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Shades, Curtains or Blinds? Choosing the Right Patio Door Treatments

posted on August 06, 2021 in Global Blogs

4-panel sliding patio doors with built-in blinds

Patio door and window treatments serve many purposes. They block the sun to prevent unwanted glares. They help keep your home cooler throughout the summer. They provide privacy and a greater sense of security. And they offer another opportunity to showcase your style.

While your treatment options are largely the same, your considerations are a little different. With patio doors, you have to strike a balance between covering the glass and allowing traffic to flow in and out. Looking at your patio door covering options through that lens will help you choose the right ones for your hinged, folding or sliding doors.

Double French patio doors with curtains

Patio door curtains are the popular choice.

Curtains are easy to install, easy to clean, easy to replace and easy on the eyes — all reasons why patio door curtains are the favored treatment. Even the most novice of DIYers can handle hanging curtains. And once hung, curtains are easy to clean. You can spot-clean stains or, for most fabrics, toss them in the laundry to get the whole panel looking good as new.

The most difficult thing about patio door curtains is deciding which ones to buy. You have unlimited options for colors and designs on a variety of different fabrics. Curtains give you the ultimate flexibility to match any design and are a stylish element in their own right — something the other patio door coverings can’t claim.

When patio door curtains get a little worn or start to look dated, you can make a change on the cheap. Or if you’re bothered by how much glass they cover, simple fixes like expanding the curtain rod past the width of your patio door or tying curtains at the sides may solve your problem.

Best for: Sliding patio doors, multi-slide patio doors, bifold patio doors and homeowners who want to add some style to their space

Sliding glass doors with vertical blinds

Vertical patio door blinds are durable and functional.

Vertical blinds are an inexpensive, easy-to-use choice for patio doors. They’re not the most stylish, but they get the job done. You can find different fabrics and colors to match your interior. When closed, vertical blinds stack up neatly on the side of the patio door, taking up less space than other treatment options.

Vertical patio door blinds are among the easiest to clean, too. The fabric is rougher and less absorbent than most curtains. So a damp cloth, gentle cleaner and soft scrub is often enough to clean up any dirt or stain. 

Best for: Sliding patio doors, multi-slide patio doors, bifold patio doors and practical homeowners who value function

Sliding glass door with shades and curtains

Patio door shades are flexible solutions.

Shades are a less common, but equally effective option. And there are actually a few different options to choose from:

  • Vertical cellular shades fill the entire door frame with a horizontal honeycomb pattern that helps keep out the sun, heat or cold. They are easy to push to the side when you want your patio doors open and unobstructed. 
  • Roman shades work as they do on a window, hanging above a patio door panel. Pull a cord to draw the shade down to cover the glass.
  • Panel track shades function more like curtains, with large panels of fabric gliding along a track above the door. Multiple panels can overlap for more shade and privacy, or be tucked to the side to allow for sun, airflow or entertaining.

Panel shades are the most similar to curtains, offering the sturdiest patio door shades and the most unique designs. So it’s no surprise to see that they are growing in popularity, despite being the bulkiest patio door covering.

Best for: French patio doors, sliding patio doors, multi-slide patio doors and homeowners who don’t mind some obstruction

Between-the-glass blinds and shades are maintenance-free.

Some homeowners love the idea of blinds or shades — just not the way they obstruct the room or patio doors. Between-the-glass blinds and shades are set between the panes of glass in your patio doors, never causing an obstruction in the flow of your furniture or movement in and out of the home. They solve the biggest problem homeowners have with vertical blinds or standard shades while offering even more advantages: 

  • Easily adjustable
  • Can be paired with Insynctive® technology for opening and closing via an app
  • No cleaning or maintenance required
  • Safer for children and pets
  • Reduced number of indoor allergens

Best for: French patio doors, sliding patio doors and families with little kids or pets

Modern-style black patio doors with 4 panels

No treatments is the new trend.

Modern and contemporary styles feature big, open expanses of glass. When a glass wall or unique patio door configuration is a focal point of your home, you don’t want to hide it behind treatments.

Going without treatments allows you to showcase the frame, hardware and every other little detail of your patio door. But the bigger point of emphasis is on what you can see through the frames. Large, unobstructed glass provides a great showcase for a beautiful patio, decorated deck or natural outdoor escape.

Best for: Multi-slide patio doors, bifold patio doors and contemporary or modern homes

Play around with your patio door treatment options.

You likely have far fewer patio doors than windows. So making a change to your treatments is a low-cost way to change things up. Whether you choose to go without a patio door covering or want to try an alternative option, it’s easy to test it out and see how it looks and feels for you.

But if you’re ready to be done with the cords, clutter and clanking sounds of patio door coverings, talk to an expert to learn how patio doors with built-in blinds or shades are the answer to your home décor challenges.

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*Study of homeowner perceptions of leading national brands. Study commissioned by Pella, 2021.