Blog Archives

How to Cover Sliding Doors or French Doors

Dear Design Diva,

I moved into a home with sliding doors out to a deck. The previous owner put vertical blinds up, but I hate how they look. We have neighbors behind us that could see in if we took them down, so leaving the window bare isn’t an option. We do plan on using this doorway, so whatever we get has to be easy to open so our family can get in and out. Should I stick with the vertical blinds or is there another window treatment out there that is both functional and attractive?

Dierdre on Deck

Dear DD,

We have something in common. I hate vertical blinds, too! Thankfully, there are many other ways you can get privacy. Here are some of them:

The first option is probably the most affordable, because it is simply two bamboo shades hung next to each other. You can pull them both up above head height for easy entry and exit, or you can keep one side down and one side up.

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Bamboo Shades

There is a new product that is made from woven organic material or woven with wood (or a combination of both) that moves along a track like vertical blinds, but it much nicer to look at. The one below is a loose weave and allows a lot of natural light in even when it is closed.

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Natural Ripple Fold

The treatment below is the same product, but using the woven wood, so it is far more opaque. This one was ordered with an optional decorative valance.

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Woven Wood Ripple Fold

Another product that slides open and closed on a track is the sliding panel treatment. Below you see it woven from natural grasses. Just like the previous product, you can get it in woven wood, woven grasses, and more!

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Sliding Panels

Here is a sliding panel that is made with textiles rather than the organic material. Available in different colors and levels of sheerness, this works well in modern or traditional interiors. With its similarity to the Shoji screen, it also suits an Asian theme perfectly.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Sliding Panels

The key to window treatments for sliding doors or french doors is the ease with which they open and close. If you want a fabric treatment, like a curtain, be sure to hang the fabric from rings, which will glide open and closed easily.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Flat Panel with Metal Rings and Rod

Grommet top drapes will also slide open and closed easily, and can be made from a wide range of fabrics.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Grommet Top Drape

These sheers offer privacy while letting natural light filter in. They are easy to open and close since they are hung on a metal rod with rings.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Sheers with Metal Rods and Rings

If you really love the look of wood rods, you could hang fabric from one with wood rings, but they are a little more challenging for opening and closing. Wax on the wood rod makes the rings glide more easily, but they still don’t slide as easily as metal rings on a metal rod.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Drapes with Wood Rod and Rings

So now you see that you are not stuck with vertical blinds. There are lots of options available to you, so select one that best suits your lifestyle and your decor.

Thanks for writing!

The Design Diva


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Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design.

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Saving on Draperies and Blinds

valance, blinds, curtains

Layered Blinds and Valance

Dear Design Diva,

I had an interior designer come to my home to give me ideas for draperies and blinds. I am just now recovering from the shock when her quote was for thousands of dollars! How can I achieve an elegant look but save money too?


Dear “O”,

Working with some interior designers can be quite costly. You are paying for their expertise in design, but if you can do the work yourself you can save lots of money. It might be a little difficult finding a designer willing to work that way, though, since they make money off of the entire project and not just the design.

Since fabric is the most expensive part of a window treatment, valances are much more affordable than drapes. Find a valance design which suits your room and style, shop at discount fabric stores for the right color and pattern, and either make them yourself or find someone who sews in her home, since those seamstresses are usually more affordable than a formal workroom.  You can also shop online for pre-made valances if your windows are of a standard size. The one tip I always recommend is hanging them high above the window, so only a small portion of window is covered. This will give more prominence to the window and allow more light to shine through. Affordable, woven wood blinds can be added for texture and privacy.

Hope this helps!

The Design Diva

Do you have a design dilemma you’d like answered? Leave a comment below or email at

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

Curtains or Drapes – Which is it?

Window Treatments, Drapery, Valance

Window Treatment


Dear Design Diva,

I am decorating my new home and I am thoroughly confused when it comes to my windows. Why do some people say I need window treatments, others say I need curtains, and still others say I need drapes! What is the difference?

Window Challenged

Dear WD,

I guess it would seem confusing to an amateur decorator, but any interior designer worth her fee is sure to know the differences. “Window treatments” is the broad term used to refer to anything you use to cover or accent your windows. This includes curtains, blinds, drapes, shades, cornice boards, valances, wood blinds, or plantation shutters.

curtains, valance

Curtains with Valance

A curtain or curtain panel is a length of fabric that has a rod-pocket along the top which gets gathered on the rod informally. It is usually unlined, and can be either floor length, to the window sill, or  a half-window height referred to as “cafe curtains”, often seen in kitchens and bathrooms.

Curtains are usually a more casual option, and are great for summer when you want a light, breezy look at the windows. You can also find outdoor curtains that are made from durable, weather resistant fabrics and are popular for privacy and softness around decking, arbors, and gazebos.

A drape, or drapery panel is a length of fabric that has an attached lining and buckram at the top for stiffened pleats. The pleats can be various styles, such as pinch-pleat, goblet, inverted, or cartridge pleat. Draperies are hung with hooks on either traverse rods or rods with rings.

Drapes, Skirted Drapes

Drapes with Accent Banding on Top and Bottom

Drapes are usually reserved for more formal or traditional decors. Drapery fabrics are usually more expensive than those used for curtains, and the labor to construct them is higher, and the hardware is more expensive, so the entire project will end up costing you more.

I hope I have cleared up your confusion. Thanks for writing!

The Design Diva

If you or anyone you know has a question for The Design Diva, either enter it as a comment below or send an email to:

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.