Sliding glass doors are wonderful space-savers giving you functional access to a patio or pool area, courtyard, or garden. You get a great view from inside the living room too. The downside is that the doors make up a large element in a room, and can look like an interior decorating wasteland unless you do something about it.
If you have any sense of style, you have already figured that out. Integrating this blank space with the rest of your living area might seem hard. Let’s explore some sliding door design tips that could work for you.
We are assuming that your sliding doors are set into a plain wall, and are the standard height. We are also assuming that they are not surrounded by any ornate cornice or other items of architectural interest.
Treating your sliding glass doors like a window will immediately open your possibilities to include all curtain and blind options on the market. For the best effect, we would recommend that you hang curtains or blinds as high as you can so that you get that floor-to-ceiling look.
Also, hang the curtains wide so that they do not interfere with the sliding doors at all. When the curtains are open, you should be able to see all the glass of the doors displayed. This is only possible if you have about one foot (or more, depending on fabric thickness) of free wall space on either side of the door frames.
If you have more than a foot of height above the curtain rail, and the glass doors run the whole length of the wall, you could consider installing invisible or concealed pelmets. These would give you the option of a two-track system for two different types of curtains (fabric and lace, say) and uplighting.
Vertical blinds can also be installed using concealed pelmets. One happy side effect is that concealed pelmets reduce the dust on your blinds or curtains, making them last longer.
There are countless configurations of light-filterings shades available which offer your furniture and floor coverings protection from UV rays. Light-filtering vertical blinds are more practical than roller blinds for sliding glass doors.
From a design perspective, vertical blinds have their lines running from top to bottom, which echoes the lines of the doors, whereas roller blinds run crosswise to the vertical lines of the doors.
You can save roller blinds for smaller windows elsewhere in your home.
Contrast Wall Paint with Frames
Frames of sliding glass doors come in standard white or aluminum, but bespoke colors can be ordered. With white frames, you could go for a bold and bright color on the wall surrounding the frames: terracotta, bright red, navy blue, burgundy, or whatever color would also contrast well with the other furnishings in the room.
So that you’re not overpowered, the other three walls in the space should be painted stark white, or an “icy” shade of the bolder color used to surround the frames. Bold wall paint lends itself well towards plain white shades or vertical blinds, as opposed to curtains.
A large painting centered on one of the other walls of the room can serve to complement your bold treatment of the sliding doors.
Sliding Glass Doors Bring the Outside In
Architecturally, glass has been used to maximize natural light indoors. It also creates fluidity between the interior and exterior. If you have a patio with a pergola and lots of greenery leading off your sliding glass door, then a minimalist decorative treatment of your doors could be very effective.
If the patio is private, there is no need for anything more than the flimsiest of white or cream muslin curtains, which can waft the breeze when the doors are open. In warmer climates, often the same ceramic floor tiles are used inside the room and on the patio, thus further enhancing the flow.
Casual rugs can be used in the interior, where there is the most foot traffic.
Even more of your garden and outdoor living area can be brought into the interior ambiance by the judicious placement of a large mirror on one of the walls.
The effect can be further enhanced by putting a tall potted plant to one side of the mirror.
Full height slatted shutters fitted to the exterior and that open outwards are a great way to compensate for minimalist treatment of the sliding door design inside. With adjustable slats, shutters can be kept closed yet still let light in.
Shutters are typically made of aluminum, wood, or wooden lookalikes. There’s a wide choice to go with the standard sliding window door. For the matching of shutters to your sliding glass doors, we recommend you speak to the professionals before purchasing either component. They are best placed to give you the advice you need.
Make your sliding glass doors the focal point in the room. Imagine all that glass is a huge TV. Place your sofa facing the sliding doors. Resist the urge to place a low coffee table that’s the same length of the sofa in front of it. Opt instead for a smaller low table flanked by an ottoman of the same height.
If space constraints make it necessary to have the TV in this room, place another sofa in an L-shape to the one facing the glass sliding doors. Placing the TV on the opposite wall will then reduce the visual impact of the television in this living space when it is not in use. Your eyes will be naturally drawn to the sofa, inviting you to sit, relax, and enjoy the view.
Bookshelves In the Corner
Very often, there are small awkward spaces to the left or right of large sliding glass doors. Consider a narrow, floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. The bookshelf can house books, obviously, but also feature a sculpture or other artwork, by adjusting the height of the shelves.
A standard lamp could be used in front of the bookshelf to animate the corner.
Space for Brainstorming
Interior decorating is as much about inspiration as it is about creating lines, space, and flow. Have fun brainstorming possibilities with your family, friends, and professionals!
Check out our other articles for more fresh ideas.