A Guide to French Door Blinds

French Door Window Coverings That Are Practical and Beautiful

French doors are an eye-catching addition to any home, offering an elegant transition from the interior to the exterior or between rooms. The best French door blinds will retain the unique appearance of your doors while also enabling light control and privacy.

In this guide, we discuss what you need to know before buying French door window coverings, and the different types of blinds that work best for French doors.

What You Need to Know Before Buying Blinds for Your French Door

A French door is, usually, a pair of doors that latch together in the centre and can swing open either inwards or outwards. They distinctively feature a long glass panel, or multiple glass panes, that extend the full length of each door within a frame.

French doors, sometimes called French Windows, are usually used in place of a sliding patio door, opening to the exterior, although they are also commonly used as interior doors as they allow additional light while retaining room division.

When buying blinds for French Doors, remember there are some specific considerations you should bear in mind. For example:

Mounting is outside the window frame: Because of the way French doors are designed, most blinds for French doors need to be mounted on the outside of the window frame. This means the blind will cover the entire door, not just the window.

One exception is built-in blinds for French doors, where the blind is encased between the glass window and a tempered glass panel that clips onto the window frame.

You need to access the handles: French Doors have handles or knobs which stick out from the door and can be an obstacle for window coverings. Look for roller blinds that pass between the handle and glass if the door offers a lever operation. If changing to a knob rather than a lever is an option, there are numerous options available. Alternatively, some blinds can be cut out to accommodate handles, although this can impact the finished look.

Use brackets to prevent swinging: Blinds may swing around and get damaged when the doors are opened or closed. This can be prevented with the use of hold-down brackets that attach t so I o the frame and hold the end of the blind in place. 

Other things you should take into consideration when choosing a blind for your French door are:

  • Light and privacy requirements: Are you looking for some gentle light filtering or do you need to darken a room? Are you looking for extra privacy all the time, or just sometimes? 
  • Your preferred aesthetic style: Do you want a product that looks the same as your window coverings, or a style that puts your French doors center stage? Remember that the blinds you have on your windows may not work as well on French doors.

Tip: For a clean and chic look, choose an operating system that will have a minimal visual impact such as the Hunter Douglas LiteRise or automated PowerView systems which don’t require visible rods or tilt bars.

  • Energy efficiency: French doors are big expanses of glass that can let heat in or out depending on the season. To save money on energy bills, install an energy-saving insulating blind such as a cellular or honeycomb style.

Best Blinds for French Doors

Most blinds can work as window coverings for French doors, but there are a few styles that are superior choices to consider. Here’s a rundown of some options:

Cellular / Honeycomb shades 

Cellular shades, such as the Duette Honeycomb shade, are ideal for French doors as the bottom rails can be tilted to bypass door handles. Using cellular shades on French doors is great for energy efficiency as the honeycomb pockets trap air at the window, which insulates from heat or cold. Cellular shades can be made in a Duolite option to offer both maximum light and privacy, as well as room darkening.

Roller Blinds

Simple roller shades fit neatly on a French door and roll easily up and down behind the handle. Modern roller blinds in neutral colours offer an unobtrusive and subtle aesthetic and can be fully raised to maximize view-through when required.

Venetian Blinds 

Venetian blinds (horizontal slat blinds made from wood, faux wood or metal) are good for when you want the flexibility to let in light without having to raise the whole blind. They fit perfectly with cut outs on levered doors, or with doors operated by a knob. The classic look of Venetian blinds on French doors allows you to remain cohesive with the rest of your window coverings.

Roman Blinds 

You might not have considered Roman blinds on French doors, but their soft folds make them ideal for a more decorative window covering option. Roman blinds such as Vignette Modern from Hunter Douglas are available in rolling flat folds and neutral colours for a clean, contemporary finish.

Sheer Shades 

Choosing sheer shades for French doors is a great option for knobbed doors, when you want full-time privacy and still want some natural light in the home. Hunter Douglas Silhouette shades have a curved slat with a narrow tilt that is ideal for French doors. These shades can be kept closed and simply tilted to control light.

Other Window Coverings for French Doors

Blinds are not the only option for French doors, if you prefer something a little different, you could consider:

Curtains / Drapes: Curtains can be used on their own or in addition to blinds to create a richer, warmer look. If the door opens inwards, ensure the curtain rail is high enough not to obstruct the movement. For some suggestions on how to style curtains on French doors see these French door curtain ideas from The Spruce.

Shutters: For a bold, eye-catching look, opt for shutters for your French doors. Palm Beach Polysatin shutters from Hunter Douglas are hardy and resistant to fading or warping. Integrated handle cut-outs ensure the louvers won’t interfere with the door operation while retaining a sophisticated look.

Not sure which window covering treatment for French doors is the one for you? Check these stunning French window treatment ideas from Better Homes and Gardens for inspiration.

Ruffell & Brown for all your French Door Covering Needs

When deciding on coverings for your French doors make sure you speak to an expert like the team at Ruffell & Brown. Located in Victoria, BC, our home décor experts can help you choose a French door window covering that complements both your lifestyle and taste.

Drop into our showroom on Bridge Street or contact us today for help with all your window covering needs.