In modern home interior, both external and internal bifold doors have become a popular commodity. They are fantastic alternatives to traditional patio doors, such as French doors, due to their space-saving properties. On top of that, they also let in an incredible amount of light into the home and can complement any living area looking to increase its feeling of spaciousness.
Bifold doors are popular for their slim frames and large glass panels. A bi-fold door consists of several panels arranged in a row. Each is connected to the door next to it via a set of hinges so that the entire arrangement folds in a concertina. This means that when opened, the doors won’t intrude on the surrounding space.
You’ll find bi-fold doors on the exterior of properties, typically opening out onto the garden and patio, but you’ll also find them in the interiors of properties. This is less common, but popular in modern homes looking to maximise open floor spaces. They can often be found bridging kitchens, dining rooms and lounges.
One issue some homeowners may find, however, is decorating their bifold doors. With so many styles of bifold doors available, including uPVC and aluminium bifold doors, it can be difficult to find the appropriate dressing.
Bi-Fold Doors: Blinds or Curtains?
The complex folding nature of the bi-fold door can mean dressing them is a little trickier than dressing a standard window. Thankfully, with just a little knowledge and style sense, it can be a lot easier than you think.
Dressing bi-fold doors with curtains
Curtains are a popular choice for bi-fold doors, but they pose a few problems. If your door is very tall, there might not be enough space at the top of the door to accommodate a curtain pole If this is the case you are already limited by your choice of dressings.
Considering that bifold doors let in an abundance of light, this can cause quite an issue at times when light is not wanted. The inability to install blackout curtains can ultimately hinder the plans you have for your home’s interior.
What’s more, since bi-fold doors often cover a vast expanse of a wall, you’ll need larger curtains to dress them. Large curtains can be incredibly heavy, and without the right installation, can cause damage to your walls. If you’re installing curtains on bi-folds in a lounge, then you might opt for heavy, blackout-style curtains, which will emphasise the problem further.
There are two problems here that you may encounter with your bi-fold patio doors.
Firstly, curtains over a certain weight tend to sag, but opting for curtains made of lighter fabrics may not diminish the light as much as needed. Secondly, the heavier the curtains the more robust a curtain rail you’re going to need to hold them in place. This can bump up costs significantly in an already expensive project.
This doesn’t mean to say that lighter fabrics should be ignored completely. Light muslin or voile curtains are unobtrusive and can look spectacular, even if they aren’t quite as effective at excluding light and sound. In the winter, you may also opt for draught excluders to help retain heat.
Dressing bi-fold doors with blinds
Blinds are often a better choice than curtains for dressing bi-fold doors, but how suitable are blinds for bi-fold doors? It all depends on the type of blinds that take your fancy, and how well they can be installed to suit your needs.
Roman blinds are designed to scoop up when not in use. This means you’ll need to leave a little bit of space at the top of the door, much like curtain rails. Roman blinds tend to be quite heavy, which could cause a problem when lifting them to the top of the door. You can overcome this issue however by fitting a mechanised, electric retraction device. Needless to say this will add considerably to the cost, but is still an effective alternative to curtains.
Roller blinds suffer from much the same problem, albeit to a lesser degree. They collapse into a cylinder which takes up a little bit of room.
They’re also much lighter and often elasticated, which makes it really easy to retract them. Venetian blinds offer similar benefits, as well as a unique aesthetic that’s proven consistently popular over the years.
Also worth considering are vertical panel blinds. Vertical blinds function more-or-less like curtains, opening from one or both sides. Their only downside is their appearance. They can look distinctly “office-like”, which might not be desirable, especially when contrasted with a homely interior.
A problem both curtains and blinds share when fitted to bi-fold doors is what happens when the doors fold.
As they fold, they expand, which may intersect the dressing. This means you’ll need to draw a set of curtains or vertical blinds entirely before you’re able to open the door.
Bi-fold doors with built-in blinds solve this problem. They’re slightly more expensive, more difficult to personalise, and there are fewer of them to choose from – but they offer a clean, elegant solution that’ll suit many interiors.
So What Should You Choose for Your Bi-Fold Doors: Curtains or Blinds?
There is no one ideal solution so before you decide, consider the following factors…
The size of your bi-fold doors will affect how much it costs to dress them. This is true of both curtains and blinds and can be quite steep depending on what style you choose. Of the available options, roman blinds tend to be the cheapest, but to get the best from them, you’ll need to equip them with an expensive motor. If you’re replacing one set of curtains with another, then sticking with what you already have will minimise the costs associated with installing new rails and other hardware.
Few of us enjoy living in a goldfish bowl at night-time, so the main purpose of window dressing – besides decoration is privacy.
Both curtains and blinds should perform equally here, but if you want to be extra sure nobody can see what you’re up to once the sun goes down, a thick set of blackout curtains are probably your best option.
One of the best things about bi-folding doors is how much light they let into the home. A heavy set of curtains, however, will reduce this. Even when they’re fully open, they’ll still be covering some of the windows, and limiting how much light the doors let in.
The amount of space at the top of your doors can make or break your decision. If there isn’t enough space to fit a curtain rail, you’ll need to consider blinds instead.
For more information on our bifold doors, contact us here.