13 Stylish Window Treatment Ideas for Sliding Doors

kitchen with large potted plant
Photo: Steven Meckler

Update your sliding door by giving it a cheerful, colorful makeover. Applying window treatment basics and making accommodations for the door's functional purpose are keys to success. These window treatment ideas for sliding glass doors beautifully combine style and practicality.

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Subtle Sliding Door Window Treatments

Living room with white shelving and TV
David Tsay

Sliding doors offer expansive views to the outside that you might not want to block with heavy draperies. Instead, opt for more discreet window treatment ideas such as roller shades that won't hinder the view. When rolled up, the system blends in with the door's trim for a seamless look. The simple window shades can be pulled down when needed to block light and offer privacy.

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Light-Blocking Sliding Door Curtains

dining room with table and black chairs
Edmund Barr

In areas that receive intense sunlight, such as a room with south-facing sliding doors, blocking light is a top priority for window treatments. Choose lined curtains for your sliding doors that will effectively block the sun's rays during the day. This helps keep your home cooler during the warm summer months and protects furnishings, such as area rugs and upholstered furniture, from sun damage or fading.

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Functional Window Treatments

kitchen with barstools
Helen Norman

Choosing a window treatment for a sliding glass door can be a challenge because you don't want to hinder the usefulness of the door. As you dress up your sliding door, consider using tiebacks to cinch window curtains aside, especially on the side with the handle, to support door function. If you're using valances or Roman shades, mount window treatments high enough above the door frame so the hem doesn't brush heads passing through. Be sure to hang curtain panels that will be opened and closed an inch above the floor to keep them clean and out of foot traffic.

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Window Treatments That Preserve Light

sliding door black chair
Edmund Barr

Sliding doors are favored for the views and access to outdoor spaces. With that in mind, finding the right sliding glass door curtain ideas can be tricky, and simplicity is often the best bet. A simple pair of sheer panels or opaque curtains will filter light while still providing privacy. Curtains hung on rings slide open with ease to keep the door accessible.

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Stylish Sliding Door Curtains

family room
Edmund Barr

Sometimes sliding door curtains aren't needed for any practical reason and simply add style to a space. Here, curtains on short rods extend just over the ends of a bank of windows and a sliding door. The patterned curtain panels frame and soften the bank of windows without detracting from the views beyond.

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Formal Sliding Door Window Treatments

living room black sliding doors
Edward Gohlich

Draperies for sliding glass doors can enhance the formal feel of a room. Here, black-and-white striped draperies bookend black sliding doors. An oversize white cornice trimmed in black runs from wall to wall, crowning the living room with dramatic glamour.

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Curtain Ideas for Sliding Doors

kitchen with large potted plant
Steven Meckler

Keep traffic flowing with sliding glass door curtain ideas that accommodate comings and goings. Use a curtain rod that is long enough to extend beyond your sliding door. This way curtains remain out of the way and don't impede traffic. In this dining room, a soft shade of blue adds interest to an otherwise neutral color scheme.

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Patterned Sliding Door Window Treatments

dining room with sliding door
Edmund Barr 

Sliding doors typically commandeer a good chunk of wall space, leaving less room for artwork and color. Reclaim some of that lost opportunity with patterned sliding door curtains. In this dining room, bold striped curtains command attention while staying in step with the room's relaxed vibe.

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Curtains for Sliding Doors and Windows

bright new york coastal home white bedroom
Laura Moss 

Sliding doors are often paired with windows. Rather than try to come up with a window treatment idea for both, dress them as one. Extend a drapery rod across the entire bank and pick curtains that suit your style—it's that easy! Just make sure you have enough fabric to allow the curtains to close completely.

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Double Up Window Treatments

graphic wallpaper in bedroom
Edmund Barr

To cover the broad expanse of sliding doors, look for long, sturdy rods at home centers, and mount the brackets across the top of the doors at even intervals. Be sure to screw them into wall studs for stability. Then hang curtains using easy-slide rings or a cord system that lets you draw them open and closed from one side. If you buy a rod that is longer than your door is wide, you'll have room to push the curtains completely off to the side, to leave the door fully uncovered.

If your sliding door receives harsh light, you might want to purchase lined curtains, which will block the sun's rays. For a less-than-perfect outdoor view, install a double set of curtains, and use filtering sheers (which you can leave closed) under solid panels. For a finishing touch, cover the top of the curtains and rod with a valance or cornice mounted high enough to clear the door.

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Blinds and Shades for Sliding Doors

hamptons modern farmhouse dining room
Tria Giovan 

For tailored sliding door window treatments, consider blinds or shades. Vertical blinds have wide metal or plastic slats that hang down from a top rail. When closed, they lie flat against the window and overlap slightly to block the light. You can rotate the slats to open them partially or fully, and you can slide the slats all to one side of the door to get them out of the way. There are also sliding door shades made from natural or synthetic panels that hang flat, usually in several overlapping segments. Each panel hangs from its own track, so when you draw them open, they stack neatly. With different weaves, materials, and textures available, these shades can be transparent or opaque for varying levels of light control. Finally, there are cellular shades with wide vertical pleats like an accordion that you can pull open or closed (or gather in the middle) as needed.

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Sliding Door Shutters

bedroom taxidermy
David Tsay

Already wildly popular as window treatments, plantation shutters are available to cover sliding doors, as well. Some slide open and closed on a track similar to the track for the door, and some are hinged to swing open and shut. Narrow or wide louvers—it's your choice—rotate open and closed to let you control the view and light.

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Specialty Sliding Door Window Treatments

modern living room with arched ceilings
David A. Land

All of the sliding door window treatments mentioned offer light and privacy control as well as energy benefits. For ease of maintenance, there are also window treatments that are part of the sliding door itself. Sandwiched between the panes of glass, narrow blinds or cellular shades raise and lower and tilt at the flip of a switch. Because they are sealed into the door, they typically won't get dirty, break, tear, or need dusting. Another device for light control and energy savings is to add a glare-controlling window film to the sliding door's glass. This can be done in conjunction with another decorative dressing, or—if you don't get direct light and have no privacy concerns—it can be the only sliding-door treatment.

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