Privacy ideas for interior french doors

decor64March 10, 2012

We have a library/den on our first floor near the front hall. It has french doors leading into it, with just clear glass, no mullions. I'm going to be working out of my home and need to make this fairly private. Any ideas about how to attractively cover the glass? I had thought about roman blinds but then the rings and cords would show and I also had throught about drapes with tiebacks like this (scroll down). Any thoughts?

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Do you need to be able to see out of the glass? It not, I would suggest window film, either frosted for a pattern. You can get window film at the big box stores or else online.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:12PM
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There are a lot of older homes in my area with similar doors. The "standard" treatment is to have very full sheers on the doors, with a rod at both top and bottom. Still lets light through, but blocks direct sight, and you don't see anything on either side of the door but the sheers.

Remember that any drape or curtain or blind or shade that you put on the door will swing wide when you open or close the door unless it is secured to the door at the bottom or is weighted in some way.

There are tons of patterns for decorative window film. I'd check that before committing to drapes.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:20PM
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I have a French door with mullions on a room that we've used as a den or a guest room and years ago used gathered sheers with top and bottom rods. Provided enough privacy for guests but allowed light thru. The door is currently sans covering now and I've turned it back into a guest room so need to put something on the window again. I've thought about using privacy film altho don't consider that a very original choice so may do something similar to your pic if I can find a fabric that works with the decor of the room and the rest of my home. While the author of that blog doesn't say how she made those curtains IMO they may need to be double sided to show the right side of the fabric both on the outside and the inside of the room, depending on the fabric. One could use different but coordinating fabrics.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Look at stained glass film. Very functional plus artistic! And I like the idea of sheers, but shir them on rods at top and bottom so they are not moving everytime the door opens.

I am not liking the idea of tie back drapes on a door that opens and closes. That would be my last resort.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:33PM
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We installed two sets of double French doors in our basement. They provide access to a storage closet and a service area. All of the doors have mullions but have frosted privacy film to disguise the contents. When back-lit they give illusion of additional rooms beyond.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:50PM
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Krylon sells a "Frosted Glass" spray paint that I've used in some bathrooms where the condensation from the shower made window film less of a viable option.

I also had a client use Gallery Glass to make faux stained glass for a door. It ended up looking pretty good! I was pleasantly surprised because I thought it would be kind of cheesy.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 2:04PM
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Thanks so much everybody! I didn't mention that my first choice would be to have some sort of treatment that could be pulled aside or lifted (or ?) so that when I'm not working it would be uncovered.

I'm not sure I'm too crazy about the drapes with tiebacks either. I had thought about some kind of small roller blinds or even some kind of panel that I could hook on.

I'll probably do the gathered sheers if I can't think of anything else. But of course that doesn't allow them to be uncovered when I'm not working.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 2:56PM
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Mini blinds? Not very pretty, but they open and close.
I like sheers. Another idea:

A little Velcro would keep the bottom from flapping.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 3:38PM
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They do make mini-blinds that have clips at the bottom to hold the blinds to a door when opening and closing it.

Another thing to consider is the door handle--if it is a lever-type and projects over the window glass, you may have to take that into consideration when choosing what to put on the doors, so that it doesn't get in the way.

If you do sheers, you can usually get a tie-back to match. Then you can tie the tie-back around the middle of the sheers when you aren't working. The picture I linked to is of lace curtains, but you'll get the idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: sheer curtains

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 4:27PM
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lol, w-a-a-ay back in the seventies i taped pretty tissue papers to each pane of glass in my bdrm. cheap, pretty and i changed them with the seasons.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 5:23PM
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We had pleated shades on ours......looked nice when down and had clips to keep them secure at the bottom. When drawn up they looked very compact with a slim headrail ....they were a soft white colour, didn't block the light but gave us the privacy needed for the bedrooms. sorry I don't have pics

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Ta Da!
Your solution may be a swing-arm drapery rod. I learned about them when an antique set was donated to a church rummage sale I was organizing. You can swing them into an open position when you want light to come into the room. Of course, if space is really tight , they could be irritatingly in the way, but if you have room for them to swing, they could do the trick.

Here is a link that might be useful: click on alternate picture

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 10:52PM
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You could also consider Smart Glass.

Here is a link that might be useful: Smart Glass

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 9:48AM
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This is what we did for a guest room in our last house.



Room Picture:

One side was an exterior door, one was an interior door that looked in to our study/library.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 10:05AM
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I have these french doors with roman shades.

The shades are wide enough so the door frame hides the outer strings. The back of the shade is the same color as the front and the strings match, so they are not obvious when the shades are down with the doors closed. They simply look like finished shades.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 11:37AM
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Great ideas everyone! I haven't heard of Smart Glass, I will have to check that out.

Boopadaboo - my husband had the same idea to put drapes on the outside of the door. Unfortunately we only have three inches on each side of the door because of built-in bookshelves. They are part of the judges panelling so they can't really be removed.

nancyinmich - I'm in MI too! Same issue with this solution as the previous. Not enough space at the sides of the door for them to fold back. Since my french doors are rather wide the panels would actually project further into the room than the depth of the bookcases so that won't work.

WhiteRiverSooner - this might just be it! Do you mind if I ask if you made them, had them made or purchased them from somewhere? Because of the position of the door knob (relative to where the glass starts) I only have one inch. Wonder if that's enough to hide the side rings?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:11PM
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I think you still might have enough room. My shades only overlap a little and the strings are just barely covered. I do have the added benefit of the mullions, so the center is covered as well.

I will try to measure and take a picture of the backs of the shades. I had these made. I am not a DIY person.

There also are a few other options - there are stringless roman shades now -


Here is a link that might be useful: how to make stringless roman shades

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Here you can see the doors as they look from my formal living room with the doors closed and shades down. You can see that it just looks like shades.

The strings and loops are there, but they are not very noticeable.

If you look really closely though, you can see the mechanism.

Here is a close up of the mechanism.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 7:10PM
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