Should French Doors Have Curtains [And How To Install Them]?


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French doors are considered to be one of the most elegant types of doors in the world. They walk that fine line between country and formal, but that doesn’t mean they are always easy to decorate around. One of the bigger debates on French doors is whether or not they need to have curtains. We did the research to find out the real perks of using curtains on French doors. 

Though French doors are regularly lauded for their open look, the truth is that most homes are not served by curtainless doors. Curtains help give your home an air of privacy that French doors otherwise can’t afford. Moreover, adding curtains can help add some unity to your decor’s theme. 

Trying to find that fine balance between overdone and overexposed can be hard with French doors. Be sure to keep reading if you want to discover the ins and outs of adding curtains to French doors.

Grand living room with sofa, pillows and large French door with brown curtains, Should French Doors Have Curtains [And How To Install Them]?

The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Curtains On French Doors

Pairing curtains with French doors seems to be a „love or hate“ type of thing. Some people love it, while others can’t stand it. Overall, it’s best to take a look at the pros and cons before you make a decision to curtain up. Here’s what you need to be aware of:

The Perks

  • It makes it easier to add a unified textile theme. For example, many people choose to match their curtains to their throw pillows to add that cohesion they need. 
  • Having curtains can also give you more privacy. 
  • When correctly put, it can improve the overall atmosphere of your home and add an elegant touch. 

The Pitfalls

  • Having curtains can remove the openness of your home. If your room already feels cramped, this could prove to be a fairly rough problem. 
  • Dressing up your French doors can take time, money, and a little bit of skill. 
  • Curtains can be hard to maintain in high traffic areas.

How Do You Dress French Doors?

The neat thing about French doors is that you have a ton of ways to dress them up. These methods below can help you make the most of your dressing efforts.

Long, Flowing Sheers

You probably have seen at least one movie set that used sheer linens to frame French doors. It’s easy to see why…it’s romantic! The easiest way to add some breezy decor is to add a curtain rod above the French doors and load it with sheer curtains. This gives you privacy, keeps your room looking open, and also adds a little breeziness to your overall appearance. It’s both classy and classic.

Curtains And Blinds

Want to jazz up your doors in a more unorthodox manner? Blinds will give you tons of privacy and filter out more light, while curtains can add a decorative touch. This is a popular pick among fans of rustic design, as well as among fans of contemporary homes. To make things more woodsy, use wooden blinds. To soften things up, use light-colored fabrics.

Tied Back Curtains

This elegant dressing method is a classic for French doors and offers up multiple ways to moderate your lights, not to mention coordinate your fabrics. This is a particularly popular method for farmhouse looks, as well as bohemian lounges.

Beaded Curtains

If you’re looking for a seriously bohemian, hippie vibe, then this might be a good choice. Beaded curtains add texture to your room’s look while also letting light in. We suggest this option for artist lounges and open patio layouts. 

Window Tinting

Now, this is a totally awesome idea that remains relatively rare to see. Window tints offer privacy, UV-ray protection, and the ability to tailor your doors‘ look to your unique sense of style. Fans of coastal decorations, stained glass looks, and subtle shading will love this option, especially if you add sheer curtains to finish off the look. 

Layered Curtains

So far, we’ve mostly covered concepts that are all about using one set of curtains to cover up your French doors. It’s a good choice for people who like to keep things streamlined; a little layering can go a long way. It adds dimension and texture, and can even make a small room look larger if you play your cards right. 

Read more: Can Curtains Make A Room Look Smaller?

If you go for layered curtains, you might be able to employ the use of a valance curtain to help frame your doors, while you add longer, sweeping curtains on either side of your doors. 

Roman Shades

Roman shades, also known as roller shades, are one of the more popular ways to add a modern touch to your room. If you’re a fan of shades, then this is an option that’s worth considering. Moreover, they tend to be installed in a similar fashion to blinds, so it’s possible to switch them out without too much trouble. 

Wooden Blinds

Wooden blinds are one of the more unique takes on decorating a pair of French doors, but that doesn’t make it a bad choice. It adds a rugged yet modern touch to any industrial or rustic setup.

What Size Curtains Do You Need For French Doors?

One of the most important things you need to think about when it comes to dressing your French doors is the size. And, without a doubt, the best measurement is usually floor length. At the very least, you should have enough curtain to cover the window portions of your French doors. So, how do you measure your French door curtains?

