Bifold doors are a fantastic way to introduce some much-needed functionality to your interior, bolstering the sense of space and allowing you the flexibility to turn two smaller rooms into a single larger one with minimal effort. Add to that the fact that they look great, and their popularity should perhaps come as no surprise.
Unlike traditional doors, interior bifold doors are built from multiple panels, each of which attaches to its neighbour to form a concertina. This arrangement allows them to cover much larger distances, and can be installed in kitchens, dining rooms, hallways, and bedrooms. Paired with the right dressing, a set of bi-fold doors might make the perfect solution for your interior-design woes. Let’s look at how we might select such a dressing!
Interior bifold doors are often equipped with multiple glass panels. This helps to bolster that all-important sense of space, as it’ll allow you to see directly from one room into another. Moreover, they allow light to spread throughout the home, which further reinforces the perceived roominess.
But there are some instances where you might want to sacrifice these virtues for the sake of a little privacy. What if, for example, you’re hosting guests for a dinner party, and you’d prefer they weren’t able to see from the dining room into a messy kitchen? Or perhaps you’d like to settle down and watch a film, but you’re being disturbed by the light in the next room? Clearly, frosted glass isn’t a sufficient solution – you need to dress your doors to block the openings!
If you’re looking to cover your bi-folding doors, then you’ll be faced with much the same options that you would when covering a window; curtains or blinds. You might already have a preference one way or the other – but there are a few practical considerations you’ll want to bear in mind when making your decision.
Firstly, we should remember that bi-fold doors expand as they open, and thus stand a chance of interfering with inexpertly-hung curtains. Secondly, folding doors of this sort are often built to encompass the entire wall, and so finding room for a curtain pole can sometimes be tricky. Thirdly, if there isn’t sufficient room on either side of the door, then finding a place for the curtains to hang can be even trickier, and you risk compromising the flow of light even when the dressing is drawn – which is a problem for curtains, as well as certain sorts of blind. Finally, we should consider that a curtain that’s upwards of five metres wide is going to be very heavy, and might hang unevenly in the centre, resulting in poor pattern-matching.
You might avoid some of these problems by going for dressing which hangs from the individual panels of a door, thereby preventing the door from unfolding into the dressing. This option will limit your choice (with most panel-hung dressings being blinds), and the look isn’t for everyone – but you might find the convenience attractive.
If you’d prefer blinds for your bifold doors, then you’ll have three main sorts to choose from. Let’s run through them.
These sorts of blinds are built to roll up into a neat tube when they’re not in use, sitting neatly at the top of the door, usually behind a protective cover. When used indoors, the risk of the bottom of the blind becoming dirty is minimal, and they provide a stylish, clean, and straight-edged aesthetic that complements the bi-fold door well.
This classic design allows just as much light as you’d like to filter into the room via horizontal slots which sit between each individual blind. They tend to be made from lightweight aluminium, and can be integrated directly into the design of the doors themselves. They tend to collect dust when left down, however, and so will benefit from regular cleaning.
Roman blinds are perhaps the simplest of the three – they’re made to fold up at the top of the door in much the same way that curtains will fold up at the side. They’re made from thicker material than roller blinds. One problem that prevents roman blinds from making a good fit with folding doors is that they take up quite a lot of room at the top of the door; if you don’t have around a foot of space available overhead, then you might run into trouble.
We’ve already mentioned a major obstacle to hanging curtains in front of your folding doors: the sheer area of material required. If your door is just a few metres wide, then this might not be too much trouble. But part of the joy of bi-fold doors is that they can be made enormous, and to take advantage of this you’ll require a similarly enormous curtain.
It’s for this reason that many bi-fold door owners opt for a lightweight voile or muslin curtain. They’re far less of a pain to draw – and so they’ll allow for light to pass from one side of the door to another. Curtains of this sort are great in white, which provides a distinctly Scandinavian effect.
Of course, if your aim is to restrict the flow of light, then a heavier set of blackout curtains will be needed. In situations requiring total darkness, however, like sleeping and watching a film, you won’t be able to see the way that the curtain hangs – and thus this worry might not be as vexing as you imagine.
When you’re matching your door with a dressing, it’s best to plan and consider the latter before you’ve even installed the former. That way you won’t be limited by your purchasing decision, and you’ll be able to use your freedom to select the blinds or curtains you really want. Don't forget to check out our guide to french door handles for another way to add some visual appeal and 'dressing' to your doors.