Hanging curtains outdoors can completely transform your patio, porch, or other outdoor living space. The right outdoor curtains add beauty, privacy and shade to your outdoor oasis. Here are some wonderful ways to hang curtains outside to create the perfect outdoor room.
Choosing the Best Fabrics for Outdoor Curtains
Picking suitable fabrics is one of the most important steps for outdoor curtains. The material needs to be durable and weather-resistant. Here are some top options:
Acrylic fabrics are water-repellent, fast-drying and resistant to mildew and fading. Acrylic outdoor curtains like Sunbrella are soft yet rugged and available in tons of colors and patterns. They’re a top choice for outdoor curtains.
Polyester is affordable, dries quickly and resists fading and mildew. Look for polyethylene laminated polyester which is even more weather-resistant. Polyester curtains work well outside.
Made from cotton or a cotton/poly blend, canvas is naturally breathable and substantial enough to block sunlight and wind. It’s tougher than polyester or acrylic. Canvas makes fantastic porch curtains.
Olefin fabrics like polypropylene are moisture-wicking, mold-resistant, and retain color well. They’re lighter than other outdoor fabrics but still hold up outside.
Outdoor Curtain Rod and Hardware Options
Installing the right hardware is key for hanging outdoor curtains properly. Consider these options:
Stainless Steel or Aluminum
Stainless steel and aluminum rods are corrosion-resistant and sturdy enough for outdoor curtains. They won’t rust or be damaged by sun and rain. Look for at least 1-inch diameter rods.
Adjustable telescoping curtain rods allow you to easily customize the length to fit your space. Expand them to cover wider windows or patios.
Straight, Curved or Tension Rods
Straight rods work for most applications. For bay windows, use curved rods. Tension rods temporarily fit in a door frame or opening without drilling holes.
Grommets or Curtain Rings
Grommets at the top of the curtain panels slide neatly onto the rod. Curtain rings attach to the panels and clip onto the rod for easy opening and closing.
Hanging Options for Outdoor Curtains
Here are some of the best ways to install curtains outside:
Cover a patio or pergola with curtains using ceiling hooks secured to the top of the structure. Draw the curtains closed to provide shade or privacy.
Hang cafe-style curtains over outdoor entryways using a rod over the door. Keep them open for an inviting entry or closed for seclusion.
Use curtains as movable privacy screens between yards, patios or seating areas. Install floor-to-ceiling posts and hang curtains on rods between them.
Enclose a porch with curtains on rods across the top and down corner posts. Choose screens for airflow or solid panels to fully block sun and rain.
Mount extendable rods above windows, patios doors or garage doors and hang panels to filter sunlight and provide privacy when needed.
Secure lumber or metal rods to existing fences or posts around a yard. Drape outdoor curtains to grant seclusion and a cozy feel.
Styling Outdoor Curtains
Here are some fashionable ways to style patio and porch curtains:
Layer Sheer and Solid Panels
Hang sheer ivory or off-white linen panels behind opaque curtains in a bright color like navy for depth. The sheers filter sunlight while the solids block views.
Valances, swags and jabots add elegance, texture and color. Pair solids with a patterned overlay or contrasting valance trim.
Mix Textures and Patterns
Choose closely mixed hues like green and aqua or yellow and ivory. Combine floral prints with solids or alternate stripe panels with botanical designs.
Pick Neutral Colors
Linen, sand and light stone blend with any outdoor space. Accent with brighter pillows and patio furniture instead of bold curtains.
Add Curtain Ties
Tie back the curtains or bunch them at the corners using rope, ribbon, bamboo or jute for a casual, breezy look.
Go Floor Length
Extra long panels that just graze the floor add drama and elegance to a patio or entry. They’ll move gracefully in the breeze.
Hanging Outdoor Curtains on a Budget
Outdoor curtains don’t have to be expensive. Here are some budget-friendly ideas:
- Shop discount or outlet stores for marked down outdoor fabric by the yard.
- Check thrift stores and garage sales for secondhand curtains made from durable, weather-proof materials.
- Use hardware you already have like extendable shower rods or lightweight tension rods for temporary installations.
