While glass doors allow natural light to add better lighting to your house, they’re pretty revealing, especially if located where strangers can see through. But, there are ways to cover your glass door and allow light to get in:

  1. Hang blinds across your door
  2. Use one-way privacy film
  3. Paint the glass door
  4. Etch the glass door
  5. Install shutters

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about each method so you can make a properly informed decision. Let’s dive in!

1. Hang Blinds Across Your Door

Door blinds come in stylish designs for all door types. You can find blind designs and colors that match bifold doors, french doors, and patio doors.

Let’s look at the various blinds available to help you decide the best for your glass door.

Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds have an adjustable length, making them ideal for large patio doors. They come with slats that run from top to bottom and are easy to extend or nestle together to let in more light.

With these blinds, you can have privacy and control by tilting and turning the slats at your preferred angle.

Aluminum Blinds

Aluminum blinds are a good choice if you’re looking for durable yet affordable blinds. They have horizontal slats that are adjustable to varying widths using a wand.

When fully closed, these blinds give total privacy by blocking all light. They are lightweight, easy to use, and customizable for various needs.

Roller Blinds

A roller blind consists of a single large fabric sheet that rolls from the top of the door frame. The blind comes with a cord that you pull from the bottom or the side when you need privacy. Like the vertical blinds, they’re also ideal for patio doors.

Another option is day and night roller blinds. They have two layers, an opaque and sheer fabric. The two materials operate as a unit, with the thin layer letting light in and the opaque blocking light. With them, you can maintain a high level of privacy and varying degrees of light according to your needs.

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How to Fix Blinds on a Glass Door

There are various ways to fix blinds without drilling the wall. They include:

Use Magnetic Blinds

These blinds come with magnet brackets attached to the back of the blind rod. You can use these blinds if your glass door has a metallic frame. If you opt for these blinds, ensure the magnet is quality to prevent the blind from moving or falling.

Opt for Adhesive Blinds

Instead of a hanging rod, these blinds come with a peel and stick adhesive strip. Here is how you fix it on the door:

  1. Use water and a soft cloth to clean the glass.
  2. Peel the protective strip and stick the adhesive side to the door frame.
  3. Press the blind to remove air and to ensure it sticks.

Use Fitted Suspension Rods for Support

You can buy suspension rods separately or choose a blind with a suspension rod. To use the rods, you’ll need space inside the door frame for hanging them tightly. Measure the wall’s inner edges and the door’s width to guide you in choosing the right rod.

Too-long rods won’t fit in the required space and short rods won’t stay up.

Use Clip-ins

Clip-ins are perfect for hanging blinds on French doors. Blinds fixed using this method come with a set of clips known as brackets. Proceed as follows to mount them:

  • Align the clips in a straight line on the frame.
  • Attach the blind to the pins. The clips appear as part of the blind, giving your door an elegant look.

Here is a YouTube video explaining how to install blinds without drilling:

2. Use One Way Privacy Film

One way privacy films have a reflective surface that gives a mirror effect to the side of the glass with more light. This means you can’t see through the glass door from outside during the day.

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With these films, you can enjoy natural light and maintain your privacy. However, privacy films are ineffective at night because the house is lighter than the outside. You might need to add curtains or blinds. Or use a frosted translucent one-way privacy film, like this one from Coavas, for 24-hour privacy.

The good thing about this is that it’s easy to install. Follow this outline for a clearer idea:

Materials Needed

  • Utility knife or scraper blade: For cutting the film to fit the glass and scraping dirt off the window.
  • Water and soap: To wash the window.
  • A sponge and soft towel: For washing and drying the glass.
  • Sprayer: For spraying water on the glass before installation.
  • Squeegee: For squeezing water and bubbles from the glass.
  • Privacy film: It’s what you’ll be installing on the glass door.

How to Install One Way Privacy Film

  1. Mix 950 ml (32 fl oz) of water with 5 ml (0.17 fl oz) of soap in a bowl and stir to foam. Soak the sponge in water and gently scrub the glass door until it’s clean. Dry the surface using a soft towel.
  2. Take the measurements of your glass door and unroll the film on a flat surface. Use a scraper blade to cut the door measurements giving a 1 to 1.5-inch allowance.
  3. Add water to the sprayer and spray the door 5 to six times. Remove the strip covering the adhesive side of the film, spray some water on the film glass side and mount the film on the glass. Spread the film evenly, ensuring it covers all the edges.
  4. Spray some more water and use a squeegee to remove the bubbles.
  5. Trim the edges using a scraper blade to remove the 1 to 1.5-inch allowance you left.
  6. After trimming, spray the glass with water and squeegee to remove bubbles. Leave for 30 minutes to stick and give it 6 to 8 hours to cure.

If you need a better visual aid, this video explains how to properly install a privacy film:

3. Paint the Glass Door

Apart from adding privacy, painting a glass door can help you add decorative styles to your house. There are also varying paint opacities you can choose depending on the level of privacy you want. 

If you still want some light to come in, you can choose a translucent or transparent paint and add a glossy finish to reflect more light. While if you want total privacy, you can choose dark and opaque colors.

