Window Treatments for Sliding Doors

By Kate Riley June 17, 2014

One of the many things I need to tackle in the house we bought last month are the window treatments, they are woefully out of date. In fact, the entire house is stuck in 1989 and everything needs upgraded and made modern. (I’ll share more “before” pictures as we progress room by room.)

I’m going to install a variety of new window treatments on the windows including plantation shutters and woven shades but right now these right to left sliding doors are confusing me. We’re desperate for sun protection to keep the desert heat out and our air conditioning bill low, but we need efficient flow since the doors lead outside to an uncovered area in the rear yard with the pool where the family will spend a lot of time splashing, frolicking, and merry making.

Presently, the sliding doors have old yellowish vertical blinds with a Golden Girls fabric valance.  Sweet!  Not.

sliding doors

I can’t stomach old vertical blinds, the look, the slapping sound they make when they slide back and forth and the one or two blinds that always pop out and fall on the floor and you have to struggle to stick it back in, cursing the entire time. I’m being nice when I say I strongly dislike them. There is also the issue of the neighboring window. We need both style and sun protection stat. 

In the looks department, I think this full length woven shade + floor to ceiling window panel combo is the most stylish. However if we’re getting baked by the desert sun we’d have to keep the woven shades low and it would be weird and awkward to have half lowered woven shades that we constantly have to duck under in a limbo dance.

woven shades plus window panels house beautiful

house beautiful

I do like the look of these transitional plantation shutters that are a little more islandish, never fun to clean, but streamlined and nice. It appears like a unit with a rolling system needs to be mounted for use, but these are a plus in the light/heat control column. Decorative window panels on the ends would soften the look, must investigate further.

sliding shutters hunter douglas



There is this more contemporary woven vertical blind look but when I stare at them and consider them for the space I feel very meh.

sliding panels


Hotels with balconies always have the layered look combining sheers, fabric panels, and often a valance. I’m not opposed to it but multiple layers feels heavy in such a hot climate.

Another favorite look is just fabric but when parted don’t offer any real light control or heat protection and although pretty I’m concerned the fabric’s edges will get smudged when pulled back multiple times throughout the day.

fabric panels sliding door window treatment

better homes & gardens

I’m most intrigued by this wave fold look I spied at Smith + Noble using fabric in lieu of plasticy vertical panels.

honeycomb wave fold

wave fold 2

It has me thinking perhaps I could transform the existing system with patterned fabric lined with blackout material – the hamster in my DIY brain is furiously spinning on its wheel.

Here’s an older pic I found on Pinterest, but this is the concept:

wave fold smithandnoble


Thoughts? How have you dressed your sliding doors to protect from sun & smudges? Enlighten me.



  1. Off topic…but I like the fun chairs in the BH&G photo!! My favorite of all of them is the last one… it’s basically the same setup we have. Fortunately though, we can leave them open pretty much all summer and close them during winter when it’s -10 out. :)

  2. We live in Florida, and I need a light, bright house. We have installed Solatubes in rooms with not enough light. We are also about 3/4 of the way done in replacing our windows with those that are not only hurricane strength but block heat. So my needs are different than yours in that I only want to block light in the room where we watch TV. And, I love my views and like my windows uncovered. My solution was to get window shades that go up and down with a chain. I got light-filtering on all but the family room, where I chose light blocking for TV WATCHING. The shades are kept in the raised position during the day but are hidden by a valance I made from old sheets. I also purchased shower curtains at a Discount store for $10 each, cut them in half vertically, hemmed the cut side and hung them as side panels with $1.98 rods from Walmart. Aside from the shades, total cost for each window was $12. Can send photos if you would like to see the finished product.

  3. Just went through this same dilemma in our FL condo. We have two sets of triple sliders leading to the lanai. LOVE plantation shutters and installed them in all the windows. When it came to the sliders the cost was outrageous and when they are fully opened the stack would leave one third of the sliders totally blocked. In your case, half of the slider. This wasn’t acceptable to me so went with new verticals that have more of a cloth look. Finished with wooden valances with molding. Simple, yet clean looking.
    Have you thought of building a pergola over the slider to diffuse the sun?

  4. Oh my, I feel your pain! We have the same problem at our new house. Old, dirty, dated window treatments everywhere! We too have sliders in our living room and we opted to replace the heavy drapes there with simple curtains on a rod. The issue there is that we rarely bother to close them (there are 14 panels–it’s crazy) so we’re not saving much on energy costs. We have vertical blinds like yours in the den, and I LOVE the last option you posted — I’ll have to see if we can make that work at our place with our existing pulley system.

    If you’re interested, you can see some of our new window treatments in this old post: It’s been six months and we’ve made a lot more progress since, but I still need to hem them. 14 panels is a lot to hem. :)

  5. I with you on the evils of vertical blinds! I am happy to say I have NEVER bought a house with them, or bought them myself (The same cant be said for ugly panelling!) My favorite look is the sliding plantation shutters, but I know they are pricey. Having said that, what about replacing the sliders with single lite French Doors with adjustable shades BETWEEN the double panes of glass. You could then decide to curtain or not since they would be more decorative than functional.
    Bernie from SUNNY Florida

  6. Just a thought depending on condition of slider, buy you could replace slider with a new door that contains the mini blinds between the panes of glass. Then you could have decorative fabric panels on the ends.

