Privacy & Panache: The Best Sliding Glass Door Coverings

A living room with a large sliding glass door.

Sliding glass doors often get the vanilla treatment. Nothing unusual, nothing to entice the eye. Just plain old off-white vinyl vertical blinds. The biggest window in the house is also the dullest.

It’s easy to see why — vinyl blinds are cheap and ubiquitous. They’re a safe choice, if uninspired.

But maybe it’s time to dust off that 20th-century one-size-fits-all approach and try something different. Here, we’ll discuss the best options for sliding glass door coverings based on style, efficiency, and utility.

Key Considerations

1. Size

Sliding doors are larger than most windows. Smaller blinds or curtains may leave gaps that allow light to seep in and diminish privacy. Oversized coverings may look out of proportion and be clunky to operate.

2. Style Points

Window coverings can make or break a room’s aesthetic. Sleek and contemporary? Try simple roller shades or panel track blinds. More of a rustic vibe? Look into bamboo shades or heavy drapes.

Your sliding door is a focal point in the room. Choose your coverings wisely, grasshopper!

3. Light Control

Oh, the power of light! It can set the mood and energize a room.

If you’re a sun worshiper who loves natural light, sheer curtains or semi-opaque cellular shades could be your new best friends. They’ll let the sunshine in while giving you some privacy.

On the flip side, blackout curtains or plantation shutters may be a better choice if you’re more of a vampire and prefer a dim, cool room (or if your door faces the blistering afternoon sun). They’ll block the light and provide a bit of insulation.

4. Privacy

Of course, you’ll want the neighbors peering in as you binge-watch Stranger Things in your Snuggies. Doesn’t everyone?

Otherwise, privacy might be near the top of your window treatment checklist. Thick drapes, wooden shutters, or roller shades can keep prying eyes at bay while enhancing your decor.

For a happy blend of natural light and privacy, consider top-down/bottom-up shades or frosted glass film.

5. Energy Efficiency

Your sliding glass door is a significant source of heat loss during winter and heat gain in summer. This is especially true if it leads to a patio slab that reaches 170 degrees or more on the hottest days.

Energy-efficient cellular shades, thermal curtains, or window quilts can reduce energy losses. They act like a buffer, trapping air between the glass and the room and helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

6. Maintenance

Vinyl blinds are a cinch to clean with a quick wipe down, while fabric curtains might need a trip to the dry cleaners. Wooden blinds or shutters may require more TLC to keep them looking their best.

Before you fall head over heels for a style, check out its care label. Unless you relish cleaning and use it as a form of therapy.

Best Window Coverings for Sliding Glass Doors

Roller Shades

Roller shades are a top pick due to their ease of operation and excellent light control. They come in various materials, from sheer to blackout, and offer a clean, contemporary look that never competes with your decor. Plus, when fully raised, they tuck neatly away, letting you enjoy that glorious view outside.

  • Woven wood shades have a more casual or boho vibe.
  • Solar roller shades reduce glare and UV rays, keeping your room cooler in the summer.
  • Motorized electric shades roll up or down with a button push or via an app on your phone.
  • Designer roller shades add drama with custom prints and colors.

Panel Track Blinds

A cousin to vertical blinds, panel track blinds have a modern look and feel. They consist of overlapping fabric panels that stack neatly to one side when opened and are perfect for large windows and sliding doors.

  • They span the width of your door instead of its height.
  • They’re customizable for various window sizes and sliding glass doors.
  • The panels slide easily along a track, giving you full access to the entire door.
  • They’re available in various materials, including fabric, woven wood, blackout, and solar.

Cellular Shades

Cellular shades merge light control with energy efficiency. Their unique honeycomb design traps air between the glass and the room, reducing heat transfer.

  • They come in various styles, from single to double cells.
  • Light-filtering options let some sunshine in while maintaining privacy.
  • Blackout shades block light and heat for a cooler room and better sleep.
  • Top-down/bottom-up shades give you greater control over light and privacy.

Vertical Blinds

They may be old-school, but vertical blinds aren’t about to ride off into the sunset. That’s because they’re an excellent fit for oversized windows like those in sliding glass doors. They swing open to let you walk through and stack neatly to the side when open.

  • They’re ideal for expansive windows, patio doors, or room dividers.
  • You can choose from various light-filtering materials like fabric, vinyl, faux wood, or solar screen.
  • Fabric slats offer a softer look than traditional vinyl.
  • Motorized vertical blinds give you button-push control.
  • To spice them up, add a fabric valance or replace the traditional wand with a colorful chain.

Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters combine a classic appearance with solid functionality. Their popularity dates back to the plantation manors of the old American South.

