Can You Use Shower Curtains on Windows? We Asked the Pros

Some shower curtains are so pretty–why not take them outside the bathroom?

Can a Shower Curtain be a Window Curtain?
Photo: Getty Images

I was wandering through one of my favorite home goods stores—one of my top weekend activities—when I saw a beautiful Turkish towel–esque curtain folded on a shelf. I'd been looking for curtains for my living room and thought these might work. Then I realized they were shower curtains.

An existential crisis: Could I use a cotton or linen shower curtain as a window curtain? I'm a huge fan of shower curtains used in unexpected ways, and I'm no stranger to repurposing items like a diaper bag as my weekend purse or an infant's playmat as a kitchen floor mat. But there had to be some reason shower curtains can't be used as window curtains, right? Otherwise they'd all just be called curtains. But how could I know for sure?

Naturally, I turned to two design pros.

"It really depends on the material," says Austin, Texas–based designer Maureen Stevens. "Not all fabrics are made the same, and not all fabrics fall right as a drapery."

Christie Leu of Maryland-based Christie Leu Interiors admits to assigning other roles to her shower curtains.

"You can repurpose a lovely fabric for a window shade or panel," she says. "There will likely be a bit of sewing involved to make it the right length, and clip-on rings can be added easily."

Leu used a shower curtain—with some pipes and shower rings—to create a barrier for her basement utilities.

"I used a lovely linen from Pottery Barn, which saved time and money," she says. "No finishing edges or creating pleats or tabs."

As with any décor, Stevens says that a great pattern, color, or texture can work as a curtain for windows and rooms. But it all depends on the material. (Meaning: no plastic in the living room.)

"But if it passes the materials test, go for it!" she says. Because really, some Anthropologie shower curtains can double as a window curtain any day in my book."

So there you have it: A shower curtain can go in the living room if it's an appropriate material. You may not get that sheer, ethereal look using shower curtains as window treatments, but for dark curtains that block out light and preserve your privacy, a shower curtain might be just the thing (especially if no window curtain panels have caught your eye).

Does it matter what type of curtain it's supposed to be, as long as you really love it? After all, there are so many gorgeous shower curtains out there, and I only have one shower. But I've got lots of windows.

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