Privacy is key to making your outdoor space feel like a relaxing retreat, but built-in screens and shades can be pricey. For an easy, inexpensive way to block views around your deck or patio, consider hanging outdoor curtains instead.
Made to withstand harsh sun, wind, and rain, exterior draperies help close off your outdoor living area while providing relief from scorching summer weather, including harmful UV rays. "They're practical for keeping the sun out of your eyes, reducing midday heat, and providing privacy in spaces where you might feel more exposed," says Shannon Schomaker, product manager at the window treatment company Graber.
In addition to practical benefits, outdoor curtains are a decorative element that can add personality to your backyard. They're available in a variety of styles, colors, and patterns; just be sure to select a material that repels water. "Always choose a fabric that is specifically rated for the outdoors, as traditional drapery fabric will absorb moisture, making it extremely heavy and prone to mold," Schomaker says. The best outdoor curtains also offer UV resistance, which helps prevent the color from fading over time. To prevent wear, look for options made from durable fabric with reinforced tabs or grommets.
How to Hang Outdoor Curtains
When deciding where to hang outdoor curtains, look to the existing structures in your backyard, such as a balcony, deck, patio, or pergola, and determine the best placement. "Take into consideration the general direction of the wind, any nearby foliage, and, most importantly, where you need to block the sun in order to get the most enjoyment out of your space," Schomaker suggests. For example, hang outdoor curtains across the western-facing side of your deck to make sunny afternoons more enjoyable.
Where possible, install mounting hardware directly into the side or bottom of wood beams to offer sturdy support for your outdoor curtain rod ($29, The Home Depot). If you're looking for a more temporary solution, you can also hang outdoor curtains using a tension rod, which is ideal for outdoor structures made of metal, stone, or other materials. Heavy-gauge wire and eye hooks offer another hanging option that you can even attach to the exterior of your house or stand-alone posts. Consider using wall anchors for a secure hold, and make sure the wire is taut to avoid drooping (for large areas or heavy fabrics, you might need to install additional center supports).
Shop our picks for the best outdoor curtains to boost privacy and shade-and make your deck or patio feel like a stylish extension of your home.
Best Overall Outdoor Curtains
These bestselling outdoor curtains from Amazon have more than 7,000 ratings from happy customers. The water-resistant, mildew-repelling fabric comes in 17 solid colors, so you can easily match your outdoor curtains to your patio furniture. Rust-proof grommets make hanging easy, and the variety of available sizes ensures you can get the length just right.
Best UV-Resistant Outdoor Curtains
Shield your patio or deck from the sun with these UV-resistant outdoor curtains. The light-blocking fabric offers an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50, which means only 2% of the sun's rays can pass through. The striped polyester fabric also resists water and stains, and you can machine-wash the curtains on cold.
Best Weather-Resistant Outdoor Curtains
Treated with 3M's Scotchgard, these outdoor curtains offer long-lasting protection against all types of weather. When it rains, the moisture-repelling barrier keeps the fabric dry for longer, and in sunny weather, the curtains offer up to 500 hours of protection from UV rays. The light-filtering fabric offers moderate privacy while still allowing some brightness to come through.
Best Patterned Outdoor Curtains
Spruce up your outdoor living area with curtains in a bold print. This palm leaf pattern brings a tropical feel and pairs well with lots of lush plants and natural textures. The lightweight fabric repels moisture, stains, and sunlight, and the curtains are machine-washable for easy care.
Best Sheer Outdoor Curtains
Sheer outdoor curtains are ideal when you want to keep bugs out while maintaining a bright, open feel. These curtain panels (sold individually) come with a rope tie so you can easily pull them back when your patio's not in use. The tabs along the top attach with hook-and-loop tape, so you can remove the curtains without taking down the whole rod.
Best Outdoor Curtains for Privacy
Mount these curtain panels around your outdoor space for a cozy, private feel. The light-blocking fabric helps filter harsh sunlight while allowing a natural glow to come through. The set of two panels comes in a rainbow of colors, so you can choose a darker hue for extra privacy.
Best Acrylic Outdoor Curtains
Acrylic Sunbrella fabric, which repels mold, mildew, stains, and water, gives these outdoor curtains extra durability. The UV-protective material also resists fading, so the striped design will wear well over time. The outdoor curtain panels are available in eight colors, including bright summery hues and versatile neutrals.