How to Choose the Best Window Treatments for Sliding Glass Doors
From color schemes to safety, we spoke with Shannon Scarrella, manager of Hirshfield’s Window Fashions, to reveal the best way to determine the ideal window treatments for your sliding glass doors.
Q: Is there a general ‘rule’ about what works best when choosing window treatments for sliding glass doors? Should you always consider vertical, or are there instances when horizontal works?
Shannon: Vertical applications typically work best for patio doors, but are not always necessary. When we think of verticals, many people think of your typical vertical blinds (3 ½” louver that rotates and traverses open and closed in either fabric or vinyl).
There are more options for sliding glass doors. Hunter Douglas makes a traveling system called Vertiglide for Honeycomb Shades and Traversed for Vignette. Both of these options allow the product to slide open across the window. The Vertiglide gives you all the insulating power of a Honeycomb Shade, while the Traversed Vignette gives you the soft folds of a Roman.
Regarding applications for horizontal treatments, I usually consider how the homeowner uses the patio door or what treatments are on their other windows. For homeowners who use their patio door frequently and want the ability to have ‘quick’ privacy, a vertical application works well.
For those windows that face west or even south, where that evening sun comes in, many homeowners are looking for something that can be lowered during dinner time and then pulled up the rest of the day. Honeycomb Shades, Roller Shades, even Silhouettes – anything that essentially rolls up or stacks tight –will work well for these situations.
I do not recommend wood blinds for sliding doors. The weight of them and the look of them when raised is not very attractive or practical. The stacking height on a wood blind can easily reach 10-12 inches. When a patio door is typically a little over 6 ½-feet tall, a stack of that height means there will be a lot of ducking to get in and out of the door.
Q: So you would have to consider all aspects of the door’s usage – e.g. How often is the door itself opened and closed? Is it regularly left open (screen door, etc.)? Are there small children or pets in the house? etc.?
Shannon: Yes. The door usage is usually the deciding factor on how we cover a sliding door. The most common lift system I see for shadings is the EasyRise or Clutch system. This system has a continuous cord loop or chain that gets mounted and then pulling the cord allows the shade to raise or lower.
For vertical applications, there are many child and pet safe options. Most vertical applications can come with a Traveling Wand. This wand not only tilts the product, but can also be used to traverse the product off the glass. The Vignette Traversed and the Duette Vertiglide use a handle attached to the rail for operating. There are no cords for kids or pets to become entangled in.
Q: Which do you prefer/recommend – Blinds? Drapes? Sheers? Other?
Shannon: It depends on the application. Personally, I like the ease of the many vertical applications. Verticals, Vignette Traversed, Duette or Applause with Vertiglide, Skyline Gliding Panels, or the Luminette Privacy Sheer.
Q: If you are choosing blinds – slat size, for instance – would you use the same size or different from other windows in room/area?
Shannon: If the rooms are open to each other, I choose uniformity whether it be by scale or color. I think they can be mixed and matched to make the best appearance.
Q: Do you recommend always going with the same color scheme (for sliding doors and other windows in the room/area)? Is a coordinating color okay?
Shannon: Coordinating color works beautifully, but with the options that are available today there are more and more products that have something available for the windows as well as the sliding door.
Q: How important is it to match textures (wood, sheer, metallic, plastic, etc.?) to other window coverings in the room and/or entire home?
Shannon: We don’t change our window treatments as often as we may change the color on the wall. For that reason, I choose to coordinate window treatments with the existing pieces or more permanent pieces. For example, your kitchen is filled with oak cabinets. We know that to remodel the kitchen is a larger expense but there is quite a bit we can do by bringing in the warmth of the wood onto the window treatments. If you are ‘tired’ of those cabinets, we can always add a fabric treatment above a patio door or kitchen window. This helps to change the space and draw your attention to the ‘new’ things in the space.
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