  7. I just, as in last night, spent over an hour googling “alternatives to vertical blinds.” I came up with most of the same ideas as you and they all seem meh to me. But I’ll probably just go with regular curtains. Our new home (closing tomorrow!) doesn’t need both doors for light and I’d LOVE to change the slider to a single door. But I’m not sure I’m up for the challenge and expense of redoing the siding in the back. I hope you deal with this sooner rather than later so I can see your final decision before I tackle me pain-in-the-patootie vertical blinds.

  8. I too really dislike vertical blinds. My sliding door is in the kitchen and faces west so light control is important. My cats also enjoy sitting at the door watching the birds outside. I have thought about replacing the vinyl blinds with fabric but then I would be dealing with cleaning off cat fur in addition to smudges. For me the ideal solution is installing a new slider with a between the glass blind. Too bad it’s not in the budget now!

    I’m looking forward to seeing your solution Kate!

  9. Let me know when you find the “right” answer as I have been trying to figure out something better for a long time!

    We have several rooms that look out to the pool/lanai in Florida and we have old verticals. But it is so nice to open them (the group of sliding glass doors is about ten feet wide and they slide into the wall to really open the room.)

    Plus the verticals stack very skinny which is nice if you want a very contemporary look. Although I hate them, I am not sure that there is anything else practical. Just get the ones with fabric inside so they are less plasticky and with no strings on the bottom as pets love to “play” (destroy) them!

    Plantation shutters are very expensive, take up a lot of space and are not in our price range anyway.

  10. I too strongly dislike vertical blinds and it was the first thing we changed at our condo in Florida. We went with a wood valance to hide woven shades. This allows some light to come through so the room wouldn’t feel completely dark when they were closed. You can also get the shades that are more sheer if you want to still be able to see your view with the shades closed. This is my plan for my new house.

    By doing two shades instead of one we could close them at different lengths depending on where the sun was hitting. It also allowed the door side to be raised when access was needed. Additionally one shade is very heavy to pull up so two help with this situation as well.

    Can’t wait to see what you do!

    • I thought about multiple pull up and down shades Sheri, that’s definitely something we may do !

  11. I too have this issue in my home where we started with the glass sliding doors and popped seals. The doors have been replaced and I’d gladly leave it save for the glare on our tv it creates as well as our common problem of a hot climate. The curtains are on their way up now. We decided on a long closet rod from Home Depot and painted it white. Finding a curtain hanging solution that spans 12 feet can be daunting on a budget. Post will revel more when finished. We have so many before pictures and not many afters yet.
    Long time reader, first comment- I always enjoy your blog.

    • HH, I can’t wait to see how yours looks, the closet rod is so smart!

  12. In our previous home we had a patio door with the blinds between the glass. I absolutely loved them. They could be raised or lowered to any height or open and closed to varying degrees. And no dusting! I wanted a similar door in our new house, but they don’t make them in the extra wide sized door we used. We ended up going with two panels of cellular shades to avoid vertical blinds. They aren’t my favorite, but we really only have them closed at night, so they work.

  13. Have you considered using a low-E film on the sliders for sun glare / UV protection / reduction in radiational heating? The effect is liking wearing a great pair of sunglasses; your view is even crisper since glare is reduced and the interior space feels and actually is cooler due to the light spectrum that can pass through the film. You can DIY the application or there are companies who do it for you. With the lighting / heating situation under control you can dress the windows for style rather than lighting control.

  14. I am a fan of curtain panels on sliding doors. We have these on the doors going out to our patio, and even with three young kids, miraculously, they haven’t become a mess after two years. We just slide them to the side when needed, and keep them closed for privacy or in the heat of the afternoon. Bonus: an opportunity to choose beautiful fabric to display!

    • I agree Colleen, I am drawn to fabric solutions, I’m thinking with panels a tie back of some kind could help during the day …

  15. I’ve been struggling with the same problem for years. I currently have the ugly dirty cracked verticals in my kitchen and don’t know what to change them to. We have sliding glass doors in our kitchen, right next to our eating area, and they lead to the backyard. It needs to be done thing that can be cleaned easily since we eat right there and opened and closed frequently. I’m hopeful your ideas will help me too! Good luck!

  16. I’ll be interested to hear what you choose. I put plantation shutters in all my windows in my last place, including 3 sliders. So great for light control and they allow ventilation even when partially closed for privacy. But they are a pain to clean and I almost choked at the cost for the 8 ft high sliders! I had one panel hinged on the door-opening side to use for going in and out and the other panels hinged together so they could all stack up to the side. I rarely ended up doing that as they seemed so open as is but liked having the option.
    My current home is mid-century modern so the shutters don’t suit it. I have 6 sliders and multiple fixed-pane floor-to-ceiling windows with roller shades that range from light filtering in the dining room to darkening in the bedrooms. I’m not in love with them and looking for other solutions.

  17. Fortunately, I’ve never had a home with sliding glass doors (not a fan) but if I did, I would most likely beg, borrow or steal to go with the (pricey) plantation shutter option. I have plantation shutters in most of my windows now and am working on getting them installed in the remaining shutterless windows. They really do block out an extraordinary amount of our Florida heat, plus I like being able to adjust them to control light and privacy but have them open enough to still see out. One advantage I didn’t count on was they also block a lot of the outside noise. I don’t find them difficult to clean at all–just a quick swipe with a damp rag every few months. For the most part, I have never liked or used fabric window treatments in my home. To me, fabric just feels way too hot and heavy in a hot climate. My second choice for sliding glass doors would be something you didn’t mention but Stephanie and Carmen did, the sliders with the blinds sandwiched between them.

