DEAR GAIL: We just bought our first home and are very excited. We have wood floors in our family room and have selected wood blinds for the windows. There also is a sliding glass door and we don’t want to ruin the look with vertical blinds. Can I put wood blinds on the door as well? — Emily F.
DEAR EMILY: Congratulations on your first new home; how exciting for you.
I know that many people have trouble dressing their sliding glass doors with vertical blinds, but please do not place wood blinds on the door. Wood blinds are a horizontal window treatment, the same as metal miniblinds or shades. When I say horizontal treatment, I am referring to the slats that go across your window from side to side and go up and down when you pull them open. A vertical treatment has slats that go from top to bottom and when pulled open go side to side.
Horizontal treatments, especially mini and wood blinds are not meant to be pulled up and down on the window. Instead, you are just supposed to open and close the slats as you would on a shutter. The weight of the blinds and continued pulling up and down will wear the head rail quickly; there’s also a chance you’ll pull the blind right out of the window header. Fabric treatments are lighter in weight and are easier to operate. But, do be aware that if a fabric shade is made with a heavy blackout liner and fabric, you’ll need some extra support when installing the head rail.
So what are your options?
You could have a wood shutter installed on your slider; I do this very often so that it matches the blinds. With this option, I need to let you know that you will lose the view out of one side of your door when you want to open the slider. The shutter door will slide off the operating side of the slider and in front of the other shutter door so that you can get out of the door. If you have a great view out to your yard and feel you want to view it through the sliding glass door, I would not suggest this as your first option. Plus, it is quite pricey.
Another vertical option is a fairly new product called sliding panels. This has more of a contemporary feel but you can change that depending upon the material selection you make. Instead of narrow PVC slats as you have on a vertical blind, this is made from wider fabric panels. They hang from top to bottom like a vertical blind, and when you open them, the panels slide behind each other. It has a very nice clean look.
Drapery panels also are an option. Now I know you are thinking about the type of draperies that your grandmother had on the ugly white traverse rod, but things have come a long way since then. The design is basically the same — you have a fabric drapery panel that comes across the door — but the hardware selections are unlimited. Manufacturers now make beautiful traverse rods in iron and wood. Or, you can use a decorative iron rod with ring clips that you push across the window.
My suggestion, if you select this option, is to invest in a decorative traverse rod. In case you are not familiar with a traverse rod, it is simply a drapery rod where you open and close the drapery by pulling a cord, sort of like a pulley. Of course you can always use a standard traverse rod and then add a decorative valance to cover it.
One note of caution with a drapery panel treatment is to remember that the fabric is going to pull over to the permanent window side of your door and stack there when you have the door open. Fabric treatments have more fullness than others and if you don’t have much wall space next to the door, most of the panel is going to be in front of the window. When having it made, ask about the “stack back” of the treatment; this is how much wall space the panel will take up when it is pulled opened.
I hope I gave you a few other ideas and options for you door.
Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, mail to: 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her Web address is: www.GMJinteriors.com.