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Curtains for a Pergola: Bringing Style and Function to Your Private Oasis

Spend more time outdoors and make these spaces beautiful by choosing the best curtains for a pergola. Curtains on a pergola block the sun, allowing you to sit outdoors during the hottest seasons.

Curtains for a Pergola

In addition, they also protect your furniture and plants from sun damage, create more privacy, and give you some protection from endless summer bugs.

While these outdoor curtains are functional, they can also create a more attractive and unique outdoor environment.

What to Look for in Curtains for a Pergola

Curtains on a pergola
Cote Maison

Curtains on pergolas or gazebos need to be suitable for outdoor use. Therefore, interior curtains are not the best choice because they have not been created for outdoor use and will not be durable enough to last.

There are many different types of outdoor pergola curtains. Here are some types of fabric that you should consider.

  • Polyester Blends – Polyester blended fabric is one of the most common and cost-effective choices for pergola curtains. However, this fabric is not as durable as other more expensive outdoor fabric options and polyester blends are subject to fade over time. You will need to replace these curtains at least every other year to keep them looking good.
  • Olefin – Olefin curtains are some of the most expensive but also the most durable on the market. Olefin, also called polypropylene, is a by-product of oil and gas. It is pigment dyed, so the color is fade resistant. It has natural and innate UV protection and dries well when exposed to water.
  • Acrylic – This is another synthetic fabric that stands up well to all outdoor weather conditions. These are durable and come in a range of beautiful and vibrant colors. These curtains do build up a static charge making them attract small debris like pet hair, so these are not the best choice if you own pets that are in the same area as the pergola.
  • Cotton – Cotton fabrics are some of the most affordable outdoor pergola curtains, but cotton is not a waterproof fabric. In fact, cotton takes a long time to dry making them subject to mold and mildew buildup. These also do not have resistance against the sun, so the colors fade and will need to be replaced on a regular basis. Many DIY outdoor curtains use drop cloths which use cotton fabrics.

Hanging Curtains on a Pergola

Hanging Curtains on a Pergola
Skona Hem

Unlike many patio spaces, pergolas have a hard structure that makes hanging curtains an easier job. You can use any of these methods on a wood pergola as well as a metal one.

Curtain rod

The easiest way to hang pergola curtains is with a rod with brackets. Measure and then mount the rod between the posts. If the opening is wide, you may need a bracket hanging from the center in order to keep the rod from bowing.

If your curtains are light and the opening between the columns is not wide, you can use a tension rod, but these do not support much weight. Make sure that you find a curtain rod that is weather resistant so that it will not rust because of the constant exposure to moisture.


Another option if your curtains are light and if these spaces between columns are not wide, is to hang your curtains with wire. Wire is less expensive than rods. Just mount eye hooks on the columns and use hooks to hang the curtains on the wire.

Curtain track

Curtain tracks will work if you have a horizontal beam that runs around the structure where you can place the curtain track. Mount the curtain track onto the horizontal beam and attach the curtains with hooks.

Pergola Curtains Ideas and Inspiration

Hanging Curtains on a Pergola
Prodigal Pieces

Curtains for pergolas create a more dramatic look in your outdoor space. We have gathered some pictures of ways that others have used pergola curtains to give their backyard a more unique and distinctive style.

Resting Pergola

Resting Pergola
Jenny Walker

No one wants to rest in full view of the neighbors. Therefore, Jenny Walker used curtains to block the view when the owners wanted to indulge in a quiet rest. This pergola has a tropical vibe that complements the casual style of the white curtains.

Romantic Pergola with Curtains

Romantic Pergola with Curtains
Western Timber Frame

Give your outdoor area a more romantic look with gauzy sheer curtains. These don’t provide as much shade as solid curtains, but specialty sheer outdoor curtains do have some UV protection and greater weather resistance.

Sheer curtains are also helpful if you want some shade but you still want some air movement inside the pergola.

Outdoor Room

Outdoor Room
Dotter & Solfjeld Architecture + Design

Curtains add the privacy that you need to create a cozy outdoor living space. Dotter & Solfjeld created a stunning Tuscan-style room in this backyard garden.

The curtains they used are a beautiful shade of beige that blends well with the color palette of the wood and the furniture. In addition, these curtains feature tie backs which soften the look of the columns and keep the curtains out of the way until someone needs them.

Pergola Curtains and String Lights

Pergola Curtains and String Lights
Baker Patios

Talk about a match made in heaven: outdoor curtains and lights. Both pergola curtains and string light will give your pergola a more whimsical style. Notice how the owner has mounted these curtains. They placed the rod inside the large horizontal beam with a bracket. Thus, the curtains will close from end to end giving the gazebo more privacy.

Minimalist Curtains

Minimalist Curtains

Curtains aren’t just for lavish outdoor spaces. They work well in minimalist design. Here, Tollet & C used flat white curtains to shade the sunlight on the side of the pergola but also on the top. There are flat panels that cover each section. Of course, these do provide shade, but they also create a stylish canopy and a custom ceiling.

