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FRENCH DOOR CURTAINS: IDEAS, PHOTOS & TIPS

French Door Curtains

 

French doors are stunning architectural features that add whimsy, elegance, and functional versatility to the space. Designed primarily with solid glass panes, they allow plenty of natural light into your home and are great for indoor-outdoor living. If you’re hoping to further enhance your French doors, a stunning window treatment for French Doors can accentuate their look while providing you with additional privacy when so desired. With this goal, we invite you to explore the top French door curtains ideas from our drapery stylists to help you flawlessly design your new window treatments.

Order custom curtains from Spiffy Spools online in any size for your French doors. We carry over 3,000 fabrics and patterns to pick from, so you can design them exactly to your liking!

 

Curtains that Make French Doors More Stunning

French doors make the room look more like a relaxing cottage, and if they are opening to a flowering garden, there’s nothing more to ask. However, since French doors do little to provide privacy, French door curtains can become an elegant insulative layer over them, making them more functional, and the room more versatile.

 

Know the Challenges: How French Doors Get the Better of You

 

Curtains for French Doors

 

Curtains are easily the most sought-after window treatment for French doors. Drapes bring style, beauty, and softness to these grand entryways. Besides, drapery’s sumptuousness is fitting with the grandeur of the doors themselves and surprisingly lightens their enormity. However, designing curtains for these statement doors is challenging at times for various reasons, including:  

  • French doors are oversized, demanding wider coverage and heavier bearing on the hardware.
  • Since they are glazed for the most part, French doors are infamous for loss of thermal energy, calling for more energy-efficient dressings, especially if they are located in bedrooms. 
  • If your French doors are room dividers, your curtains have to do double service to fit the decor of both rooms.
  • Furthermore, if they swing to both sides, you must make sure that the curtains don’t hinder their two-way operability in any way.

So, let’s see how we can hang curtains on French doors in the right way, converting these challenges into design opportunities.

 

Have Your Strategy in Place: The Essentials of French Door Curtains

 

Sheer Curtains for French Doors

 

While French doors pose a different set of challenges than other doors and windows, there is no shortage of design strategies to tackle them. The journey to the right window dressing for your French doors begins with a good plan. And here’s how you lay it down:

  • BEGIN WITH ‘WHY’: What makes you want a dressing for your French doors? Is it to guard the room against prying eyes or to soften the light pouring in? Or, do you want to curb the glare on the TV screen? Or, do you just want soft textiles billowing at your French doors to add charm and drama? Once you answer this question, you’ll know whether to go for a highly functional window treatment or a decorative one that simply furthers your aesthetic vision.
  • SUPPORT THE ROOM’S PURPOSE: A well-dressed doorway has gone awry if it does not further the purpose of the room. So, don’t forget what activity the room is used for when designing the window treatments. Is it a grand living-dining-kitchen area opening to a garden that needs light-filtering curtains? Or, is it a cozy bedroom extending onto a balcony that needs to be quietened and darkened for good sleep? Or, is it a home office that needs acoustic and visual separation for more focused work? Your drapery choices will highly depend on the answers to these questions.
  • PLACEMENT: What kind of curtains you need is also highly dependent on whether your French doors are on the external walls of the house, for example, if they are your patio doors, or serving as internal room dividers. For French doors opening to a patio, for example, the curtains have to be hardy enough to deal with a blast of sunlight, wind, and dust on a daily basis. For internal French doors, the focus may be on providing segregation, intimacy and aesthetic appeal. They must also coordinate well with the decor on both sides of the doors. The choice of fabric and the heading style will be largely influenced by this aspect.
  • ROOM LAYOUT: When designing French door drapes, make sure they work well with the current layout of the room. If the passageway is a high-traffic zone connecting to other rooms, make sure that the curtains have their own space. You don’t want preposterously overbearing drapes that interfere with someone’s footsteps, causing tripping accidents. Be even more careful with your calculations if you have kids or pets. 
  • MIND THE STACK: If your French doors swing both ways and you want to make good use of this double functionality, make sure that your curtains are mounted correctly. Instead of letting them partially cover the doors when stacked back, ensure that they completely clear the door. You need a drapery pole that extends sufficiently on both ends and that much free wall space to hold the stacked curtains.
  • INSULATION NEEDS: If you face freezing winters, know that your French doors could be notorious energy leakers that worsen the trouble. This issue is far from ignorable in bedrooms and nurseries where room temperature maintenance is imperative for good sleep and an energized day afterward. And therefore, insulative blackout curtains should be on top of your list.
  • DECOR LANGUAGE: When chasing functional requirements, the curtains must not fail to rhyme with the overall decor of the space. Care must be shown when selecting the fabric, palette, pattern, texture, weave, heading style, hardware, and accessories. The curtains must speak the same decor language as the rest of the space.

