Hang Curtains in Your Outdoor Spaces

Sheer curtain hanging on balcony with boston fern
Sheer white curtain panel hanging outside with boston ferns

Just by hanging outdoor curtains your space is instantly elevated.

It’s special…

it’s charming

it’s intimate

it’s romantic

It has ambiance … and attitude! It becomes an oasis … your private resort!

Sheer curtain panels can obscure a less than desirable view and they can frame a stunning view. They say “special, cozy & private”.

They’re such a simple way to make a big statement, like here and here.

And it’s not expensive. We’re talking sheers here rather than heavy drapes and no expanse of rods are needed.

Sheer white curtain panels hanging on screened porch

Adding indoor elements to outdoor spaces; think area rugs, lamps, wall art and yes, curtain panels, elevates the outdoor space to the same level as your indoor rooms. Let that patio-deck-balcony proudly throw back its shoulders and carry the same entertaining weight as any indoor room!

single sheer white curtain panel hanging on screened porch

Our screened porch certainly carried the entertaining weight in our last house. (sorry I don’t have good pictures of the sheers with the trees all green ?) That table lamp? It served us so well out there — made the porch a room, a very special room. You can read about how I made the lampshade.

But you’re here to learn how to hang outdoor curtain panels. Don’t have time right now? No worries. Pin this to find it when you need it:

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Let’s get started:

Since your sheers are for ambiance and not for shade or protection from the weather, choose a fabric that is machine washable and dryable. Any rain will dry quickly and you can throw in the washing machine between seasons or maybe mid-season too.

Mine are made from the cheapest white sheer window scarf Walmart had in stock. Typically window scarf valances are 216″ long, yielding two panels. You can use panels, if the length is right and you don’t mind spending a bit more as trade-off for no cutting and hemming.

closeup of White sheer panel with loops at the top

I cut that long scarf into two long panels, about 108-inches each. Then folded and pressed a modest hem, folding over twice. Ran it through the sewing machine, but you can certainly hand-stitch if the machine terrifies you. This hem will be at the bottom and hardly show. Don’t stress about its perfection.

NOTE: if you plan to always have your panels tied back as we do, the length does not need to match the height of your hanging — longer is better because the length will rise up as they are tied back. And if you have enough extra length, I love the look of the panel tied in a loose knot where my ribbon is.

Here’s the trick for outdoor sheers. You do NOT want to run them through a rod!!! The wind will grab them and have them hanging wherever he wants them, not where you want them.

Take charge of this. Use knobs, NOT rods!

black drawer pull or knob and sku information from Home Depot

I used the least expensive black drawer pulls I could find at Home Depot. They’re up high, all I wanted was round and black. Check! And check!

I suggest five knobs per 54 to 56-inch panel.

Dowel screw packages at Home Depot

Then pick up a package of dowel screws. They’ll be hanging on the wall with all the “specialty screws”.

Dowel screws have threading at both ends. This lets you screw a drawer pull on one end and with the other end screw it into the porch header or into your trellis, or even into a hearty tree branch.

Now For the Ribbon Loops

Use stout ribbon, such as grosgrain or a soft webbing.

I wanted to stay with white and only had a wide grosgrain piece on hand. So I pressed it in half lengthwise and then stitched down those sides (probably didn’t really need to stitch the sides).

Cut you ribbons to length. For my 1-1/8″ knobs, I cut my ribbons ____ long. I suggest doing a zig zag over the ends, or if machine fear kicks in, then heat-seal the ends.

You can only heat-seal ribbons that are of synthetic fibers. (not cotton, wool or burlap) Cut you ribbon and pass the flame from a lighter across the very tip of those cut edges. Watch carefully as the edge melts and shrivels up.

Mark where your ribbons will go.

With five there’s no math required. One centered on each of the side hems, fold in half and mark the middle, then line up each corner mark with the middle and and mark both of those middles.

Closeup of secured ribbon with a stitched box

Next, on each mark, stitch a ribbon folded in half with ends lined up a bit below the top on the backside of your panel.

TIP: Pin one of the ribbons in place and test again, making sure the loop is large enough to make it over the drawer pull.

All good? Then stitch these securely!!! I used a box with one edge of the box along the upper folded edge of the hem. This keeps the upper edge flat and hanging evenly. You can certainly do this by hand. Your stitches will barely show.

