I have recently been involved in a few discussions regarding whether to hang curtains on French doors, or if blinds are better. In my opinion, it depends greatly on a few factors. Firstly, it depends on the type of French doors you have, your room’s décor and how much your doors are used on a daily basis. For example, if your French doors open out onto a patio then you will most likely find that they get a fair bit of use and as such you want patio blinds or curtains that will not interfere with opening the door–trust me, curtains can be somewhat cumbersome and prevent fluidity in opening up the doors in some instances. If your French doors are more decorative, rarely used and they are located in your living room where curtains are hung over other windows you may want to opt for curtains.
My personal preference is French doors with built in blinds. These are very practical and they look great. As an example the ODL BWM256601 25″x66″ Enclosed Blind for Patio Door is an example of a patio door with built in blind that looks good and at just under $200 per door is not that expensive either.
If you like this option you may want to consider how often you currently replace your blinds or curtains and how much this costs you over a two year or five year time span. In other words, you may find it more cost effective to actually buy replacement patio doors with built in curtains than to continually invest in blinds or curtains. Other advantages with these types of doors are that the blinds themselves are protected and as such there is not very much wear and tear. You do not have to worry about daily or weekly cleaning and maintenance either as they are lodged between two panes of glass and as such do attract dust and other dirt.
Roll Up, Vertical and Venetian Blinds: Other types of patio door blinds often seen on French doors include roll-up blinds, vertical blinds and mini blinds. Roll up blinds are great if you want to block out light coming inside during the day however they can be a bit cumbersome if you regularly open and close the doors. Vertical blinds look fantastic however the same applies, you do have to be fairly careful with them if you use your patio doors a lot. Also, they can be easily damaged thus may not be an ideal option if you have small children or pets in the house. You are able to pull them to the side as necessary which makes them marginally more easy to use than roll up blinds, especially if the roll up blinds span across both doors as opposed to being hung separately on each door. Venetian or mini blinds are a good alternative when it comes to blinds for French doors. They look good, are easy to clean and can be made exactly to size so that you can have one blind on each door. They tend to clang and bounce around a bit if you open and close the doors often and they do need regular cleaning in order to stay dust free.
Curtains and Curtain Panels: If aesthetics is high on your list and you have curtains hung on other windows in the room your first natural instinct will be to hang similar or complementary curtains on your French doors. Curtain panels are a good choice as they can be left pulled across the doors or opened up to the side if you need quick access to outside. In general, my recommendation when it comes to buying curtains is to choose a material that is easy to care for. They do tend to gather quite a lot of dust and will need laundering often. To save on money, look for material that can be laundered as opposed to material that needs to be dry-cleaned. One of my favorites for French door curtains are lace curtains with side panels that can be opened up to the side during the day. If your room serves as a home theater at times during the day you can also find blackout curtain panels for a very good price these days at stores such as Home Depot, Lowes or other similar stores. They are easy to open and close and effectively block out the light during the day if you need that option.
Shutters: Finally, many people like to hang shutters on their French doors. While wood and faux wood shutters look great they can be a little heavy if you open and close the doors often. These days it is very possible to find great shutters made from PVC that are fairly inexpensive, easy to put up and that are fairly lightweight. While white is a common choice of color, if you shop around it is possible to find them in a number of different colors. White tends to match with most decors and color themes, however, and it gives a nice light and airy feel and look to French doors.
- Your current room’s décor — what would be the best match?
- How much use to your French doors or patio doors get? Would curtains get in the way? Would vertical blinds get in the way?
- Are you–or could you–replace your French doors and buy doors with built in blinds? Would this be cost effective, based on how much you spend on new curtains or blinds on a regular basis, as well as costs for cleaning.
- Do you have small children? Pets? What blinds or curtains would be the most convenient and safe choice?
- If going with shutters can you afford wood shutters or would white PVC shutters suffice?
Taking time to evaluate your answers to these questions may help make it easier to choose when it comes to patio door blinds and curtain choices.