 

Make Concrete Design Decisions: Top Tips to Design French Door Curtains

Knowing what’s ahead keeps the wise prepared to handle it. With the knowledge of the challenges involved and the apt strategies in place, you can now focus your attention on the key styling decisions. Hence, here are some top tips from our stylists to come up with your final decisions about the design details of your French door curtains:

 

Choose the Right Material

 

Sheer Curtains

 

There are two decisions you need to take when selecting the fabric for your French door curtains. First, you must decide on the material composition of fabric and second, determine its level of sheerness or opacity.

If your French doors are located in an ultra-formal area, think of dressy fabrics like velvets and silks. For a pared-down version of a formal space, consider high-quality heavy cotton drapes for the sophisticated look they create. And if your French doors are in a casual area such as your kitchen, or for French patio doors in a casual living room, think of lightweight linen and cotton to move with the easygoing vibe as well as the need for more hardy materials here.

Once you’ve made up your mind about the fabric to go for, determine the level of opacity required. Opacity of curtains will have to do with the level of privacy you require and the type of light inflow needed in the room. If you want light softly filtering in through your curtains, go for sheer or semi-sheer curtains. They will provide privacy during the day and make for a pleasing ambiance – light, casual and airy.

If you need more privacy and light control, consider non-sheer drapery fabrics. With suitable lining, they can also help fight away excess heat during sunny afternoons. Consider blackout lining or blackout drapery fabrics if you need foolproof privacy, acoustic benefits, and temperature control during extreme weather conditions.

 

Select a Suitable Heading Style

 

French Door Blue Curtains

 

The heading style refers to the design of the curtain top header which dictates how the curtains fall and drape, and the ease with which they move on the drapery pole/track. All types of curtain heading styles look elegant, but some are more functionally efficient than others.

If your French doors open to a high-traffic space, the curtains will likely get moved often during the day. In such a case, we advise ordering curtains that operate with clips, rings, or grommets as they glide smoothly on the drapery pole. Consider any of the pinch pleats, flat panels, or grommet tops

In case you are hanging curtains that you don’t plan to maneuver often – or would prefer for them to stay steady and not glide too easily – heading styles such as rod pockets or back tabs might be more appropriate as they don’t glide as easily and stay in place even when it’s drafty.

 

READ MORE: CURTAIN HEADINGS STYLE GUIDE

 

Consider the Rear Side View

 

Flat Panel Curtains for Doors

 

Whether it be fabric or heading style, if your French doors are room dividers, you need to ascertain whether their rear side is as presentable as their right side. Getting the curtains to work perfectly with the design of one room and mess with the decor of the other is the worst mistake one can make with glazed doors.

So, when you choose a solid-colored fabric, make sure that the color is the same on both sides. With patterned fabrics, ensure that the print shows on the other side with full saturation as on the face. Say no to embroidered drapery fabrics for all the obvious reasons.

Similarly, if you choose to line your curtains, you need to factor in the color of the lining as the visible side from the other room. Note that our privacy lining comes in white and blackout lining in grey and beige.

Heading styles also need more forethought. Think of styles with tailored pleats – how they look so adorned on the front side, but show the heading tape and hardware on the back. For room-divider French doors, it is – instead – advisable to choose heading styles that look relatively more presentable on both sides such as rod pockets, grommet tops and flat panel tops. 

Note that hemlines will be visible on the back of the curtains, no matter what style of curtains you choose.

 

Determine Width

 

French Door Drapes

 

Running close in hand with the heading style is another design decision – the width of your curtains panels. The pleats of the curtains are formed beautifully only when the fabric is used generously. Increasing the width results in increasing the sumptuousness of the pleats, hence it is referred to as ‘fullness’. Also remember that if you are shopping for extra wide curtains of over 48 inches, then you can expect your drapery panels to have a join in them. With ample fullness, the joins and hems to match patterns in your drapery panels will hide in the pleats.

Curtains are typically stitched with a minimum of 1.5x fullness, that is, one and a half times the width of the window. Increasing the fullness factor to 2x or 3x will help you to create dense, dramatic, and neat folds. Since French doors are huge, and the curtains are floor-length, the curtain width should match proportionately.

Certain heading styles like pinch pleats look their very best only when stitched with maximum fullness. Whereas, heading styles that depend on fabric loops or pockets such as rod pockets and tab tops become more functionally efficient when stitched with moderate fullness.

