French doors are a classic and practical way to infuse more light into a space, functioning as both a window and door. Because this design element serves a dual purpose, it often makes sense to have French doors outfitted with custom window treatments. But before you begin selecting colors and materials, be sure to read this guide on the picking the right window coverings for French doors.
Consider Use and Functionality
If you’re considering window treatments for French doors, ask yourself the following questions:
- Where are the French doors located?
- Do the French doors function as windows or doors or both?
- How often are the French doors used?
- Is added privacy or light filtering needed?
French Door Window Treatment Recommendations
If your French doors function primarily as windows, you can use nearly any window treatment style. Just be sure that the window coverings you select are properly fitted and allow access to the doorknob.
But if your French doors get a lot of use in a high-traffic area, such as an entryway, I would recommend blinds, shades, or shutters.
Custom window shades are the perfect solution for French doors if privacy is a concern only part of the time. I love the look of cellular shades because they add lots of interesting texture, while at the same time providing superior insulation at the door, improving energy efficiency.
Other shade options include Roman shades and roller shades. Each of these styles have magnetic hold-down bracket options that make opening and lowering the window dressings a breeze.
For those who prefer to camouflage a not-so-great view or want to maximize privacy, blinds are a good bet. They allow light in without neighbors getting an eye-full. But keep in mind that blinds require hold-downs to prevent them from banging into the doors as they open and close.
For a heavy dose of drama and visual interest, consider flanking your French doors with custom drapery. Curtains will provide privacy at night when drawn and soft beauty when open during the day. Because panels are mounted above the door, you avoid having to drill into your door, which is critical for homes with delicate or irreplaceable architectural features that you don’t want to permanently alter.
Custom shaped shutters are my favorite window treatment style for heavily used French doors – they’re also a good fit for families with pets. Custom wood shutters can accommodate doorknobs and handles, are easy to keep clean, and won’t budge when the doors move. Plus, it’s easy to control light and the level of privacy.
What to Avoid
For homes with pets, avoid fabric shades or drapery. The bottom of these window covering styles are at pet level and, as a result, are difficult to keep clean.
Hire a Professional
This is a project that’s risky to DIY, so if you’re considering window treatments for your French doors, I recommend using a professional designer and installer. There a lot of important factors to consider when it comes to designing window treatments for these doors, including knob clearance, limited glass coverage, and hold downs.
Installing window treatments on French doors is also difficult, and the complexity increases with certain door types. For example, there’s no room for error when mounting brackets on hollow, metal, or fiberglass doors. If you make a mistake during installation, it’s very difficult to repair these doors and it could lead to a larger and more costly project – such as replacing your beautiful and expensive French doors.