Your sliding glass door does three basic but important jobs: bringing in light, providing a view to the outside, and serving as an entrance and exit. But balancing these functions can make finding the right window treatment a challenge.
This guide will give you some ideas for turning your sliding glass door into a design asset that coordinates with your home décor and conveys your own personal aesthetic.
Let’s explore a few options for these unique windows, keeping in mind your home’s design aesthetic and how you use the space.
The most popular blinds for sliding glass doors are vertical blinds. You can make them your own with your choice of color and material, whether wood, fabric, or vinyl. They are a highly functional way to cover wide windows, and they excel in energy savings and light control.
Curtains and Drapery
There’s something regal about the flow and formality of custom drapes. Select a pattern or color that reflects your style and complements your room. Graber Draperies are superior to ready-made curtain panels. They feature fine details like mitered corners with corner weights for better draping. Double-turned hems provide years of elegant performance.
To add texture to your space, introduce an outdoor element by choosing drapery crafted from natural materials like bamboo, jute, grass, reeds, and rattan. They're environmentally friendly, uniquely individual, and they pair nicely with Graber Natural Shades.
A contemporary alternative to vertical shades, sliding panels add character to any sliding glass door. Look for them in an array of shade fabrics—including solar, roller, natural, and Fresco® Roman—to easily match other window treatments in your room. They're also cordless and easy to clean, which makes them perfect for spaces where kids and pets spend time.
Vertical Cellular Shades
The most energy-efficient solution for a sliding glass door is a vertical cellular shade. Just like horizontal cellular shades, Graber Slide-Vue™ Vertical Cellular Shades are available in widths up to 192” and are made with honeycomb-shaped cells that trap air and insulate your home against both heat and cold. Vertical cellular shades offer a clean, modern look and are available in a range of colors and opacities. That variety makes it easy to find the perfect solution for your room.
Window Treatment Features to Consider
The next most important consideration for sliding glass doors is privacy. The wide expanse of glass calls for window treatments that provide consistent coverage across the entire door. The combination of moderate light filtration and privacy is the ideal combination for most sliding doors in living rooms and dining rooms. For those looking to limit even shadows and silhouettes, liners and fabric options are available that can provide complete privacy.
Because of their size, sliding glass doors require window treatments that are relatively tall, which means cords and other manual controls might be hard to reach for some people. That’s why motorizing the controls for these window treatments makes sense. And when motors are utilized, adjusting your window treatments is easier—and that means you’re more likely to take full advantage of the capabilities of your window treatments. Ask your Graber design expert for information about how you can use motorization to create a sliding glass door solution that suits your lifestyle.
Motorized, cordless, or continuous-loop control options are available for most sliding glass door solutions. Cordless and motorized window treatments are among the safest controls available—and they’re also the most convenient. Easy to use, cordless and motorized controls keep children and pets safe. Some motorized controls can also be integrated into home-automation systems, allowing for hands-free control of window treatments—even when you’re away from home.
A door presents special challenges, one of which is visibility. In many instances, it is desirable to have good visibility for those coming and going through the doorway. One way to ensure this while still protecting against bright sun and glare is to utilize a sheer fabric. There are cellular shade fabrics that offer sheer fabrics that do this job quite well. There are also traditional curtain and drapery options that accomplish this task.
Helpful Tips for Selecting Your Window Treatments
When choosing your window treatments, think about how you use your sliding glass door. Is it frequently used as a doorway? Or is it essentially just a big window? Durable vertical blinds are designed to open and close with ease, and there are several stack options that allow you to adapt your blinds to your space. Graber’s shutters and Slide-Vue™ Vertical Cellular Shades both open and close smoothly for ease of use. And curtains and drapery can offer traditional elegance and visual appeal for doors that are used less frequently.
Drapery and Curtains vs. Shades and Blinds
There is a classic quality to curtains and drapery that is unmatched. For sliding glass doors that do not see heavy use, curtains and drapery can provide a stunning addition to your home décor. For applications where the doorway sees heavier traffic, blinds and cellular shades excel. Cellular shades’ compact structure and overall simplicity keep them out of the way of people passing in and out of the doorway. Your Graber design expert can give you the advantages and disadvantages of the different options based on how—and how often—you use your door.
Amount of Use and Location
Sliding glass doors need to move. You might open your sliding glass door several times a day—or only once a week. Is your door the only exit to the backyard? Do you only open the door occasionally during the summer months? Take traffic and use into consideration when selecting window treatments. Moving a set of sliding panels or vertical blinds several times a day might be an easy solution for you. You might also consider shutters set in sturdy tracks. Is your sliding glass door seldom or never opened? Natural drapes or traditional curtains and drapery might provide the combination or light filtering and aesthetic appeal that you’re looking for.
