Sliding doors are awesome for letting in lots of natural light and giving you quick access to the outdoors, but it's challenging to find the right window treatments for them. Horizontal blinds and shades will block the doors and detract from their usefulness, so they don't make sense. Vertical blinds function well but are a little blah...or are they??? That's the stereotype I've always had, but a little research has me rethinking that position.
Today's vertical blinds are a BIG improvement on the 1980s ones that I grew up with, and dare I say, they're actually quite stylish! If you're looking to dress some sliding doors, patio doors, or wide windows, here are some vertical solutions that would work well AND look good while they're at it. They could also be great for room dividers or closet doors!
Here are my favorite window treatments for sliding glass doors and wide windows:
1. Sliding panels
These are a sleek, contemporary alternative to the sliding door blinds you probably remember. They're available in a wide array of fabrics from the solar, roller, classic Roman, and natural shade collections, so you can easily match other window treatments in the room. They're also cordless and easy to clean, which makes them perfect for spaces where kids and pets will be hanging out.
I like the look of an extra thick, contrasting valance for a fresh, modern look. These are beautiful window treatments for sliding glass doors, but they're also fairly expensive.
2. Vertical blinds
On the other side of the cost spectrum, vertical blinds are economical sliding glass door blinds—and they're a lot more chic than you might expect. Choose from wood vanes, fabric vanes, vinyl vanes, or vinyl layered with easy-to-wash sheer fabric, perfect for patio door blinds. You can also choose to have them stack to one side or the other, or split them so they stack on both sides.
Whether you're dressing patio doors or a wide window, I recommend having your vertical blinds go all the way to the floor (similar to drapes) to avoid that "high water" look.
Custom drapes are the most luxurious curtains for sliding glass doors and wide windows. They don't glide quite as easily as vertical blinds, but they add much more softness and style. Custom drapes are available in the widest range of colors and patterns, as well as a variety of liner options to fit your needs.
Bali custom drapes are made with extremely high standards and careful attention to detail. Things like mitered corners with corner weights, double-turned hems, and pattern-matched seams make these curtains several steps above the readymade kind. And since you can order them in custom widths and lengths, you can make sure they are a perfect fit for your wide window or patio door.
4. Natural drapes
Made of natural materials like bamboo, jute, grass, and woven wood, natural drapes are an excellent choice for bringing in an outdoor element with your windows and sliding glass door curtains. They're environmentally friendly, distinctive, and affordable, and they pair perfectly with Bali Natural Shades so you can keep your window treatments cohesive throughout the house. I like them with 60% fullness (as opposed to the standard 10%), so they still have a full drapery look when closed.
5. Shutter bypass tracks
Shutters are one of the more high-end options for wide windows and patio doors, but they're well worth it. They're gorgeous, durable, easy to clean, and did I mention gorgeous?! They can be ordered on a bypass track system, where two or more panels slide and pass each other, in humidity-resistant composite or 100% North American hardwood. I think these would also be awesome as closet doors (in fact, now my wheels are turning for an upgrade to our master bedroom closet).
6. VertiCell(TM) Cellular Shades
Cellular shades are one of my favorite types of window treatments. They look clean and modern, they come in a variety of colors, and (best of all) they're extremely energy-efficient. Their honeycomb-shaped cells trap air and help insulate your home, which is especially great if you're covering a large expanse like a wide window or sliding glass doors. VertiCell shades offer the same energy-saving benefits, but with a vertical orientation that's particularly designed for patio doors. They're budget-friendly to purchase, but even more importantly, they could save you a bundle in energy savings over time.