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Window Treatments For French Doors

Window Treatments For French Doors

French doors, present some unique challenges when it comes to window treatments.  While they are easier to treat than sliding patio doors, the following tips will ensure that you choose the best treatment for your French doors.

When you begin shopping for window treatments for your French doors, you will find numerous options available to you.  Since French doors swing – instead of slide – open, they are much easier to cover.  In fact, many of the products that work best on sliding patio doors are not the best options for French doors.  Vertical blinds, vertical honeycomb shades and full draperies can be tricky on French doors.  In order for them to work properly, the blinds or shades must be installed well outside the operating area of the doors – that is, they must be mounted fully above and outside of the doors, or the doors will not be able to swing open.

French door drapery

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn

However, the swinging action of the French door means that nearly any OTHER treatment will work on them!  Any standard blind or shade can be installed directly to the surface of the door itself, making it a cinch to match your French door window treatments with the treatments on the windows in the rest of the room.  There are a few things to keep in mind, though, to ensure the best fit and function.

When choosing a window treatment for a French door, try to select one with a low-profile headrail.  The headrail attaches to the door above the glass, and choosing a shade or blind with a small headrail will give you the sleekest look and the best function on the door.  A very deep headrail will stick out from the door several inches, making it difficult to open the door fully in some cases.

honeycomb french door shade

Photo courtesy of Hunter Douglas

Also, be sure that your window treatment comes with “hold-downs” for the bottom rail of the shade or blind.  These small brackets clip into the sides of the bottom rail, keeping the shade from flopping back and forth on the door when you open and close the door.  Simply unsnap the shade from the hold-downs when you want to raise the shade.

Keep hardware in mind when choosing a shade on any door.  Cordless blinds or shades are the best option, since you will have no cords in the way when you open the door.  If cordless shades are not an option, position the cord on the side away from the door handle for best results.

Roman shade on French Door

Photo courtesy Hunter Douglas

The door handle can create an issue with some types of window treatments.  Choose a flatter blind or shade to minimize any interference with the door handle.  Honeycomb shades, roller shades, woven wood shades and 1″ wood blinds can work beautifully on French doors.  All of these options will fit neatly behind most door handles, keeping them out of the way.

Shutter with cut out

Photo courtesy of Hunter Douglas

Some window treatment manufacturers offer very custom window treatment options for doors.  Hunter Douglas, for example, offers shutters, wood blinds and even honeycomb shades with custom cut-outs to accommodate the door handle.  With this option, the shade is made to fit your door precisely by going around the door handle instead of behind it.  Your local window treatment dealer can help you measure and order this type of product.

French door sheer curtain

Photo courtesy Amazon

Another option, while not as flexible as a blind or shade, is the rod pocket curtain.  This simple window treatment features a rod pocket on both the top and the bottom of the curtain panel, allowing it to be securely mounted to the French door at both ends.  This keeps the curtain in place, making it difficult to move it out of the way on a regular basis.  While they are often seen in sheer fabric options, these curtain panels can be made out of nearly any fabric.  They can be cinched in the center, as shown above, or left straight for a more contemporary look.

French doors come with their own set of considerations when it comes to window treatments.  Thinking through these options will ensure you get the option that will function best for you.

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