Donna contacted Mad About The House to ask about a giant set of curtains for her new doors.
Q: My predicament – we’re in full flow of having a double storey extension built. The lounge will have 5m of bifold doors with a dark grey aluminium frame leading out to the garden, these are something I’ve lusted after for a long, long time and am feeling the pressure in terms of choosing a suitable blind/curtain to do them justice. It would be great to use the large space to unleash some colour and pattern. Any help or pointers to some beautiful corners of the interiors world would be hugely appreciated.
A: You’ve raised an interesting point here Donna, as I think most people just don’t bother with a window dressing on these huge doors. I, too, have a set of folding sliding doors going out to the garden and have never covered them with anything, although as the garden is not overlooked it has never really been an issue.
However, if you are overlooked or just feel a bit spooked by the idea of living in a goldfish bowl at night, then some sort of covering is a good idea. There are a couple of issues that need to be addressed though.
The first one is that most doors are built to be as large as possible in the available space, which means that very often there isn’t enough space between the top of the doors and the ceiling for a curtain pole.
That’s problem number one, and I’m guessing it’s probably too late to change the doors and make them smaller so that you can fit the pole. That is even assuming you would want to.
The second issue is that even if there was enough space at the top, most of these doors open the full width of the space, which means that when you pull any curtains back they take up space at the sides, which blocks the light and spoils the effect of the wall of glass that you have worked so hard, and presumably paid so much to create.
And finally, a set of curtains that are five metres wide when drawn is incredibly heavy, which makes it very hard for a pattern match as the curtains will invariably droop under their own weight and the effect will be spoilt.
So, I think for those reasons, curtains might be tricky and, unfortunately, you will come up against the same issues with blinds as there may not be enough space for them either. Roman blinds tend to need at least 20cm of stacking space, which I certainly don’t have. Do you? Obviously a roller blind takes up less space but is correspondingly less attractive.
You can try contacting a specialist blind manufacturer to ask about vertical panels – see the image above. Take care they don’t turn out too “officey” though.
Where does that leave you? Well, assuming the doors have been professionally created and installed, you won’t need curtains for warmth so it is really about decoration – it’s true that five metres of glass can be a bit stark of an evening – and privacy.
How about fixing some really light muslin or voile curtains? When the doors are open they will drift lazily in the breeze and when the doors are closed they will hardly take up any space but will have the effect of just softening it all round the edges. White is the obvious choice – very Scandinavian. But you could also look for different colours to c0-ordinate with the rest of the room.
Below are some great sites for material that you could use for cushions or elsewhere in the house.You say the whole house is being renovated and, if you are unable to “unleash” some colour in the kitchen you can let rip elsewhere. You may not want any of these in particular but it might give you an idea of some different places to look.