The Best Blinds for Sliding Glass and Patio Doors

Sliding doors and patio doors are a convenient feature for the home. They often welcome guests from your kitchen, living room, or dining room onto a back patio or deck. For families with pets or outdoor seating, the sliding door probably sees a lot of action – make sure your window treatment is durable and a functional fit for your patio door.

Best Window Treatments for Sliding Glass Doors and Patio Doors

Tips for Sliding Doors

  • If you have any other window treatment around the room, it is a good idea to choose a treatment that will coordinate with the other windows.
  • Sliding doors open horizontally, so it is recommended that window treatments should open in the same direction as the door itself.
  • Like other doors in a house, sliding doors are usually high traffic areas, therefore you need to consider window treatments that can handle the frequent, daily use.

Other Options

  • If you prefer something other than vertical blinds for your sliding doors, you still have quite a few options. In terms of soft fabric window treatments that can cover wider windows, we recommend roller shades, Roman shades and draperies.
  • Each of these types of window treatments will give you a number of fabric and style choices that can completely cover your sliding glass doors.

Vertical Blinds

Your sliding glass or patio door lets in lots of sunlight. It’s a great option to brighten up the inside of your home, but sometimes privacy takes precedence. Since you’ll be covering a lot of glass, think about the best style for your home.

Vertical blinds are a classic option for sliding doors, since they open in the same direction as the door. They're also durable and easy to clean. Also consider vertical cellular shades, an energy-efficient and convenient design that operates via movable side rails with locking handles. With vertical cellular shades, you won’t have to worry about external cords as a risk to pets or children.

Options for Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds not only are available in a wide range of colors, but materials as well. Vertical blinds can be made with PVC, faux wood, or even fabric, allowing you to better compliment the current décor or coordinate with existing blinds on other windows.

Vertical blind are also available in optional slat sizes as well as style from textured or smooth to S-shaped slats. Smooth slats are more simple stylistically, while textures can add more visual interest. S-shaped slats, given their unique interlocking design, are great for blocking light and providing more privacy.

The Best Alternatives to Vertical Blinds for Sliding Glass Doors

Want an alternative to vertical blinds to cover a sliding glass door or large window? Vertical blinds are durable and can span wide distances, but their utilitarian style isn't for everyone. We've got some other window treatment options for sliding glass doors that are just as functional and give you a more modern look.

Sliding Panels

Sliding Panels, also known as panel track blinds, are our top pick for sliding glass doors and wide windows. They give you sleek style, are easy to operate and are a versatile choice with hundreds of fabric options. Sliding Panel Blinds are made with flat vertical panels of fabric on tracks that allow them to slide to cover or uncover your window.

Options for Sliding Panels

Panel Track Shades are also a great choice if you want to make a style statement or coordinate with existing décor. They are available in a wide range of fabrics and some coordinate with roller shades. You can choose from light filtering, blackout or solar fabrics to get the light control that's right for you.

When customizing your shades, you can choose a wand, cord loop or motorized control. Choose whether you'd like your shades to slide to the left, right or split from the center to both sides (a split stack). To give your Panel Track Blinds a more finished look and cover the exposed track, you can add a fabric wrapped valance or cornice.

Vertical Cellular Shades

If you need to control the temperature in your room, Vertical Cellular Shades are the perfect choice for you. The honeycomb-shaped fabric construction creates air pockets that insulate your windows to keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They're just like cellular shades for standard windows, but the pleats run up and down instead of side to side.

Vertical Cell Shades are also the best choice if you want a clear view out your patio door. The pleated fabric collapses to a just a few inches at the side of the window. If you want your door completely uncovered, a Designer can help you add extra width.

Options for Vertical Cellular Shades

This clean-lined style will give you a more modern look than vertical blinds. Opening your shades is just like sliding open a patio door. Push a button on the side rail and slide side to side. You can choose which direction you'd like your shades to open, either left, right, split stack (shade opens from the middle and retracts to both sides), or center stack (shade retracts from both outer edges to "stack" in the center).

Choose from hundreds of colors, and light filtering or blackout fabric options to get the look that's right for you. Most fabrics will be white to the back side so you get a uniform look to the outside. If you want a matching look for the entire room, all vertical cellular shades come in coordinating horizontal shade versions.

For a more finished look, you can add a cornice to cover the exposed track at the top of the shade.

If your sliding door is opened frequently and comes in contact with dirt from pets or kids, a cellular shade could become soiled easily. If easy cleaning is important to you, we recommend sliding panels in a vinyl or solar fabric which can be wiped down with soapy water.

Curtains and Draperies

If you care more about classic style than specialty features and functionality, try custom curtains or draperies for sliding glass doors. Curtains will add softness and are a great way to camouflage a sliding door if you'd rather it not be on display.

