French doors are wonderful to look at, but finding the right window treatment for them can be more difficult than finding window treatments for your sliding glass doors. There are many definitions on the web of what exactly a French door is, but for our sake, we will say it is a double door that opens in the middle with glass panes on each single door. Right away we can eliminate verticals as a viable option as a window treatment since the doors open inwards as opposed to sliding to the side.
To solve this problem, we need to address each issue that a French door has.
they open in the middle
the door handles can obstruct the panes of glass
The fact that they open in the middle, we are now looking at two separate treatments for each window pane on the French door. Each window treatment will need to be attached directly to the door which in turn creates another problem. When the door is moving, so will the window treatment. The last thing you want is a treatment that sways and bangs against your door every time you open or close it. And lastly, depending on what type of door handle or knob you have can determine what window treatments will work as well. If your knob or handle does not overlap the window pane or frame, it might no pose a problem. Make note of exactly how much space is in between the outer edge of the knob and the outside edge of the window frame.
Horizontal Blinds for French Doors
Horizontal blinds, or even min blinds can be used for French Doors. If the knob or handle will be an obstruction however, I would not recommend blinds as an option. There just is no good way to make a cutout for a blind, not one you'd want to look at all day anyway. To solve the issue of the blind banging against the door, you can fasten the bottom of the blind permanently to the door. This will hold the bottom rail in place and prevent the blind from banging against the glass when the door is moving. It does however prevent you from raising the blind at all. You can still open and close the slats with the tilt mechanism to control the amount of light coming in.
Plantation Shutters for French Doors
Plantation shutters are always an option for French Doors as well. They can be constructed with an "L" frame which is made for an outside mounted shutter. this simply means the frame of the shutter will be attached outside the window frame as opposed to be set into the frame with a standard window. There are cutouts available on shutters to accommodate door knobs and handles. I would recommend moving down to a 2.5" louver size on a French Door Shutter. A standard 3.5" louver may hit the glass pane or frame when the shutter is opened. If you are dead set on 3.5" louvers, the frame can have a build out installed onto the back increasing the amount of space you have between the French Door and a louver in the open position.
Roll Shades for French Doors
Roll shades are probably one of the best options to consider when trying to avoid problem door handles. The shade itself is slim enough to fit behind any handle. It is also easy to attach and detach it from a tie down system on the bottom to allow for full functionality of the shade, yet be able to tie it down if need be. If you do not like the look of a roll shade when it is in it's up position, you can always have a valance fashioned for you to hide the shade.
Cellular Shades for French Doors
Lastly, you could go with the ever popular cellular shade. Just like a roll shade, it is usually slim enough to avoid any contact with a door handle. It can also out of site behind a valance when in the up position. For a French door, I would suggest going with a cordless cell shade to keep a clean look. If total darkness is your ultimate goal though, this is not an ideal solution for you. Cell shades are made with a translucent fabric and do not block 100% of the light entering your room.