Curtains for Sliding Glass Doors: Ideas for Inspired Design

Curtains for sliding glass doors are essential elements for the most functional home design.

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Window treatments for sliding doors provide privacy, allow you to control light, and give the wide glass doors a more elegant look.

Curtains make sliding doors more attractive and blend with the room in a more seamless way. 

According to interior designer Julie Williams, curtains provide many benefits including accentuating and framing architectural features like the large glass expanse to create a more effective focal point for the room.

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Curtains for Sliding Glass Doors: Types

Curtains or Drapes

Curtain panels and drapes are the most common window treatments for sliding glass doors. Curtains and drapes on sliding glass doors should be wide enough to close in the middle and easy to open and close.

Curtains or drapes for sliding glass doors work in many weights depending on how much privacy you need, ranging from sheer curtains to blackout curtains.

Valance

A valance is a good choice for your sliding door if you live in a private area and/or if you don’t need privacy in a certain room.

These curtains hang down from the top of the doors and cover just the top. You can use a valance in combination with other window treatments like shades.

Shades

There are many shade options for sliding glass doors. You can use Roman shades mounted above the sliding glass doors or choose vertical blinds or sliding shutter panels.

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How to Measure Curtains for Sliding Glass Doors

  1. First, decide how much area you want to cover with your curtains.  
  2. Next, measure the width of the total area and then multiply that number by 2 or 3 depending on how full you want your curtains. Then, divide that number by 2 in order to give you a number for both sides of the door frame. 

For example, if I measure my total width and come up with the number 100 inches, I would multiply this times 3 to get 300 inches. I would next divide this by 2 to get 150 inches for each side. This way, I can determine how many panels I need for each side.

  1. Measure the line from where you will mount your curtain hangers/rod down to about 1/2 inch above the floor. This number will be the length of your curtain panels.
  2. For a more custom look, buy curtains that you can mount at least 4-6 inches above the door frame if your wall allows.

The Best Curtains and Window Treatment Ideas for Sliding Glass Doors

Update the look of your sliding glass doors with curtains and window treatments. Here are some great designs for you to consider when deciding on the look you want.

Curtains for the Entire Wall

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If you have full windows beside your sliding doors, try curtain panels that will cover the windows and doors together.

This look works well for sliding glass doors that are unremarkable in design or a sliding door that needs to be updated. 

Low Mounted Curtain Panels

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In some rooms, the framing of the wall surrounding the sliding glass doors determines the way that you must hang the curtains.

The homeowners chose to use a light and airy style curtain that does not block out the sunlight to make the door feel larger.

Curtains to the Ceiling

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One way to give visual height to a room with low ceilings is to mount curtains all the way to the ceiling. This draws the eye upward and gives the room a more elegant style.  

Understated Minimalist Curtains

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Curtains are a functional aspect of interior spaces, but in order to create a simple style, this designer chose to use curtains that blend with the window and door trim.

This keeps the focus on the beauty of the outdoor spaces rather than the focus on the window treatments.

Curtains for Complete Coverage

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The Jodi Foster design company created this serene and beautiful bedroom. In a place like a bedroom, privacy and light control are important.

In this room, they used thick blackout curtains over the sliding glass doors. They hung the curtains as high as the wall framing allows.

The sliding door curtains cover the transom window for full light control.  

Roman Shades for Sliding Glass Doors

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This room from Own By Design utilizes seagrass roman shades to cover the windows and the sliding door. These window treatments provide more texture in the design and create continuity with the outside environment.  

Open Doors and Windows

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If you live in a private area or overlook a gorgeous view, consider leaving your sliding door uncovered. Griffin Enright Architects designed this room with the large windows and sliding doors.

If you like this look but you still want a way to cover the sliding glass door, consider using roller shades mounted high above the door to minimize their appearance.

Sliding Panel Blinds

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My Direct Blinds

Vertical blinds are a more modern look than curtains or shades. These panel blinds are energy efficient, and slide open and closed on a track for full functionality. You can buy these panels in various weights including solid panels and more sheer vertical shades.

Double Curtains for Sliding Glass Doors

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IKEA

Layering different curtains or curtains and shades on sliding doors creates more depth and different textures in your design. This gives you a custom look and allows you to have different levels of light control. 

Cellular Shades

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Skyline

Cellular shades, or honeycomb shades, work well for patio doors with a contemporary or minimalist design style. In addition, cellular shades are energy efficient as they trap air and block drafts of air. They have intense blackout capabilities and keep your room as dark as you require. 

These window coverings have sliding panels that you attach using a glide track. You can mount these tracks at the edge of the door frame to hide the hardware for a seamless look.

Shutters for Sliding Glass Doors

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Sunburst Shutters

Shutters are not an option that most would consider for sliding glass doors, but these new shutters have a unique design that make them work for sliding glass doors.

The fabricators build these blinds into the door frame. They slide open and closed for ease of use. Blinds allow you more ability to control light and privacy with small variations of the louvers.

Cascade Curtains for Sliding Glass Doors

Cascade Curtains for Sliding Glass DoorsView in gallery

These sliding door window treatments from Dani Designs do not require hardware of any kind. They resemble the style of roman shades and fit inside the door frame.

One of the best benefits of these shades is that they fit doors of every length. Just adjust the vertical straps on the front of the shades in order to customize the length.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can you put curtains on sliding glass doors?

It is not the best method to put curtains on sliding glass doors themselves as these doors are used on a regular basis. Instead, it is best to hang window treatments for sliding glass doors above them. However, there are some window treatments that you mount close above the door frame. These include the track for vertical blinds as well as shutters that you mount inside the door frame.

What coverings do you use for sliding glass doors?

There are many options for window treatments for sliding glass doors including curtains, drapes, shades, and shutters.

What size curtain do you need for a sliding door?

You can use different sizes depending on the look you want. If you just want curtains to cover the door, measure the width and multiply this by 2 or 3 depending on the fullness you want. Find the length by measuring the line from where you want to mount the curtains down to 1/2 inch above the floor. If you decide that you want to cover more of the area beside the door like the windows or wall beside them, include the additional width into your calculation.

Why is my sliding glass door so drafty?

Many sliding glass doors are old so the seals have worn down over the years. You can remove and replace the seals to create a tighter seal that doesn’t allow air through. In addition, you can add window treatments that help insulate the doors. Use heavy drapes to help block air flow. Also, use cellular shades because they trap and block air.

How do you make a sliding glass door more energy efficient?

The best way to make these doors more energy efficient is to make sure that all the seals are tight and to cover them with energy efficient window treatments like heavy drapes or cellular shades.

Conclusion

Covering sliding glass doors can be a design challenge as many are dated and lack interesting architectural features.

You can remedy the look and style of these doors while still maintaining their function with beautiful window treatments that you customize for your home.

Choose curtains that blend into your decor or make a statement with bold colors. Your biggest problem will be deciding between all the beautiful options available.