I’m thinking of updating my garden with some outdoor curtains. They’ll provide shade and privacy for a cozy little outside space for entertaining. But what fabric should I use? What is the best fabric for outdoor curtains?
The best fabric for outdoor curtains must be strong and durable. It also needs to be colorfast and resistant to both water and UV light. Outdoor curtains are made from synthetic fibers like polyester and acrylic. Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is a top choice because it’s easy to clean and affordable.
Designed to be out in all weathers, outdoor curtains create a room outside from a romantic hideaway to a sun-free deck area. Read on to find out which is the best fabric to use for your outdoor curtains.
Best Fabric for Outdoor Curtains
The best fabric for outdoor curtains is durable, weather-resistant, colorfast, and easy to care for. Because of this, curtains designed for outdoor use tend to be made from synthetic fabrics.
These are the three synthetic fibers you should look for when purchasing outdoor curtains. Based on resistance to weather and general durability, they fair better as outdoor fabric than any other synthetic materials.
OlefinAt the top of the list is a polypropylene fabric known as Olefin. It’s the number one choice for outdoor curtains due to being colorfast and UV resistant. It dries quickly and is immune to mold and mildew. Better still, it doesn’t fade even under intense sunlight.
Olefin is an extremely durable, lightweight material with a soft feel. It drapes beautifully and comes in a range of weaves, textures, and designs to make your outdoor space pop. Olefin is so popular because it can be dyed using any dyeing solution, meaning the color range available is vast.
PolyesterPolyester and polyester blends are some of the cheapest outdoor curtain fabrics available. They do have a downside because they are cheap. They are less likely to be as weather-resistant as more expensive options like Olefin.
Polyester is durable and will withstand a certain amount of exposure to UV rays, rain, and intense sunlight. It will have a shorter lifespan, but a polyester option could be a budget-friendly choice or a stop-gap until you can get something better.
Well known as an outdoor fabric, acrylic can be found in a range of vibrant colors and prints, making it easier to match your indoor color scheme and personal aesthetic. However, acrylic has one disadvantage, which could be annoying in curtains. Static build-up is a known issue with this fabric.
Attractive to dust, dirt, and doggy hair, static in your acrylic curtains could cause you frustration and annoyance. Not just from potential static shocks but also from constantly washing the curtains. This is one reason acrylic curtains are not as widespread as either polyester or Olefin.
Fabrics to Avoid for Outdoor Curtains
Most fabrics have properties that make them more suitable for some projects than others. Outdoor curtains are no exception. They need a robust material capable of withstanding wind, rain, and direct sunlight.
Not all fabrics can do this. In this section, we’ll take a look at some materials you should avoid when shopping for outdoor curtain material. Even though they sound like they would be good at the job.
Cotton and Canvas
One of the main issues with cotton is how absorbent it is. Normally that’s a good thing, especially when it comes to clothing designed for hot weather. It keeps you cool. It’s not so great for outdoor curtains.
Soaking up rainwater is a problem when it’s your curtains get wet. It’ll make them heavy and as cotton doesn’t dry quickly, that’s a lot of extra weight pulling down on your gazebo or patio curtain rails.
Although canvas is technically cotton, it’s heavyweight cotton used in things like tarpaulins. Adding extra weight through rainwater will make it too heavy to move easily. Tugging at it when it’s wet could bring your gazebo down on your head.
As the name suggests, indoor fabric is designed to be used inside your home. The weave and finish of the material make it unsuitable for use outdoors. An indoor fabric won’t have the water resistance or durability of one specifically developed for use outdoors. You may find mold or mildew will develop rapidly on curtains made from an indoor textile.
Outdoor fabrics have special weaves and finishes that protect the fibers from inclement weather or extreme temperatures. Many have a triple weave, making them hardy and more able to survive prolonged exposure to the elements.
Although you can weatherproof some indoor fabrics with additives and sprays, the protection is short-lived and not as hardwearing as a textile designed to be used outdoors.
Why Do You Need Outdoor Curtains?
Outdoor curtains can bring comfort and style to any outdoor living space. They can bridge the gap between your inner home and your garden. Bringing the two different areas together and creating a unity of style and elegance.
There is more to outdoor curtains than aesthetics, though. Read on to discover the other ways they can help lift and enhance your outside space.
There’s nothing worse than sitting on your patio knowing your neighbors can see everything you do. It’s detrimental to relaxing and enjoying your garden. The thing is, if they can see you, you can see them too. Not having a space hidden away from the world can be stressful. If there’s one thing all humans crave in their quiet time, it’s privacy.
Outdoor curtains can give you the seclusion you desire. By creating a soft, temporary division between your patio and the garden fence, you can keep yourself safe from the prying eyes of your neighbor. Opening the curtains allows you to chat with your neighbor when you want to. Don’t want to be bothered? Simply keep them closed.
Shelter From the Sun and Rain
One of the things stopping you from spending time in your garden is probably the weather. From intense sunlight to pouring rain, uncomfortable weather conditions can make the patio an unpleasant place to be.
Hanging outdoor curtains can block harmful UV light and protect you from the heat of the sun. Being waterproof, your curtains will enable you to enjoy your outdoor space in a rainstorm without getting wet. You’ll find you use your patio area a lot more when you have outdoor curtains.
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Setting a mood is one of the great benefits of outdoor curtains. They bring the romance of external eating to your backyard. By using outdoor curtains, you can recreate the atmosphere of your favorite outdoor cafe.
Your choice of material will help enhance the mood or ambiance you are hoping to achieve. Sheer or lightweight drapery will evoke a sensual, elegant impression for those cozy dinners for two. Heavier fabrics will be a practical, family-friendly option for those fun-filled summer barbeques.