Choose from patterns, prints, and solids in hundreds of colors to coordinate perfectly with your existing décor. If you need to control light or heat, add a blackout or thermal lining to your sliding glass door curtains.

Options for Curtains and Draperies

Curtains can be hung above your sliding door with a wider rod, so that they can be pulled back on the wall to completely uncover the door. Work with your designer to calculate this extra width.

To get the easy operation of a vertical blind and the look of a drapery, choose a traverse curtain rod. This rod allows drapery rings to slide across the full length of the window. If you need to use a traditional curtain rod, be aware that center support brackets may prevent your curtains from sliding all the way across the window. Split your drapes into two and pull them to the middle to close.

Avoid rod pocket style curtains for patio doors. They are not designed to be pulled open and closed frequently. Pinch pleat or grommet style curtains can easily slide side to side.

For a layered look, you can combine curtains with another sliding glass door window treatment. Some customers combine blackout curtains with light filtering vertical cellular shades or sheer sliding panels for adjustable light control.

Sliding Shutter Panels

If you want to match other shutters in your home, or give your sliding glass door classic style, Track Faux Wood Shutters are a great choice. These sliding door shutters will cover your door with two large shutter panels that can slide back and forth like the 2 panes of glass that make up your door.

Please note that half of your door will be covered at all times in the traditional configuration of these shutters for sliding glass doors. Check with a designer for options to extend the track on the wall beside your door.

More on Sliding Shutter Panels

Like vertical blinds, track shutters have louvers that can be tilted for adjustable light control. When customizing your shutters, choose from two louvers sizes. The larger your louvers, the clearer your view out will be when they're open. Please note that shutter louvers must be closed before sliding panels back and forth.

Because these shutters are made with PVC, they are great for high traffic areas and can be wiped down with soapy water to remove dirt. This material also won't warp in hot humid spaces. They're the perfect choice for a beach house where you may want to let sea breezes flow through while the louvers block some sun.

Sheer Vertical Shades

If you're looking for a replacement for vertical blinds, think of Sheer Vertical Shades as a hybrid between sheer curtains and vertical blinds. They are made with vinyl vanes (just like vertical blinds) connected to a large piece of sheer fabric that billows across the window.

Sheer vertical shades can be tilted open to let light in through the sheer fabric or closed to block light and offer more privacy. Choose from hundreds of fabrics in unique prints, textures, and colors to make a design statement with your sliding door.

More on Sheer Vertical Shades

Many customers choose sheer vertical shades to coordinate with horizontal sheer shades on standard windows. designers can help you find coordinating fabrics for a close match.

Some sheer vertical fabrics can be removed and machine washed, so they're great for high traffic areas like sliding glass doors. Be sure to check cleaning instructions for your specific fabric before washing.

Other Great Products for Sliding Doors

Window Treatments to Avoid for Sliding Glass Doors

We do not recommend using horizontal blinds for sliding glass doors. This includes wood blinds, faux wood blinds and mini blinds. It is possible to install them, but be aware of these potential concerns.

Horizontal blinds will be extremely heavy spanning a wide width like a sliding glass door. Lifting them frequently could put undue stress on cords and cause them to eventually break. Cords could be as long as 10-12 feet and look unsightly when puddled on the ground (not to mention a hazard for small kids and pets). Horizontal products can also be easily damaged by pets trying to slip behind to see out the door.

Wood Blinds, Faux Wood Blinds, Roman Shades and Woven Wood Shades have a large "stack". This is the vertical space at the top of your window that the blinds slats take up when fully raised. Unless you order with extra height, they may cover the top of the door opening when fully raised, forcing tall guests to duck when going in and out.

Roller shades, sheer shades, and cellular shades have a smaller stack and are an acceptable option when mounted on the wall above the window opening. However, consider having to fully raise all of the shades above the window every time you want to open the door. If you don't want the hassle, choose one of the products mentioned above that slide left-to-right.

Want More Ideas for Sliding Glass Door Window Treatments?

If you need more help finding the perfect window treatments for patio and sliding glass doors, Designers are available at 800-505-1905.


Patio doors or sliding glass doors are large doors that are made mostly of glass that offer great views and easy access to outdoor spaces. 

We recommend, vertical blinds, vertical cellular shades, curtains/draperies,  sliding shutter panels and sheer vertical shades.

We recommend draperies for sliding glass door if style is important to you. Just be aware that fabrics may require more frequent cleaning in a high traffic area. 

We recommend sheer vertical shades as they give windows a soft look with the functionality of a traditional vertical blinds

We recommend sliding shutter panels due to their classic style that cover the whole door and allow light through with simple tilting. Also, the PVC construction makes them durable and easy to clean. 

We recommend vertical blinds because they can be opened side to side in the same direction as sliding glass doors. They are also durable and easy to clean. 

We recommend vertical cellular shades as they offer complete coverage when closed whuch is great for privacy, blocking light and insulation.