Types of Glass Paints

  • Acrylic paint: They are versatile and work well on all surfaces. However, on smooth surfaces like glass, some acrylic paints can easily peel off. When buying the paint, you should choose acrylic enamel paint suitable for glass.
  • Solvent glass paint: This oil-based paint tends to be expensive and toxic. However, it gives the door a reflective finish and is also permanent.
  • Tempera paint: If you are looking for paint to provide you with 100% opacity, you should consider this paint. It contains non-toxic preservatives and egg proteins and is hard to wash off.
  • UV-resistant paint: As this paint helps you achieve privacy, it also protects you from the harmful effects of UV light. It is transparent and contains nanoparticles that are resistant to UV lights.
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Items You Need to Paint Glass

  • Warm water and soap: For washing the glass door.
  • Masking tape: For covering areas where you don’t want to paint.
  • White vinegar or alcohol: For removing soap traces from the glass.
  • Glass paint and paintbrushes: For applying your paint.
  • Gloves and facemasks: The gloves protect you from getting paint on your hands and the mask protects your nostrils from inhaling the paint’s smell and fumes which can cause some slight irritation.

How to Paint a Glass Door

  1. Mix warm water and soap and use a sponge to wash grease, dust, and dirt from the glass.
  2. Wet a soft cloth with alcohol or white vinegar and wipe the door to remove the soap from the glass.
  3. Use a soft towel to dry excess water and leave the glass to air dry for 15 minutes.
  4. Use a tape mask to cover areas around the glass door where you don’t want to paint.
  5. Wear your face mask and gloves and mix the paint. For a glossy look, mix acrylic enamel with varnish. For a matte finish, mix acrylic paint with some soap.
  6. Use paintbrushes to apply paint to the glass. Use a thick coat for an opaque color and a thin coat for a translucent shade.
  7. Allow the paint to air dry. The drying time depends on the paint and thickness: thick acrylic paint takes 24 hours, thin acrylic paint 12 hours, and tempera paint 20 to 45 minutes.

4. Etch the Glass Door

Etching is a frosting technique that gives glass a sophisticated and classy look. It offers a permanent privacy solution because the etching chemical makes irreversible scratches on the glass to add a frosted touch.

Though the end product may appear complex, the process is simple, as discussed below.

Materials Needed for Glass Etching

  • Etching cream such as Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream
  • Water and soap for washing the glass
  • A sponge and a dry towel for scrubbing and drying the glass
  • Stencil to add custom-made designs
  • Paintbrush for spreading the etching cream
  • Masking tape (or contact paper, three-hole adhesive paper) and utility knife for making stencils
  • Gloves to protect your lower arms and hands

How to Apply Etching Cream on Glass Door

  1. Mix water and soap and use a sponge to clean the glass door and dry it using a soft towel.
  2. Make a stencil. Though there are ready-made stencils, you can also make yours: for stripes, you can cut them out from masking tape using a utility knife. For polka dots, use three-hole adhesive paper. Use contact paper for monograms, shapes, text, hearts, and other patterns.
  3. Attach the stencil to the glass and press it to ensure it sticks firmly.
  4. Use a paintbrush to spread etching cream on the glass. Be careful not to spill the cream on your skin or other surfaces because it’s highly acidic, slightly corrosive and irritates the skin.
  5. Allow the cream to etch the glass for about 15 to 20 minutes, and wash the cream using water.
  6. Remove the stencil and wash the glass with a sponge and soapy water to remove all unwanted stains.

5. Install Shutters

Shutters are a good alternative for vertical blinds. They are built on sliding door frames, making them sturdy to hold weight and easy to open and close. Most shutters are made of wood, plastic, or aluminum and are easy to paint to a color that matches your house decor.

Not only that, but they are versatile for exterior and interior use. Shutters also add ventilation and shade to your house, potentially saving energy bills.

Types of Shutters

  • Bifold shutters. These have a top-mounted track that allows the shutter panels to fold and move to the side. When shutters are in this position, light gets into the house, and you can view the outside. You need ample space for shutters to close entirely and get out of the way of the door.
  • Bypass shutters. These shutters are ideal where there isn’t much space to spare. Because the shutter panels are on different tracks, it is possible to slide one in front of the other. They can also extend to allow more light to come through the door. Unlike bi-fold shutters, these shutters have fewer articulation points which makes them last longer.

How to Fix Shutters on a Glass Door Frame

  1. Measure the glass door width at the bottom, center, and top of the interior or exterior, depending on where you want the shutter to be. Also, measure the depth of the frame and all inclusions on the door, such as handles.
  2. Choose the side on which you want the shutters to open. If the door opens to the right, the shutters should extend to the right.
  3. Make pilot holes on the wall using a drill and mount the shutter frame using screws.    
  4. Fix the first shutter to the frame and follow it with the others, keeping them aligned.
  5. Check to ensure all screws hold tightly.

Final Thoughts

Though glass doors are becoming more popular in modern houses, they can infringe on your privacy. However, with the above methods, you can add privacy and enjoy natural light. And the good thing is that you can customize these methods to meet your style at a low cost.

Related: Best Lubricants for Sliding Glass Doors

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