way Sliding Doors
The type of sliding door you have can help determine the best way to hang your drapery. If you have a two-way sliding door, a pair of sliding door curtains is an ideal choice to frame both sides and attain a symmetrically balanced look. If you have a one-way sliding door, you can consider installing one-way draw single-panel drapery. This way, the side that the door opens to will be completely clear when the curtain is pulled back. For a finished look, mount an elegant holdback on one side and let your curtain fall in a luxurious swag when pulled back.
Choose the Right Heading Style
If the door is in regular and frequent use, and your drapery will be more than a stationary decorative element, our stylists recommend avoiding a few heading styles such as rod pockets, tab tops, back tab tops, and tie tops. They are more difficult to glide as they employ fabric loops or pockets for mounting onto the drapery pole. Instead, opt for heading styles that hang on grommets or rings so you can move them with ease. These styles include grommet tops, pencil pleats, flat panel tops, ripple folds, and pinch pleats.
For additional information on curtain heading styles, refer to our Drapery Headings Style Guide.
Extend the Pole
When installing your drapery, we recommend extending the pole to about 12-24 inches on both sides of the doorway. With this extra length, you’ll be able to stack back your drapery on the wall, clearing the doors completely when opened, making for easier use and improved visual appeal.
Use Tiebacks & Holdbacks
Curtain tiebacks serve as both functional and decorative pieces to hold back your drapery. Once mounted on the wall, tiebacks allow you to bunch up the curtain material safely away from the door in a clean, crisp fashion.
For doors dressed with a pair of curtains, place a tieback on both sides of the door to hold each individual piece of drapery. For doors that are dressed with a single curtain, install one tieback on the side that the door does not open to.
When tied back, your curtains will leave the doorway open for passage and make an elegant presentation of their plush pleats as they beautifully frame the sliding glass door. And when you need more privacy, you can simply remove the curtains from the tieback.
Determine the Fullness Factor
The beauty of drapery lies partly in its fullness, and when determining the fullness level of your sliding glass door curtains, consider how often you will be using the doors and the drapery.
Panels of low width will land you with sparse and far-spaced pleats while overdoing adds to the weight of the drapery and compromises its ease of movement on the pole.
For occasionally used drapes, we recommend 2x fullness for beautifully rounded pleats. So, if the doorway is 100 inches wide for example, and you have decided to go with a pair of curtains, each panel should be 100 inches to have 2x fullness.
For frequently operated curtains, reducing the panel width up to 1.5x fullness is wiser – so you have less fabric yardage to deal with, with every use of the door. Narrower drapery will also need less stacking room on the sides.
For further reading on how to measure and decide panel widths, do visit our Drapery Sizing Guide.
Consider Stationary Curtain Panels
If you’re not concerned with privacy and don’t anticipate ever closing your drapes, stationary panels may be right for your needs. Order two framing panels and hang one on each side of the door to flank it beautifully. This provides a stylish look and will be more affordable, too!
READ MORE: SLIDING GLASS DOOR CURTAINS: IDEAS & TIPS
Vertical Venetian Blinds
If you’re looking for sleek door coverings with versatile control over light inflow, consider vertical Venetian blinds. They can be made of vinyl, plastic, aluminum, or fabric and come in a range of textured finishes and hues – though mostly solid neutrals.
The swiveling slats of these blinds allow versatile control over light inflow. And the shadows they cast are also very dramatic. When operated, they slide gently on their tracks, in the same fashion as the sliders, making them look well-synchronized together.
Also, the sleek structure and the ultra-thin slats demand less stacking room – making them one of the most sought treatments for sliding glass doors. Vertical venetian blinds are functionally efficient, economical, and minimalistic. The downside, however, is that cleaning the individual slats makes maintenance more tedious.
Venetian blinds suit modern homes in general and do not quite gel with all kinds of decor styles. They are very function-oriented and add little to nothing to the aesthetics of the home. Some would also mind that the slats actually block the views when the prime interest behind installing sliding glass doors is to capitalize on them.
If you’re a maximalist and you need to install venetian blinds for some reason, you can make up for their minimalism and austerity by installing some lovely patterned valances atop the sliders.
Panel Track Blinds
This window covering consists of vertical panels of vinyl, fabric, or woven wood that are fitted to a multi-channeled track so they can slide along the door. Among fabric panels, you can choose between light-filtering, opaque, or blackout depending on the type of light control and privacy you are seeking.
The panels slide sideways, each slightly overlapping the preceding one and thus covering the whole span. When closed, they recede in the same fashion and stack up on either side. Alternatively, you can also choose to stack them in the middle.
Panel track blinds can be customized to feature many colors and patterns, although the choice spectrum may not be as wide as that of drapery fabrics. If you love how draperies bring in color and pattern but also the sleek profile of roller shades, panel track blinds are a cross-between option combining the best of both worlds. Additionally, the non-pleated, flat silhouette works as a great platform to display patterns in all their richness and vibrance.