In many homes, sliding glass doors are the focal point of the room. In fact, these wide windows might provide the best views and sunlight in the entire home. Many homeowners choose light filtering fabrics and treatments that take advantage of that light but also cut down on the heat that comes along with all that sunshine. Every window treatment provides some light protection and insulation, but cellular shades really excel in this category, as do conventional curtains and drapery. In entertainment rooms, where glare is an important consideration, sliding panels and vertical blinds can be customized in a variety of opacities to allow the right combination of light filtering and glare control.
Some sliding glass doors act almost exclusively as windows, while some are primary points of access to and from the home. For these highly used doors—especially doors which might be used by both people familiar and unfamiliar with your home—cordless controls are a wise choice. For example, a wand-controlled set of vertical blinds or sliding panels needs no explanation and can feel quite intuitive. However, navigating a set of luxurious curtains and drapes might present a challenge. Ask your Graber design expert for control options that make accessing your sliding glass door easy.
Window Treatments that Open in the Same Direction as the Door
In most cases, the window treatments should open in the same direction as the door. For example, if a patio door is on the right, the door will slide open to the left. So ideally the vertical blinds would slide to the left and stack on the left, allowing for unhindered passage for someone passing through the doorway. Sliding panels could work in the same way. However, there are situations where vertical blinds could stack to either side of the door or to the center jamb, depending on the configuration of the room. Talk to your Graber design expert—they have the experience to know what’s best for your layout.
Formal vs. Informal
With proper planning, a sliding glass door can become a design centerpiece. Whether that design feels formal or informal is up to you. Choose curtains and drapery for a formal treatment that exudes tradition and old-world charm. Shutters in dark colors and rich wood grains can also add formality. On the flip side, sliding panels and vertical shades can be made with bright colors and playful patterns to express a welcoming informality. Shutters can be custom painted to express any mood you’re trying to convey. Graber offers you the full spectrum of colors, patterns, fabrics, and designs.
Match Your Current Aesthetics
In the past, there were limited options for window treatments like vertical blinds. Today, vertical blinds can be made with a huge variety of fabrics in a variety of colors, patterns and opacities, making them much more than simply functional. For more traditional décor, shutters are an obvious choice. A sleek, modern décor is well suited by a vertical cellular shade, available in everything from sheer fabrics to blackout. And sliding panels, with their ability to showcase a wide block of color or fabric, can be customized to any design aesthetic.
Patterned Window Treatments
Every window is an opportunity to make a design statement, and the large size of a sliding glass door allows you to make a big statement. Patterned fabrics can turn your sliding glass door into a focal point. Sliding panels allow you to present a large swath of fabric—bright and colorful, subdued and stately, or something in between—while maintaining the door’s functionality. For doorways that see less foot traffic, traditional curtains and drapery offer the ultimate opportunity to showcase beautiful fabrics.
It is important to consider the length of your window treatment. Sliding panels and vertical blinds, with their sturdy structure, can extend nearly to the floor. In fact, they look best when cut like this. Curtains and drapery around a doorway are another matter. Drapery that puddles on the floor will present a hazard to people using the doorway and might eventually accumulate dirt. Length is also an important factor if you choose a fabric for a sliding panel or vertical blind. How much of the pattern will appear on each panel or vane? How does the fabric look in a vertical treatment? Your Graber design expert has the know-how to help you with these decisions.
High Traffic Doorways
The best solution for high-traffic doorways is one that allows ease of use. Vertical blinds and drapery should stack away from the door that is used. Wands or cordless controls that are easy to find and operate should be utilized. Durability is key for heavily used doorways, and few options are as durable as shutters and vertical blinds. And, for doorways where both visibility, functionality, and some light control are needed, a vertical cellular shade in a sheer fabric might be just the right combination.
The Bottom Line
Sliding glass doors can be a huge design asset. They bring a tremendous amount of light into your home. They are also an opportunity to let your personal style shine. Use the broad area of the door to create a bold statement—or find window treatments that subdue its overall role in the design plan. Whatever design solution you choose, just remember that if your window treatment meets your needs, it is the right choice for you.
Consult an Expert Today
If it sounds like there’s a lot to consider when choosing window treatments for your sliding glass door, don’t worry. Your Graber design expert has the experience, know-how, and products to tackle any situation. Schedule your consultation to take full advantage of your sliding glass door’s full potential.