How To Cover Internal French Doors?
The main reason people use internal French doors is the freeflow of light and air in between rooms.
Of course, once they’ve been installed, you may not always want as much visibility. One room may need privacy on a short, or even long term basis. That brilliant bright sunlight, might not be wanted all the time if you’re temporarily turning a room for living into a room for sleeping. You might just want to enjoy a film in a theatre-dark surrounding.
Life is unpredictable and prone to change. You need a home that can adapt as required when your needs shift. The easiest way to turn your French doors into a more private or finite divide, is to cover them.
But that doesn’t mean that you want to lose the amazing aesthetic impact of your carefully chosen door style. After all, French doors are often a style statement in themselves, so you want to enhance them not smother them.
Luckily, there are plenty of different ways you can cover French doors, from the temporary fix of sweeping a curtain across them to the more permanent move of installing frosted glass.
Replacing your existing glazed panes with frosted glass will ensure that light can still pass through, keeping that extra brightness while really restricting the visibility. If your concerns are for privacy but you don’t want to sacrifice any of that lovely light it can be a great option. It is, however, a lot more expensive.
Curtains or blinds have the benefits of being easy to install, simple to remove, and adaptable for those days when your need for privacy falls away. Even if you’re considering updating the glazing, it could be a good idea to try curtains or blinds in the interim, just to be sure.
Either way the choice on how to cover your doors is yours, but to make sure your decision is an informed one, and the right one for your home, we’ve put together this quick introduction to common French door coverings.
Blinds or curtains for internal French doors?
If you’re looking to cover a set of doors, your options are much the same as if you were looking to cover a window. Most possibilities fall under the options of either curtains or blinds.
The decision between will come down to preference. There are some practicalities that may lead towards blinds. They are neater, and can be hung from the doors themselves which will minimise the clutter or trip hazard that curtains can cause.
Another consideration that falls in favour of blinds, is if you want to fit them completely to the doors. A lot of companies offer bespoke and made-to-measure services for blinds, which can then be fitted flush against glazed panels. This will maximise the light obscuring properties, as well as ensure they don’t get in the way when the doors are opened.
But curtains are easier to install, potentially cheaper to purchase, and take away all limits on your style choices. They can also be more effective at keeping out the light, and keeping heat in as well, and it’s easy to be drawn to this cosy option over the formality of blinds.
Of course, if you wish to completely dress your doors, you can combine both curtains and blinds to create a lovely layered look.
What curtains for French doors?
Curtains tend to offer the most customisable options for covering your doors.
You can go minimal, with a lightweight neutral coloured curtain (lined if you’re looking to keep out the light completely). Or you can go opulent and overblown, with a valence draped across the curtain rail, contrasting tie backs and rich material.
Depending on the width of the doors, you may choose to have one single curtain that sweeps across both doors, or a matching pair. Install a decorative curtain rail to hang them from, and opt for tab-top or eyelet curtains to create the most visually appealing arrangement.
Another technique you can try if you’re looking to reduce the transparency of the windows but while still trying to let light pass through, is sheer voile fabric. This shimmery, semi-translucent fabric can be draped in front of the door, or you can install parallel rods above and below the glazed panes of the door and fix the net between these. This a more permanent solution as they can’t really be opened but it also looks more deliberate and stylish.
If you do choose to install curtains, this is one situation where tiebacks are almost mandatory. If you do still want to use the doors, tucking them completely out of the way is highly advisable. Floor length curtains are easily caught between feet and they’ll cause a definite trip hazard that is easily remedied by fixing them out of the way.
Similarly if you choose a particularly light material for your curtains, you may wish to add a weight to the hems at the bottom. This will make them hang more attractively, creating natural folds and gathers. It will also help stop them getting caught in the doors if they are kept ajar for any length of time.
What blinds for French doors?
Blinds are an excellent alternative for dressing your internal French doors. You will still have a great deal of choice as blinds come in a range of styles and options.
Depending on the look you want to achieve, here are the best blind options for internal French doors.
- Roller blinds
Roller blinds tend to be the most popular choice for French doors. This classic blind style, rolls down from the top of the window or door to cover the glazing.
Roller blinds are made of fabric, but come in a range of colours, patterns and finishes that make them the most versatile type of blind available. You can really tailor them to the style of your room. Another bonus is that once they ‘rolled’ open, they will leave the panes of glazing completely unobstructed.
If you’re looking for a total blackout effect, with no light passing through your doors, then roller blinds are definitely the best option. Alternatively, if you’re looking to still allow some light to pass through but increase the privacy in your rooms, you can get semi-opaque and sheer roller blinds as well.
- Roman blinds
Roman blinds are ones that pleat up when opened, to create a stacked or folded appearance.
They are quite a traditional style of blinds but there is something about those pleated folds of fabric that creates a very luxurious feel. Pick something sumptuous like velvet or antique silk to create a look of pure opulence. Whereas a simple cotton or hessian will develop a whole new depth with those thick folds.
One caveat should be remembered if you’re considering Roman blinds. This type of blind won’t open as wide as the stacked material will sit at the top of the window and still cover part of it. This will lead to some obstruction of light, even when the blinds are up.
- Venetian blinds
Venetian blinds are another very popular option for covering doors. They are formed of horizontal slats that can be tilted so they sit flush, stopping any light getting in, or so they sit open, letting some light in. They can also usually be raised completely, leaving the glass entirely unobstructed.
They are known for being robust, usually made of metal like aluminium or a lightweight wood and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.
Perhaps their main drawback is their slightly clinical appearance, with metal ones particularly reminiscent of an office block or waiting room. However these days they are available in a whole host of vibrant colours, and for many their sheer functionality is a style in itself. The softer looking wooden ones can even have a warming, natural aesthetic all of their own.
How to cover French doors with sidelights and transom windows?
Some French doors have windows installed either side (sidelights) or above them (transom windows). If you’re covering the doors and you have either of these features, it makes sense to cover these as well.
Any of the options we have discussed in this article can be used to cover these extra panels. If you chose to cover your doors with curtains, it won’t make an awful lot of difference to cover the sidelights or transoms as well. Just remember to account for these extra panels in your measurements. Depending on how big they you may have to order custom curtains to cover whole width, but standard 90inch curtains may well be wide enough.
Things may be a little more complicated if you decide on blinds. Installing separate blinds (one set for the door and one for the additional windows) will allow you to completely control the amount of light, and allow you to still have the blinds down when the doors are open. This will have cost implications though, and you may risk creating a whole wall of blinds that may be unintentionally domineering to the design of your room.