Popular all over the country, French doors allow an open vista onto the garden and can add value to your property when they are installed professionally. Unfortunately, French doors also allow a lot of light in, which means your home can overheat in summer. Unlike patio doors, which open by sliding to one side or the other, French doors swing open, which means that you need to consider the way the hinges work before you proceed with adding a window treatment. At times, you will want them to cast no shadow and to enjoy their fully-glazed elegance, so any window treatment you give to them needs to be flexible. What approaches can you take?
If you opt for a canopy that extends over the top of your French windows, then you can create internal shade even when your French doors are wide open. Most external awnings have manual controls which are conducted from the outside which may not suit you, however. Furthermore, the drop that your awning can make—that is, how far it comes down in front of your French doors—will be limited by the height of the doors and how far they extend outwards when open. This can be tricky in north-facing gardens when the sun is low because an awning won't produce much shade at such times.
One of the big advantages of fitting blinds to French doors is that they can be mounted onto the door frames themselves. This means that you don't have to retract them when you want to open and close the doors—they just swing back and forth with each door. Bear in mind that any blinds you fit on your French doors will need to cover the entire glazing, which means they'll have to extend over the framework a little at either side. Thin blinds are usually the best so that they can drop down behind the door handles without getting in the way of them. Concertina-style blinds are particularly effective for French doors, although others work well, too. Avoid Roman blinds which tend to be too heavy when they are fixed to the top of a door.
When curtains are used to create shade with French doors, you can cut out lots of light. However, the problem with this approach is that you can no longer see how attractive your glazed doorway is. During the heat of the day, heavy blackout curtains get in the way of anyone trying to come in or out of the doors. Furthermore, curtains can blow around in the wind when your French doors are open, and this means that they fail to provide sufficient shading where you want it.