Why allow placement, such as on a front door, limit your choices for curtains. In this guide, we help you find a front door curtain that works best for your door. Let’s get started with four important questions to help you make the best choice.

  1. Would the curtain impede the opening of the door? A door opens and closes and curtains can certainly block the door. But most curtains and window coverings can work on a door with a little advanced planning. 
  2. What is your purpose for the curtain? Is your goal privacy, decorative, or both?
  3. What equipment do you need for installation?
  4. Do you need to buy separate accessories for the front door curtain?

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Our 5 top picks for front door curtains

 
Best privacy curtain for the price

French door panel

  • Dual rod pockets top and bottom.
  • Can be used with magnetic rod; not included.
  • Adjustable tie-back.
  • 11 colors.
  • Machine washable, gentle cycle.
  • Price is per panel; not a set.
 
Best sidelight panel for privacy

Sidelight panel

  • Matching adjustable tie-back.
  • Majority of purchasers verify room darkening feature.
  • Dual rod pockets
  • Machine washable; gentle cycle.
  • 11 colors
 
Best sheer curtain for door

Linen texture, semi sheer

  • 6 colors, 4 sizes.
  • Dual pockets, top and bottom.
  • Light filtering.
  • Machine washable, cold, gentle cycle and tumble dry on low.
  • Matching adjustable tie-back.

 

 
 

Style choices for front door curtains

Style choices have a lot to do with your purpose for using a door curtain and your interior style. 

Let’s address some of these style factors one-by-one. 

What are your door features? Think about whether you want hardware mounted on your door. If not, you might opt for a privacy film or use magnetic rods to hand a curtain. 

How much space is around your door frame? If you want to hang curtains around the door, then you need to make sure there is enough space on each side of the door to hang a curtain rod. There should be enough space to pull the curtains out of the way of an opening door.

What about light? Consider whether you want to filter or block the sunlight.

Is privacy a concern? If so, then consider the question about light first. Sun blocking curtains are going to provide the most privacy. But, if you want privacy and sunlight, you might want to consider sheer curtains (which don’t offer much in privacy), blinds or shades, or privacy film, which is a great light filter and offers UV protection.

What is your interior design style? Curtains are part of a decorating scheme and should match the mood and atmosphere of the room. For example, blinds and shades don’t often pair well with a formal style; however, zebra shades are elegant enough to complement most formal styles.

For exterior doors leading to formal interiors, consider using floor length curtains or drapes and pull them back by using decorative hold-back rosettes that can be mounted to a wall on each side of the door.

Depending on your interior style and door period, use an ornamental finial, like white marble or fluted rubbed bronze, on the end of the curtain rod.

 

Our favorite tieback

We think the woven texture of these magnetic tiebacks are beautiful. They come in nine colors and feature strong magnets.

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What should I put on my front door for privacy?

Up to this point, we’ve been dealing with curtains, but you do have other choices for front door privacy. Other than curtains, your best options include:

  • Shades
  • Blinds
  • Privacy film
  • Insulated door screen

Best options for front door privacy without curtain

 
Favorite roller shade

Cordless zebra roller

Zebra roller shades have a cassette valence, which means you need the space on the door to install. We recently used these shades on all the windows in a home renovation. They provide privacy and filter the light, but they are not darkening shades. The shades are easy to clean with a feather duster or the soft bristle attachment on a vacuum.

 

 
Favorite cordless blind

Outside mount, faux wood

  • This blind is meant to be installed on the door or above a window casement.
  • The included screws are meant for wood or drywall. Screws suitable for metal must be purchased separately.
  • No dangling cord makes it safer for children and pets.

 

 
Favorite privacy film

Stained glass vinyl

  • Clings to glass; non adhesive.
  • Provides protection from UVA and UVB sunlight.
  • The 3D film is not colored, but when installed, the sunlight will create the colors within the pattern.
  • Easy to install; however, follow the instructions carefully on the link below.

 

 
Favorite insulated door screen

Thermal, magnetic

  • 3 sizes.
  • 19 pairs of powerful magnets.
  • Best for keeping heat or cool in depending on the season.
  • Easy to install; no tools or rods.
  • Pet friendly.
  • Better option than using plastic.

 

 

The history of curtains

Let’s draw back the curtains about a century ago to find out how curtains became so popular in the United States.

In the late 19th century, battle lines were drawn between architects and decorators over the use of curtains. For nearly half a century, architects were winning the war. Then in post WWII, the undoing began. Architects began designing homes with windows galore, including large picture windows and doors with glass. 

The very notion of putting curtains on those beautiful big windows left the architects aghast. Articles written by architectural intelligentsia bristled with ridicule for the decorators who would drape any fabric near the new visual vistas. 

On the other hand, decorators were standing their ground, as New Zealand scholar Margaret Maile Petty discovered in her historical exploration of the topic in “Curtains and the Soft Architecture of the American Postwar Domestic Environment.”

In her research, Petty, the executive director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at University of Technology Sydney, undercovered a forgotten 1948 New York Times article. The writer, Dorothy Liebes, a prominent textile designer and industry spokesperson, called for the use of curtains as vital in the modern American home given the new role of windows.

Not so long ago a window was simply a square hole in the wall. It was supposed to serve a number of purposes, but adding grace and beauty to the room was not one of them. Nor was it the focal point, the gathering place for people in the room … All this has changed. In the contemporary home, … the window has acquired a new place and purpose in the whole scheme of living.

Dorothy Liebes

Industry was quick to support the new interior design scheme. “Manufacturers … developed new product lines, materials, and marketing campaigns in response to and, one suspects, in order to take advantage of, the increasing use and size of windows in postwar residential architecture,” according to Petty’s research.

Now here we are benefiting from decades of battle and the products manufacturers used to eventually win the day.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you don’t use coverings on windows or doors? Let us know or tell us your favorite way to add privacy to glass doors in the Comment Section below.


What’s the difference between a drape and a curtain?

The two main differences that distinguish drapes from curtains are the heaviness and formality of fabric. Drapery tends to be made from thicker, layered fabrics and are used in more formal rooms. Drapes are usually operated by drawstring, which helps keep the drapery folds evenly spaced.

Drapers also tend to be floor length and curtains usually stop at the window sill. For cleaning, curtains are often washable whereas drapes need to be dry cleaned.

Glossary of curtain terminology

Curtain – Curtains are less formal than drapes and usually made from lighter fabrics. Curtains are typically easy to install and take down. You can also wash curtains at home. 

Drapery – Formal window coverings made from heavier fabrics and always lined. Drapes require professional installation and cleaning. Drapes are used in more formal living areas to provide ambiance as well as provide more privacy and insulation from weather. 

Portière – A curtain hung over a door to cover it completely or hung instead of a door. It adds privacy and helps to keep out draughts. It is derived from the French word for door, porte. 

Finial – A decorative knob placed at the end of a curtain pole to prevent curtain rings from sliding off.

Cloakpin – Often a disc like ornamental object used to hold back curtains. The curtain may be draped behind the disc or wrap around it. 

Hold-backs – Decorative objects fixed to the wall on either side of a door or window. Curtains can be looped or tied back over them when drawn open.

Tiebacks – Matching strips of fabric used to hold back curtains.

Grommets – Metal rings at the top of a curtain panel through which the rod is inserted for hanging.

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