Too Long or Too Short? How to Size Curtain Panels for Slider Doors

Installing properly sized curtains can completely transform the look and feel of a room with sliding glass doors. But figuring out the right dimensions for curtain panels on slider doors can be tricky. Get it wrong, and you’ll end up with curtains that are comically long or awkwardly short.

No more guessing games or unsightly gaps!

what size curtains for sliding glass door

Understand Common Sliding Door Dimensions

Before taking any measurements, it helps to understand the standard dimensions for sliding doors so you know what to expect:

  • Typical Width: 60 inches
  • Typical Height: 80 inches

That said, sliding door sizes can vary beyond these standards. Some doors may be wider (like 72-inch or 96-inch doors) or taller depending on the room dimensions and intended use.

Consider Unique Factors Before Buying

When selecting curtains, don’t forget to factor in a few additional elements that could impact your sliding door setup:

  • Type of glass: Textured or thicker glass may warrant larger curtains for coverage.
  • Door orientation: South-facing doors may need blackout curtains to reduce glare.
  • Frame depth: Deep-set doors need curtains with a deeper pocket.
  • Desired privacy level: Sheer curtains for more light, opaque for more coverage.

Thinking through considerations like these will lead you to the perfect curtain solution for your sliding door.

Calculate the Optimal Number of Panels

For sliding glass doors, it’s best to use 2-3 individual curtain panels. Here’s why this mult-panel approach works well:

Benefits of 2 Panels

  • Allows panels to fully cover door when closed
  • Provides basic light filtering and privacy
  • Usually sufficient for standard 60-inch doors

Benefits of 3 Panels

  • More flexibility in opening/closing configurations
  • Wider doors (like 72-inch) may require 3 panels
  • Allows more advanced light/privacy control

When selecting panel quantity, think about the door size, desired aesthetic, and functional needs like room darkening capabilities or light filtration. The right number of panels can make all the difference!

Measure and Size Curtain Width Accurately

When sizing curtain panels for width, the exact door frame dimensions will dictate your calculations. Follow these steps for a perfect width every time:

  1. Measure across the entire sliding door frame opening from outer edge to outer edge.
  2. For a standard 60-inch wide door, add a total of 5-8 additional inches to this frame width (2.5-4 inches per side).
  3. For a wider 72-inch door, allow a total of 8-12 additional inches (4-6 inches per side).
  4. Order panels at this final calculated width.

So for a 60-inch opening, your panels would measure 66-72 inches across. For a 72-inch opening, panels would be sized between 78-84 inches. This extra width compensates for panel overlaps and creates full coverage across the door.

Get a Perfect Panel Height

Sizing curtain height follows a similar process:

  1. Measure height of actual door frame.
  2. For standard 80-inch doors, add 4 inches above and 4 inches below the frame.
  3. Order panels at this calculated length – typically around 84 inches.

The extra height ensures the panels amply blanket the door from top to bottom when closed.

Pick a Curtain Rod to Match

Once you’ve calculated the ideal panel dimensions, choosing the right curtain rod is equally important for proper hanging and functionality. Here are the key factors to get right:


The rod should be 3-6 inches longer than the door frame width on each side:

  • 60-inch door: Get a 66-72 inch rod
  • 72-inch door: Get a 78-84 inch rod


While slim rods may suffice for lighter curtains, diameters greater than 1-inch are best for durability, particularly with heavier fabrics. This helps the rod securely bear the weight without sagging over time.


Look for sturdy bracing hardware and wall anchors that fully support the span of the rod across the width of your sliding door without bowing or slipping.

Hang Panels Correctly

With properly sized curtain panels and rods in hand, the actual hanging process takes careful attention as well:

  • Space panels evenly across rod for balanced coverage.
  • Close panels in the middle for best light control and privacy.
  • Center panels on the window frame for symmetry.

Taking time to hang curtain panels properly makes a big difference in both aesthetics and function over the long run.

Achieve Your Desired Light Control

Beyond getting the dimensions right, fabric selection greatly impacts the light filtration and privacy level provided:

  • Sheers: Allow abundant ambient light to filter into the room.
  • Light-Filtering: Soften and diffuse direct sunlight effectively.
  • Room-Darkening: Block light for sleep, A/V rooms, and more.
  • Blackout: Eliminate 100% of external light (think night shift workers).

You can also layer different curtain types on sliding doors to allow adjustable light control. For example, hang room-darkening panels behind sheer under-curtains.

Get Creative with Panels and Fabrics

Don’t be afraid to mix and match:

  • Combine patterned and solid panels
  • Blend sheer and blackout fabrics
  • Experiment with different textures and drapes

Finding the right balance of panels and fabrics helps achieve your ideal ambient light level in the room.

Avoid Common Measurement Pitfalls

With the right techniques, getting sliding door curtain sizing spot-on doesn’t have to be frustrating. But some mistakes can still creep in:

Rod Too Short

Rods that don’t fully span the window width lead to uneven hanging, gaping spots, and curtains that won’t draw fully closed.

Panels Too Narrow

Skimping on panel width leaves awkward gaps on the sides when closed.

Panels Too Short

Coming up short on panel height looks sloppy and allows light to leak in from above and below.

Incorrect Rod Diameter

Flimsy rods causes curtains hang unevenly, sag, and even collapse under heavy weights.

Uneven Hanging

Careless installation leads to asymmetrical aesthetics and off-center functionality.

Following the precise sizing and hanging steps outlined above avoids each of these issues for sliding door curtain success!

Size Sliding Glass Door Curtains in 3 Simple Steps

For easy recap, here is the 3-step curtains sizing method in a nutshell:

  1. Measure: Width and height of actual door frame
  2. Calculate: Add allowances to width and height
  3. Buy: Panels and rod sized to calculated dimensions

Take accurate measurements, do the width and height math, purchase the properly sized components, and install mindfully. Follow this simplified process take the guesswork and mistakes out of buying and hanging sliding glass door curtains.

Swinging and missing on curtain sizing for sliding doors is no longer acceptable! With a clear understanding of standard slider door dimensions, calculation of width and height allowances, and avoiding common hanging pitfalls, your curtains can fit like an absolute glove.

While precision measurement takes time upfront, the long-term dividends are well worth it. Properly sized curtains boost functionality, aesthetic appeal, and overall living comfort around your sliding patio doors for years on end.

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