Ideas/Suggestions needed (shades or curtains?)

I am finally starting to focus on my patio doors and the best(?) method for covering them. I have French doors that open out with window panels on both sides and above the doors. Dimensions are 100” W by 92” H.

I have been researching and I believe I only have two options:

  • curtains that operate from one side because I have a wall on one side of the doors. Cheaper option.
  • two 50” cellular shades. More expensive option.

Anyone have any thoughts or suggestions because I am conflicted?

The rest of my windows have non-smart blinds at the moment that I eventually want to switch to smart something-something. I just have decided on those either. :slight_smile:

A lot depends on how patient the people in your household are. Seriously.

When you have other curtains or vertical blinds which draw to the side then it is possible to open them only partway and go out through the doors. Which many people will do.

That’s not usually a big deal with curtains, you can just sort of push the bottom part out-of-the-way if you need to.

With shades, some people won’t wait for it to go all the way up before they go through the doors. Just something to be aware of.

It’s a huge deal for vertical blinds because when people don’t open them all the way before going through they tend to get either broken or cracked or flipped so then they won’t open correctly.

Our house has 12 foot windows in the living room and a sliding glass door to the side yard. We got vertical blinds when we first moved in because it was one of the package options and it was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made for the house. :disappointed_relieved: no one opens them all the way and they are continually jamming and now even cracking. That replacing them is going to be very expensive, so we just live with them the way they are. But that was definitely a bad decision.

Rods or Rails

If you get curtains on rods (not rails), there are several curtain movers on the market now and I expect to see more in the future now that people have the idea. Switchbot has one, but there are others. These are going to be the least expensive smart option, I think.

If you have curtains on rails, it’s trickier. Switchbot does have a model for this, but most of the other less expensive ones don’t.


Several smart options for these. Hunter Douglas, Lutron Serena, both are good, both work with smartthings to some extent. I think Graber’s zwave models come in that size, @ZebraBlinds should know. And dooya just added an integration for their motors, but I don’t know what models are included. ( I don’t know whether the IKEA models work with smartthings or not, but they aren’t as wide as you are looking for.)

Drapes offer better insulation then shades, which also means better soundproofing. Not usually enough to make a big difference for most people, but there is a difference. On the other hand, you can do more with automation with shades, especially if you get the kind that can go top down as well as bottom up. But then those are more expensive.

I think people mostly choose based on aesthetics. Curtains become a design focal point in a room and shades are more likely to blend into the wall. But again, some people will notice that difference and some won’t.


Yes, they will.

Drapes, blinds, honeycomb shades: cats will climb them all and scratch them all.

Some people resort to a cat size drape along the bottom just to keep the cats from pulling at the bottom of the blinds. Not just all day long, but all night long when you’re trying to sleep. :scream:

So if you have pets and they have access to the room with the window coverings, just think about what it’s going to sound like at two in the morning when your pet decides they need to look out the window. Just sayin’. :smile_cat:

What country are you in? As the device selection does vary.


A bit late. But 2 cellulars could work. So would rollers (should be a bit cheaper) but larger light gaps on either side.

Something else might be drapery with the new switchbot curtain motor that runs along the rod (disclaimer, no idea how well it works).


Those work surprisingly well for the price. But they are noisy and although there’s a quiet mode, it’s been very slow and still pretty noisy. Battery life depends on how often you use it, likely 3 to 6 months. There’s an available solar panel, but both the curtain mover itself and the solar panel are very visible from the outside. So it’s not something you would put on a street facing window.

I was going to get the SwitchBot device but after I saw some in use at a friend’s house I decided not to because the main windows I would want them on are street facing.

So clever, inexpensive, look well engineered for the price, very easy to install, and have a smartthings integration: but limited battery life and seriously ugly on whichever side you can see them from.

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follow up on the shades or curtains (drapes) for my wide patio doors…

i went with drapes. it seemed to fit my needs best. i purchased a zemismart wi-fi motorized curtain.

so how did i connect it to ST, you might ask since it is wifi. well, i purchased a bond home bridge (rf controller). it connected after a few attempts to the bond hub and then i linked my bond account to ST. surprise… it shows in ST as an on/off tile and works fine. to make it even better, i used the bond hub to connect my outdoor sun setter awning that has a somfy motor. now i no longer need to use the zrtsii for that. the awning also shows as an on/off tile and works well. in fact, it works so much better than the z-wave shade device handler i was using for the zrtsii.

only drawback is bond does not have homekit support but it does allow for siri control.

if i had gone with motorized shades, i would have spent well over 1k. with zensmart, bond and drapes from amazon… i will spend about less than $400 (depending on the drapes/curtains you choose, the price can differ)

that’s my story.

anyway, my cat and dog are fascinated by the new toys. fun to watch them stare as i open/close

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How noisy is it? :thinking: (As I mentioned, the Switchbot curtain mover is pretty loud.)

it is not noisy at all. very quiet i might say. i can only hear i when standing near it.

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just to note: there is a zigbee version of the zemismart curtains in case others want to go that route

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one final note: i did try both smart life and the tuya integrations, but as i expected, the zemismart motorized curtains did not integrate to ST through those services.

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Thanks for explaining your experience with the curtain module. Got a couple of questions:

  1. Just to confirm, I see Switcbot as a vendor compatible with SmartThings, the integration is directly with SmartThings and not through IFTTT correct?
  2. How loud is loud? Is it you will not use it iin your bedroom as part of the restful, calm waking up (gradual light via bulb or natural light with natural sound)? Or is it I can hear it across the same floor? or I can notice it from another floor? or Its loud enough to interrupt a conversation right next to it?
  3. I plan to use it in the living room window triggered by indoor and outdoor luminance measurements daily (morning open, sunset close), how long would the battery last?

I don’t myself have one. I was planning to get one, but I went over to my friends house and he has one and it was louder than I wanted to live with.

There is a “quiet mode“ where the curtain mover will move slower, but it was still pretty loud. You could talk over it, but I suspect most people would stop talking until the noise stopped.

There is an official SwitchBot integration through the smartthings app.

I have no idea how long the battery lasts, sorry.


one main difference to consider which @JDRoberts pointed out…

  • the switchbot uses a battery.
  • the product i chose has a power cord but there are zigbee versions that have batteries

choice is good

but not using a battery was a deciding factor in why i decided to go with the zemismart wifi version

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note: this is not the zemismart product went with


ok, ok… i just watched that video… my zemismart product is definitely quieter than the one in that video. lol, that one was extremely loud. that was funny :wink:

for reference… the sound for my zemismart was equivalent to his bedroom curtains which was neither product in his demo. reference: about 9:50 in the video

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Eventually I will be going down the curtain path myself so doing as much reading ahead of time as possible. The Zigbee version of the ZemiSmart curtains, any idea if they integrate directly or need a hub of some sort?

My initial planning so far involved some relay controllers and curtain system that just needed voltage for directional opening. If the Zigbee works a bit better I might go that route instead.

according to their website… yes, it works with ST

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Very nice! This might work better for me it seems! Just want to verify that when you bought yours that the motor was included? The listing has a motor separate but then also the motor specs in the lower description. Assuming the single motor option might be for dual tracks then?

oops… possible i linked the wrong product.

for the wifi version, which i linked earlier in this thread…
it included:
wall mounted controller
hand-help remote

i’ll look at the zigbee products and make sure i linked to the correct one. it includes a hub so possible i linked to incorrect product


I haven’t been able to find the exact one you linked in their product list but I have found both a Zigbee and Z-wave listing.