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How to Choose Outdoor Curtains Like a Pro

By JENNIFER – Mar 04,2022 | Curtains Buying Guide | Share:

Outdoor curtains, as one of the most popular window treatment types for hot seasons, are a fusion of style and function. They come with different options and in many patterns and colors to complement your decor. The right outdoor curtains can create functional areas in your garden and extend your living space.

To get the most out of your outdoor curtains you should consider what they are made of. The right material will be durable and attractive. Your outdoor curtains need to perform a job while being pleasing to the eye.

The style of the outdoor curtain should appeal to you. There are many colors, textures, and patterns to choose from. The outdoor curtain heading is both functional and visually appealing so pick the right one for your space.

When, where, and how the outdoor curtains will be used is an important factor to consider. This will help you determine if waterproof and water resistant fabrics will be required. The occasion will affect the style and help you decide between formal and casual looks.

Materials of Outdoor Curtains

Outdoor curtains need to be durable enough to withstand the elements. Make sure that the curtains you are buying are made out of outdoor fabric. The best materials for outdoor curtains do not absorb water, dry quickly, and are UV resistant.

Olefin Outdoor Curtains

Olefin, or polypropylene, is a synthetic fiber made out of polyolefins. It’s a soft and lightweight fabric designed for outdoor use and perfect for curtains. This material is affordable, UV resistant, and won’t absorb water.

Olefin outdoor curtains are considered the best choice because the fabric does not easily fade in direct sunlight. The material stays colorfast and won’t fade even under intense UV light. Olefin outdoor curtains are easy to clean with a brush, can be hosed off, and dry quickly.

Acrylic Outdoor Curtains

Acrylic fabric is produced from a synthetic polymer known as acrylonitrile. This material performs very well outdoors as it dries quickly and resists fading. Acrylic fabrics can be made in vibrant colors and endless patterns.

There is one downside to acrylic outdoor curtains. The fabric is susceptible to building a static charge which attracts particles. Acrylic outdoor curtains appear dirty faster simply because debris sticks to it.

Polyester Outdoor Curtains

Polyester is a petroleum derived synthetic material. The fabric is made with blends of polyester yarns woven into cloth. Polyester is one of the most popular textiles in the world and polyester outdoor curtains are the most common.

Polyester outdoor curtains are more affordable than most other options. They are durable enough to withstand a fair bit of exposure to rain and sunlight but have a shorter lifespan than the more costly fabrics. Additionally, polyester is susceptible to discoloration and fading causing polyester outdoor curtains to need more frequent replacement.

Outdoor Canvas Curtains

Canvas is technically cotton made into a heavyweight woven fabric. It is a durable and sturdy material with a coarse texture. Canvas is a natural material that works well as a textile.

Outdoor canvas curtains will absorb a lot of water making them heavy and difficult to manage after a rainstorm. Canvas does not dry quickly and can get moldy if it is not cared for properly. Outdoor canvas curtains are best put away when rain is expected.

Blending cotton and synthetic fibers makes canvas become much more water resistant. This type of canvas blend material is a great option for outdoor fabric. Outdoor canvas curtains with synthetic fibers are preferable to plain canvas ones.

Waterproof and Water Resistant Outdoor Curtains

It is important that outdoor curtains be impermeable to water. Natural materials such as cotton are absorbent and will soak up rainwater and remain wet for a long time. Synthetic materials such as olefin, polyester, and acrylic are able to withstand more water than cotton fabrics.

Damp curtains are susceptible to mold which will affect the appearance of outdoor curtains and shorten their lifespan. Outdoor water resistant curtains are made of fabric which is so tightly woven that water has a difficult time finding its way through. Water resistant materials will prevent blowing rain from passing through the outdoor curtain allowing you to use your outdoor space even in less than ideal weather conditions.

Waterproof material is not the same as material that is water resistant. A fabric that is waterproof will provide a complete barrier to water. Use waterproof outdoor curtains in areas that need to be kept dry. Some fabrics are coated in a water repellent finish which needs to be reapplied, so be sure to keep your outdoor curtains waterproof by following manufacturer care instructions.

Outdoor Curtain Headings

The two main outdoor curtain headings are grommet or tab top. Outdoor grommet curtains are elegant and modern while tab top outdoor curtains are casual and light. Both can be used in a variety of applications and settings.


One way to hang curtains is with grommets that slide on a curtain rod. Outdoor grommet curtains have metal rings punched through the top. The rod goes through the rings and the curtain can slide on the rod. They are easy to open and close and the rigid grommets make the curtain more durable.