Hang Your DIY Outdoor Sheer Curtains

Determine how wide you want to space your knobs. You can go as wide as your panel, or space them in a bit to give a more eased look. Our balcony is L-Shaped with one arm deeper than the other (such is our quirky 60’s nest, sigh). I hung both panels the full width of the balcony arms, so one is rather taut at the top and one is more eased.

Closeup of black knobs holding sheer curtain panel with slack
Closeup of black knobs holding sheer curtain panel tautly

I seem to be the only one that notices this. And here I am pointing it out to you.

Obviously, I trust you with my dirty secrets and consider us good friends!

Closeup of black knob on dowel screw screwed into header

Measure and mark the placement for your knobs. Start a pilot hole with a drill (or if your drill battery is dead when you’re ready for progress, a large nail will do — oh, like that’s never happened to you. Yup, I thought so…..).

Screw drawer pull knobs into header.

Now screw your drawer pulls onto one end of your dowel screws and then into your pilot holes.

Ribbon loop around black knob holding curtain

Stating the obvious, hang each ribbon loop over a knob.

Once hung, tie a decorative ribbon loosely around the panel and determine what height you want your locking cup hook.

Closeup of locking cup hook

Now fluff your panel so that the edge by the cup hook hangs down straight and then becomes more loose as it goes out creating the soft drape. This is where, if you have the length the do a loose knot in the panel itself, then slip your ribbon through the knot on the back and into the cup hook. It will hold that drape better for you in blustery weather.

Ribbon tying back white sheer curtain panel hanging outside

Ta! Da! Oasis!

Sit and take it in! Congratulate yourself! Enjoy your domestic resort!

And perhaps that pool boy will hustle up your favorite cool beverage.

Don’t forget to pin this:

21 Comments

  1. Jean | Delightful Repast

    Diane, I love this! Now if I can just talk my husband into it! Like you, I’m a traditionalist with a twist, so I’m sure to like many of your projects here. Adding you to my list! #CharmingHomesAndGardens

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thanks so much Jean! Would love having you on board!!!

      Reply
  2. Jayne

    Great idea! I’ve been thinking of making something like this for our outdoor area but was worried about the wind since we get quite a bit! now I know exactly how to to do it!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Yea!! Please send pics when you’re done! Would love to see how your’s turns out.

      Reply
  3. Libbie

    Love how elevated the outdoor space becomes!

    Reply
  4. Kim | Shiplap and Shells

    I’ve always loved sheer curtains hanging in an outdoor space! Well done! Thank you for sharing with Charming Homes and Gardens Party!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thanks Kim! And I truly appreciate the feature in Charming Homes And Gardens!

      Reply
  5. Claudia

    Your instructions are so complete. Your pictures of the things you need are so helpful. I haven’t seen your blog before but I hope to follow you from now on. Thanks for your inspiration.

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thanks Claudia!
      Welcome! I’m so happy you found me. Please share your “discovery”. The more the merrier. ?

      Reply
    • Diane

      Thanks Michelle! When you hang yours, be sure to send me a pic!

      Reply
    • Katy

      it was the KNOB IDEA!!! I have notes and notes of ideas and when I stumbled across this pic and clicked the link….WHY didn’t I think of this!! Cannot wait for SPRING!! (getting another 9 inches of snow today!)

      Reply
  6. Richella J Parham

    These look awesome!! The knobs are a brilliant idea! I think you’ve made a lot of us say “Why didn’t I think of that??” Well, we didn’t have to, thanks to you!

    Thanks for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace! I’m featuring you this week.

    Reply
    • Diane

      Thanks so much Richella!! I hope they inspire others!
      And thanks for hosting Grace at Home!

      Reply
  7. Catherine

    How I wish I could go back and forth in time to read this and not do it the completely wrong way last summer. I used PVC and plumbing hardware to hang gauzy Ikea curtains on my patio in my very windy backyard. Which lasted all of well, no time. If I can convince my husband that this will work, we may give it another go. Or maybe I’ll just do it and he can be in awe of my problem solving skillz.

    Reply
  8. Sher

    Perfect! I had bought the panels but was struggling with the rod. Now you have provided the solution and it will work wonderfully for our porch. Thanks very much!

    Reply
    • Diane

      Glad this will work for you. Please send pics!!!

      Reply
  9. Amy

    Great idea with the knobs! I’ve got my outdoor curtains ready to go up soon so I’m going to look into this!

    Reply
    • Diane

      It’s a great option when you don’t really want to pull the panels open or closed, but just use them to frame — or hide — a view and add ambiance. Glad that it might help you out. Let me know if you do this. I’d love to see a pic!

      Reply

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