Panel track blinds are a fashion-forward option and are specially designed for oversized windows and doors. Given the way they slide, they are especially suited to sliding glass doors. Since they look the same on both sides, they are well-suited for internal, room-dividing slider doors as much as they are good for external patio doors.
What you should consider keenly is whether you would sacrifice some portion of the glass door for the stacks of panels, in turn blocking some light and view permanently. Also, if you’re foraging for a specific color or pattern that’s rare to find in such industrially produced window treatments, you might be disappointed.
The ruffleless structure and neat silhouettes make panel track blinds suitable for contemporary and modern interiors and not quite the right choice for most other decor styles.
If you prefer top-stacking treatments so that the doorway is completely cleared off when they are raised, roller blinds are a great option. Especially, if you don’t have any wall space for side-mounting and top-mounting window treatments, roller shades are a good solution. Tucked into a svelte cassette that blends with the frame of the window seamlessly, roller shades need zero stacking room.
Made of wood, faux wood, vinyl, PVC, or polyester, roller blinds come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns. Their sleek profiles are especially suitable for patterns to be aired with their full integrity and visual impact. They also come in various types of materials that are suited to specific purposes.
For example, solar blinds are roller blinds made of a chemically treated fabric designed to keep out UV rays. Zebra shades have alternating stripes of sheer and opaque fabrics which are designed to provide light filtering and light blocking options integrated into a single panel. Silhouette shades incorporate the benefits of slatted blinds into the single-panel shades for more control over privacy and light.
Similarly, there are exterior roller shades that are fixed on the external side of the sliders. These are made of performance fabrics designed to put up with external elements and can be operated from inside the home. They are a great choice if you like to show off your sliding glass doors in their full integrity with no window treatments infringing their frames or trims. But, while outdoor roller shades are an option for sure, they may not fit everyone’s budget.
Apart from the various types of options they offer, roller shades are especially suitable for glass sliding doors because they look just the same on both sides. So, you can safely go for this option if your sliders are room dividers.
The only downside to installing roller shades on your sliders is that you can’t pass the doors when the shades are down without first clearing them off. It’s true of all top-mounted window solutions. The way out is to install multiple shades instead of one sweeping panel so you can open one for passage while keeping all others closed.
While roller shades of any kind are a great option for sliders, what they don’t provide is the wide variety of colors and patterns that fabric treatments can offer. Their sleek silhouettes and mechanized functionality also don’t always rhyme with the maximalist design styles that like to go bold with colors, textures, and patterns.
If you like a sleek fabric treatment that mounts atop the sliding glass doors and also has infinite design potential, consider roman shades. With a promising capacity to don any color or pattern you envisage, roman shades offer both the functionality of blinds and the softness of drapes.
They fold up in accordion style, taking some space on the top for their stacking room. This stack looks like a valance dressing the door’s trims, providing a decorative element even when the shades are fully folded up.
Since the sliding doors are usually very wide, we recommend going for multiple shades instead of one sweeping panel. Thus, you can reduce the weight load on each shade, ensuring thereby, their highest functional efficiency and longevity. Besides, being able to operate each shade separately means that you can keep them at different levels of clearance. When you need to use the doors, you only need to open one panel while all others may remain closed.
A key consideration you need to make when opting for roman shades is that their stacking room takes away a bit of the top portion of the sliders permanently. It will still be way above the head level, but if you mind that partial coverage, you may want to mount them on the wall high enough to clear off the window totally when not in use.
Outside mounting the shade further enhances the vertical dimension of the sliding doors, elongating them visually and adding to their grandeur. However, whether you mount the shade inside or outside, be careful to order long cords for easy accessibility if you’re not planning on motorizing them.
If you’re looking for the softness, sumptuousness, and organic vibe that drapes provide but cannot afford the wall and floor space for the same, we highly recommend roman shades. Additionally, since they stack up on the top rather than on the sides, kids and pets cannot tamper with them, canceling all chances of any tripping accidents.
Do consider the fact that the rear side view of the shades will expose the cords, hardware, and lining, if any, of the roman shade. So, if your sliders are room dividers, this may not be the most pleasing option.
If you’re not looking for so much of a functional remedy as a decorative one, you also have the option of faux roman shades. These shades can be easily installed on drapery rods, look like fully functional shades that are stacked up, and dress the sliders beautifully.
Alternatively, you can consider valances that dress the top of the windows. They come in a variety of styles, making it easy for you to find one that suits your decor style and color palettes. Faux shades and valances are light decor accessories that won’t overwhelm either the design or your pockets.
READ MORE: ROMAN SHADES FOR SLIDING GLASS DOORS
Order Window Treatments for Sliding Glass Doors from Spiffy Spools
We hope you have attained much useful information about these top recommendations for sliding glass doors from our stylists. Do take advantage of blog posts on related topics on our site for more guidance. If your heart is piqued by one of the customizable fabric treatments, Spiffy Spools can cater to your exact specifications. Explore our site to find the perfect options for your space, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!
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