  • They have broad, adjustable louvers that let you control the light, view, and privacy levels to your heart’s content.
  • They’re energy-efficient, helping to insulate your room in summer and winter.
  • They can be customized to any door size.
  • They’re available in wood, faux wood, and vinyl.
  • For a seamless experience, consider bi-fold track-style plantation shutters that fold and stack to one side of the door.
  • They’re durable and easy to clean, making them a long-term investment for your home.

Curtains & Drapes

Curtains and drapes can give your sliding glass door a soft, elegant look. They’re available in various lengths and styles, from floor-to-ceiling drapes to cute cafe curtains. Blackout curtains are the perfect solution for those who enjoy a good nap during the day.

  • Hang them on a traverse rod for easy opening and closing, or use curtain rings with clips for a breezy feel.
  • Choose from materials like silk, linen, cotton, or sheer voile.
  • Heavyweight fabrics can block light and provide extra insulation.
  • Add a valance or cornice board above your curtains for a pop of color and texture.

Matchstick Shades

Matchstick shades give a room a natural, organic feel. They’re made from sustainable bamboo or reeds and are available in various color tones and weaves.

  • They’re lightweight and easy to install.
  • You can choose from a range of patterns, including flat or hobbled.
  • They add texture and interest to your room without overwhelming it.
  • Matchstick shades pair well with curtains for more privacy and light control.

Layered Options

Don’t be afraid to mix and match your window coverings for a unique presentation. Layering curtains over blinds or shades allows for greater light control, privacy, and visual appeal.

  • Curtains can soften the lines of vertical blinds or enliven plain roller shades.
  • Layer blackout curtains over cellular shades for maximum light control in bedrooms.
  • Use sheer curtains over plantation shutters for a softer look in living areas.
  • Mix different fabric textures and patterns for enhanced interest and depth.

Frosted Glass Film

Frosted glass film maintains natural light while adding privacy. It comes in various designs and is an affordable DIY option.

  • Frosted film lets plenty of light through while obscuring the view from the outside.
  • It’s easy to install and remove without damaging your glass.
  • You can choose from different patterns, such as geometric, floral, or abstract.


So, there you have it — our roundup of the best window coverings for sliding glass doors. Consider your needs, style preferences, and budget when selecting, and don’t hesitate to call Aero Shade for help. We’ve been in the window treatment business for 50+ years and have covered thousands of sliding glass doors.

Or stop by our Los Angeles showroom to see, touch, and test working models of our products. Call us today! All estimates are free.

FAQs: More about Coverings for Sliding Glass Doors

Q: What’s the best option for maximum privacy?

If privacy is your primary concern, shutters or blackout roller shades are excellent choices.

Q: Are there eco-friendly options?

Yes, bamboo blinds and recycled fabric curtains are eco-friendly alternatives.

Q: Can I install window coverings myself?

Installation difficulty varies by type. Some, like curtains and drapes, are simple DIY projects, while others, like shutters, may require professional installation.

Q: Do window coverings affect home resale value?

High-quality window coverings can boost your home’s appeal and potentially increase its resale value.

Q: What’s the cost range for window coverings?

The cost varies widely based on the type and quality. You can find affordable options, like vertical blinds, or invest in luxury choices, such as custom shutters.

Q: Are there child-safe options for sliding glass door coverings?

Yes, cordless blinds and shades, as well as plantation shutters, are safe options if you have young children or pets at home.

Q: How do I clean and maintain my window coverings?

Most curtains and drapes can be machine washed, while blinds, shades, and shutters usually require dusting or wiping with a damp cloth.

Q: Can I use motorized blinds on my sliding glass doors?

Motorized blinds are a smart and convenient choice for sliding glass doors, especially for doors that are hard to reach.

Q: Can I have different coverings on different doors in the same room?

Yes, you can, but for a cohesive look, we recommend using the same or complementary styles and colors.

Q: Are there options that allow for adjustable light control?

Vertical blinds, cellular shades, and plantation shutters all offer adjustable light control.

Q: Can I use window coverings to improve my home’s energy efficiency?

Cellular shades and plantation shutters are known for their insulating properties, helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Q: What type of window covering is best for a modern interior style?

Roller shades, vertical blinds, and cellular shades offer a sleek, modern look.

Q: Can window coverings help with noise reduction?

Heavyweight curtains and drapes, as well as cellular shades, can dampen outside noise.

Q: Do all window coverings provide UV protection?

Most blinds and shades provide some level of UV protection, but solar shades are designed to block UV rays while still allowing light in.

Q: What’s the most durable type of window covering?

Plantation shutters, made from wood or faux wood, are generally the most durable window coverings.