Decorating & Design

June 19, 2013

Ask A Designer: Outdoor Drapes

Q. I love the look of curtains hanging on a porch and I’d like to try it at home. Do I need a special type of material?

— J.C., via email (To submit your own question, see our Ask A Designer™ page.)

A. I also love the look of drape panels on a porch — they’re perfect for privacy and blocking out the sun, and I find they have a certain romance to them.

A lot of people use inexpensive ready-made cotton drapes, usually with a grommet or tab-style heading. These work fine, but can easily get stained or fade from exposure to sunlight. I’ve seen more and more outdoor drapes made of acrylic or polyester recently. They’re softer than the materials used for awnings, but are still stain- and mildew-resistant and won’t fade. I’ve kept mine up through the winter without any problems. West Elm has woven-polyester grommetted outdoor drapes in solid white or flax, either of which would look quite dreamy on verandahs.

Treated outdoor drapery rods are available, but I’ve simply used a black indoor one. You may have to touch it up with spray paint if any rust appears, which is easy enough to do. Install the rod so that the panels hang about 1-1/2″ off the porch floor to prevent the hem from getting dirty.

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