Increasing curtain width is a smart idea, especially for sheer curtains. Dense and closely placed pleats will multiply layers of the transparent fabric and thus provide maximum privacy. Sheer or non-sheer, increasing the fullness always adds to the insulation, sound absorption, and light control capacity of the curtains.

On the contrary, if you’re not looking for fully functional drapes covering your entire french door, you must reduce the width. Narrow decorative drapes can flank the doors and frame the views with their rippled contour, adding a splash of color in the process. These curtains are hung on short drapery poles so they remain stationary at the two ends of the doorpost.

 

Choose the Number of Panels

 

Patterned French Door Curtains

 

Once you have determined the fullness level of the curtains, you can then decide on the number of panels to be ordered. So, if the window width is 100” and you have decided to go for 2x fullness, the curtain’s width must be 200”. Now, if you need a pair of curtains, they must each be 100” wide.

Sometimes, you may lack wall space on one side of the French doors to provide stacking space. If you mind the curtain taking away space from the window, it is a situation that invites a single-panel curtain. With a show-worthy tie-back, the curtain’s gorgeous pleats and swags will stand out adorning the dreamy doors with impressive fullness and glamor. 

In some homes, French doors are enveloped in a series of French windows, differentiated only by their length. Here, it is better to treat the entire series with multiple panels of floor-length curtains. But ensure that a pair of curtains are designated for the span of the French doors so that it is easy to operate them separately when needed.

 

Invest in the Right Hardware and Position it Correctly

 

French Door Drapes

 

It is important to install sturdy hardware for French doors since the curtains can be very heavy, considering the dimensions they span. Hence, go for high-quality hardware and they typically comprise two choices: poles and tracks. 

 

Curtain Rod Considerations

The most popular and traditional hardware for hanging curtains is drapery poles. They are usually made of wood, metal, or plastic and are available in various colors and finishes. Their ornamental knobs on the ends – known as finials – come in a wide range of finishes and colors too. 

If you’d like to hang your curtains on a curtain rod, consider the following tips:

  • Avoid tension rods, because French doors do not have the correct frame to place them.
  • You may need an extra-long curtain rod to cover the total span of the two doors. 
  • A double curtain rod is a great choice if you plan to layer your window treatments.

 

Curtain Track Considerations

Curtain tracks are a more modern option and come with many advantages. They can be mounted to the wall above the door or, as is the most popular choice, to the ceiling. When placed on the ceiling, they render a very seamless look as there’s no gap between the ceiling and the curtains. It goes without saying that this arrangement better suits floor-to-ceiling drapes

Tracks that come with pull cords are easy to operate as at the pulling of the string, both curtain panels operate simultaneously. They can blend into the wall if planned along with the architecture or be placed behind valances or pelmets. Tracks suit modern, pared-back design styles.

If you’d like to hang your curtains on a curtain track, consider the following tips:

  • Curtain Track: Use one, extra-long curtain track to cover the total span of the two doors. 
  • Choose a Suitable Curtain Style:  Curtains that go on tracks are pinch pleats, flat-panel tops, inverted box pleats, ripple folds, and pencil pleats. The ripple fold curtains need a special mention here as they operate on specialty hardware that is uniquely designed for them. So, it may be wise to order the hardware before you shop ripplefolds and if you already have ordinary tracks installed, you may avoid this style.

Whether you decide to go with a curtain rod or track, here are some tips to maximize their functional efficiency:

  • Extend the rod/track at least ten inches beyond both sides of your French doors. Doing so will allow you to move your curtains out of the way of your French doors when in use.
  • If you’re planning on hanging a valance above the curtains, factor in their length when positioning the drapery hardware. If your doors swing both ways, you need to ensure that the valance does not come in their way, so place the hardware high enough to accommodate the valance above the doors.

 

Consider Door Mounted Curtains

 

Door Mounted Curtains for French Door

 

The hardware and heading style options we described above are meant for full-fledged curtains that are common to all styles of doors and windows. But there is a style of window curtain that is specifically designed for French doors. 

French door curtains, as they are called, are affixed to the door panels to custom fit the glass portions, providing just the right amount of coverage that is required. They are hung on sash rods that are specifically designed to be fixed to the door panels. They are sleek and come in pairs so they can be affixed to the top and bottom of the door.  

The french door curtains have pockets on both ends which explains their other name – double rod pocket curtains. The curtains are held tightly to the doors as they are attached to the rods at the top and bottom. So, they never billow or move away from the position at which they are fixed. When you want to let light in, you can stack the curtains on a side and pull them back in position when you want privacy.