  18. I would opt for french doors as Bernie suggests ($$$$) or tinting or film on the sliders plus really good UV protected curtains ($$$)like Robin suggests. Ease of cleaning and maximum view are worth the extra money. Though plantation shutters are beautiful, the light blockage and cleaning challenge might make them less desirable.

    On a side note, we recently added a film to our upstairs windows which has helped with the heat and brightness levels immensely. I imagine a professional tinting would be well worth the investment!

    • Thank you Kim – my husband suggested UV film on the windows too, I haven’t done the research yet, I want them to be clear, not tinted, so much to do!

  19. We have the exact same set up, a slider with a window to the left of it. We recently had shutters installed throughout our house but left the slider with verticals, as we are thinking about taking out the slider and putting in double French doors. We really dislike the slider, thinking about French doors, either with blinds inside the glass or shutters on the french doors. Can’t wait to see what you do, maybe you’ll give us some new ideas :)

  20. Just say NO to vertical blinds! I too love the plantation shutters but my mom has them in her master (sliders leading to balcony) in sunny Florida and the room is ALWAYS dark, even when the slats are open. Not to mention the fact that you need the space for all the panels to slide over. My mom has two huge sets of sliders (the kind where all the panels stack to the side to make one big indoor/outdoor room when all the way open) from her great room onto her lanai and she opted for the window film. It is AMAZING. It does an awesome job blocking the heat, lets plenty of light in without blinding you and gives a great, clear view to the outside. She has a valance above to soften the look (which looks nice) but I personally would do curtain panels on either side for added pattern/texture, visual interest and extra window coverage should you need it. Good luck with your decision; I am excited to see all you do with this house!!

  21. We are in Arizona (read hot and sunny) and I had the same dilemma with our giant sliding glass door in our family room. It’s huge and tall and I was having such a hard time figuring out how to dress it. We are pretty close to neighbors, so privacy is an issue too. I ended up getting 2 Ikea Dignitet Wire Hanging Systems, instead of the impossible task of finding affordable curtain rods to span the gigantic distance. The lower wire has three patterned sheer panels for privacy and a little light filtering while still allowing the room to feel bright and sunny. The top wire (I mounted the hardware on some blocks of wood so they stand out farther from the wall than the sheers and they can go over top) I ended up using two king size duvet covers I got on clearance from Target, which happened to be the perfect size to cover the sliding door with the added benefit that I don’t have to sew them and they’re already lined. :) I can pull the side panels closed when the sun/heat is blistering or if we need more privacy than the sheers provide (usually at night when we feel a little “fish bowl” like.)

    • Brilliant Ann Marie, thank you!
      I too prefer French Door style Lisa, easier window treatments when they open from the middle!

  22. Living in MS, I know how important it is to block the hot sun. My first thought is window film, although that can be a problem on a door that’s frequently used, since it can be prone to scratches. My next thought is something on the outside of the window. In a previous house, we used solar fabric over a pergola type structure. You couldn’t really see the fabric, but it blocked some of the really hot sun and also let some light through.

    • Hi Peggy, I really want to extend the pergola we have but it’s on the other side of the house – not a smart decision by the builder and there is only 6 feet between the slider and the pool (short decking, grr) so we’re trying to figure out if it’s worth it to wrap the pergola around – more $$$ though.

  23. Find a fabric that you love and have a curtain made which is opened with a wand (to avoid grimy finger marks). Have it made so that it can be pushed as far as possible to the window’s edge so you get light when you want it. It can be lined with a blackout fabric for the sunny days when you need to keep the heat out. It should hang on good quality rings or a traverse rod for ease of use.

  24. The treatments in hotel rooms are great.The one’s were they have a long rod to push open.Sheers and drapes.

  25. Hi Kate! We share a common detest for sliding doors and vertical blinds! I had to combat this issue in our home as we have a sliding door in our kitchen! I needed it to be both functional (the kids use the door a lot to go play in the backyard) and beautiful. I chose to build a decorative cornice and add trim above it as well. It wasn’t too hard and kind of hides the dated look of our sliding door. I also added some dark gray patterned durable World Market drapes tp hide dirt. We have no back neighbors and only morning sun so it works to have the drapes pulled open during the day. But you know how it’s been getting popular to add patterned sheers panels to solid drapes. This may work well for you in that you could keep the sheers closed during the day letting in some light but also blocking some of the heat. If you are interested in seeing and learning more about how I did my sliding door window treatments, you can click here—

    • FABULOUS solution Caroline, thank you for sharing! Pricey, but that’s a much better look!

  26. We had the same problem at our back door and replaced the slider with one that has the blinds between the glass. It has transformed the area! We were able to eliminate the always-dirty curtains that always seemed to be in the way. It is so neat and clean with the crisp white doors and trim. The bonus is that the area feels so much larger too! The functionality and light control is also fabulous – we can shade ourselves from the setting sun at dinner without completely blocking the view.

    I always envisioned adding back curtains to soften the area and add back some color, but I love it so much the way it is, I am leaving it as-is for now!

  27. Hi, Kate:)
    We had a similar issue for our French doors. I wanted something that filtered light but not blocking it completely. Since we have a coastal style to our family room (that houses said doors), we opted for linen sheers with a modern print. The print is simple and bold but the linen sheers let filtered light through to keep us cool! The gauziness of the material also lent a great supplement to the island feel we were so after. The pattern also gave us privacy. Unfortunately, I can’t find the same panels we used, however here are some images of similar options for an idea:)

    Enjoy and have a great day!

