Choosing the Best Vertical Blind Alternative for Sliding Glass Doors

Sometimes, people get into the habit of thinking that vertical blinds are the only viable option for sliding glass doors, but, the truth is, there are other options that are worth considering, and some have additional benefits that might be worth you taking into account. Below, we take a closer look at some of these benefits as we explore the best vertical blind alternatives for sliding glass doors.

Why Look for Alternatives?

As mentioned, there are benefits to choosing vertical blind alternatives when it comes to coverings for your sliding glass doors. For instance, if one of your goals is to block out glare, as well as potentially harmful UV rays that come through your glass door, regular vertical blinds might not be the best option. On the market, there are alternatives that might be more practical and stylish than traditional vertical blinds. You haven’t necessarily got to pay a huge amount more than when purchasing vertical blinds, and the alternatives are still available in all sorts of fetching styles. Plus, in case you look to sell your home at some point in the future, you'll be increasing the asset value of the building by having a well-made, well-functioning and attractive sliding glass door covering!

Alternatives to Consider

Vertical Cell Shades

Vertical cellular shades
VertiCell Light Filtering
Vertical BLackout Blind
Vertical Blackout Blind
Vertical Blackout Shade
Vertical Blackout Shade

A cellular shade is an excellent option for wider windows and patio doors that need insulation from the heat or cold. These kinds of shades can be opened from either side. When vertical cell shades are fully collapsed, it’s hard to even notice them. Stylistically, the honeycomb design adds a pleasing look, whilst providing extra insulation against sound. This can be a good move if you're anticipating a lot of street or garden sounds!

Naturally, glass doors are a great way to let plenty of light into your home, but sometimes it can be too much, and you need to have some control over the entering rays. It's possible to have vertical cellular shadings in light-filtering and blackout fabric, which will go some way to balance the incoming daylight and, of course,  maintain your privacy. This will also be more pleasant when the night draws in. It will help keep out those UV rays that can be harmful to you, as well as fade furniture over time.

You're also looking at a more energy-positive option here, as these shades will block out all excess heat from inside their honeycomb-structured air pockets. So, the shades reduce heat obtained through the windows, and, in turn, this reduces the home’s energy cost. You can go for double- or even triple-cell fabrics for additional insulating layers. 

Ideally, you want a solution that's easy and hassle free. These types of shades should be made with an excellent standard of craftsmanship and be safe and secure to use. For further ease of use, moveable side rails are available with locking handles for easy operation, and you can opt for the cordless mechanism, in order to avoid the tension of pull cords and chains.

Roman Shades

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A strong option for those after a modern, simple, clutter-free solution. You can hang Roman shades in panels, a method that will easily help you to control light from either side of the sliding glass door. One important thing to remember: make sure to mount the shades high enough above the sliding door frame, otherwise they might obstruct the use of the door, or even hit people as they walk through!

Panel Track Blinds For Sliding Doors

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levelor sliding door blind
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Click to See More Styles

For a modern solution, consider sheer fabric panels. These give nice, clean lines to smaller spaces like patio doors.

Additionally, with a solar-screen textile, glare and harmful UV rays will be blocked, without your view being interrupted. You may want a full-height sliding door to the porch or perhaps a divider for an open-plan home – panel track blinds are a great, modern solution. They're practical and simple, whilst, stylistically, adding an element of sophistication. They're actually inspired by the Japanese shoji screens, which are known for their ability to conserve space within the home, and they've become a popular choice for many households here in the USA

Perhaps one of their major benefits is how versatile they are. They're very functional, and when installing, you can decide which way they should stack when the window door is open. Dust can be a real annoyance, but due to their design, panel track blinds attract minimal amounts. Every now and then, you should just need to use a low-power, handheld vacuum to remove the dust and wipe fingerprints away, if any.

Safety is always a key consideration, and panel tracks have a design that's easy to operate for adults and kids, so they reduce the chances of having accidents greatly. They work by using a wheel-sliding mechanism. Plus, they should prove to be a good long-term investment, as they're very durable, being less likely to break down compared to other window coverings that are corded or have a motorised system.

Sliding Shutters

These are a popular choice, and it's not surprising, as their appeal is very attractive to the eye. These blinds have each shutter panel hanging from an easy-to-install vertical track where they can slide past each other to open and close as needed. These are available in faux wood, which is a more energy-efficient option, whilst offering an aesthetically-pleasing look. 

