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Outdoor Curtains: An Inexpensive IKEA Patio Makeover

Outdoor Curtains: An Inexpensive IKEA Patio Makeover

Have you ever sat on your patio, wondering how you’ll ever transform it into a ‘Pinterest-worthy-space’? Yeah, me too. But exterior furniture (and basically everything else that goes outside) is pretty expensive. Luckily, I had some leftover curtains from IKEA in my linen closet that I could use to transform my backyard’s patio. (If you don’t have any laying around, these are my favorite inexpensive option from Target).

Before: Drab and Plain

This is what our back patio looked like before I started. I haven’t been able to do much to transform the space since a lot of our budget has gone to laying new hardwoods, our kitchen renovation, and fueling my obsession with throw pillows, but I had to do something.

Backyard covered patio with no furniture

One: Choosing the Outdoor Curtain Rod Materials

I love our backyard – it’s just big enough for the kids to run around but small enough that it isn’t too hard to manage. The porch is big, and having that much shade in Austin, TX really pays off in the summer. The open area between each post is almost 10 feet, so I knew any normal exterior curtain rod wouldn’t work for my little outdoor curtain IKEA DIY.

I checked in my local home improvement store’s electrical department and found some 10 foot long galvanized conduit (here’s some you can buy from amazon, or home depot). Conduit is usually used to protect wires in applications when you can’t hide them but can be used for many other purposes, too. It was perfect – sturdy and inexpensive. I also picked up some two-sided fasteners (you can find these at Home Depot too!) to keep everything in place.

Step Two: Choosing the Outdoor Curtain Materials

If you didn’t already have the curtains (like I did), you could pick them up from IKEA for cheap. Since they aren’t particularly supposed to be used outside, they do get ruined a little faster than I’d like. But for the price, I just pick up a new pair every spring. I’d rather do that than invest in super expensive curtains for exterior applications.

If you don’t have an IKEA near you, and you don’t have outdoor curtains on hand, don’t worry…I’ve got you covered. Here are my favorites from Target:

Thermal Darkening Curtains

If you have an outdoor space that gets a lot of direct sun, you could use darkening curtains to give you shade and privacy.

Climbing Floral Light Filtering Curtains

You could even use curtains, like these, with a pattern or design that matches your outdoor color scheme.

Linen Light Filtering Curtains

These high quality curtains would help filter out some of the bright sun and give you a cool, shady place to relax.

Step Three: Hanging the Conduit as an Outdoor Curtain Rod

Installing the conduit was a breeze. I think I had this whole outdoor curtain project done in about 20 minutes, which is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the more involved projects we’ve tackled in this house.

Closeup of backyard patio conduit pipe curtain rod
Backyard patio conduit pipe hung up with no curtains
Backyard patio closeup of curtains on the conduit rod

The Final Transformation

pipe curtain hooks project after with just backyard patio visible

The curtains are absolutely beautiful. I like them to stay in place, so I used some burlap string to tie them around the posts. With just a little tug on the fabric, I got them to bunch up around the string and look a little more gathered.

I love the way this inexpensive project transformed our backyard – I really enjoy being out here now, even in the summer. The kids love playing with the curtains, and the way they gently blow in the breeze is so relaxing. We’ve had them up for a few years at this point, and the conduit is holding strong!

Update: I took what I learned from this project and installed dual grommeted outdoor curtains on the pergola in my sister’s backyard. I am so proud of how they turned out- take a look!

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Wednesday 12th of July 2017

I know, I'm in ATX too and it is supposed to be over 100 all this week. So hard to get anything done outside. I think those curtains are great and I wish I had a large overhang like you do so I could install them. Such a great idea!


Wednesday 12th of July 2017

Thank you! Yep, the heat is unbearable!

Angie Ballard

Monday 10th of July 2017

Try for the patio chairs! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!!

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