    • I LOVE the idea of sheers Kassie and Hillary, I WISH I could get away with just simple linen panels, alas we’d be pelted by the sun….. sigh.
      Thank you for the links, those are fab options!

  28. Thanks Miss Centsational, I am definitely looking into the wave fold fabric rigs. Am anxious to follow the progress of your new project.

  29. Thanks for the interesting ideas! I especially like the pattern of the last one you shared.

    After searching around for ideas for one of my windows, I made some pallet wood vertical blinds. While they might not be practical for a big swath of sliding doors, they did come out pretty cool!

  30. Our home has white linen-like panels from Pottery Barn framing our sliders and we have a slightly tinted film up. I have never had anyone notice the film. I was very worried about the panels getting dirty but honestly have not had one problem. I have 3 kids and we are in and out of the door all the time. They look fantastic even after 6 years of being up. I would do panels and film again in a heartbeat at a slider!! Good luck!!

  31. We have a triple slider that faces straight south. Years ago I had custom drapes made with lining and a heavy blakcout liner. They open and close by a hidden loop cord but look like they are on rings with clips. Our door opening is the middle panel so if going in and out on a sunny day we can open only far enough apart to go through the door. However, I am ready for a change.
    Right now I am seriously considering Sunsetter shade as Costco has them online for a great price and on sale right now. They go on the outside of the house, store above the door in a discreet housing and work with a remote. They get very good reviews. If you don’t have an electric outlet nearby on the outside, they now have solar. I am also putting up decorative panels inside the house just for looks.

    • The Sunsetter option is a great one Jill, I had forgotten about those! I think I may end up with an option like the first one you mentioned, retractable panels of some kind.

  32. Keeping in mind here that I have zero idea what I’m talking about, I wanted to offer this thought. (Approaching the matter from the “I cannot stomach the cost of custom curtains” area of the universe.) I’m an old-house dweller so sliding doors are not the most familiar thing, but I think what you have is two door-things. The one on the right slides open and closed. The one on the left is immobile. (If I’m wrong here, you can stop reading, because the idea won’t work.) If the one on the right slides over ON TOP OF the one on the left (from the point of view of someone staring at the arrangement from indoors), then you could do the following. (1) Attach a long drapery to the top frame of the door-thing on the right, probably securing it (ideally invisibly) at the bottom as well. (2) Attach a matching drapery to the wall above the door-thing on the left, an inch or so further out (so that when the door slides open, right-door-thing and its attached drape slide under the ceiling-hung drape over left-door-thing. (3) Put a cornice/valance above the whole mess (with the decorative part stopping a few inches lower than the top of the doors’ frames) to conceal the fact that the left-hand drape is attached differently from the right-hand drape.

    Also, this film business sounds ingenious. Can you DIY that?

  33. Oh, it just occurred to me that my brilliant idea could work with matchstick blinds as well (two sets) – assuming that I have the function and configuration of the doors correct. If they both slide, it DEFINITELY won’t work. (Unless you permanently stop one of them from sliding, of course.) It would be harder to conceal the one-sticks-out-further thing with blinds than fabric, but that might be OK. Also of course you could put fabric on the OUTSIDE of one door-thing and the INSIDE of the other. That’s the sort of thing I would do, actually. It would look weird to the rest of the world, but it would make me happy because I would think I was so brilliant.

  34. I went the unconventional route. We have 4 sliders leading out to our back porch. with a glass door next to that and 2 huge windows next to the door. I like the modern/rustic look but anything for a window this large is going to be a pretty penny. I opted for nothing. I like the direct light it brings but many of my friends are always a little creep’ed out because at night the house is very open with all the windows and glass doors. It doesn’t bug me but I would be very interested in seeing if you come up with a diy budget solution.

  35. Why not have it all?! Get the ceiling to floor wave folds, but also install a non-functional rattan blind in a permanent “up” position–from ceiling to just over edge of door trim. It’ll look like the second picture. For max heat and light control, use lined/blackout/insulated drapes. For looks and protection of the drapes, consider a border or band in a denser, darker fabric at the edge–even if you install a wand, the edges will get grabbed and brushed against in this high traffic area.

    The suggestions of window film, pergola and/or awning will provide additional light and heat blockage but with minimal impact on the look of the room itself.

  36. I love the look of woven blinds with panels on the side. You get the best of both worlds! I actually have plantation shutters on a sliding door and they work wonders for keeping out the heat, but I feel like they get pretty beat up and we have had to repair them often. I also LOVE the Golden Girl’s valance. You hit the nail on the head. I used to love that show!

  37. @TheMisfit, you are too kind to think it through like that ! I’ll give it some thought of my own…. yes you can add film to your windows, there are DIY kits for it at home improvement stores, we’ve used the frosted kind to make bathroom windows opaque (the toilet room) for privacy, I’m going to look into the UV film too.
    @DecoratingDelirium Good to know about plantation shutters, that is my main concern with such a high traffic/frequent use door.

  38. I am considering flextrack or Kirsch ripplefold track for my patio door. Or even the ceiling track they use for hanging curtains around hospital beds, with a cornice in front. That way I could push curtains all to one side or to both sides like conventional curtains. There is also a solutions brand sold by Bed Bath Beyond, but it has ugly hanger clip things.

  39. I vote for French doors, too. I think it’s a more updated look than a sliding door and safer – many people walk right into them – especially little people!

