Window Treatment Ideas: 11 Solutions for Sliding Doors

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Add flair to your sliding door by giving it a cheerful and colorful makeover. Borrowing from window treatment basics and making accommodations for the door’s functional purpose are keys to success. Here are seven simple window treatment ideas for sliding glass doors.

Functional Window Treatments

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. Consider these tips as you dress up your sliding door:

  • Use tiebacks to cinch window curtains aside, especially on the side with the handle, to support door function.
  • If using valances or Roman shades, mount window treatments high enough above the door frame so the hem doesn't brush heads passing through.
  • Hang curtain panels that will be opened and closed an inch above the floor to keep them clean and out of foot traffic.

Preserve Light

Sliding doors are favored for the views and access to outdoor spaces. But 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 filters light while still providing privacy. Curtains hung on rings slide open with ease to keep the door accessible.

Put On a Show

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.

Formal Flair

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

Plenty of Room

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 are 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.

Strong Stripes

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

Better Together

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!

Double Up

Look for long, sturdy rods at home centers, and mount the brackets across the top of the expansive door 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.

Bank on Blinds

For very tailored and functional 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.

Stylish Shutters

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—your choice—rotate open and closed to let you control the view and light.

Specialty Sliding-Door Window Treatments

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 never get dirty, never break or get torn, and never need dusting. Another device for light control and energy savings is to add a glare-controlling window film to the sliding-door 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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