Should French Doors Have Curtains

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French doors are a popular architectural feature that add elegance and allow natural light into a space. Their primarily glass construction also provides a beautiful view outdoors. However, the expansive glass panes pose some functional considerations, namely privacy. This begs the question – should they have curtains?

There are good arguments on both sides of the curtain debate. Ultimately, the decision depends on your specific needs and style preferences. This article explores the pros and cons of adding curtains to French doors to help you decide what’s best for your home.

Why Add Curtains to French Doors



The clear glass panes of these doors leave your home exposed. Passersby can easily peer inside, especially at night when indoor lights make the interior clearly visible. Curtains solve this loss of privacy issue. Simply draw them closed when you want to obscure the view.

You can control the level of privacy with the curtain style you choose. Blackout-lined curtains completely block visibility, while sheers slightly obscure the view. Opt for lighter curtains during the day and draw the blackout style at night.

Light Control

Uncovered French doors bathe a room in sunlight, which is usually desirable. But at times, intense sunlight can create glare, fade furnishings, or make the space uncomfortably bright. Curtains allow you to moderate the incoming light based on your needs.

Close sheer curtains to soften harsh light. Pull blackout curtains across the doors when you want to darken the room for sleeping or watching TV. Open all the curtains to enjoy full sun exposure. With curtains, you can adjust the lighting easily.


Glass doors lose a tremendous amount of energy, allowing indoor heat to escape in winter and outdoor heat to penetrate in summer. Curtains create an insulating buffer zone that helps regulate temperature.

The most effective curtains for insulation are tightly woven, lined options in darker colors. Close these curtains over your French doors to help retain conditioned air inside your home.

Noise Reduction

French doors with single or double-paned glass offer little barrier to outside noise. The transparent panes allow sound to travel freely into and out of a room. Adding curtains helps muffle both extraneous outdoor noise like traffic as well as indoor sounds like conversations.

Look for lined or heavy, dense curtains to get the most noise-dampening benefits for French doors. Draw them shut when you want to create a quieter, more private space.

Design Enhancement

Beyond the functional benefits, curtains provide the opportunity to incorporate color, texture, and pattern into your decor. They allow you to layer your design and create a framing focal point on otherwise plain French doors. You can also tie curtain styles in different rooms together for a cohesive look.

Home designers recommend choosing curtain colors and patterns that coordinate with the rest of your interior decor. Neutral solids or subtle patterns are ideal for small spaces, while bold prints make a statement in larger rooms.

Reasons to Skip the Curtains

Though curtains offer some useful benefits, there are also reasons you may want to forego them:

Preserve the View

The expansive glass panes of French doors are designed to provide a beautiful connection to the outdoors. Hanging curtains obscures the view, counteracting the main appeal of this architectural feature. Avoid curtains to showcase your outdoor space.

If you want light privacy without sacrificing the view, consider partial curtains, shades, or strategic window film. These sheerer options provide discreet coverage while still allowing you to appreciate the outdoor vista.

Maximize Natural Light

One of the main advantages of these lovely doors is allowing plentiful natural light into your home. Curtains inevitably obstruct some of that sunlight, especially when closed. If illuminating your space is a priority, skip the curtains to enjoy the full benefits of uninhibited sunlight streaming through French doors.

Shades offer a nice compromise if you want a small amount of light diffusion without sacrificing too much brightness.

Limit Visual Obstruction

They help create an open, airy aesthetic with their minimal wall interruption. Hanging curtains introduces visual weight and blocks more of the doors. If maintaining an uncluttered look is important in your space, avoid curtains.

Let the beautiful architecture and transparency of your doors shine by leaving them uncovered. Consider privacy films or strategic landscaping if outdoor views into your home are a concern.

Enjoy the Outdoors

They offer easy access to outdoor patios, decks, and porches. Curtains hung over the interior side make enjoying these spaces feel more disconnected and enclosed. Without curtains, your indoor and outdoor areas blend together seamlessly.

