Adding outdoor curtains to your apartment balcony offers numerous benefits. Choosing the right balcony curtains based on your needs and the weather is vital, as not all curtains are created equal.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about balcony curtains. We’ll go over the different kinds of curtains you can use and how to hang curtains on an apartment balcony.
Why Add Curtains to Your Balcony?
Let’s start with the obvious question: why add curtains to your balcony? It could be for:
- Privacy (as with indoor curtains)
- Extra protection from the weather
- A sun shade (if you don’t want to use an umbrella)
- Protection from insects
- General décor upgrade
What to Consider Before Hanging Balcony Curtains
Before choosing the right outdoor curtains for your balcony, there are a few things worth considering.
Check with your landlord/HOA to confirm whether you’re allowed to do any drilling. It’s the most obvious way of hanging curtains on your balcony, but it’s not the only option.
Later in this article, we’ll provide options for how to hang curtains on an apartment balcony that are less invasive.
This is the most important factor. Sun and insect protection are easy to shop for, but, if you need protection from rain and wind, you’ll need to be more careful with your material selections.
It always helps to match balcony curtains to your current design choices, if you have any. Luckily, this shouldn’t be too difficult, as there are plenty of color/pattern options in all types of fabric.
If you’re really struggling to find the perfect curtains, you could always buy some fabric and get them made instead. It’ll be more expensive but does mean they can be made to your exact height and width.
Finally, consider the price. Curtains don’t need to be expensive, but you’ll get a higher quality product if you’re willing to spend a bit more. That said, there’s a price cap, after which you’re not really paying for extra features.
With most outdoor curtains, you should accept that they have a limited lifespan. Even weatherproof curtains will stain and fade eventually, so don’t bother spending hundreds on something you might have to throw away in a few years.
Types of Balcony Curtains
Now that we have a rough idea of buying criteria, let’s look at some outdoor curtains that we could use on a balcony.
Sheer curtains are suitable for use outdoors if you don’t have to worry about rain. The material (usually polyester) and wide weave mean they’re not waterproof.
They will, however, offer some privacy while diffusing sunlight. Sheer curtains are a good choice if you want an in-between option that doesn’t sacrifice natural light. As such, they’re suitable if you’re growing plants on your balcony.
The main disadvantage is that they mark fairly easily, meaning you’ll have to wash them regularly. Look for ones that are machine washable, but ideally you should wash them by hand. To get the most use from them, consider taking them down in the winter.
- Still let in sunlight while taking away the brightness.
- Blocks insects.
- Offers some privacy.
- You’ll need to wash them regularly.
- Not fully weatherproof.
Opt for specific outdoor curtains if you want something weatherproof. Ideally, outdoor curtains will be opaque, meaning you get complete privacy but do lose almost all natural light.
The main benefit of proper outdoor curtains is that they’re UV and fade resistant. They’re also waterproof, making them ideal for people who want to enjoy their balcony in wetter weather.
Weatherproof curtains will last longer than other types because there’s no chance of them going moldy. Even so, you should wash them regularly because they’re not completely resistant to dirt and grime.
- Suitable for blocking wind and rain.
- Provides maximum privacy.
- UV and fade resistance means they’ll last longer.
- Blocks almost all sunlight.
Canvas curtains are a good choice outdoors because the material is naturally weather-resistant. The outdoor curtains above are polyester, but canvas offers all the same benefits while also being a natural material.
Canvas is quite a heavy material, meaning it’ll block rain and wind, but also sunlight. Also, this means they’re harder to hang, and you’ll have to invest in a proper curtain rod.
Good quality canvas curtains are one of the more expensive options. But, they’re worth the money because you can get years of use from them if they’re properly maintained.
- Maximum privacy and weather resistance.
- Durable, natural material (will suit Scandi and boho styles primarily).
- Heavy enough to block wind.
- Harder to hang than lighter curtains.
- One of the more expensive options.
Bamboo shades might not be your typical balcony curtains, but they’re a good in-between choice. Much like sheer curtains, they provide some privacy while still letting in light.
Along with typical vertical shades, you’ll also find bamboo curtains. Shades are a good choice for covered balconies, as you need something to hang them from. Unlike curtains, you shouldn’t need to install rods.
Although they offer privacy, bamboo shades obviously won’t block weather. Bamboo itself is weather-resistant, meaning you can leave them up all year, but they’ll let in wind and rain.
- Natural material suitable for many styles.
- Offers some privacy while letting in sunlight.
- Bamboo shades are a good alternative to curtains.
- Not completely weatherproof.
Which Material is Best for Outdoor Curtains?
When choosing a material for your balcony curtains, the best option is synthetics. Most weatherproof curtains are polyester, but acrylic and olefin are also worth considering.
Olefin, for example, is regularly used as carpet fabric on ships because it’s naturally UV- and weather-resistant.
Canvas is probably the only natural fabric worth considering, although it’ll never last as long as a synthetic one. It’s more prone to staining and mold, and, while you can wash it, the stains won’t always come out.
Avoid indoor fabrics wherever possible because, as the name implies, they’re not made for outdoors. Even if your area doesn’t get much rain, they won’t cope in humid environments and will go moldy quickly.
How to Hang Curtains on an Apartment Balcony
Your options for how to hang curtains on an apartment balcony largely depend on whether it’s covered and if you’re allowed to drill. Don’t worry; we cover all options below.
Hanging Curtains on a Covered Balcony
This is the easiest option for hanging curtains because you can treat it like any other curtain hanging job.
- Measure the length of your balcony opening to determine the right curtain rod.
- Hold the curtain rod against the ceiling and use a pencil to mark where the holes need drilling.
- Use a hammer drill to make holes for the screws.
- Insert wall plugs (they may come with the curtain rod).
- Screw the curtain rod bracket into the ceiling.
- Thread the curtains onto the rod and hang from the brackets.
That’s all there is to it. Hanging curtains isn’t a difficult job, and most curtain rod packs should come with the necessary installation hardware.
Hanging Curtains on an Uncovered Balcony
When it comes to how to hang curtains on an apartment balcony that’s uncovered, the process is a bit more difficult. You’ll have to build your own vertical posts, after which the process is the same as above.
For this, you have a couple of options.
The first is to half fill some 5-gallon buckets with fast-drying cement and sink some tall wood beams into them. You’ll need 2 beams for every curtain rod, or you could use 3 beams for every 2 rods.
The beams should be at least as tall as your balcony windows. Use some scrap wood to prop the beams in the center while the cement dries. After it’s finished, consider filling the remainder of the buckets with soil and adding plants.
The second option is to cable-tie wood posts to your balcony railing. Use 3-4 ties per post so they’re as secure as possible. Don’t do this with heavy curtains, as they could blow over in a strong wind.
Hanging Curtains Without Drilling
Hanging curtains without drilling isn’t too difficult. The best option is to use heavy-duty adhesive hooks, which you can stick to the balcony ceiling. Get ones with a suitable weight limit and be careful hanging heavy curtains from them.
For this option, you’ll want to buy curtains with grommets. Luckily, these are fairly common on outdoor curtains.
If your balcony is uncovered, follow the options suggested above. Neither requires drilling or invasive DIY, so there shouldn’t be any issues with landlords or HOAs.
Final Thoughts on Apartment Balcony Curtains
Hopefully, you now have enough information to pick your perfect balcony curtains. The most important thing to consider is the weather, as you won’t want to use outdoor curtains that can’t withstand wind and rain.
Aside from this, spend time shopping around looking for the perfect design that matches your balcony style.