Levolor Perceptions Sheer Shadings

This is an elegant option that also provides the practicality of a traditional set of blinds. Stylistically, they offer the soft look of sheer draperies, with the added light control of blinds. They have rigid, fabric-covered vanes that integrate with the surrounding sheer fabric. These vanes can be opened to allow light in, or closed if you want a darkened room.

sliding shutters
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Click the image to see more styles & current offers

Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters can be installed in real or composite wood. They come in three popular louvre sizes: 2 ½”, 3 ½” and 4 ½” – choose accordingly to match your desired privacy, ventilation and lighting level. The louvres can be manipulated to be fully opened or closed or somewhere in between, giving you excellent privacy and light.

Plantation shutters are energy-saving, thanks to their insulating design. They're also very durable and will last the distance. 

Drapery, Drapes and Curtains for Sliding Doors

If you want to talk about fashionable alternatives, drapery is one of the most fashion friendly! But it looks good without hindering the use of your door in any way. You can opt for a drape that fully covers the door, or have one that needs to be pulled back to the sides using a decorative tieback.

So, we've established that drapes look great, but they also function well on a practical level too. They make controlling light and privacy levels easy, provide solid sun protection and offer energy-saving insulation. If you want to create even more coverage, drapery can be layered with blinds or shades, which will also add more depth to the level of design on display. Essentially, drapery allows you to have a great view of the outdoors when open and full privacy when closed. 

You might want a room to be lightened by the rays coming in through your door, but just want it to be softened a bit. This is where drapery works well, you could select a translucent style of curtain that will still bring light in, but not at its full force. Having light filtered through curtains this way can add a lovely, cosy and peaceful feeling to a home. If you're trying to create a simple, minimalist style to your living room, it's a great option.

Blinds and Curtains

Why settle for just one? Yes, you might not initially think to cover your sliding glass door with both curtains and blinds, but it's really not a bad idea. Not only does it add extra depth to the style factor, it adds an extra level of light control. Sometimes, you may have your blinds and curtains drawn, or sometimes just your blinds – it all depends on how much light you want to let through in that moment. You would have your blind installed directly in front of the door, then the curtains in front of the blinds, draping down attractively. If you're having trouble deciding whether to opt for blinds or curtains, this is the perfect solution – have both! You then get the added fun of working on a winning design combo – do you purchase matching blinds and curtains or look for two different colours that compliment each other?

The Best Alternative?

A bit of an anti-climax, for sure, but it's a bit hard, in this instance, to give a definitive answer! With this kind of thing, it's more about finding the alternative that best suits your needs, to find your best alternative. As well as weighing up the pros and cons of each option, it may be helpful to ask yourself why you wanted an alternative to vertical blinds in the first place; what was it that you were trying to avoid, and what were you trying to gain? That’s what you need to find in your replacement choice!

Some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • If you're looking to buy speciality window coverings, you'll be looking at a higher expense, so choose carefully! There are plenty of companies who can offer some helpful advice before you go ahead and make your purchase. You should do plenty of research, not only to find the right sliding glass door covering, but also to compare prices. Remember that the choice of fabric will play a big part in the cost, but it's something you can bring down if you like a certain style – like, say, wooden, but opt for the faux version instead.
  • A lot of doors don’t have enough depth if the blinds need to be installed as an outside mount (which they usually would). So, this means you’ll have to install the window treatment on the wall above. Check this before progressing any further with a purchase, in case you buy something and then when you realise you'll have to have it on the wall above, you decide you don’t like the look!
  • Think about how the door handle could interfere with the window covering of your choice. As much as you want it to look great, if your covering is hindering the practical use of the door handle, it's not fit for purpose! A designer can help you get around any issues like this.
  • Are you after door shades that match or compliment each other, or coordinate with any other horizontal treatments in the room? Something to consider when you're picking your designs, as you’ll be able to find plenty of ways to keep everything consistent in design, or different, but complementary, if you prefer.
  • You need to decide if you're going to purchase a pre-made set of coverings or go down the made-to-measure route. Now, most sliding glass doors are a typical size, so it shouldn't be too hard to find a cover in your required measurements. However, if you can't, made-to-measure is a good option. Another benefit of made-to-measure is that it opens up a large choice of fabrics that might not typically be available in the average retail store. As always,  just consider your budget, as made-to-measure will always be more expensive.


You don’t have to stick with vertical blinds; there are plenty of viable alternatives out there for your sliding glass door. The best thing to do is to weigh up the pros and cons of each offering and decide which option best suits the window area you'll be covering. The three main pointers to consider are functionality, style and budget. Make sure that once you've decided on your option, you purchase from a respectable company to help ensure you receive a decent-quality product  and good customer service, should you need any additional advice before you purchase or any aftercare.