Since the curtains are mounted onto doors, they are typically stitched with lower fullness than standard curtains, just right to fit the frames with tiny ruffles formed by the gathering of the fabric. Increasing their fullness will challenge their efficiency as it will become difficult to move them on the rods.

Since the curtain panels are affixed to the doors themselves, they move along with the doors. Furthermore, they do not ever pose any constriction on the door’s opening – swing them forward or backward and the curtains never come in the way. Since the fabric engagement is very meager, they are also quite economical and easy to maintain.

The downside of door mounted curtains is that a part of your view will always be blocked, and light leaks are possible from the edges, causing inconvenience if the room needs total light blocking.

Double rod pocket curtains are ideal for your French doors if you have no wall space on both sides to provide stacking room for full-fledged curtains. They are also very minimal and sleek, offering compatible options for homes designed in line with modern minimalism. Besides, your toddlers and pets are safe from tripping while they romp around the doors. The bonus point is that the doors are easily accessible – you don’t have to move aside the curtains each time you attempt to access the doors. 

 

Use Curtain Tie Backs

 

Curtain Tie Backs for French Door Curtains

 

Curtain tie backs are a huge help when it comes to your French door curtains. These add-ons beautifully hold your curtains away from the panes to provide you with easy access to your doors whenever you need to use them. Plus, at Spiffy Spools, you can design them in the same fabric as your curtains for a clean, cohesive look.

 

Featured Looks

Spotlight On: Snazz

Grey Tie Backs For Custom Drapes

Our Snazz tie backs feature a silver, cylinder hook and a large silver eyelet. The eyelet is attached to a minimalistic, rectangular piece of fabric of your choosing, offering a sleek design. If you’re going for a modern look, Snazz tie backs are a perfect choice.

 

Spotlight On: Pizzazz

Pizzazz tie back for curtains

For a more casual option, select our Pizzazz style tie backs. A small eyelet attaches to a thin, metal hook, and the fabric features a rectangular cut with rounded edges for a relaxed feel.

 

Spotlight On: Razzmatazz

Razzmatazz tie back

With this option, a sweeping piece of fabric with a thinly woven loop connects to a small cleat attached to the wall. Razzmatazz tie back hardware blends in seamlessly with your drapery for a refined look.

 

INSPIRATION CORNER

Spotlight On: Morocco

Abstract Custom Curtains For Bedroom

Blackout curtains aren’t drab! Take, for instance, these Morocco curtains. They feature a marbled pattern in various shades of blue for a relaxed yet sophisticated look. Morocco curtains are sure to bring a tranquil feel to your space!

 

Spotlight On: Aklamak

Alkamak

Our sheer Aklamak curtains are the epitome of elegance. Their white backdrop is dashed with a shimmery silver metallic to further add to the sophistication of the fabric. If you’re aiming for a striking and refined look, these curtains are a perfect choice.

 

Spotlight On: Rhine Blue

Rhine Blue Curtains

Floral and botanical motifs are quite the way to dress up your french doors, especially when they open to a patio. With a continuous layout of leaf silhouettes on a melange of greys and blues, Rhine Blue fabric curtains look like a cut-out from a cloudy evening sky about to burst with showers. 

 

Spotlight On: Yamini Sol

Yellow Bedroom Custom Drapes

Simplicity rules with our Yamini Sol fabric that adds a bright touch to your rooms. These curtains can become your accent feature and pull together the entire color scheme of the room being used for a large element like french doors.

 

Spotlight On: Gypsy Queen

Floral Curtains & Roman Shades

Speaking more with few words, this white drapery fabric presents floral motifs with subtle contrasts and artistic finesse, perfect as French door curtains which blur in the outside naturescape with indoors. Leaves and blooms on slender stalks are embroidered delicately in tones of white in Gypsy Queen to give off the sophisticated flair of the nature theme impressively.

 

Order Custom Curtains from Spiffy Spools

 

French Door Curtains

 

We hope these French door curtain tips have helped you with ideas for your home. And now you can confidently design your French door curtains that befit the grandeur and whimsy of this gorgeous entry point. 

Browse our collections for more inspiration and be spoiled for choice with fabrics, colors, and patterns that can tune in with varied design styles. At Spiffy Spools, whether you need extra large curtains for wide windows or extra long drapes for your huge French doors, we make it easy to create custom curtains with customized measurement options, helping you dress your windows and doors to their exact dimensions. Explore our site to find stunning options, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

 

READ MORE: ROMAN SHADES FOR FRENCH DOORS

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