Pergola Curtains: A Buying Guide

We have done the hard work and read the reviews to bring you some of the best pergola and gazebo curtains out there. Before you buy, make sure that you consider all your needs for privacy, UV protection, and moisture exposure to make sure that you choose the ones that will work the best for you.

Exclusive Home Cabana Curtains

Cabana Grommet Top Curtain Panel

Exclusive Home Indoor/Outdoor Cabana Curtains are some of the best-selling outdoor curtains. They are made from polyester fabric and have grommets on the header that are rust-proof.

These have a heavy canvas feel and are easy to spot clean. They come in sets of two panels, and you can choose from many different lengths and widths.

RYB Waterproof Outdoor Curtains

Curtains for a Pergola

RYB crafts their Waterproof Outdoor Curtains from 100% polyester. They used a triple weave fabric so that they block up to 85%-95% of sunlight. In addition, they are waterproof and easy to care.

Just throw these curtains in the washing machine when they get dirty.

The header has 3-inch tabs that will fit most standard rods. The package comes with just one panel.

Nicetown Voile Curtains

Curtains for a Pergola

If you want a curtain with a more romantic drape, try the Voile Outdoor Curtains from Nicetown. These luxurious style curtains give your home the look and feel of a resort.

These curtains are sheer but still have enough opacity to maintain privacy.

They work well to keep the bugs out but still allow sunlight to filter through. If they blow in the wind, the curtains come with tiebacks to keep the curtains contained. These curtains have a tab top and come one to a package.

Bayport Appleton Sheer Outdoor Curtains

Solid Sheer Outdoor Tab Top Single Curtain Panel

These outdoor curtains from Andover Mills are very sheer. However, if you just want to soften the look of your pergola rather than bring greater privacy or more shade, these curtains would work well.

The manufacturers crafted them from 100% polyester, and if they get dirty, you can put them in the washing machine. They have a tab top, so they are easy to hang.

Striped Outdoor Curtains

Striped Outdoor Curtains

These curtains from Breakwater Bay are crafted from spun polyester with rust-proof grommets along the header. These come in vibrant stripes of all different colors, but the material is sheer so they do not work well for providing deep shade. The curtains are waterproof, and there is one panel per package.

Olefin Outdoor Curtains

Olefin Outdoor Curtains

Olefin curtains are some of the most expensive, but they are also more durable than polyester curtains. The Key Largo Solid Curtain from Target comes in vibrant colors of nature. These drapes are fade resistant and easy to care for as you can throw them in the washing machine when needed. They have a rust free grommet header that makes them easy to open and close.

Sunbrella Outdoor Curtains

Sunbrella Outdoor Curtains

These Sunbrella Curtains from West Elm are also more expensive than polyester options. They are made from acrylic and are water repellent and resistant to mildew. These work indoors as well as outdoors. This panel has a stainless grommet header that is resistant to rust.

DIY Pergola Curtains

DIY Pergola Curtains

If you are interested in making your own DIY pergola curtains, check out this blog entry from A Beautiful Mess. They take you through the process step-by-step to construct your own curtains. This way, you can customize the design and pattern of the curtains to suit just what you need.

How to Clean Pergola Curtains

Outdoor curtains for a pergola are exposed to the harsh elements of the outdoors.

If they are cotton or some polyester, they need to be washed on a frequent basis.

  1. Make sure that you clean up any spills as they occur. Use a solution of detergent and water and spot clean as needed.
  2. If you need to clean a larger section, soak a section of it in a solution with detergent and then brush with a soft bristled brush.
  3. If your curtains need more intensive cleaning, look to see if your curtains allow you to put them in the washing machine. To make sure they last, use just cold water and hang them to dry rather than use an electric dryer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can you put curtains on a pergola?

Yes, curtains look wonderful on a pergola. They soften the look of the hard surfaces, bring more privacy, and block the sun so that you can use your outdoor spaces for more time of the year.

How do you keep pergola curtains from blowing?

The best way to keep pergola curtains from blowing in the wind is by weighting the bottom. You can do this in several days. You use a heavy link chain sewn into the bottom of the curtain. Also, you can use heavy fishing weights or stone sewn into the corners of the corners. If you don’t want to weigh the curtains down, you can pin the curtains to the columns with tie backs.

What is the purpose of outdoor curtains?

Outdoor curtains provide greater beauty and functionality in your outdoor spaces. They bring greater privacy, block the sun, and create a more inviting look for your pergola.

What curtains are best for outside?

Curtains that are made for outdoor space are the best to use outside. These include curtains or polyester, acrylic, and olefin.

Can regular curtains be used outdoors?

You can use regular curtains that are cotton or polyester outdoors as well as indoors. However, these curtains will not be durable. For example, cotton curtains will fade in the sun and they hold moisture so they will mold and mildew.

Pergola curtains: Conclusion

Pergola curtains are a wonderful addition to any outdoor space. They bring the marvelous benefits of privacy, beauty, and shade. There are many choices that will work according to every size pergola and every budget.

All in all, with so many options, you will be spoiled for choice.