  40. The ‘wave fold’ system you mentioned is referred to as ‘ripple fold’ or ‘s fold’ here in Australia. I love the way the fabric forms perfect soft curves and how the smooth ball system makes opening and closing the curtains a cinch. Personally though, I’m not a big fan of the look of the tracks and would probably hide them behind a pelmet of sorts (similar to the House Beautiful image I guess). I actually looked into this system on behalf of a friend a little while back and after discovering how pricey they were I closely examined how they worked and decided that a DIY version is definitely do-able. Also, installing a wand can really help with both ease of operation and avoiding those grubby hand marks.

  41. E-Film, as has been suggested, is the BEST! We live in FL and have 3 panel 10-ft sliders in every room on the back of the house. LOTS of light, but with E-film, no heat or glare. Plus, it created a mirrored look from the outside that gives us extra privacy during the day. I love it! And it allowed me to dress with curtains without concern for function. Saves us a bundle on our electric bill as well!

  42. You could put in french doors with built in miniblinds for the cost of expensive window treatments…assuming you are handy ;)

  43. Sorry, no ideas for you, but wanted to mention that my in-laws put film on all their south facing windows and now my mother-in-law cannot keep house plants alive. They had their film installed about 7 years ago so maybe this issue has been corrected?. Also, we are much farther north (Canada) so don’t have the same intensity of sun. They are very happy with the film except for the house plant issue.

  44. For my sliding doors, I hung several panels of sheer curtains that match my wall color. These allow some light in the room and blend right into the walls so the ugliness of the vertical blinds underneath doesn’t stand out. You could do this as well or even just remove the vertical blinds and track, storing away somewhere (or pitching them).

  45. We also live in the desert and have a sliding door. It came with those hideous vertical blinds. I made a drape out of some heavier décor fabric and lined it with the thicker lining. I close it in the mornings when the sun beats in and it works wonderfully to keep the heat out. it does block out the light, though, and creates a very cave-like feeling. So, I keep my blinds open so I don’t go crazy.
    We have another slider facing the same direction with a purchased drape that is much thinner and doesn’t do as good of a job keeping the heat out. I think the trick, should you decide to use fabric curtains, is to use ones that are thicker and back it with black out or thicker lining. The thin stuff isn’t as effective.
    Hope my two-cents helps.

  46. This is one of those areas where you have to decide to do it or don’t. Sliders are dated and DIYing them to save a buck looks just like that. Putting up drapes around sliders looks like draped around a slider. If this is an investment, than invest in your property and put new doors in.

  47. Hi! When we bought our house the previous owner had a beautiful houndstooth cornice with an accordia levelor cellular shade over our back sliding door and I have to say it is beautiful. It pulls up and down with such ease, it can be pulled all the way up so it’s tucked under the cornice, at night it’s pulled all the way to the floor, and with one had and no effort can be pulled at any level when the sun is beaming. I can send you some pics of how it looks if you’d like.
    Hope this helps!
    Long Island

  48. I hate vertical blinds. I like the drapes idea, but how about also treating the glass with something that darkens it to keep some of that sun out. After you figure this out, figure out something for french doors that go out to the deck. We go in and out!

  49. I like the look of the “modern blinds,” or the fabric with blackout material. We have the standard, noisy vertical blinds for our slider, but only because there have been other projects that have needed our attention more over the years. One day I hope to change it up with some fabric and a nice, decorative rod, but for now it’s serving its purpose.

  50. I love the patterned panels in the BH&G photo with the grommet top and bold colored trim. It looks crisp and modern and would be easy to slide open and closed. They would definitely need to be lined with blackout material for the best light and heat blocking.

    The shutters are nice, but don’t really fit in a dessert setting, and as you mentioned, they are not fun to clean.

  51. I would love to hear what you decide. My dad (who asked for my guidance) has a 92″ sliding door, and I can’t find anything I like that is reasonably inexpensive. The plantation shutters are gorgeous, but outrageously expensive–and to be honest, I can’t really figure out why. They are just shutters!

  52. As a window treatment fabricator also located in Florida, these sliders are always fun to treat. The ripplefold panels provide great coverage with the least amount of stackback. You can also choose the fullness percentage that also directly effects stackback. Depending on the width of the doors and how much room you have on each side of the doors you can usually get the treatments of the window. There are now companies that sell beautiful hardware for ripplefold so you don’t have to have the “hotel” look.

    Another option are ADO wrap. (other companies have there own version). ADO wrap are verticals with sheer fabric panels attached, so you get the practicality of verticals (which I hate, too!) with the look of sheers. They also stack back minimally. You can also remove the fabric for washing and resnap into their carriers while the fabric is right out the wash and they dry very quickly. Again pricey but a great solution.

    Someone mentioned a panel system. It is a very cool modern system that also looks great. You have to have a large return for this system. Depending on the size of your window and how wide the panels are determines how many “channels” you need for the panels. I’ve had one that projected 10″.

    Solutions for these large windows can be costly even if done DIY but the savings in energy costs from the blaring sun will be quickly realized.

    Have Fun!

  53. I haven’t read through the many reactions you got, you probably have received some great ideas already! I’m from The Netherlands and even though that’s not the sunniest place on earth, many people have something on the outside above the window (is it calked an awning?), that you can open as far as you need, to block the sun (manually or with a remote), while still enjoying the view and light. An added bonus is that you can sit under it as well, like a canopy. Good luck with all the decisions (but how fun!)!

