Dressing Your Bifolding Patio Doors
Bifolding doors are a natural choice to install in place of more conventional sliding or single leaf patio doors, due to the extra real estate given over to the glazing. This extra glass means that your home will be filled with natural light, even when the doors are shut tight. Bi-fold doors also, for the most part, look gorgeous. However, they can always be prettied up. Dressing your bifolding patio doors might not simply be a matter of aesthetic desire either, as being able to engineer exactly how much light, heat and even cold enters the home is something most homeowners are understandably rather anal about, and with a decent dressing, you should be able to more comfortably achieve this. Here, we’ll explore a few of the more common dressing solutions, and touch on a few less common ones too.
One of the primary benefits of choosing bi-folding doors is that you can choose which way they fold. Which you decide to opt for will depend on your own personal preferences, though take into account how much space you’ll need to keep clear either directly inside or outside where the doors are or will eventually be. If you decide to opt for outward opening bi-fold doors, the most obvious benefit is that, if no part of the doors cross the threshold, you can fit standard curtains to dress up your doors. The options here are as vast and diverse as they would be for any situation where curtains are a possibility, but there are a few ideas that might make more sense in this specific scenario. Drapery curtains, for example, might not make a lot of sense, especially in your favour heavier materials, as they won’t be able to be pulled back 100% of the way, meaning at least a small amount of the extra light being brought into your home by your bi-fold doors will be lost.
Obviously, the curtains you opt for will depend on your own personal needs, but it goes without saying that you’ll want lighter, brighter fabrics for the summer and heavier, stronger and deeper coloured fabrics in the winter. This is simply because in the summer you’ll want to keep your home cool and in the winter you’ll want to trap the heat in, which heavy curtains are wonderful at doing.
Considering we’re looking specifically at patio bifolding doors here, however, perhaps the top priority is privacy, so this is definitely something you’ll want to consider when choosing your curtains. Heavier voiles with lighter colour schemes are generally more popular in the UK, as they filter light more effectively when it’s sunny, but don’t detract from the light, airy atmosphere when it’s not. Finally, consider curtains with heading styles that have efficient stacking, as large windows will mean large stacks. Tracks can also be top fixed onto ceilings within recessed pelmets, or onto pelmets created in the same fabric as the curtains if you want to keep things consistent.
Vertical blinds are perhaps the most common solution when it comes to covering bi-fold patio doors. This might be due to their simple operation, as they can be simply rolled open and shut by rotating the vanes attached to them. It’s more likely, however, that they are so popular because of their flexibility. Still, the major disadvantage with these blinds is that, even when they are fully open, there will still be a part of the glass obscured. For this reason, we’d recommend vertical blinds that can be moved from side to side, as well as rotated open and closed, especially if you plan on using them throughout the entire year.
With a classic look that will lend your home a definite eastern European vibe, venetian blinds (which hang horizontally) are generally seen covering smaller windows, but could be an unconventional choice for your bifold doors. The only problem with venetian blinds is that they tend to get stuck more frequently than vertical blinds. They are also generally a little more expensive.
These are made up of one sheet, and are a possibility if there is room for them at the top of the your door recess. These blinds are often automated for added convenience. They are very affordable, but are generally quite easily damaged and tend to look a little tacky. You’d probably prefer to have these installed on your kitchen windows, not your bifolding patio doors.
Shutters and Screens
Whilst curtains look and feel great and blinds are cheap and convenience, they both take up more room than the third option, which is to install a shutter or screen either behind or actually between the glass panes of your bi-fold doors. Obviously installing an internal screen is easier if you’re installing new doors, as it’s an understandably invasive procedure, but external screens are just as effective. Increasingly, many more elaborate bi-folding doors are also being installed with in-built screens and/or blackout shades, some of which can be remote controlled for added convenience. This is, in most cases however, an expensive fix for a rather minor problem. Shutters, meanwhile, are surprisingly easy to install and will do the trick, though many find them to be an inelegant solution that takes up far too much room and detracts from the beauty of the doors.
Here are a few examples you might want to consider of both shutters and screens, for your bifolding patio doors.
These are light screens made from wood and paper, with the paper sheets fitted into a wooden, gridded frame. These will lend your home a subtle Japanese flavour. They are affordable, easy to install, and look great, but they are rather flimsy by their very nature, so think carefully if you have pets or small children.
These are panels that slide under one another when open, so you are left with just one panel width at the side of your doors. Take into account that the more panels you use, the thinner they will be and the less glass will be covered with they are open. Conversely, thinner panels will be more prone to being blown asunder by the wind. These panels will be available in a variety of colours, materials and textures.
These shutters, which can be either vertical or horizontal, can be installed either behind or actually in place of your bifolding doors, and offer a more solid solution when it comes to privacy. The primary concern with these shutters, however, is that they are not built of 100% wood, which means that much more of the light coming into your home will be lost.
Ultimately, if you don’t feel like your bifold patio doors require dressing, then more power to you, but for most of us, we require a little more privacy. If you are amongst that number, hopefully there is at least one option here that takes your fancy and will help make your beautiful bifold doors shine even brighter!