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For the Home Talk

Anyone have inexpensive ideas for what to use for outdoor curtains?

Started 1270513981.413 in For the Home Talk | Last reply 1270824970.977 by travelinbag

We just completed a relatively large (12'X15') screened in room off the back of our house that is in need of something to block the sun.  I've been pricing outdoor curtains at $50 for a 50"wide panel.  I would need a lot of panels.  I was looking for suggestions on alternatives.  Maybe muslin or something similar from a fabric store or just inexpensive sheers from Walmart.  We get pretty high winds so I could go the inexpensive route, knowing I'll have to buy a new set each year.  Thanks for any ideas.

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leesa28711270514507.1937 PostsRegistered 4/5/2010

Curtains- not sure, but I have decided to use flannel back tableclothes sewn into seat cushions to save on replacing our outdoor seating cushions.

Between the new cushions and the Southern Patio new umbrella made it very nice!

zoologist1270515236.81745 PostsRegistered 1/29/2010

Are you just wanting to filter the sun alot, or totally block it out?

I'd think the panels from Walmart would be the way to go....unless you find 'em cheaper at Big Lots, or bed sheets.  I see bed sheets used alot on Sell This House on HGTV.

murbo1270518359.6871074 PostsRegistered 3/10/2007

zoologist, I think just filter out the sun.  I remember seeing bed sheets on a show also.  Totally forgot about it.  Thanks.  I've seen them hang things like that up with those clips with rings on them.  I think that might be the way to go!  leesa2871, that sounds like a great idea for cushions.   Thanks so much, both of you!{#emotions_dlg.biggrin}

K9buddy1270520060.92027 PostsRegistered 11/12/2007

Shower curtains.

jo-di1270520205.53383 PostsRegistered 10/30/2009somewhere over the rainbow

I agree - shower curtains!!  If you have a sewing machine, you can get some cheap muslin at the fabric store and sew them up. 

Marsha20031270520554.6534871 PostsRegistered 10/31/2007

If you need something heavier, canvas painter's tarps are huge and relatively inexpensive.  You would probably need to put grommets in them to hang them or you could just staple-gun them directly to the wood.

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murbo1270524669.321074 PostsRegistered 3/10/2007

Thanks so much for all the additional ideas!  I've got a nice list, now!

kiddo1270524781.04710263 PostsRegistered 12/6/2006

Shower curtains.

I've got some made of thick, very heavy duck muslin.  Color is a deep ivory. 

Bought them (I think) at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Or maybe it was Jayce Penaze.   Or maybe it was Mervyn's (back when Mervyn's was still around). 

But they're not water-repellant because they're meant to hang outside the shower curtain behind them that IS water repellant.

If I were to use them in your described envioronment, I'd first hang a steel rod across the spanse.   On that steel rod I'd use metal rings for shower curtains.  Piece o'cake.


P.S.  Otherwise, I'd go with the heavy blue plastic painters tarps.  But, I would DEFINITELY ask the Home Depot store where I would be buying them how I could get grommet holes put in them.. and have the grommet holes ringed in metal so that the plastic tarp would not ever tear from winds that hit the tarp. 

IN no way would I ever try nailing them to anything.  I'm trying to picture it... but for some reason that method doesn't feel as though it would secure the tarp in wind which is sure to happen sometime or other.


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duke mom1270524986.531442 PostsRegistered 7/12/2009

Walmart has some very inexpensive twin sheets that I bought to use as table cloths for a party we had. They also have sheers that would give a nice, light, airy feeling. I follow a blog that you have to Google. Between Naps on the Porch. She has a screened back porch to die for. It should give you lots of great ideas. She used white sheers and said she has had them for several seasons now. You could also check your local Big Lots. Mine has a good selection some times of curtains and sheers.

kiddo1270525086.60310263 PostsRegistered 12/6/2006

Could try scouting out your local Goodwill stores for shower curtains to use.


Be kind; Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
Invite Jesus to POSSESS your heart. (And your mind, your thoughts, your actions, your words, your dreams, your plans.)

Nightowlz1270525623.72310570 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

What about bamboo blinds?

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” Will Rogers

Jan451270526029.643776 PostsRegistered 1/3/2009Midwest

We have a 16x24 patio under our deck which is not screened in but is surrounded with railings and spindles making it somewhat a "room".  We also needed something to block the sun in the late afternoon.  I loved the curtains seen on so many home shows so I did the bed sheets/clip rings hung on rods.  They looked lovely but THAT idea lasted about 3 weeks...even a slight breeze blew the sheets plus they got really dirty really fast!  You probably wouldn't have the "dirty" problem, however, since your area is screened in.  What I ended up with and which I love, are matchstick rollup blinds.  They're relatively inexpensive at about $20-$25 for a 8x6 blind (less for smaller widths) and super simple to hang.  This will be the 3rd Summer for mine and they are still in great shape despite being outside all Summer.  I got mine at Lowe's but I know Walmart and Penneys also sells them.

There can still be a problem with a strong breeze so I installed hooks on the railings and just "hook" the bottom of the blind in the hook. 

Good luck...I know how difficult it is to find just the right thing!


lovinglife1270528661.291097 PostsRegistered 4/12/2005

As another poster mentioned canvas painter's tarps are a great alternative.  I used this idea a few years ago when I wanted to change my screen porch and they work great for me.



"Don't bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself."

gardenman1270556818.4617988 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey

Beach towels might be another option for you.

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PytnPlace1270586785.777221 PostsRegistered 10/30/2009

We have a screened porch on the back of our house.  I got the inexpensive sheers 3 years ago and am replacing them this year.  Probably should have last year but most of them were totally fine.  They are suspended by tension rods, about halfway down the curtain I tie them in the middle with a sturdy ribbon.  I looks great and eliminates the flying in your face sails on a windy day.  I like the sheers because I love my garden.  They do block out the sun but are sheer enough that one can see through them into the garden.  I also like the fact that they are easy to clean as I wash them several times per season.  Just a jaunt through the gentle cycle, back on the rods and they are dry in minutes.

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blueroses471270595320.1132253 PostsRegistered 9/1/2005Central NJ

Here's another vote for the inexpensive sheers, the ones you can find at Walmart, etc.


I have a hot tub that's in a shed-type building toward the end of our yard.  There are windows out there, and I wanted something to make the room look less "shed-like" without spending much money.  I opted for white cheap sheer panels, (the ones I found had a basket weave texture, actually, and cost something like $3 per panel.)  They have lasted for years now, and stay white (I wash them once a season).  They seem impervious to insects, sun, whatever, and are fine for where they are.

I think these cheapy sheers end up being more economical than sheets or towels, or most anything else.  On the windows, you really can't tell the quality and they look bright and fresh.

murbo1270599452.9831074 PostsRegistered 3/10/2007

Thanks so much again, everyone.  I thought of the idea of blinds but we get crazy windy days that can actually blow our furniture to the other side of the room so I was thinking that wouldn't work.  I didn't think to attach them at the bottom, too.  I love all the ideas.  Such a creative bunch of people!!!

travelinbag1270824970.973380 PostsRegistered 7/11/2006southern michigan

Can you sew???    My 3 season porch is about the same size, only with 10 ft ceiling so conventional purchase was out.   JoAnns has shower curtain material by the yard.  White, Off White, and Beige.    The kind with water repellant on one side,  satiny fabric on the other.  Very easy to sew hems top and bottom,  I used the wire cable as a rod with clip on thingys (brain freeze)  so if they need a wash just unclip and toss in washer and clip back up and the wind finishes the drying.   If I forget to close a window and it rains,  I dont have soggy curtians to deal with,  just a puddle to mop up. 

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