Window treatments for French doors

March 23, 2011

Question: My son is looking for ideas for window treatments for his new French doors. He was going to go with shutters but felt they would detract from the doors. Do you have any suggestions?

Alexandria

Answer: If you have enough wall space on both sides, consider installing curtains on a rod long enough that you can fully open them whenever you want to use the doors or just look out.

“The drapes will frame the doors and make them a focal point,” says Claire Schwab of Claire Schwab Interior Design in Alexandria (703-780-8767, www.claireschwab.com). In her own house, she faced the same issue you have and is pleased with how this solution worked for her.

If you don’t have wall space for the extra-long rods, other solutions depend on whether your doors slide or swing. For sliders, you’ll want a window treatment that mounts above the doors. For swing doors, Schwab recommends installing shades woven from grasses, reeds or bamboo on each door. Hunter Douglas’s Provenance line (www.hunterdouglas.com) is an example. Order this type of shade in a lined version if you want total privacy. Otherwise, enough light will filter through so that in the daytime you will be able to see hints of what’s in bright light outside, and at night, people outdoors will be able to see some of what’s going on inside.

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