Separating Different Garden Areas
Our gardens have many tasks to perform. From comfortable patios to practical vegetable patches, sometimes your garden can be the busiest part of your whole house.
A children’s play area, messy workshop, doggy area, and even chicken coops are essential for many outdoor spaces. But, none of us want to gaze over the compost heap or garbage can while eating Spaghetti Bolognaise with our loved ones.
That’s where outdoor curtains can work wonders to elevate your garden by hiding those areas you don’t want to see all the time. Creating dividing walls of fabric adds sophistication to your outdoors. Allowing you to entertain guests while still keeping other parts of your garden’s life private.
Creating a Room Outdoors
Sometimes, especially in warm climates, sitting indoors can be uncomfortable. When opening windows isn’t enough, you need to sit outside to feel the cooling, fresh summer breeze on your skin.
Outdoor curtains can be used to create a living space outside of your home. One that can be kept temperate by fabric designed to block harsh sunlight and rain. Ideal for daytime relaxing, an outdoor room can also be beneficial for evening enjoyment. You’ll find outdoor curtains will enable you to keep your patio doors open and yet still be safe from those irritating twilight insects.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Outdoor Curtain Fabric
Fabric for outdoor curtains needs to meet some essential requirements to be effective. As not all materials contain the same properties, it’s important to make sure you check your preferred choice for suitability.
Any outdoor fabric should be able to stand up to the rigors of outside life. Here are the key characteristics you need to watch out for.
This property is probably the most important for areas that see a lot of rain. Your outdoor curtains need to be able to dry quickly and keep out the worst of the wet weather.
Fabrics that stay wet can become too heavy for your outdoor curtain rails. They can also be too cumbersome for you to move easily. Not only that, but they can also drip cold rainwater all over you and your guests.
Make sure you opt for a synthetic fabric with water-repelling properties. That way, you’ll stay dry even in the heaviest downpour.
Life outside can be tough on fabric. Whenever you are looking for outdoor curtain fabric, always make sure it can withstand the elements in your part of the world. A curtain made of the thinnest lace may look pretty, but if you live in an area prone to strong winds, the chances of it lasting more than one season are slim.
Your outdoor curtain material should last you for many years to come. So make sure you choose one to match your environment and weather trends.
Ease of Care
Even the most durable fabrics can pick up dirt, dust, and debris, especially if you are in an area with lots of trees. You are going to have to wash your outdoor curtains at some point.
Look for a fabric that is easy to clean, preferably one that is machine washable. The last thing you need is dry-clean only curtains. You’ll soon get fed up with carting them down to the dry cleaners every couple of weeks.
Ideally, you shouldn’t need to take your curtains down to clean light marks or staining. You should be able to use a soft sponge and warm water. That way, you can clean them while they are still hanging.
Patterned Fabric or Solid Color
Whether you go for a pattern on your fabric or a solid color, make sure it is colorfast! Patterns and solid colors can create ambiance and atmosphere if you use the right material. They can be a disaster if you don’t.
Having colors run because they couldn’t survive a rainstorm will ruin the romantic or elegant effect you were looking for. Instead of being relaxed and romantic, you’ll be left feeling irritated and annoyed.
Your outdoor curtain fabric should be resistant to any color fading, degrading, or running. Make sure the material is also resilient against UV damage. That way your curtains will stay colorful, fresh, and looking new for longer.
As mentioned above, the material your outdoor curtains are made from needs to be resistant to UV damage. Not only to keep its color looking good but also so it can offer you protection from harmful UV rays.
UV rays can cause skin damage. If you are out on your patio with your curtains between you and the sun, you may not be aware of how hot the sun is. One of the key benefits of outdoor curtains is reducing the heat from direct sunlight.
However, you need to make sure any material used for outdoor curtains can also block UV light. Harmful UV rays can still penetrate some fabrics to burn your skin, even when the sun’s full heat can’t.
Easy Hanging Accessories
When it comes to outdoor curtains, you need to make sure they are easy to hang. If they are complicated to put up, you might find they stay in the box or packaging.
Go for outdoor curtains with easy hanging accessories like rustproof grommets. Ones designed to fit standard curtain poles are ideal as you don’t need to source special rods from hard-to-find retailers. A trip down to your local hardware store for a normal pole will suffice.
The easier the curtains are to install, the quicker you’ll be able to put them up and start using them. Better still, if the fitting process is simple, you’re more likely to get it right the first time.
Outdoor Curtain Fabric by the Yard
Outdoor curtain material can be purchased by the yard from most fabric retailers. Most of the time it’s in with indoor fabrics, so double-check its suitability for outdoor use before you buy it.
The price of the outdoor curtain fabric will differ depending on a couple of factors. Fibers in the material are the first. A polyester-based fabric will be cheaper than Olefin, for instance. Secondly, the yardage of fabric you need will also alter the total price you pay.
As a rule of thumb, outdoor curtain fabric can range from $12 to $24 per yard. Variations in cost are down to your location and suppliers in your area, as well as the quality of the material.
How Do You Hang Outdoor Curtains?
One of the quickest and easiest ways to hang outdoor curtains is to install curtain rods on your patio or other outdoor space. You may need to put up a gazebo or a wooden framework if your area doesn’t already have one. Then, simply hang the fabric from the curtain rods by the grommets embedded in the material.
Make sure the curtain rod can fit easily into the grommets. The grommets should be a little larger to allow them to swish back and forth without restriction.
Best Outdoor Curtains
The best fabric for outdoor curtains is durable, weatherproof, and UV resistant. Olefin, polyester, and acrylic are top of the list for durability, reliability, and ease of care. Whatever your budget, these fabrics will create stylish outdoor curtains for your home.
Let me know in the comments if you liked the article. Has it encouraged you to install outdoor curtains in your garden? What fabric will you use?