Dress Up Your Sliding Patio Doors With These 8 Popular Window Treatment Styles

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated December 27, 2021
Woman sitting by patio door
Photo: Halfpoint / Adobe Stock

The best window treatments for sliding glass doors combine both function and style

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Every morning, you greet the day by your patio door with a cup of coffee and a burst of sunshine. Sliding glass doors are excellent sources of natural light and an easy way to showcase your backyard. 

But such large panels of glass have their downsides without the right window treatments. Sliding glass doors require shades, blinds, or panels large and flexible enough to control the flow of air and heat of the sun without sacrificing style.

8 Best Window Treatments for Sliding Glass Doors

The most common types of window treatments for patio doors are vertical blinds, but this is far from your only option. Sliding panels, roller shades, and honeycomb blinds vary in size, color, and installation design to fit the desired look for your unique home. 

Your decision should come down to a few questions:

  • How much light comes through your windows each day?

  • Do you live in a cold climate?

  • Would you like to avoid pulls and cords?

  • What is the color scheme of the adjoining room?

  • How often do I want to clean my window treatments?

  • What is your budget?

It's important to keep that last question in mind since the cost of window treatments averages around $700, including installation. The price range will widely vary, however. For example, vertical blinds for sliding glass windows cost $50 to $200, depending on the size of the panel.

Let's take a look at the eight most common sliding glass window treatments and why they may be the pick for you.

1. Vertical Blinds

Room with white vertical blinds
Photo: studio82 / Adobe Stock

By far the most popular choice for sliding glass doors, vertical blinds attach to a top panel of your windows with slats running longways down to the floor. Their length makes it a bit easier to cover tall sliding glass doors and windows without adding multiple panels of Venetian blinds.

Vertical blind slats vary by width, color, and material. They typically open with the pull or rotation of a pulley cord and open with the turn of an attached wand, offering significantly light control throughout the day. 

It's important to keep an eye on the quality of your vertical blinds over time, especially since they have a habit of catching on the track of your door if improperly installed. Keep your local blind repair team on hand if you experience issues.

2. Horizontal Blinds

White venetian blinds in large window
Photo: bennnn / Adobe Stock

Also known as Venetian blinds, horizontal blinds work fine on sliding glass doors if you plan to only open one side of the window at a time. 

But just a heads up: They are not a top pick for sliding patio doors since they go against the direction of the track and can be quite cumbersome and heavy to control. You will find other horizontal options on this list a bit more fitting.

If you opt for this look to match the rest of your home, however, we definitely recommend calling in the professional window treatment experts for proper measurements.

3. Cellular Blinds

Detail of a white cellular shade on a window
Photo: Maridav / Adobe Stock

Cellular shades—aka honeycomb blinds—get a lot of positive press for their temperature control skills. When you look at the edge of these folding horizontal blinds, the edge opens up into a honeycomb pattern, hence the name.

Cellular shades come in a range of structures, typically either singular, double, or triple cell. The more cells present, the more hot and cold air the shades trap in the pockets, better regulating the change of temperature in your home. These shades essentially act as an extra layer of insulation on very hot or cold days.

You can also pick from several opacity levels and colors when choosing cellular shades, as well as how the shade connects to the walls around your sliding door.

4. Sliding Panels

Living room with back patio door
Photo: Dariusz Jarzabek / Adobe Stock

If you're battling a blaring sun in the morning, snowdrifts in the winter, or a pretty extreme lack of privacy from your neighbors, sliding panels may be the best window treatment for you. These individual panels sit on a track and push away from the window in much larger pieces than blinds—typically four or five, depending on your window size.

The panels come in a range of fabric, wood, or acrylic, and are easy to customize to your home's aesthetic.

5. Folding Shutters

Modern bedroom with patio doors open
Photo: Astronaut Images/KOTO / Adobe Stock

Jumping on the cottagecore design trend? Add a touch of vintage class with vintage shutters to close off your sliding doors. These shuttered panels fold up into an accordion or open outwards as doors of their own. Many designs allow you to open and close the shutter slats for a bit of light without giving up privacy.

6. Drapes and Curtains

 Living room with sliding patio doors
Photo: Jodie Johnson / Adobe Stock

Traditional ceiling-to-floor drapes are some of the best window treatments to install on your own. What's the difference between curtains and drapes? Of all the window treatment lingo out there, these can be the most confusing. Drapes are typically lined fabric panels that are a bit more formal and reach the ground. Curtains may be sheer, thinner, and come in a range of lengths.

So, if you're not concerned about extreme weather, opt for any sheer-to-opaque curtains of your choice to balance out your room's color scheme and welcome in natural light.

For better temperature control, opt for blackout and room-darkening drapes that protect against the afternoon sun or the summer or a drafty sliding door. Remember that you can also double up on window treatments by combining vertical blinds and drapes or roller shades.

7. Roller Shades

Modern living room with view to the ocean
Photo: Astronaut Images/KOTO / Adobe Stock

The sleek, single-panel look of a roller shade is a favorite for homeowners looking to avoid blinds and add a modern touch. As the name suggests, roller shades furl into a top panel out of sight.

While roller shades are a bit all-or-nothing when it comes to light levels—unique blinds or shutters rotate open—they do come in a wide range of colors and sheer levels. Their simplicity makes them a bit easier to blend into a monochrome space without the bulky interruption of blinds or panels.

8. Roman Shades

Living room with big sliding glass door
Photo: Photographee.eu / Adobe Stock

Elegant Roman shade design combines the easy glide of blinds and the soft aesthetic of fabric curtains. An inner cord folds the shades in on itself when you pull it to let in light. Roman shades may not roll up into a panel as neatly as roller shades, but they typically come with a top valance to cover up the folded curtain.

For sliding glass doors, choose from one large panel across both sides of the door or two individual ones to separate the light.

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