Patio Door Coverings: 7 Solutions that Go Beyond Vertical Blinds

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One of the features you love best about your new home is the patio door. You can step right out of your Master Bedroom and into the sea air in just a few short steps. Most of the time your sliding glass door is something you don’t think you could live without. When you moved into your home covering up the view wasn’t a priority and you told yourself you enjoyed waking up at sunrise – that is until you realize that this space, in particular, is one that requires privacy. 

Just last week you got the surprise of your life when you discovered your guests arrived a bit early for the BBQ in the most awkward way…there you were in your room taking a moment to change before the party began and just like that you are not alone. One of your guests had wandered towards the bedroom side of the patio to get a closer look at your latest edition to the garden. Instead, they got a glimpse of you dashing behind the nearest piece of furniture to preserve your modesty. Enough is enough.

Now the real dilemma begins, will you be stuck purchasing one of those plastic-looking vertical blinds for your dream space? How long will it be before it jams up and the pieces start falling off the track you wonder. Maybe curtains will be best? No, you think to yourself, you don’t really care for draperies and all that fuss either. 

Here’s the good news. Today there are quite a few different ways to cover sliding glass doorways and at least a few of them won’t break the bank either. I am going to walk you through seven of my preferred methods.

Your Patio Door Covering Options

1. Vertical Blinds

Let’s start with the basic vertical blind. It used to be that PVC vanes were the only option, but that is a thing of the past. A variety of fabric vanes are available in both light-filtering and room-darkening options. Choosing a fabric vane instead of PVC is an easy way to soften your space while keeping the functionality of the easily retractable blind. And best of all, the clickety-clack of ridged PVC is replaced with a free-flowing vane instead.

2. Vertical Honeycomb Shades

For this next one, it won’t matter if you have a small patio door or an extra-wide one. Honeycomb shades are known for their ability to cover large openings with a small stack. The vertical version of the shades performs just as well as its horizontal counterparts. You can choose to have a single side stack, split stack, and even a traveling stack to best suit your doorway. If you discover you are not much of an early riser after all you can block out the morning sun by selecting a room-darkening fabric as well.

vertical honeycomb shade covering patio door

3. Horizontal Shades

Not every space has room for stack back, so in this case, a pair of horizontal blinds might be the way to go. You can butt two horizontal shades up to one another and use a common valance to conceal the shades while not in use. Here you will want to watch out for controls that will dangle down into your doorway. Another common mistake is to purchase a cordless version of your window coverings only to discover you’re not keen on bending all the way down to the floor to raise the shade up off of the glass.

patio door horizontal shade options

4. Roller Shades

If you are thinking a manual shade might not be the way you’d like to go I have another option for you. You can eliminate cords and wands altogether by choosing a motorized roller shade. In this case, you can have one piece of room darkening fabric cover the entire patio door. Roller shades come in a wide variety of fabric selections and can easily be layered with other types of treatments. In this lakefront bedroom, we paired the roller shades with an upholstered cornice box and a set of side panels. Layering the cornice and side valances creates less opportunity for light to leak around the sides of the roller shades and into the room. If you have had the chance to stay in a luxury hotel you will have seen this style of layering already.

5. Custom Draperies

One of the most common ways to cover a sliding glass patio door has got to be draperies. You can find panels at most home stores; however, having custom-made draperies created for your sliding glass doorway is the best way to go. There are both quick ship and fully custom options available. The benefits between them are fairly similar. Both can be ordered with oversized textiles which will eliminate seams in your finished piece. Trust me, if you choose light filtering fabric you will thank me for that tip. Your made-to-order draperies will arrive in the fabric and lining of your choice in one panel or two rather than a pieced-together set off the shelf. That too is something you will appreciate later — I promise!

custom drapery patio door covering

6. Sheer Vertical Shades

If you have already gone the drapery route and you are wondering to yourself why there isn’t something that functions like a blind but is softer like a drapery you are in luck. A vertical sheer shade, like the Luminette® Privacy Sheers from Hunter Douglas, is just what you wished for. Sheer shades have fabric vanes linked together by a layer of sheer fabric. They take the double layer of a drapery with a separate sheer to a whole other place. The sleek styling of vertical sheer shades works well in both contemporary and more traditional homes. If you have an oversized opening, this type of shade can provide you with a wall-to-wall fit as one unit and by butting up separate units together for a seamless finish. They just might be one of my favorite ways to cover sliding glass doorways if we’ve got the budget for them.

sheer vertical blind patio door covering

7. Vertical Blinds and Draperies

Are you thinking to yourself all the options that I’ve explained sound good, but that life with pets and kids would take its toll on the window coverings so they won’t work for your lifestyle? Guess what…I have one more treatment that really is my favorite way to cover a sliding glass door. The SmartDrape™ from Norman Window Fashions is probably the best bang for your buck. This sheer style shade is made up of individual panels of woven fabric that can be removed and are machine washable. Wait, what?!? Yes, I said you can wash them at home and then hang them back up. The other amazing feature of the individual panels of fabric is that you can leave the shade closed over the top of your sliding glass door and walk right in between the panels to go in and out of your space. My pets love this feature! It comes in room darkening and light filtering fabrics and can cover an extra-wide opening as long as you have room for an outside mounted layout.

Now let’s go back to the beginning, you finally have the Master Bedroom of your dreams with access to the patio and a great view. With any of the options, I discussed you can keep your privacy, maintain your sense of style, and enjoy lazy days with the option to jump right out of bed at dawn or not. In my opinion, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

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