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Are vertical blinds ugly? What other options do I have?

The question

We have a patio door that slides open across a fixed glass panel. The builder installed a vertical, pleated blind, which I don't love. Are there softer alternatives that will block out the sun while still allowing the door to open with ease?

The answer

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There are so many solutions, and even though I am a builder, I let the architect in me handle design decisions such as this one. Builders take a lot of shots and, in this case, rightly so. Vertical blinds went out with shoulder pads, but style trends do tend to come back in a fresh, new form.

In this case, vertical blinds have been supplanted by sun shades that live in pockets above the doors so they disappear into the ceiling when not in use. They can be made from a range of materials that provide varying degrees of privacy.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace on Twitter: . Have a design dilemma? E-mail .

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