You’ve seen the movie scenes: sunshine is beaming down, birds are chirping and then a woman gleefully thrusts open a set of French doors to shout her excitement: “I’m getting married today!”
There’s something innately romantic about grabbing two handles and crossing a wide threshold, gauzy sheers swaying behind you like bridal veils. Indeed, French doors are commanding, dignified and certainly a designer’s dream.
In fact, the right window treatments for French doors can be just as dramatic as the doors themselves. It’s true, and I’ll prove it to you, as we explore the why, where, what and how of French door window coverings.
Why Do You Need Window Treatments for French Doors?
It’s a fair question. After all, you want that extra rush of natural light to flood your home and the custom wood molding to accent your décor. But adding window treatments won’t prevent any of that. If done well, window coverings on a set of French doors can actually amplify the size of your doors. They will draw your eye out and up, thereby expanding their visual impact. Window treatments are also an easy way to impart color or pattern into a room, which is another way to grab attention and turn your French doors into the focal point.
Of course, there’s also the practicality of window treatments. Covering your French doors helps shade your house during the heat of the day, so it stays cool and your electric bill stays low. Secondly, window treatments on a pair of French doors create much-needed privacy whenever you need it.
Where Do You Use Window Treatments for French Doors?
You’ll find two main types of French doors in a home: interior and exterior. And, truthfully, each serves a different function in your home’s design.
Interior French Doors:
These are the doors that divide one room from another room within your house. When closed, they create clear borders and help define certain areas of the home. You might have a set between your dining room and kitchen, for example. This can give you the privacy you need while prepping for a dinner party. Or, maybe you have a home office that’s dressed in French doors, so you can (somewhat) separate work from your personal life.
Exterior French Doors:
As the name implies, exterior French doors open to the exterior of your home. Their main function is to provide an entry point to the outside world. Exterior French doors are most common toward the back of a house, where the main living space transitions to an inviting porch or patio. Another fantastical place for exterior French doors is on a balcony. I would argue that any master suite with a Juliet balcony should have a set of double doors leading out to it.
What Types of Window Treatments Are Best for French Doors?
While you could get wildly creative with the window panes on your French doors, you’ll get a much more elegant aesthetic by keeping it simple. Here are four of your best window treatments for French doors:
Remember when we said window treatments can make your French doors appear larger? Drapery is the best way to achieve that look. When hung correctly, drapery beautifully frames a pair of French doors and adds height to the room.
Take note that the length of the drapery and mounting height of the hardware is key. To add height, you want to mount the rod at least seven inches above the top of the door frame. And the drapes should be long enough that they just kiss the floor.
2. Roman Shades
Roman shades for French doors are typically outside mounted, meaning they attach to the wood door framing. The shades are constructed to be wide enough and long enough to cover the entire glass panes when the shades are fully closed. Because of their delicate fold, Roman shades instantly add a touch of romance and intrigue. Depending on the style, fabric and color of fabric you choose, you can elicit any number of moods with a Roman shade. A flat Roman shade, for instance, is a bit more streamlined – perfect for a modern scene or formal dining room. Whereas, a relaxed linen has more folds and feels casual enough for the bedroom or kid’s playroom.
Regardless of the fabric, you want to be sure to custom-cut a Roman shade for each door. If there are windows flanking the French doors, you’ll want separate shades for them, as well.
3. Woven Woods
Layering texture is a time-tested design trick. If you’re looking to jazz up a room, woven woods on your French doors is an easy way to do it. The natural grain of the wood lends charm and flavor to an otherwise monotone space. They’re also a great complement to wood floors in the office or wicker furniture on the back patio.
The same basic rules apply to woven woods as with Roman shades. These coverings should completely cover the window panes on your French doors. With your woven shades properly fitted and outside mounted, they will. From there, you can quickly adjust the shades open or closed by pulling down on the cord.
4. Layering Drapery + Roman Shades or Woven Woods
Sometimes, two is better than one – and that might be the case with your French door window treatments. A combination of drapery and shades will do wonders at blocking out natural light, because they effectively cover all corners and crevices of the door. More than that, layering is a great way to add drama to a room. With two shields in front of your French doors, they become even more mysterious.
There is one major exception to this technique: Avoid using the same type of fabric for both the drapes and shades. Contrast is key. The treatments need to be different enough to stand on their own. Otherwise, it’s not an effective form of layering.
How Do You Create the Right Look With French Door Window Treatments?
Now that you’re an expert in window treatments for French doors, it’s time to put all that knowledge to good use. Simply follow these dos and don’ts, and you’ll be well on your way to a professional-level design.
- DON’T obstruct the door handle – As obvious as it sounds, you need access to your French doors’ handles or door knobs. When measuring the width of your doors for Roman shades or woven woods, make sure to take into account the placement of the door knobs. You don’t want the fabric of the shade to cover the knobs, so that you can’t easily open and close the door (ain’t nobody got time for that!).
- DO design your drapes to kiss the floor – You don’t want your drapes to break too far off the floor and look too short for the space. At the same time, you don’t want a huge puddle of fabric that will get dragged across the floor every time you open and close the drapes. They will just collect dirt and dust. Ideally, your French door drapes (and any drapes, for that matter) will break ¼” to ½” off the floor. From a design perspective, you’ll get the most impact by going all the way down, plus it looks more professional.
- DO match your home’s style – The most important tip I can offer as an interior designer is to stay on target. Window treatments are an extension of your home’s interior décor. If they don’t complement the other accessories in the space, you’ll end up with a visual cacophony that feels scattered and confused. Not sure how to match your window treatments to your home’s design style? We’re always happy to help!
Why Choose Everhem Window Treatments for French Doors?
From the calming allure of cool "Moon" to the rich tone of "Fawn", Everhem has a wide selection of fabric options and colors. You’ll have no problem finding the right hue and fabric for your French door drapery or Roman shades. Plus, we offer woven woods in several neutral tones.
The best part is everything is custom-made to suit your home to a tee. We’ll work with you one-on-one to make sure your French doors are exactly as you dreamed them to be!
If you have any questions about window treatments for French doors – or any other part of your home – don’t hesitate to reach out at email@example.com.