french door window treatment ideas

Behind the Curtains: French Door Window Treatment Ideas for Privacy

In any language, French door window treatment ideas abound

When is a French door not a French door? When it’s a porte-fenêtre, of course. That’s French for “door-window,” and it’s what the French call doors with multiple windows from top to bottom. It certainly makes sense, especially if you’re looking for French door window treatment ideas – it’s not just a door, it’s also a window, and naturally you want to decorate it just as you would a window.

In fact, in the UK, they just call them “French windows!” And just as with actual windows, there are innumerable French door window treatment ideas available to you. What you’ll choose depends on several factors: your existing window décor, the amount of light and privacy you desire, and, your budget.

french door window treatment ideas

Unless you’re a truly out-of-the-box type, you’ll want to decorate your French doors the same as your windows. Mixing shutters with honeycomb blinds, for example, is not typically pleasing to the eye.

Luckily, pretty much anything you desire for your windows will also work for French doors. That leaves light, privacy, and budget for your consideration.

Mounting treatments on the door

Speaking of shutters – the most expensive option – you might think you can’t install them on French doors because of the decorative handles most doorfrench door window treatment ideass have. Those handles usually extend back over the window, so whatever covers that window has to be thin enough to slide behind them.

But if you have the budget for shutters, be aware that almost all manufacturers offer cutouts to work around your lovely door handles! And of course, if your doors have standard knobs, you don’t have anything to worry about in the first place.

Another problem to consider when pondering various French door window treatment ideas is that unlike a window, they are frequently opened and shut. Anything you install on the door should be attachable at the bottom, or should be easy to raise, to keep the treatment from flopping around.

In addition, mounting anything on the door itself means you’ll use an outside mount: a bracket for holding the rod in place that will stick out from the door, instead of being attached to the inside of a window frame.

That’s another reason to keep a narrow profile on your door, because a large, bulky bracket and rod will stick out too far into your room. Instead, opt for lightweight café rods and brackets, such as the Dresden 7/16″ White Café Curtain Rod.

Mount your rod bracket about one inch over each door’s top window, and about an inch to the outside, and do the same at the bottom. A traditional door-mounted look would then be a curtain attached at the top and bottom, either left as is or gathered into an hourglass shape with a matching curtain holder or pretty ribbon.french door window treatment ideas

Because café rods won’t hold a heavy curtain, you’ll want to choose sheer curtains, which are reasonably priced, and they’re easy to find with rod pockets at both top and bottom specifically for door treatments. Alternatively, choose something dainty and lightweight such as the Danielle Eyelet White Curtain Panel Pair, and convert it by adding a second pocket at the bottom to match the top pocket.

Finally, you can attach blinds or shades to your French doors, similar to mounting the café rod. This Green Mountain Vista Easy Glide Insulated Roman Shade, in addition to its handsome looks, offers easy one-handed operation, so you can easily raise it when you want to open and close the door without the shade flapping.

If you opt for blinds, be sure to keep in mind that narrow profile needed to fit blinds behind decorative door handles. One-inch slates for wood, faux wood or plastic should fit comfortably behind most handles.

If you prefer to keep your blinds or shades lowered at all times, attach them to the bottom of the window with hold down brackets, usually included with the blinds when you buy them.

Mounting treatments on the wall

There are also plenty of French door window treatment ideas that you can mount on the wall instead of on the doors themselves. You can choose treatments that are heavier and more luxurious, offering greater privacy and light-blocking qualities, though these are often the most expensive options.

Just remember to mount your draperies with enough room beside the doors to allow the drapery to stack to the side when opened, leaving the door uncovered. You can choose curtain pairs that will match your other window treatments, or go for a more modern look with a large drape that pulls to one side only.

With curtains, you can add some embellishments such as decorative curtain rods or curtain trims. Or consider a layered treatment, in which a beautiful sheer filters light close to the doors, and an outer, heavier drapery, serves as a nice frame to the sheer when left open, and offers greater privacy and light- and sound-blocking when closed.french door window treatment ideas

One caveat to using draperies over your French doors: Because these doors are large and dominant in a space, don’t go overboard with heavy, trimmed draperies and embellishments. They’ll make your doors take over the room visually.

Finally, the latest trend in window treatments: Window films, which stick directly to the glass and stay in place all the time, until you want to change your décor. These can simply be functional for filtering out bright sunlight, or can be decorative, as they come in a wide variety of cute images and designs. You can even paste fabric or decorative paper into each pane!

Whatever window treatments you choose for your French doors, be sure to check out the huge selection at, where the only thing we discount is the price – never the quality.

Another favorite for a warm look is the Colonial Bamboo Ring Top Curtain Panel.

We also love the unobtrusive elegance of the Kenney Mfg 1″ Hamlin Silver Double Curtain Rod.