  54. I am so excited to see what you come up with. I also have vertical blinds but haven’t been able to come up with a solution that blocked the sun but was pretty too.

  55. Have you thought about having the windows tinted? I did that in my family room – which gets a ton of hot morning light, and in my living room – which gets a ton of very hot afternoon light. It has saved on air conditioning bills and also protects my furniture from fading. Then I installed the bamboo blinds for purely decorative purposes, and for privacy at night. You can vary the amount of tint, so I have the least tint in the family room and a heavier tint in the living room. I love the combination because it allows the light in and lets me see out. When the tinting is done professionally, you don’t even notice it’s there!

  56. I wonder about the ‘short’ left window & the orientation of window/doors in relation to sun: North vs West makes a big difference re: intensity of light. If budget allows, I’d absolutely replace sliders with functional french doors (opening out) and remove/drywall the left window. The space below window next to sliders looks unbalanced to me–and its removal would cut sun entering room & create wall space for artwork. You could then use side panels on either side of doors (gain symmetry.)
    If you can replace sliders, I’d look at glass with built-in UV protection (not UV film). Marvin Windows/Doors provides an example and you might be able to receive a tax credit (energy). They also offer integrated shades that disappear and do not ‘flap’ when lowered.
    I learned a lot from their site.

    That said….I have two sets of french doors (in the Deep South!) that get lots of use–both facing west. I have a combo of sheers (loose linen weave) and fabric curtains–operate independently–that have worked well for 4+ years. We have mounted drapery holdbacks that work great for keeping curtains clear of doors when needed. For your situation–pool–I’d opt for an ‘outdoor’ fabric.

  57. Here in Central Texas, I have westerly facing, unshaded french doors in two adjoining rooms and summer temps which soar into the 100+ for two months or more of the year. There are 3 doors total in each grouping: Rt side is fixed, the center opens with a handle and the left can be swung open with the center door for a larger opening. All have blinds sandwiched between glass added onto the doors and bought at the local big box home improvement store. The accordion blinds can be raised or lower or any setting in between by a slider on the right of each opening. They have been in place 15 years without problems. I would recommend them! We did put sunshield coating on our windows about 6 years ago which has helped with cooling costs and fading of fabrics etc. You might consider this too!

  58. I have the answer! We moved from So. California to Las Vegas 4 years ago and had the same problem. We purchased drapes from Bed Bath and Beyond with metal grommets at the top. They are 95″ (but also come in 108″) They darken the room when closed and look nice, and keep the house nice and cool. We close them every night and during the summer. We have done this for 4 years and they show no wear and are washable. I wish there was a way to post a picture for you to see. Also we like to have the blinds up during the day on some of the other windows but not the glare so we ordered window tint online. We paid $50 for enough to do the slider, 2 giant 5×5 windows (and 2 5×5 that ended up in the trash due to us not knowing what we were doing). We love it! We have a beautiful pool and now we can look outside, no glare, cool inside. Please tell me how to post pictures and I will show you everything. The drapes at BBB are called Rio Window Panel ($100 for the two) also you can get an additional 20% off with coupon.

  59. Hi Kate,
    Speaking from experience – with the same window set up as shown in first pic – and from neighbors. Between all of us, we’ve had all of the above mentioned options.
    Plantation shutters are the most ‘maintenance free’. I have no idea how they could get ‘banged up’ as another poster mentioned! Our family includes kids, animals, lots of guests, using them regularly over the years with absolutely no issues.
    No fabric to vacuum or wash, just dust with a duster once a week (takes less than 5 mins.) and a monthly wipe down with damp cloth (water, sometimes a tiny bit of mild soap).
    No holes in the walls. No hooks. No rods/wires. Nothing to accidently pull down, fall down, or try to get to stay up via ugly cording.
    The great thing is shutters are adjustable so one section can be closed, while another is slightly open, or open all the way. They let in light, allow a view, but maintain privacy. Also, they look grand and make windows appear ‘dressed’.
    No ‘wrinkled’ fabric, over-the-top design, or plain-jane looking windows.
    We love them! They were expensive to start, but maintain like a dream.
    Optional: Add valence and/or side curtain panels. Plus those curtain panels are like adding a table runner to each end – much less expensive than full panels, and super easy to make/change out!
    Just some thots…

  60. What about the plantation shutter idea, but with the slats removed and sheer fabric stapled in their place? Or some kind of similarly constructed, hinged frame. Or maybe a half and half type thing – sewing a sheer and more solid, interesting fabric together before attaching to the frame.

  61. We had a similar issue after buying a home in San Jose with a sliding door, and the additional problem that there was no room for having curtains on both sides. So, we got a modern looking pulley system and had curtains made from a lady on Etsy, with blackout lining to keep the sun and heat out. They are beautiful, easy to operate and modern. It was a great relief after the previous eyesore was taken down (80s brown hemp-like curtains on gold-colored pulley system …)

  62. I so agree with you on the verticals but Hunter Douglas has come up with a solution called Luminettes that look like beatuiful sheer drapes but have interior vanes that open and close for light and privacy control. Basically a vertical version of Duettes. I am going to use these on the two adjoining sliders I have in my living room. I think they are elegant and modern yet very efficient. I look forward to seeing what you ultimately choose.

  63. The blinds look fantastic! Some great ideas in comments, looking forward to seeing which direction you take.

    • I’m looking at the IKEA Kvartal system this week Wendy, it might work…

    • I haven’t seen those Lisa, thanks for sharing, I like that woven valance up above !