If your French doors lead to an outdoor oasis, think twice before covering them with fabric. You’ll likely want to keep them open more often than closed.

Maximize Floor Space

Opening French doors outward takes up interior floor space in front of the doors. Curtains compound this spatial intrusion. When pulled open, curtains extend out even further into a room than the doors alone. For tight spaces, the additional floor obstruction from curtains could mean the difference between a room feeling open or cramped.

Consider hanging curtains higher to avoid having them pool on the floor and take up valuable square footage. Or look for alternative window treatments like narrow roll-up shades.

Curtain Considerations for French Doors

If you decide to install curtains on your French doors, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose full-length curtains that reach the floor for maximum coverage when closed. Anything shorter leaves an exposed gap.
  • Select wider curtains that are at least twice the width of your doors so they completely cover the glass panels when drawn.
  • For noise insulation and light blocking, look for lined curtain panels made from tightly woven, heavy fabrics.
  • Opt for side rods or ceiling mounting rather than above the door to avoid obstructing door operation.
  • Incorporate holdbacks or tiebacks to keep curtains out of the way when doors are open.
  • Layer sheers behind blackout curtains to allow some visibility even when closed.
  • Match curtain color and patterns to your interior decor for a cohesive look.

French Door Curtain Styles

From breezy sheers to opulent drapes, here are some stylish French door curtain ideas:

  • Solid or subtly patterned linen panels in neutral hues
  • Textured sheer curtains with pom pom or tassel trim
  • Boldly printed drapes in contrasting colors
  • Elegant floor-length velvet drapes
  • Swag valances with side curtains
  • Double rod with sheers and blackout curtains
  • Roman shades mounted above doors

Beautiful Curtains for Perfectly Dressed French Doors

These doors are an elegant architectural element that flood a space with natural light. But their expansive glass panes also necessitate remedies for privacy, light control, and insulation.

Hanging curtains is the most comprehensive solution to these functional considerations. Curtains also provide the opportunity to incorporate captivating fabrics into your design. Just be sure to weigh the pros and cons before committing to curtains over your doors.

Ultimately, your specific needs, design style, and priorities for the space should dictate your decision. If stylish privacy is your goal, luxe curtains are a phenomenal choice. But if showcasing your beautiful outdoor view takes precedence, you may decide to leave the French doors sensational in their simplicity.

What type of curtain rod works best for French doors?

Ceiling-mounted or side-mounted curtain rods are ideal. They allow the curtains to open completely without obstructing door operation.

Should white curtains be used on French doors?

White curtains can work well, especially if they match the color scheme of the room. They create a light, airy look and allow the natural light from the doors to permeate through.

What are some good window covering options besides curtains for French doors?

Alternatives like Roman shades, roll-up shades, or privacy window film can provide discreet coverage for French doors without fully obstructing the view.

How can curtain tiebacks be useful for French doors?

Tiebacks keep the curtains neatly out of the way when you want the doors open. They allow you to enjoy the outdoor access and view that French doors provide.

What color scheme works best with French door curtains?

Choose curtain colors and patterns that coordinate with the overall color palette in the room for a cohesive look. Neutrals and subtle prints are generally recommended.

What length should curtains be for French doors?

Full floor-length curtains that puddle slightly on the floor look best for French doors. Anything shorter leaves a gap when closed.

How wide should French door curtains be?

For full coverage when closed, curtains should be around 2-3 times the width of the French door. Too narrow and light will leak through.

How can you layer window coverings on French doors?

Hang double rods to layer sheers and blackout curtains, or combine curtains with shades or blinds. This allows light and privacy control.

Should solid or patterned fabrics be used on French door curtains?

Both solid and subtly patterned curtains work well. It depends on your personal style. Solid panels make a bolder statement.

Why are lined curtains recommended for French doors?

Lined curtains provide insulation, noise dampening, and better light blocking. These benefits are useful for the large expanses of glass in French doors.

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