Contrary to popular belief, sliding glass doors actually aren’t that difficult to dress with window valances. As long as you follow a few design rules, you’ll be able to find the perfect window valance for your own sliding door. Let’s take a look at what you need to take into consideration.
The Valance Must Be an Outside-Mount
A valance must be hung on the wall above the sliding glass door, for obvious reasons. You won’t be able to put several balloon valances, London valances, or other valances beside each other as an inside mount.
Valance Must Be Hung High
As silly as it sounds, the valance must be well above 6 feet from the floor so that your household members can freely walk through the sliding glass door. But if you’re familiar with custom-made valances, you’ll notice that a valance over a sliding glass door doesn’t really hang any higher than other custom valances over any other window would. Custom valances are hung high anyway, and it isn’t unusual to hang a valance right under the line of an 8-foot ceiling.
Most standard doors are about 80 inches from the floor, in which case you’ll have about 16 more inches of wall space above it (if you have an 8-foot ceiling). Even if you have 3-inch crown molding under the ceiling, you’ll still have plenty of room for the valance. For example, a 19-inch valance that’s hung 2 inches from an 8-foot ceiling is about 21 inches down, leaving 75 inches to the floor. That’s 6 feet and 3 inches and won’t be an annoyance in most homes.
If your ceiling is 9 feet or higher, feel free to select a longer valance and allow the bottom of the valance to just cover the top of the sliding glass door. When hanging custom valances, regardless of whether it’s on a normal window or sliding glass door, the rules are very similar because the aim is to hang the valance as high as possible in both cases. Use the illustrations below to help you determine how high the valance needs to hang on a sliding glass door. You may wish to adjust your own measurements by a few inches to find what’s best for you and your household.
Recommended valance installation height for 8-foot ceilings.
Recommended valance installation height for 9-foot ceilings.
Once you apply these recommendations, you may find that you valance looks similar to this:
The medallions were hung only 2 inches below the ceiling to accommodate the striped valance on an extra wide sliding door.
Pick a Simple Valance, or Else You May Need Draperies, Too
Simple valances are best for sliding glass doors. It’s best to keep the lowest point on a valance 22 inches long, or less. This includes tassels, fringe, tabs, and anything else that’s part of the valance. At the same time, you don’t want a valance that’s too short. A sliding glass door needs a valance that will match its scale. You may find that a short 15-inch valance just doesn’t do the sliding door any justice and actually looks out of place. It’s also important to not go too short with the valance if the fabric has a large pattern. So to achieve this ideal “golden middle” when it comes to length, you may consider a simple valance like this arched valance:
Now, some valances have long jabots, or cascades, on their sides. Even though the swags of the valance might only be 17 inches long, cascades can sometimes be double that length, or even more. In the board-mounted valance below, the cascades on the side are 32 inches long.
If you’re planning to select a valance similar to the one above, the trick is to push the cascades away from the sliding glass door. This not only makes the necessary space, but it also makes the window appear larger. Here, even though the sliding door was only 70 inches wide, the overall valance width was 92 inches. To be able to pull off something like this, you’ll need to add draperies on both sides of the door. It won’t work with just the valance alone. But once you do this, you’ll find that the sliding door was freed up for use (and looks bigger than it really is).
Align the Height of Adjacent Valances
This rule isn’t just specific to sliding glass doors but is good to know. Any time you have adjacent windows and doors, valances will look the best aesthetically when they’re hung at the same height. Usually, the sliding glass door will set the height for the rest of the windows, but not always.
Hang the valances over windows at the same height of the valances that are hung over adjacent glass doors.
Or, check out all our available custom valances.