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Outdoor curtains from tablecloths and DIY curtain rod

By Tyler, Mr. Doer

Part of the reason that we fell in love with our house was because it included a large covered porch with high ceilings and a place to sit and talk. While the beauty of the porch was always there, we really had never fully utilized the space and it always just felt unfinished and unwelcoming. With harsh light and a fabulous view of the side of the neighbor's house, there was a lot to be desired about our outdoor space and I never knew what to do about it.  Before
But, recently our porch got a much needed makeover and I couldn’t be happier with the results. I had always wanted to add outdoor curtains to our space, but after pricing them online and in stores, I realized outdoor curtains are crazy expensive if you have a tall space like we do. I thought about just going to get fabric to sew my own curtain, but then I had a brilliant idea: we could use tablecloths.

Doers what you need
  • Tablecloths or outdoor curtains {we used the World Market 120”x60” white tablecloths}
  • Two sets of drapery clips to hang the tablecloths
  • Two 10’ copper ¾” pipes, quick-connect copper end caps and copper coupler to attach the two pipes.  Alternatively, you can use a long curtain rod but that wasn't an option with our porch length, so we needed something custom and this was a great, inexpensive option that ended up being quite pretty once installed.
  • Three screw-mount hooks to hold the copper rod in place. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the option of copper hooks, so we will eventually paint ours white to blend a bit better with the overall design. 
  • Ribbons for tie-backs

We started off by washing, drying and ironing the tablecloths so we could get an idea of how much they would shrink and we could install them properly. I also did a little research to see if there was a way to waterproof them to resist mold and mildew, should we end up needing to do that down the road. I came up with a few solutions we might try out, but I’m still uncertain if we will actually need to do something like this since our porch has a large overhang and we don’t really get rain up there, especially during the summer. Since the “curtains” are completely washable, we might just launder them every few weeks to keep them bright white and then take them down once the summer ends and we find we no longer use the space on a daily basis.

After the fabric was ready we started on the actual rod construction, which ended up being incredibly simple. Since our space was over 12’ long and we needed to get two pieces of pipe to cover the whole length, so I got a quick-connect coupler to attach the two pieces in the center and then copper end caps to finish off both ends and make sure the rod doesn’t slip.  Then, I measured for the three screw-mount hooks, drilled them into our porch beam, and slid the copper pipe in, creating a copper curtain rod that perfectly fit the space.     
Finished Curtains on Rod
Once the copper curtain rod was up, we simply attached the drapery clips to the top of the tablecloths, slid them on the rod, and voila, outdoor curtains!

While my wife worked on getting the spacing just right, tying them back just so and rearranging the furniture on the deck, I made some wire hooks for the battery operated lanterns and hung them on the rod at various heights to fill the gaps left by the tied-back curtains and we sat back to admire how nicely it all came together.    After
The DIY curtains and porch re-do ended up being the perfect length project for naptime and by the time the kiddos were awake, we had completely assembled our new outdoor living area and were ready to unveil the results. Immediately upon seeing it through the window, my daughter started jumping up and down and said “someone fancied up our porch!”  followed by “I want to have a picnic out there!” I would say that's a success.Outdoor room
Since the day project was completed, we have found ourselves spending a whole lot more time outdoors. It has been a great way to get the kids some fresh air mid-day without having to worry about scorching sun or rain ruining our fun, a perfect place to do arts and crafts, have a picnic lunch, play with noisy toys, get a little work done while enjoying being outdoors, or take some relaxed and fun pictures with natural light.Rocking chair on porch
If I had known the amazing oasis I could create with less than $100, I would have done it long before this summer. Since most of that money was spent getting a good quality DIY curtain rod, it makes the design so much more flexible and easy to change throughout the year with tablecloths we find on sale throughout the year.  Kids playing on porch
There really is nothing better than making good use of every inch of space in your home so I was thrilled that this project gave us an extra 120 square feet of living space without sacrificing a thing. Even with two DIY projects rolled into one, it really was easy to do, inexpensive, and it ended up giving my wife an outdoor photo studio with nice, diffused light, as well as an outdoor work station so we can work from outside, and a great protected place for the kids to play all spring, summer, and fall - no matter what kind of weather we’re having.  Tyler Doer

Comments

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Sarah Brittingham

I tried doing something similar on my deck, but I used indoor curtains. They actually lasted and did not mold during the summer. I was rather surprised as they were thick and would hold water for a few hours after it rained. I never thought of using tablecloths before. That is great idea as they are thin and should dry quickly. Thanks for the tip.

Kambrea

I think using the table clothes was a great idea. I never would have thought to do that. I wonder if you could use cloth shower curtains as well?

James Robert

I saw something real similar to this on the weather channel where they talk about fixing up your yard, etc. Looks great and pretty easy to do.

Katie Palmer

This is really clever!

Shannon Weel

It looks really cute! I love this idea, thank you for sharing.

Karen Propes

Such a great idea. We have been talking about putting a cover over our deck so we can enjoy it more. It seems to rain here a lot. I love this idea, once we get the cover. I also loved what your daughter said, so adorable. Thanks for sharing.

Faith

Love this idea! Adds so much elegance to the space!

Candace

I've been trying to think of ways to make our outdoor space more homey and this is definitely a great one thanks so much

paula s

Love this idea! thanks will be making me some.

Katherine

I will try to do this. It looks so pretty!

Katherine

I have always wanted to put some of these up outside1

Karen K.

Very pretty! I love hanging out on porches but only if it's not too hot, lol. What a great way to temper the heat!

Allie

Nope, never would have thought of that.

Katherine

This is so cool!

Gloria Nielson

This looks so cozy!

Ann

This will brighten up our deck!

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