What Curtains Should You Choose For A Beach House?

A wise man (or, more likely, a woman) once observed that the curtains on a home are the eyelids that can either entice or repel, and they were not wrong. A poor curtain choice can devastate a well-decorated room or building and destroy the ambiance you are trying to create. Fortunately, the opposite is just as applicable, as you will see below, so let’s take a look:

What curtains should you choose for your beach house? You have natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk, and others like polyester, which can be printed, colored or plain. You can include a lining or blackouts for added privacy or insulation or use sheers if you prefer a more welcoming look.

Beach decor is very flexible, with formal or casual room designs or anything between those two extremes. Coastal window coverings might be chosen to provide privacy, light filtration, or insulation in colder climes but will always complement the room’s style.

Curtain fabrics might be made of natural materials or synthetic ones like rayon or polyester and will be chosen to enhance light filtration and aesthetic tastes predominantly. In general, living rooms and bedrooms might have bespoke curtaining, whereas casual rooms are perfectly fine with pre-made curtains.

Linen, silk, rough cotton, and faux-silk are particularly well-suited for more formal curtaining. In contrast, the polymers (artificial and plastic-based) can be bold, bright, and perfectly adequate at a noticeably lower price.

Speaking of price (we’re breaking the rules here, today), if you’re on a very tight budget after blowing your savings on the beach house, then you cut your coat according to your cloth, of course. This can mean a big saving, and the curtaining can always be upgraded with a do-over at a later date.

Linings are also optional and increase privacy and insulation where required but are certainly not essential (particularly on a budget,) no matter what your Mother says. Naturally, a vacation home might get very different attention to a beach house that you will be living in, 24/7.

Alternatives To Standard Beach House Curtains

  • Shutters

Sometimes, a beach house will be so situated as to require total privacy or maximum sun protection, and in both cases, shutters are the answer. Normally made from timber, the décor options are great, and reclaimed shipping pallets can be easily converted into upmarket or funky shutters with minimal effort.

  • Bamboo Shades

As the name suggests, bamboo shades are made from strips cut from the bamboo plant and are a wonderfully natural way to regulate light and the level of privacy in a beach home. Eco-friendly and highly durable, they add a unique washed effect to the tone and decor of the room. 

If your beach house contains bamboo furniture, these shades will blend perfectly with the décor, and if you need a little more privacy, you can always add dim-out curtains with the bamboo shades. These shutters are low maintenance, a breeze to clean, and can be extremely inexpensive to make, and an excellent choice for your beach house as they create a seaside mood.

  • Roman Shades

Roman shades are offered in a wide range of colors, textures, and fabrics to create your desired look and maximize natural light in a beach house. These shades are simply fabric window covering panels raised or lowered using a cord system and can be patterned in an ocean theme or plain.

  • Sheers

When buying a beach house or coastal home, bright, warm sunlight is usually desired, and the last thing you want is a gloomy interior. In this case, sheers may be the best option to cover your windows. This under-utilized window-covering allows light to flood the room, gives a glimpse of the surrounding view, and offers a moderate level of privacy.

Sheers are a thin curtain – called lace curtaining in Europe – which prevents most sun damage to furniture while offering some privacy. However, with lights on indoors at night, a secondary curtain is required if privacy is desired.

Do I Go With Patterned Or Plain Curtains For My Beach House?

This is where you will need to do some deep thinking. There is no wrong answer, but there is a real possibility that after a few months, you will wish you chose patterned instead of plain or vice versa. This is similar to having buyer’s remorse, but sadly, you cannot simply return the curtaining to The Curtain Shop and try again, so spend time on this decision.

Since you’re the one who is going to be seeing the curtains more than anyone else, if you want floral-patterned rugs, lounge suite coverings, and curtains, that’s your call. However, for the sake of any visitors, consider breaking things up somewhat: Less is more, they say, and in this case, if there are several items with a specific pattern in a room of otherwise plain décor, those items will pop far more.

A lounge suite covered in a seashell pattern will make far more of a statement surrounded by plain items than it would if the surrounding items were also patterned with seashells.

Perhaps decide first what your prominent theme will be and on which furniture items this theme will be placed. This is usually the largest item (that lounge suite again), and then consider the same pattern for the curtains. If you think it’s too much, it probably is, so go with a plain complementary color.

Perhaps you will have uncovered furniture, like rattan or bamboo: In this case, the curtains might take on the mantle of the theme decider, and then the furniture cushions could be covered in the same material. Of course, if you go with Sheers, this is all conjecture.

Here are a few suggestions: 

Since beach houses often enjoy really good natural lighting via large (or many) windows, it is vital to consider exactly what look you are trying to create, from Bohemian Beachcomber to Victorian English. If managed correctly, your windows will allow a total transformation, giving you many years of pleasure.