  64. We have Sunbrella outdoor fabric drapery panels over ours. I bought a pair of them, and we stack them to one side and just pull them over at night. Since they’re sunbrella we really haven’t had problems with dirt. I was going to stitch the 2 panels together, but haven’t ever gotten around to it


    If you mean the smudges due to hands all over your curtains, consider,
    -Drapery sticks that you use to open and close your fabric curtains
    -patterned or darker colored fabric curtains
    -Scoth Guard where fabric gets dirty
    -a double curtain rod with a row of thin/sheer curtains and a row of thicker curtains

    I live in south Florida and have the same problems, my sister had blinds on her sliding glass doors that you pull up and down, she uses the sliding glass door often and got rope burn pulling the blinds up and down!

  66. Love, love the plantation shutters! We blocked the sun on our deck by adding a pergola with a metal roof, & it served also to block the sun shining directly into our home. We added a plumbing pipe rod to the west side of the pergola & hung IKEA canvas panels with metal grommets from it. A plus is the sound of the rain on the metal roof…. and that we were able to leave a wall of windows curtain free!

  67. I recently got hunter douglas nantucket shades in my living room and I love them. My plan is to get the same for my dining room. Since they roll up into the headrail, they can “disappear” under a valance allowing you to totally expose your window with no stack back on either side or you can leave them down and closed or down and opened like blinds allowing you to see outside in a sort of muted fashion. Light and heat are not such major concerns for us, but they do come in room darkening as well. They are pricey, but after dealing with ugly aluminum mini blinds left here by the prior owner, for longer than I care to admit, it was time for a splurge. I really live them. Good luck!

  68. Nice post! I always appreciate greenish color for my sliding doors. It feels so cool for the eyes. I like the one you posted from pinterest.

  69. I struggle with the same issue and have multiple naked sliding glass doors. I have a panel track on one. Like you, I am underwhelmed with the esthetics but it’s very functional. I tried vertical sheers on another. Pass. I am now considering cellular sliders as they can be paired with other rectangular shades. My house is mid century and I like clean lines. Curious to hear feedback on this option. Good luck!

  70. My husband’s study has sliders with fixed floor to ceiling glass on each side. That’s 15′ of south facing glass in Phoenix. I opted for the plantation shutters for the doors and stationary glass with curtain panels at the edges only. Sun control has been very good and I was able to spice things up with the curtain panels in indigo and white.

  71. I have the sliding plantation shutters and LOVE them! I’ve had no issues with damage or repairs. They aren’t difficult to keep clean at all. I dust them with a microfiber mitt every couple of weeks and about once a year I wash them. They were already here when we bought the house, so I don’t know about the cost. I was skeptical when I first saw them, but would do them again in a heartbeat! I did add a fabric top treatment just to soften the look a bit, since my style is more traditional, but I love the light control/privacy options they offer.

  72. I can’t wait to see what you decide upon, Kate. We inherited a rickety set of sliding door vertical blinds and I would love to replace them. If cost were no object, shutters would be my preference, but I would love to hit on a rather more thrifty option until such time as pennies allow!

  73. The “wave” header is Called Ripplefold in the trade.
    I have been offering a lot of Pfifer Sheerweave solar screens for patio sliders. One wide shade that functions with a continuous metal bead chain is very easy to operate and very functional. With 5% openness, you can see through it just enough to not feel closed off while still cutting the glare and heat immensely. Pricing is the least of any hard treatment. Paired with stationary side drapery panels the look is still light and airy.

  74. As a side note, shutters are the only window treatment considered to be a permanent improvement to a home and thusly the only treatment that adds value.

  75. In April we stayed at a hotel on the marina in San Diego. They had the plantation shutters and I thought it was genius. They had 3 panels on a 3 track system so you could move one over to get out on the patio or move all 3 over to expose the view and let in the light. I committed it to memory in case I ever needed it!

  76. I’m with you girl!!! Keep us all posted on what you come up with. I’ve been battling this dilemma for YEARS! We have an east facing slider and live in an area of San Diego County that gets very toasty in the summer months. I’m liking the plantation rolling doors. They’d work perfectly for me since I have wide slat blinds on the window in that room (never like the windows with horizontal and doors with vertical issue).

  77. We live in Florida and have a large sliding glass door that opens to a screened porch and a wonderful water view. I have searched and searched for the ideal solution but don’t think there is one. I do like the roller shades that can be hidden with a valence and either have a hand cord or electronic. We have this on our master window and it is quite nice but pricy. We don’t need privacy or light control all the time but I would like to have the option. I think we are going with drapes and will have to hire someone to help with rod as the length is not standard. I looked at shutters but they are bulky when rolled back and again we want an open water view.

    I love the idea of the blinds between the glass panes! I have seen this on single doors.

    • You totally read my mind Rachel and you pulled it off, bravo! I’m so excited you shared your blinds to fabric tutorial, LOVE it!

  78. I consider myself a Las Vegas native, having lived here most of my life and am so excited to think you’ll be working here! I also have a south facing sliding glass door. Is it a possibility that you may add a covered patio on the back of the house? I ask because it would make all the difference as to the type of window coverings you’ll need. Personally, I would highly recommend it. Not only would it provide you with shade covered windows, but, of course, you’d have a wonderful outdoor spot to use anytime of the day or year. I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that most houses in Vegas have them as they are considered somewhat of a necessity to fully enjoy the outdoors in the desert. Looking forward to hearing about all of your design adventures in Sin City! I’m sure you know about the Las Vegas Design Center ~ a trade marketplace dedicated to home furnishings and design. You’re gonna have so much fun!

