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Alternatives to Vertical Blinds for Sliding Doors


on June 13, 2023

A sliding door featuring Hidden Screens as an alternative to vertical blinds

Let’s face it - sliding glass doors are a great addition to almost any home. They offer the natural light we crave while also providing the functional bonus of combining your indoor and outdoor spaces (or at least making traveling between the two easier).

However, when it comes to dressing those sliding doors, homeowners seem to default to the classic option of vertical blinds. While vertical blinds can be the right solution for some, their functionality and style leave much to be desired for others. If you’re in the market for vertical blind alternatives to help control the light and privacy of your home without impeding on your sliding doors’ functionality, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about popular and stylish alternatives to vertical blinds and other sliding glass door covering ideas.

A modern designed home interior in light colors with a dark-framed sliding door

How to Modernize Vertical Blinds

For many homeowners, the concern over vertical blinds hinges on whether or not the style is outdated. Whether your vertical blinds are vinyl or fabric, the slat-style covering certainly can make a space feel older. However, you may be able to upgrade your vertical blinds without ditching the functionality altogether. For example, a simple coat of paint can help bring new life into vinyl vertical blinds and help your space feel more contemporary.

If a fresh coat of paint isn’t the solution you’re looking for, consider adding panels of sheer curtains over them for better light diffusion without completely replacing the vertical blinds themselves. At the end of the day, vertical blinds aren’t the most elegant or modern solution, but there are ways to enhance the look and feel of them if you’re not quite ready for a full window treatment replacement. 

Substitutes for Vertical Blinds

For those interested in upgrading and replacing your sliding door window treatments, here are a few answers to the common question: “How do I cover a sliding glass door without vertical blinds?”

Long Curtains Add Customizable Style 


One of the most popular replacement options is to swap vertical blinds out for long curtain panels. With a curtain rod positioned above the sliding glass doors, you open a world of stylish possibilities without impeding on the glass door functionality. Long paneled curtains come in countless colors, patterns, fabric thicknesses, and styles, leaving the final look and feel completely up to you. Additionally, by playing with fabric thickness, you have more granular control over the light and privacy in your home. 

A thicker curtain will block more light while providing more privacy, whereas a lighter fabric will allow more sunlight through during the day for a gauzier, diffused look. However, lighter fabrics may provide less privacy. For this reason, some homeowners opt for two curtains with different fabric thickness and simply pull one or the other in front of the sliding doors depending on their desired light and privacy control. 

Sliding Panels Offer Chic Light Control

If modernizing the look of your sliding glass door window treatment is your chief concern, sliding panels may be the alternative to vertical blinds you need. Also known as panel tracks, these are thin coverings that still provide great light blockage as needed, thanks to the stacking effect of the sliding panels themselves. 

One drawback of opting for sliding panel coverings is that the tracking mechanism may get in the way of your sliding doors’ operation, depending on the type of glass door you have. If your sliding glass door features at least one inoperable panel, panel tracks can still be an excellent choice for your vertical blind alternative. Or, if you like the low-profile look of sliding panels, but want to do away with worries about impacted door performance, consider hidden screens.

Install Roman Shades for an Elegant Touch

For homes with more traditional design elements, Roman shades are an excellent alternative to vertical blinds. Roman shades are a curtain alternative that folds horizontally when adjusted by way of a cord. These shades often feature a swag style cinch, giving them an elegant look that pairs especially well with Victorian and Cottage style homes, but can work across many different design styles and preferences. 

Because Roman shades fold horizontally, they can easily be adjusted to avoid functionality issues with your sliding glass doors. The most important aspect of installing a window covering like Roman shades as a means for light and privacy control for your sliding glass doors is to ensure they’re installed above the sliding door mechanism so you can open and close your sliding glass door freely. 

Combine Window Treatments For a Unique Design

As with many home decor and design decisions, sometimes mix and match is the best solution. When a single alternative doesn’t quite cover your needs or design preferences, don’t be afraid to branch out into combining window treatments to create a unique design that offers the control you desire with the aesthetic you need, all without impeding on sliding glass door functionality. Pairing long paneled curtains with Roman shades, for example, can provide visual interest while fine-tuning your control over light and privacy. 

Bring Your Sliding Glass Door Covering Ideas to Life with Pella

Whatever treatment you find suits your style and performance needs best, the experts at Pella can help ensure you have the sliding glass door that suits those needs. With a variety of sliding glass door styles to choose from, you can create the look you’ve been dreaming of. Schedule a consultation today to get started.

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