Many style options exist for draperies that go over a sliding door. Pinch-pleats are perhaps the most common treatment, but ring-clips or grommets can be used for a lighter and more fluid look. To determine the correct size of your drapery panels, you'll first need to determine the curtain and rod style, as well as how far above the door you want to place the rod.
Pinch-Pleated Drapery Panel
Pinch-pleated drapery treatments for sliding doors typically consist of a single curtain panel that is several inches wider than the door frame. The extra width allows the traverse rod to extend beyond the door frame on the non-opening side, so the drapery panel can be completely drawn to that side and avoid interfering with the door's opening and closing. This extra distance beyond the door frame is called the stacking distance or stack-back.
To determine the proper width of the curtain panel, measure the width of the door frame from outer edge to outer edge; then add these additional distances for stack-back:
- To a door 60 inches wide, add 5 inches for a curtain panel 65 inches wide.
- To a door 72 inches wide, add 8 inches for a curtain panel 80 inches wide.
- To doors greater than 72 inches wide, add 8 to 12 inches to the door width. Wider doors should have a larger stacking distance.
To determine the height of the curtain panel, measure the height of the door frame and add 4 inches. Most doors are 80 inches high, so the typical curtain panel for a sliding door would be 84 inches high.
- The width of a pinch-pleated drapery panel is measured across the top of the panel, where the pleats are stitched in.
- Curtain panels on a traverse rod operate most smoothly if they stop 1/2 to 1 inch above the floor surface.
Other Drapery Styles
In addition to using different types of drapery headers, such as grommets, you can also vary the height of the curtain rod. Placing the rod so that the top of the drapery nearly touches the ceiling visually adds height to the room.
Determine curtain width by measuring the rod, including the stack-back distance at the side of door frame. To give the curtain fullness, multiply the measurement by 1 1/2 or 2. The result will be the width of the flat panel.
To determine curtain height, measure from the top of the rod for pinch-pleated or grommet-style curtains. Measure from the bottom of the rod for curtains that hang from ring clips.
For accurate measuring, use a steel tape measure rather than a cloth tape measure.
Jan Burch has written about home, garden, wellness and other topics since 1992. Her articles have appeared in ByLine, Living Natural and New Mexico Woman. Based in Albuquerque, Burch is a Feng Shui consultant and Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner. A life-long crafting enthusiast, she holds a master's degree from the University of California.