How to dress bifold doors - Grand Designs Magazine
Bifold doors wiith curtains

How to dress bifold doors

If you need privacy or shade, here's how you can use blinds or curtains to complement your stunning doors.

By Mary Richards |

Bifold doors are usually installed because of the statement that they make, opening the inside up to the outside and reducing the barrier between the room you’re in and the great outdoors. For those reasons, many people choose not to cover their bifold doors, leaving them natural. However, if you live somewhere where you’re overlooked and you need privacy, or you need to add some shading from the sun, then you may want blinds or curtains. Here’s what to consider.


Many people leave their bifolds without any kind of window treatment because it’s not always obvious how blinds could work. Lisa Cooper, of Thomas Sanderson, points out there are options. She says, “When you don’t have a lot of room around your doors, pleated blinds are a great solution designed to take up little space. By fitting a single blind to each panel of your bifold doors, you have the flexibility to adjust individual blinds to reduce the amount of light shining through your room.”

Image credit: Thomas Sanderson

Roller blinds are another good option.

“If there’s enough space above your doors, roller blinds are another fantastic choice for bifold doors. They’re sleek and streamlined and can roll up out of the way so you can still admire your view and move easily through your doors. If your bifold doors are in your dining space, you can choose a moisture resistant finish which also means it’s simple to wipe of any spills or stains,” says Cooper.

Image credit: Thomas Sanderson

Most blind manufacturers will have a choice of blinds. Easy-fit or no-drill blinds clip into the frame around a glass panel, so they don’t obstruct the doors and give a neater finish. This type may not be suitable for Crittall-syle doors, which have multiple pains of glass. The alternative is to use blinds that attach above the door frame, provided there’s space.


Curtains can be another good way to dress bifold doors, with a wide range of options available. Thicker curtains will provide more insulation and can make a room feel cosier, but they can also drown out the effect of bilfolds; lighter curtains can provide privacy and shade against the sun, but still allow light through so don’t have such a heavy feel.

Length is an important consideration, as you’ll need a curtain pole or track large enough to go across the entire span of your doors. For very large spaces, this can be expensive. Larger spaces need larger curtains, which also adds to the expense and means that there’s more material; when opened, large curtains can overlap your doors by a considerable amount.

One trick is to use an L-shaped track, so that your curtains open to one side and into the room, leaving your bifold doors fully exposed when you want them. And, For larger expanses, look out for the likes of Hillarys’ Wave curtains, which have a clever system in place that keep the curtains undulations regularly spaced apart.

Curtains in front of Crittall-style doors
Image Credit: Hillarys


To cope with the summer sun, or simply for reasons of privacy, you may want to consider options to give some privacy and shade, aside from the options above. Depending on what you want to do, there are plenty of options. Integral blinds built into the glazing of the doors are possibly the neatest solution, as they avoid blinds getting dusty or tangled and eliminate the need for any hanging cords. These options can be expensive and have to be specified at the time you buy the doors.

External blinds can be made of sturdy metal or plastic rollers and are designed to sit outside your home. Given that you’ll need to operate them from inside, you’ll want to choose powered models. The limitation of this kind of system is that, as most bifolds open outwards, you can’t have the external blind shut and the doors open.

For that reason, a retractable awning above the bifold or contemporary patio pergola with louvred roof may make more sense, as neither will spoil the look of your doors, and will provide the sun shading you require.

Photo: The Great British Awning & Blind Company