Patio and French door blinds and shutters

Lisa Cooper

BY Lisa Cooper

Published: 10 July 2023 Updated: 21 May 2024

Exploring Solutions for French and Patio Doors

French doors and patio doors are popular architectural features that add elegance and functionality to a home. These glass doors offer an abundance of natural light, beautiful views, and seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces. To fully maximise their aesthetic appeal and practicality, window dressing solutions play a crucial role. In this article, we will explore various window dressing options, focusing on French doors blinds, patio doors blinds and door shutters, while highlighting the unique challenges they present. Let's delve into the world of window treatments for French doors and patio doors.

Understanding the difference

Fundamentally solutions for doors are based on the same window shutters and blinds you'd have for standard windows, just on a larger scale. But before you can work out which is the right type of dressing for your door you need to be clear on which type of door you actually have – a patio or a French door.

French doors consist of hinged panels that swing inwards or outwards to open. French doors add a touch of sophistication and classic charm to any space and are commonly found in traditional or transitional style homes.

Patio doors, on the other hand, are designed for seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor areas, with a sliding operation, rather than a traditional hinged door movement. They are usually larger and feature a single pane of glass, providing unobstructed views of the surrounding environment.

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Window Dressing Solutions: Blinds and Shutters

There’s really only two practical solutions for doors, and that’s blinds and shutters. Curtains are a third option but they’re not particularly practical as they cover too much of the exit from a practical purpose, and if the door is in a series of windows you’d end up with a lot of fabric at either end for a really bulky look, so they’re not really a viable option.

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Blinds for French and Patio Doors

Blinds are a popular window dressing solution for both French and patio doors due to their versatility and practicality. They come in various materials, including wood, faux wood, aluminium, and fabric and there’s a wide range of styles to suit different design aesthetics and door set ups.

Benefits of Blinds

There’s numerous benefits of using blinds in a door and it’s important to be armed with as much information as you can when you’re trying to compare two types of dressing.

Practicalities

Some blinds can be fitted into the rebate of the door, so you can open and close the door without having to touch the blind. Blinds are straightforward to operate, and can also be motorised so you can control them by remote, an app on your phone or even by voice - smart blinds are such a convenience and are soaring in popularity. There’s a wide choice of colour, dependant on what type of blind you choose, plus different coatings on specialist blinds can help with glare or overheating caused by excessive sunlight.

Light Control and Privacy

Blinds allow precise light control, enabling you to adjust the amount of sunlight entering the room. This feature is particularly beneficial for rooms that require privacy or protection from direct sunlight.
Blinds offer excellent privacy when closed.

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Challenges with Blinds

As there are benefits, so there are downsides, and it’s always worth being aware of them, just in case they are a deciding factor.

Limited Accessibility

When installed on doors, blinds may impede the full functionality of the door, as the blinds' cords or operating mechanisms can get tangled or obstruct the door's movement. Standard fitted hanging blinds can also flap around in the breeze when the doors are open which can be quite irritating.

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Shutters for French and Patio Doors

Shutters are a timeless and elegant dressing option that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of French and patio doors. They are typically made of wood, vinyl, or composite materials and are available in a variety of styles, including plantation shutters and tier on tier shutters.

Benefits of Shutters

There’s some very major differences from shutters to blinds, so let’s take a look at the benefits of window shutters over blinds.

Light and Privacy Control

Shutters offer excellent light and privacy control. With the ability to easily adjust the angle of the slats, you can enjoy natural light whilst maintaining your privacy from prying eyes.

Enhanced Insulation

Shutters provide an extra layer of insulation, helping to regulate temperature and reduce energy costs. They can keep your space cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter by minimising heat transfer through the glass doors.

Durability

Shutters are known for their durability and longevity. They are built to withstand daily use and are less prone to wear and tear compared to other window dressing options.

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Challenges with Shutters

And for balance, lets take a look at any potential downsides to opting for shutters over blinds.

Space Requirements

Installing shutters requires sufficient wall space on either side of the French or patio doors. The shutters must be able to open fully without obstruction.

Cost

Wood shutters tend to be more expensive compared to blinds or other window dressing options. However, their durability and timeless appeal often make them a worthwhile long-term investment. Vinyl shutters are a cheaper option and quality vinyl shutters have the advantage of not warping, cracking or fading in direct sunlight.

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Are there specialist Patio and French door blinds and shutters?

Yes there are. You can get specialist blinds which fit into the recess of patio doors, so they can still slide freely and the blind stays in place. For shutters, you can have tracked shutters, which run on a track not dissimilar to the patio doors themselves and will slide to reveal the doors, while French door shutters have a cut out where the handle is to allow operation. Fundamentally, doors benefit from a bespoke solution, in the same way flat pack furniture doesn't always work in unusual shaped settings.

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Compare and contrast

Choosing the right blinds for French doors and patio doors is a crucial aspect of interior design. Blinds and shutters offer distinct benefits and challenges that should be carefully considered. Blinds provide versatility and style options while allowing for light control and privacy. However, they may pose challenges in terms of accessibility and maintenance. On the other hand, shutters offer enhanced insulation, durability, and exceptional light and privacy control. However, they require sufficient wall space and come at a higher cost.

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In summary

Ultimately, the decision between blinds and shutters for French and patio doors depends on personal preferences, the overall aesthetic of the space, and practical considerations. By weighing the benefits and challenges of each option, you can select the window dressing solution that best suits your needs and enhances the beauty and functionality of your French or patio doors.

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