    • Agreed Sandy! Yes there is a pergola but it’s on the other side of the house, what?? I totally would have designed it differently to protect against sun OVER the sliding doors! I’m going to the LV Design Center next week when I’m in town again, thanks for the reminder!!

  79. I agree with Sandy. Adding a covering to the outside is the way to go. I have south-facing sliding doors and currently use fabric panels. It’s looks a little odd to have to close them since it darkens the room quite a bit but then again it’s only a temporary solution.. We plan on adding a pergola next year since it’s too hot out there without it anyways.

  80. I need a window treatment for sliding glass doors for the opposite reason, keeping out cold in the winter! For years I have looked for something insulating and visually appealing that won’t get in the way of using the doors (we have a backyard ice rink). These photos have given me some good ideas! Thanks!

    • Wow Teresa, those are really nice! I had no idea that style existed, I’ll check them out!

  81. Our sliding doors were the egress to a ‘2nd floor’ patio (with no stairs to ground level) and the back of our house faces full south. Lots of sun. Lots of heat in the summer into our kitchen. When we moved in there were no blinds (ack! no privacy) and hating (like 99% of the people here) the vertical blinds, we installed fabric panel blinds which were in a soft white, a bit translucent but with a damask-type stripe. Great for privacy; offered filtered light when full sun on the other side and a simple cord drew the panels back to the one side where they stacked. Those were the pros.

    The cons: did not like the track and reviewed different options such as some type of valance to cover. For coming and going you need to pull the blinds so that they are only on the non-opening side which left one half of the slider open to full sun.

    Solution: Installed white French doors with low-e glass and built in white blinds. The blinds are multi-position so that works very well for filtering or blocking the light or having fully open to enjoy the view. Love the look. Clean, uncluttered and simple. Cons – a bit pricier solution however considered a solid investment for the house; 2nd con: you either have the one door open or shut, unlike sliders which give you the option to have open in graduations. Low-e glass the only way to go if facing full sun. Further pricier solution, building a pergola which we are doing and then installing glass to make waterproof with roman shades to pull to block out sun when needed. (That way I don’t have to cover my patio sectional when it rains….which it does tend to do here on the west coast of BC.

    Idea for You: Not so much for the window treatment but as a possibility re the sun, short deck area to pool, etc. Install a shade sail. If put in properly, you’ll have an interesting element and transition to your pool area that gives you some sun but keeps your view unobstructed. Then you can look at how you want to address the sliders purely from an esthetic point of view. They don’t have to be expensive and I can’t see any reason why you can’t install one yourself once you read up on how they work (ie tension and anchoring). We were going to do this prior to deciding to build the pergola.

    Finally – we love our French doors – it opens up our kitchen dining area right onto the deck where we have a seating and bbq area. Extends the house right to the outside. Only thing we have to do – get a set of those wizard blinds now (lol!) to keep the bugs out. Good luck and looking forward to seeing what you decide/do.

  82. Gee! My blog comment was here earlier, but now it’s gone. I just said you should check out BetsySpeert’s blog and gave a link to a post she did on her Fla. home’s sliding door solution. Oh well.

  83. They make sliding panels that look like woven shades. I’ve seen them in catalogs. If I had woven shades in my house, I’d consider putting those on my slider. Yes, I’m old fashioned and have verticals but at least they are fabric slats instead of plastic. Haa haa!

  84. I like Shelley’s idea of a shade sail, I have been thinking of installing one over our exposed back patio (MUCH cheaper that building a pergola) but I think it would look smashing near a pool area! Ikea has those track systems with drapery hooks to do the multi layered draperies – sheers with some blackout-backed fabulous fabric drapes… They supposedly slide very easily. And, remember with a slider you are only moving the drapes in one direction, not opening in the middle, so only that one side would get hand-printy, lol! Those wave fold drapes are AWESOME!!! Good Luck!! exited to see you progress on this new house!

  85. We have sliding doors facing west, but they lead out to a 3-season sunroom so the doors have never had any covering. However we’re adding 2 sets of French doors to the sunroom this month and we’re wondering about how more heat will come in to the sunroom. But we’re putting the doors in to allow a lot more light so I don’t think we want to cover them at all! Agh, big glass doors! It’s never-ending balance of heat vs light.

    I love the idea of those plantation shutters best if you’re going for a slightly beachy look, especially when there’s a unit that slides along with the sliding doors. So cool. From our experience, anything solid will block too much sunlight and it darkens entire rooms too much even mid-day on a sunny day. The plantation shutters look like a happy middle ground where you can move them aside until the sun is there, then adjust the shutters however much you like and you could still leave them open a bit to let light in.

  86. This post is late, but thought I’d share my own invention to deal with SGDs. We were remodeling the basement, and the framing around the sliding glass doors was exposed. I asked a carpenter to re-frame that exterior wall to accommodate a pair of pocket doors. It was a simple, fast process. We hung solid doors there that block out all light and cold air. Maintenance involves dusting them once in a while. No drapery hooks, no vertical blinds (gaaakkk) no dry cleaning, no replacing. The carpenter now offers them to other customers and he named them after me, lol.

Leave a comment!

Keep the conversation going! Your email address will not be published.*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Lately on Instagram (@centsationalstyle)