- Opt for polyester instead of pricier Sunbrella. It’s less expensive but still suitable for outdoor use.
- Buy ready made grommet top panels instead of spending more on custom panels.
- Search online auctions and classified ads for new and used curtains being sold at a discount.
- Make your own from canvas drop cloths or discounted outdoor fabric using simple DIY instructions.
- Reuse your indoor curtains outside if they are already made of suitable materials like polyester or olefin.
FAQs About Hanging Outdoor Curtains
How are outdoor curtains different than indoor curtains?
Outdoor curtains are made from weather-resistant, durable fabrics like polyester, olefin or acrylic. Hardware needs to be corrosion-proof and sturdy enough to withstand wind and rain. Curtains should repel water and moisture and be able to withstand sun exposure.
What length of outdoor curtain rod do I need?
For standard windows or doors, choose a rod at least 4 inches wider than the width you want to cover. For example, an 84 inch rod for an 80 inch opening. Measure the area and add extra length at both ends for full coverage and a finished look.
How do I secure an outdoor curtain rod?
Use heavy duty anchors and screws in solid wood, brick or concrete walls. For added strength, apply construction adhesive along with screws. Check the rod’s weight capacity and use the appropriate hardware. Use eye and hook screws for hanging from a wood fence or post.
Should outdoor curtains be lined?
Lining is not necessary for most outdoor curtains since the fabrics are already opaque enough to block sunlight and provide privacy. However, you can line them with polyester or acrylic for extra protection, insulation and drape.
Can I use regular curtains outside?
It depends on the material. Most indoor curtains won’t hold up outside. Duck cloth, canvas, denim, polyester or Olefin indoor curtains may work if they are mold, mildew and fade resistant. Check the fabric content first.
What length should patio curtain panels be?
For standard height windows, use panels 90-108 inches long. Size them 4-6 inches above the windows and 6 inches below the sill for full coverage. For floor to ceiling looks, use panels 96-144 inches long sized 1/2 inch below the ceiling and just skimming the floor.
Decorating a Patio or Porch with Outdoor Curtains
Curtains make a patio or porch feel like another living space. Follow these decorating tips:
- Hang outdoor curtains on all sides of the space to delineate the area and make it feel room-like.
- Incorporate lighting fixtures like pendant lights or strings of Edison bulbs above the curtains for a cozy ambiance.
- Layer in area rugs, patio furniture and decor that complements the curtain colors and patterns.
- Use sheers behind solid panels to allow sunlight in while maintaining privacy.
- Add side tables, plants, candles and other accessories within the curtained space.
- Mount the rods as close to the ceiling as possible for an enclosed feeling.
- Opt for thermal blackout lining or insulated curtains to help keep the space cooler.
- Include a valance for additional color and to camouflage the curtain hardware.
- Hang water-resistant lanterns and vases of flowers from the curtain rods.
- Use curtains to conceal unattractive features like exposed foundations or a/c units.
Achieving the Perfect Outdoor Curtains Look
Follow these pro tips for beautiful, inviting outdoor curtains:
- Measure twice for even hanging and accurate length.
- Overlap panels at least 4 inches at center for full coverage.
- Use flat curtain rings with clips to easily open and close curtain panels.
- Check for sun and wind exposure and use the most fade and weather resistant fabrics.
- Add lined curtains in climates with cold winters for insulation when closed.
- Splurge on quality rods that won’t bend or sag over time under the weight of the curtains.
- Mix patterns and textures like stripes with florals for visual interest.
- Crinkle and pre-wash Sunbrella panels to soften them and prevent future shrinkage.
- Add subtle details like monogrammed curtain ties for a custom designer look.
- Allow panels to stack gracefully on the sides instead of spreading them too wide.
- Iron panels on low heat to release wrinkles if needed between washing.
Caring for Outdoor Curtains
Regular cleaning keeps outdoor curtains looking fresh. Here are some care tips:
Rinse or Wipe Down Frequently
Use a hose to rinse away dirt, pollen and dust. For sunbrella, just wipe down with mild soap and water monthly.
