Many people think that window treatments are difficult for French doors, especially when those doors also lead out to a busy patio. But you’d be surprised to know that you can dress any French door with any type of valance.
That’s right. Any.
The key is to get creative and to understand how each type of valance can be hung. I will show you examples of both French doors and single door patio doors, but the idea is the same. So let’s take a look at some examples and explain how you can make these valances work in your own home.
Hang the Valance High Enough (Which Is the Correct Way to Do It Anyway)
Outside-mounted valances should be hung high up on a wall. When your room’s ceilings are only 8 feet tall, this means that the top of the valance should be brushing up against the crown molding under the ceiling. With 9-foot ceilings and above, a valance doesn’t have to be hung right under the ceiling, but the idea is the same:
An outside-mounted window treatment should frame the window, not try to cover and block its view.
This rule should be followed regardless of whether a valance is to be installed over a French door or a regular window. But it comes in especially handy when it comes to patio doors. You can learn more about where exactly a valance needs to be hung in this post. Let’s move on with an actual example of how that looks on a patio door.
This breakfast area continues with the same valance that was hung in the kitchen above the sink. Even though this window treatment looks like a Roman shade, it’s actually a faux shade valance (also known as a “fake shade”). A hobbled faux shade, to be exact. Notice how the scalloped bottom hem falls right on the top frame of the patio door. This way, the door can be opened freely without any obstructions.
The same fit was carried over to the two adjacent windows. For reference, the ceiling in the room was 9 feet tall, while the valance was 23 inches long. The width needs to be just enough to cover the door or window.
Up close – notice the careful fit right above the top of the door frame.
Here’s another example that shows the same concept. The striped double-swag valance was hung just high enough for the French door to be opened freely. This window treatment looks like a scarf, but if you look closely, you’ll realize that it actually isn’t one. The valance was made separately by joining two custom-made waterfall swags. The sides of the doors were framed by floor-length pinch pleat custom draperies. It’s hard to tell since the drapery pole is a traverse rod.
Treat the French Doors As If They’re Windows
If you’re lucky enough to have rows upon rows of French doors or another nearby door to access your patio, treat your French doors as if they’re windows. It’s perfectly fine to dress some of your French doors while leaving others bare. Don’t think that it will look “strange” just because none of your neighbors are doing it.
They’re probably wondering how to dress their doors, too. Let’s take a look at how layered window treatments look on French doors.
Take a look around this formal dining room and its luxurious window treatments. Can you see the tall French doors here?
Wondering how this layering was achieved? First, a box pleated balloon valance was made with a silk in old gold. Next, single width custom draperies were made with a woven polyester check fabric, also in gold.
And to top it all off, a board-mounted valance was hung right under the ceiling. The valance was constructed with a single swag and extra long jabots on each side. Notice how both of the valances were decorated with the same onion ball tassel fringe.
Here’s a similar example, in a traditional master bedroom.
The two examples above are specifically using balloon valances and swags. Imagine how beautiful these ideas would look with modern valances, too! For example, this arched valance in black and gold was hung over a French door that was being used more like a window than as a door in a modern living room.
Consider an Inside-Mounted Valance
The examples above were all about outside-mounted valances that are hung high enough to draw the eye up and frame the door. But another way to enjoy a valance that won’t obstruct a French door is to install it as an inside mount. In other words, think about just covering the glass panes of the doors.
Then, considering framing the door with extra long draperies to get that layered look and add height to the room.
Most patio doors have glass panes that are about 23 to 25 inches wide, so a 27-inch valance like this scalloped valance is a perfect fit.
Fabric makes the valance, so the same valance style can be made virtually any way you imagine it to be made.
Here’s another example of a valance that’s inside-mounted on a patio door. This style is called the victory swag valance. It’s also sometimes called the patriot valance.
Remember the idea of a valance looking like a Roman shade, which we call faux shades? Well, this kind of valance works as an inside-mount, too. Take a look at this French country eat-in kitchen and its whimsical rooster print faux shades. I hope I’ve given you a few ideas to inspire you.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few more tips to follow with valances that are inside-mounted to a patio or French door:
- Downsize the rod pocket from the standard 3-inch rod pocket to a 2-inch rod pocket. This way, you won’t need a heavy and bulky curtain rod.
- If your door is made of steel, consider a magnetic curtain rod so you don’t have to drill through the door. Now, it’s easy to buy a poor quality magnetic rod that doesn’t work. Look for those with excellent customer feedback and it should work in the long-term for you as well.
- Since the sunlight hits these valances directly, look at it as an opportunity to add vibrant trims to your custom valance. Consider acrylic beads or alternating tassels to make a more unique window valance.