Practical patio door drapes

The key feature of patio door drapes is to design them so they allow easy access to and from the room when the doors are open. When doors are open the drapes should not be blown around by any draughts. When the doors and drapes are closed the room should have a comfortable and attractive look.

First look at other options

Although we're looking at drapery, you should always consider alternatives when dealing with patio or sliding doors.

One of the most useful additions is vertical blinds or shades. You can buy vertical blinds where all the vanes pull back to one side. This means you can arrange it so the stackback is on the side which doesn't open.

Vertical blinds can be used in conjunction with drapes, so you can use the blinds to block sunlight while still leaving the main drapes open. In this case the blinds would be fitted inside the recess.

Plan the position of the drapes and fittings

This is important for all drapery, but especially for patio and sliding doors. Make sure you leave enough space for people to move freely in and out.


We'll use the illustration below to show how to plan your patio drapes. (The following comments can also be applied to most window treatments.)

Always make an allowance for stackback space either side of the window. This is especially important for patio and sliding doors, so the drapes hang well clear of the openings.

When fitting a pole or rod, most people will fix it at line A. My suggestion is line C. In this situation a distance of one third up from the top of the window to the ceiling gives a balanced effect.

For the stackback on this window, I'd suggest line 3. Lines 1 and 2 don't allow enough room, while line 4 is too much.


planning patio drapes


Here is the position for the pole, and the stackback areas. I suggest you always make a drawing to scale of your window and mark in the positions like this. You can then measure off the distances for the fittings.

window stackback & pole position


Here is the pole fixed in position. Note that drapes never hang right at the ends of poles, but finish a few inches back from the ends. Exactly how much depends on the make of pole. You'll need to allow extra for the bracket and finial. That's why this pole looks longer than the marks in the previous illustration.

pole over patio window


Now you can see the drapes hanging just over the edges of the window recess. The doors are framed nicely, but the drapes don't conceal the windows.

patio drapes


You can apply these principles to any window treatment. Here is the same patio window with swags and cascades.

Note that in order for the swags to hang down just enough to cover the top of the window, the top treatment is located much closer to the ceiling.

You could use a valance or cornice instead of swags.

patio with swags



As you can see, as long as you make sure you don't impede access via the patio door, you can use almost any window treatment you like.

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