Check for Mildew and Mold
In humid climates, occasionally clean the backsides with bleach or hydrogen peroxide mixed with water to prevent mold.
Wash in Cold Water
Wash outdoor curtains gently in cold water on delicate or hand wash cycle. Never use hot water.
Air or Line Dry
Tumble drying can damage the fabric. Hang curtains outside or flat to air dry instead.
Iron on Low
Use the cool setting to iron out wrinkles or creases if needed between washes. Avoid the high heat of ironing.
Treat Spills and Stains Quickly
Blot spills immediately with a dry towel. Use cold water and mild detergent for stain removal.
Repel Water Seasonally
Apply a fabric protector spray designed for outdoor fabrics each season to repel water and prevent mildew.
Check for Damage
Inspect frequently for holes, tears or compromised water protection. Repair or replace as needed.
Inspiring and Functional Outdoor Curtain Ideas
Here are some creative ways to use curtains to enhance your outdoor living space:
Screen a Hot Tub Area
Hang water and fade resistant curtains around a hot tub courtyard for visual privacy that can be opened up when not in use.
Delineate a Garden Room
Use hanging curtains to mark off a sitting space within a garden for an intimate tea area sheltered by plants.
Soften a Gazebo Interior
Outfit a screened gazebo with light, airy curtains to filter the sun and add softness to the structure.
Partition a Wrap-Around Porch
Define separate dining, lounging and reading nooks on a porch with different curtains in complementary colors.
Shade a Dog Run
Protect your pet from sun and provide cooling shade with lightweight breathable curtains around their outdoor run.
Dress Up an Outdoor Bar
Curtains bring a lively ambiance to an outdoor bar or kitchen. Cafe style pairs nicely with Edison bulb lighting.
Prettify Chain Link Fencing
Hung along a metal fence line, breezy fabric panels impart coziness and conceal unattractive views.
Screen a Swing Set Area
Keep a play area private from the neighbors with durable kid-friendly curtains around the perimeter.
Accent Outdoor Staircases
Lining an exterior staircase with cascading curtains transforms an eyesore into a decorative focal point.
Conceal ugly dumpsters and equipment behind closed curtains that complement the building exterior.
Wonderful Ways to Hang Outdoor Curtains
Outdoor curtains allow you to fully customize any outdoor space for beauty, comfort and privacy. With so many stylish fabrics and hardware options available today, it’s easy to find durable, weather-resistant curtains guaranteed to enhance your outdoor living and entertain areas for years to come. Whether you opt for breezy sheers or substantial sun blocking panels, outdoor curtains give you unlimited possibilities. Experiment and have fun designing your perfect outdoor oasis framed by curtains that match your taste and lifestyle.
In summary, there are many wonderful ways to hang outdoor curtains to create an inviting patio, porch or outdoor living space. Key steps include:
- Select durable, weatherproof curtain fabrics like acrylic, polyester or olefin
- Install sturdy curtain rods and hardware designed for outdoor use
- Utilize hooks, posts, ceilings, fences, poles and more for hanging points
- Style the curtains with pretty fabrics, patterns and layered details
- Incorporate outdoor curtains into patios, porches, pergolas, around windows and doors
- Carefully measure the space and allow for proper overlap and drape
- Frequently rinse and wash curtains to prevent mold and mildew
- Mix and match patterns, textures and colors within the space
- Use curtains as moveable partitions, privacy screens and cooling shade sources
With some creativity and the right materials, outdoor curtains can completely transform any ho-hum yard into a graceful, polished extension of your living space.
Hanging outdoor curtains allows you to customize your exterior living area, bringing style, functionality and privacy to create an inviting outdoor room. With durable, weather-resistant fabrics, sturdy hardware and creative hanging techniques, it’s simple to install beautiful curtains outside that frame and enhance your patio, porch or yard. Experiment with colors, textures and patterns within the space. Use curtains decoratively to delineate different zones, cover unattractive views, provide shade and cooling, and make your outdoor area feel like another stylish living space. Outdoor curtains are wonderful for defining, transforming and decorating your exterior oasis.