  1. Measure the height and width of your French doors. Write down these numbers. The length of curtain that you should buy should be at least two inches longer than the door. 
  2. For the width of your curtains, multiply your door width by 1.5. This will give you enough material to bunch in comfortably if you so choose. 
  3. If you’re at a loss, it’s good to know that most French door curtains are meant to measure 72 inches by 84 inches. It’s better to measure your doors, just in case.

How Do You Hang Curtains On French Doors Without Drilling Holes?

If you’re a renter, drilling holes in your walls might not be doable. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to go curtainless. There is a way to hang up curtains without drilling holes using a product called Kwik-Hang. This product uses a set of pins that attach to the top of your doors‘ trim as the base for your curtain hanging. 

Another option that you can use is to employ self-adhesive curtain hooks as a way to hold lighter rods. This is often the more affordable way to make it happen. 

Click here to get curtain hangers from Amazon.

Can You Put Blinds On A French Door?

While it’s not the easiest project out there, it’s absolutely possible to put blinds on a French door. To do this, you are going to need a drill and you will also need to have open mounting brackets that you can slide the blind fixtures onto. When installing blinds, make sure that you add a couple of inches of extra material above the window area, and keep door handles away from the blinds. 

Click here to get blind brackets from Amazon.

How Do You Hang Shades On A French Door?

The short answer to this is, very carefully. The long answer is that you’re going to have a bit of a procedure ahead of you. Here’s the step by step: 

  1. Get some blinds (or Roman shades). When buying blinds, add 4 inches to both the width and length of the French door. Order outside mount blinds since they’re not going to be completely flush against the window.
  2. Get a tape measure and measure two inches above the window portion of your doors. Mark it off with a pencil on each end. Repeat this process at the bottom of your French door windows. The bottom portions will help ensure that your blinds will stay straight.
  3. Hold your mounting brackets against the lines you drew, and use a pen to mark where the drill holes will be. Use a level to ensure that you’re not going to hang them up crooked. 
  4. Use a 1/16 inch bit to drill holes at each of the drill marks you made. This will be where you secure your brackets. Place the brackets at the holes and use a flathead screwdriver to secure them in place. 
  5. Slide the rails of the blinds or shades onto the brackets, and lock them into place. This should be enough for the full installation to be complete. Enjoy your shades!

Can French Doors Be Tinted (And How)? 

Like with most other types of windows, French doors can be tinted through a wide range of different methods. If you’re well-off, you might be able to order custom-made French doors that are fitted with tinted glass. However, most people do not have that kind of money to spend on a project. So, you might need to get a little creative. 

The easiest way to do this is to buy a window tinting kit that is specially made for your home. Window tinting kits use specially-made cling film to add the tint you want. The film can be cut to size and is typically applied using a squeegee. Surprisingly enough, it’s not that hard to do and also happens to be relatively affordable. 

Click here to get window tints from Amazon.

How Should You Choose Your French Door Curtains?

Honestly, a lot of it deals with your personal preference. Like with most other aspects of interior design, there are no clear-cut rules when it comes to choosing curtains (or really any dressing) for your French doors. However, these tips can help you make a safe decision:

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors are consistently a safe bet, regardless of the material or style you choose. They can help expand a room visually and will match with anything you have. 

Color Coordination

Color coordination always works well. If you have an overall theme, running with it is usually a safe decision. Just make sure that you don’t choose a pattern that’s too busy.

Mix And Match

To add more dimension, mix and match patterns. Floral patterns with a solid white sheer? Oh my, yes! However, you don’t need to stop at solids and patterns. There’s a whole guide on how to mix and match curtains and sheers if you need some advice.

Curtain Thickness

Interior French doors are best matched with polyester sheers, while doors facing the public may require more coverage. A general rule of thumb is that you should go for thicker curtains if your doors are going to be facing the outside. After all, no one needs to see what’s going on at home.

Dark Vs. Light

Unless your room is very spacious, it’s best to shy away from darker colors on French doors. Too much darkness can block out most of the light, which can make your room feel fairly cramped. For example, a full black curtain look on French doors leading to a small area may be enough to make your room look very dimly lit, even if it’s not.

In Closing

French doors might traditionally be curtain-free, but that doesn’t mean you have to stick to tradition. In fact, most interior design experts seem to agree that adding curtains to your French doors is a smart way to improve your overall look. It adds unity to your concept and also has the nice perk of giving you some much-needed privacy.

When you’re picking out the right curtains (or blinds, or tints…) you should take your time. After all, curtains help frame a room. Once you settle on a way to dress up your doors, the actual installation should be a breeze. Happy decorating!





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