Beach decor is extremely flexible, with traditional designs, simple additions, or plain colors cleverly used to create a wide range of vistas:

  • Nautical-themed drapery and décor tend to create a very busy montage, with sea-going ships and their paraphernalia making bold statements that draw the eye constantly. If your drapery runs to more than two windows in a room, you might care to balance the nautical theme with décor devoid of any patterns to allow the eye to rest.

Sailing ships’ wheels, blocks, sails, and ropes, are regularly used items in nautical patterns, as well as anchors, portholes, hawsers, etc. This can add a pronounced masculine touch to the beach house, so be aware of this direction in your planning.

This theme will generally be bold and will dominate the room, somewhat, and may be accompanied by strong blues, browns, and whites, representing the vast, untamed ocean, the indomitable ship, and the seafoam, streaming out behind as the ship surges forward.

  • A seashell theme can be more feminine if required, and drapery is usually more easily available in pastel shades to enhance this. This theme is often more subtle if chosen carefully, with bleached driftwood, seagrass, and sand often included in the pattern.

This result is more gentle, evoking feelings of peace and relaxation, and colors will be subdued, blending greens, blues, pinks, and whites softly together in a lighter result, representing the water’s edge, tidal pools, and long, romantic walks.

Select a design that takes a clean, elegant approach to this theme to avoid clutter. Clutter kills design, so pair several printed panels with a solid valance for a crisp, clean look.

  • The sandy expanse is the main subject of a beach theme will have far less harsh lines and often fewer colors. Prints that show footprints in the sand, beached boats, dunes, and perhaps a weathered staircase leading down to the beach might use browns, creams, and white to represent a peaceful beach tableau.

The result is very subtle with this theme, and stronger patterns can be introduced in the other décor items, like scatter cushions, wall ornaments, rugs, etc. Curtain fabrics might include natural-looking tweeds or other cotton blends, and linen is particularly fitting.

You may also care to consider blinds of some kind for the windows. Natural hemp and bamboo add an authentic touch to a beach theme and work well, together with a patterned or plain décor selection.

If you’d rather stick to fabric, sheer silk crinkle curtains in ecru (the light fawn color of unbleached linen) can make a subtle statement in a room where light is encouraged.

Large picture windows showing an ocean view or other attractive beach vista are beautifully framed when sheer, white curtain panels are hung wider than the framework, enhancing the feeling of size.

A sunny, nautical palette of tranquil blues, nervous pinks, translucent turquoise, and effervescent oranges, combined with white and small additions of brown, are all you need to curtain your beach house. Balance and target are vital, and unless you know which look you are going for, you will be working in the dark.

Once you decide on the target look, balance out the number of prints and plain panels, and imagine the result once everything is made up. Some stores will have software that will allow this, but you might find it easier to place the material in situ and relax in the room with a cool drink as you contemplate the possible result.

Where in doubt, I’d recommend you err on the side of caution, as too much detail in a room can leave it very busy and sometimes unsettling, whereas a plainer room can always have detail added later.

However, if you’d prefer a theme somewhat akin to Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti years, that is perfectly fine. Vibrant, bold colors and an island theme create an instantly fun, friendly atmosphere and somehow make the area more welcoming. Brightly colored parrots in huge relief and palm trees and huts on stills create a different emotional reaction on entering.

Because curtains, or drapes of some kind, are so dominant in a setting, deciding on a theme is vitally important before choosing the window coverings. In bedrooms, for example, it may be only the curtains and bedspread that carry the theme, so as you can see, the curtains’ impact can be very strong.

Larger rooms will have other furniture items that balance out the curtains’ design with more or less detail, but the curtains can always be dominant in creating a specific theme in any area.

What Curtains For Beach House 01

Where Can I Purchase Curtains For A Beach House?

The wonderful news is that thousands of stores nationwide can either make up curtaining for you or sell you ready-made curtaining, and several are sure to be in your area. However, if you live somewhere really remote, the ol’ internet is still a good pal, and you will be able to do the task remotely.

Here are just a few options when looking for assistance:

  • Wayfair is an enormous online furniture store where you can narrow your search when choosing your curtains. They have a very good filtering system allowing you to pick color, type, size, and style. They carry most options, from sheers to drapes and blackout curtains.
  • Joss & Main has high-quality products, including the hardware you will need, and their range of curtains, blinds, shades, and thermals is inspiring. Their quality products give you the option to pick specific drapes and combine them with your preferred curtain rods, rings, etc.
  • Overstock is a good destination for window treatments, and their huge range means a wonderful selection and great prices via sales and other special offers. The ‘Sale’ section has plenty of stock and is worth starting with. (Why pay more than you need to, right?)
  • More and more people are trusting Etsy for products these days. Everything on Etsy is handmade by independent designers, so don’t expect boring or traditional curtains. However, this online portal is worth checking out for fun, bespoke curtains.


Having a beach house can be hugely enjoyable, but it can also be a major source of anxiety and stress when setting up. I highly recommend choosing the theme carefully, and then giving the curtaining serious consideration, as it will be them, more than any other furnishing, that will create and carry the theme.