Outdoor grommet curtains have neat, even, and well defined pleats. They are elegant, classy, and appropriate for most applications. The stiffer fabrics used in outdoor applications give outdoor grommet curtains a crisp and clean look.

Double grommet outdoor curtains have one set of grommets on the top and a second set on the bottom. By threading the top grommets on one rod and the bottom grommets on another rod you can create a different look. A double grommet outdoor curtain won’t blow around in the wind.

Tab Top

Tab top outdoor curtains have fabric loops sewn onto the top. The loops slide onto a curtain rod for simple installation. The curtain can move back and forth on the rod making it easy to open and close the curtains.

The look of tab top outdoor curtains is simple and classy. They have a more informal and light feel but are still strong and versatile. Tab top outdoor curtains are perfect for casual lounging spaces.

Velcro tab top outdoor curtains make it easy to reposition the fabric. The tabs simply open allowing the curtain to be taken down and put back up again without the need to take down the rod. The velcro also adds a bit of wiggle room allowing you to shorten or lengthen the tabs, adjusting the overall length of the curtain.

Without a Rod 

For spaces without a rod, outdoor curtain panels can be installed. These fabric panels are flat and rigid. They are installed by being attached at the top, bottom or both.

Appearance of Outdoor Curtains

The appearance of outdoor curtains is a large component in the selection process. Colors and patterns can define the space and alter the feel of your outdoor room.

Outdoor Sheer & Lightweight Curtains

For a soft and breezy look, lightweight outdoor curtains are best. The soft and flowing fabrics of outdoor sheer curtains can add a boho vibe to any space. They offer privacy and charm while allowing ample sunlight to filter through.

Use outdoor sheer curtains on a patio to create an extension of your living space. With outdoor sheer curtains and well placed furniture you can turn your patio into an outdoor room. Use waterproof outdoor sheer curtains and don’t let the weather stop you from enjoying your patio.

Striped Outdoor Curtains

Use striped outdoor curtains to complement the color palette of your decor and make your outdoor space feel like a room. Bold fabrics in vibrant colors can change the look and feel of your domain. Black and white striped outdoor curtains are classy-chique and easy to coordinate with other prints. Try yellow striped outdoor curtains for a soft and sunny look.

Floral and Nature Prints 

Emphasize the outdoors with nature inspired fabrics. Outdoor curtains in floral patterns can complement a garden while lush tropical print outdoor curtains can make any space feel like a getaway. Pair busy patterns with neutrals and solids to not overwhelm the eyes.

Plain and Textured Curtains

Neutral solid colors pair well with patterns or can be used on their own for a softer look. Use thicker textures and darker colors to block out the sun in spaces where the sunlight is harsh. Sheer outdoor curtains in lighter shades are better for areas that can use more sunlight.

Outdoor Curtain for Different Places

When choosing the right outdoor curtain we must consider the space where it will be used. Outdoor patio curtains should be decorative to transform the outdoor space into an extension of the home. They should take into account the decor and complement the style to give the patio the feel of a room.

The porch is a space between the front of the house and the outside world. There are usually windows and you don’t want to make the inside of your house look dark. Outdoor porch curtains most often need to allow light through. The porch can usually be observed from the street and the right outdoor porch curtain should provide ample privacy.

Spaces further away from the house require more protection from the elements. Outdoor pergola curtains need to offer enough shade to make people comfortable. Outdoor gazebo curtains may be required to keep guests, tables, and food dry. Outdoor waterproof gazebo curtains can make your garden parties much more enjoyable.

Outdoor curtains need to complement the space and the decor while doing the job they are intended for, that’s why it’s important to check out some outdoor curtain ideas according to these spaces. Choose your outdoor curtains based on your preferences without losing sight of important factors such as durability, weatherproofing, and how much light will get through. Make the most of the outdoors with the perfect outdoor curtains.

Now for a conclusion, remember three essential tips:
1. Your fabric choice will influence everything from light levels to care and maintenance, so choose carefully.
2. When you shop, remember that heavier, thicker fabric panels block more light, sound, and heat than thinner, sheer materials.
3. There are dozens of fabric types suitable for curtains and drapes, so you don’t have to compromise when selecting features and fabrics you’ll love!
If you still need to decide what fabric is best, check out the Nicetown drapes collection now. 500+ verified customers acclaim our Nicetown blackout drapes!