Can You Use a Window Curtain as a Shower Curtain?

In recent months, I’ve grown a bit discontent with my master bathroom and decided it could use a little freshening up.  While I love the original tile in our 1939 bathroom, it’s a bit of a challenge to decorate around. The grout looks dingy, the wallpaper is tired, and the trim could use repainting. Sometimes, adding some interesting items and changing things up can distract from the not-so-perfect nature of most homes.

Can You Use Window Curtains As A Shower Curtain?

When one of my dearest friends moved back to Nashville from Los Angeles (Yay!!!) last week, I popped over to the condo she is renting and helped her decide what to keep, what to get rid of, and to arrange her furniture and art. Sadly, she has a boob light over her breakfast room table. The black chandelier in my bathroom would be perfect for above that table, and she’s always liked that light fixture. That was a good motivation for me to change that fixture out and give her mine! Here’s the way my bathroom has looked for years:


Last summer, I won a lovely crystal light fixture in a drawing at a local design event which has been sitting unopened in my office ever since. The new crystal chandelier from PDI Kitchen, Bath, & Lighting was definitely a nice change for the bathroom!


That got me going – how else could I spruce up my bathroom?

I added a couple of “new” vintage art pieces that I found recently at estate sales. I love the colors and design of this framed old Scottish prayer:


And this lovely piece is a portrait of a young girl, completely embroidered!


I added a beautiful realistic floral and some vintage accessories to the countertop.

HomeGoods floral and vintage porcelain shower knobs


vintage Russel Wright dish for decorative soap




Now, to address the question in the title of this blogpost:

I decided to replace the shower curtain I’ve had up for years, but wanted something more dramatic and finished than a standard shower curtain. Rather than having something custom made, I decided to hang a pair of 96″ window curtains instead.  Obviously, that requires mounting a sturdy rod up high. We have 9 foot ceilings – if you have 8 foot ceilings, you would need to choose 84″ curtains. Mr. Man hung them while I was out working for a client, and I came home to this:


You see how the top of the curtains look? He threaded the curtains on the rod, which is a look I try to avoid because it creates a “country” effect. These curtains also have tabs that are attached directly beneath the rod pocket.

loops on back of shower curtain


THAT is what I thread a rod on so that it looks like THIS:


Isn’t that better? The result is a less-frilly look that reads more expensive to me. If your rod pocket curtains don’t also have loops, you can pretty easily make your own and attach them to the back of your curtain panel. And yes, I actually chose a floral curtain with floral wallpaper. Shocking, I know, but if there was ever a time to get away with a floral-on-floral look, it’s this year! I did hang a separate expanding shower curtain rod lower (you can see it peeking out in the photo above) for the shower liner to be long enough inside the tub.

The original doors in this room are stained the same color of the top of the wood stool I dragged in the bathroom for effect, but of course you can’t see how it ties in with the doors! It’s impossible to get the whole room into one shot with my camera, so this is the best I can do:


I didn’t do anything terribly drastic, but I am enjoying the new touches in the bathroom. If you can’t find a shower curtain you love, definitely give some beautiful window curtains a try. It’s a bit pricier, but the result will be worth it!


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41 thoughts on “Can You Use a Window Curtain as a Shower Curtain?

  1. Kira Kegg says:

    Oh my gosh I did this with my shower last winter when I painted the bathroom!!! I wasn’t sure if what I did was weird by designs standards. I’m in a rental. And the bathroom has this ugly and loud light/fan combo over the shower…it’s the equivalent of a boob light fixture for a bathroom. I was trying to find a way to cover it up so it wasn’t so obvious in the room. So I put the window curtain rod all the way up to the ceiling. It gave the room some drama and covers the fixture out of sight when you’re not in the shower.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Thanks so much, Stacey. I actually used two window panels and pinned them together so they look like one. There are like 4 different greens in there, but I think they work in a quirky way 🙂

  2. Penny says:

    Kristie – I have been using regular curtains as shower curtains for many years. I just got so sick of the run of the mill choices for “shower curtains”. I also wanted them to go to the ceiling (or almost) and you can’t with the regular/typical “shower curtain”. What I found that works like a charm is a dual curtain rod that is curved. That curved portion gives so much more space (or at least the feeling of more) while inside the shower. These rods are very inexpensive and work perfectly! The outer one is for your curtain and the inner one is for the shower liner. There are now websites that sell oversized (or tall) liners (which is what I use). Everyone who uses the guest bathroom gushes with compliments. As far as curtain choices I try and go with the grommet kind which works very well in this application. The liner is just hung with the regular hooks so it is easy to move about. As far as wallpaper, I have found in the vintage bathrooms who have the vintage tiles (blue, pink, green, yellow), that a black and white stripe paper is absolutely stunning with the vintage colors. They make the tile pop but at the same time, tone down the saturation (if that makes sense). So many people remove the vintage tiles which I hate to see, particularly because almost ALWAYs they are still beautifully hung and usually in fine shape after many generations. Such a shame to see them destroyed/demo’d (at least in my opinion). Oh, and no offense but I don’t love your window treatment. I would go with something a little simpler like a roller shade with black edging or even simple white (or beige whichever works best) curtain with black edging. I think that would look killer, particularly since you have so much else going on in terms of focal points. That being said, just love your blog and keep on going gal!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I didn’t know tall liners are available – that’s good to hear, because the curtain rod we installed is actually a double rod, so I can just remove the spring-loaded shower curtain rod if I got one! I love the look of a good cabana stripe, but I have found in the past that they make me very dizzy in a wallpaper application. I have some vestibular issues and get motion sick pretty easily, unfortunately. Some day I will switch out the current wallpaper for something really bold and stunning – and put it on the ceiling this time, as well. I chose the current wallpaper 17 years ago, and I don’t dislike it now – just kinda tired of it. The current window treatment matched my previous shower curtain and were both made by a friend who currently makes beautiful table linens on her Etsy site, Ruffled Linens. I do want to change it out now to a simple roller shade or even modify an additional panel of my new shower curtain to replace what’s there. Like you, I LOVE vintage bathrooms and am a big believer in RESTORING, not renovating older homes! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and opinions with me, Penny! 🙂

  3. Elizabeth Scruggs says:

    I’ve always used drapery panels for shower curtains when I have to use a curtain- it’s less expensive than custom, they are more substantial, and you can hang them higher so it creates a taller look. I absolutely LOVE what you’ve done in your bath!!!! and you know I love that panel:))) looks SO good!!! and the fixture looks beautiful!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Yay for substantial shower curtains! Can you believe I waited so long to hang that light fixture? I took those panels out of my office after I found others that worked really well in there – from an estate sale, naturally. I actually had 2 pairs in the office, which are now in the bathroom and in the entry/living room. I like to move it, move it . . . 😉

  4. Amy says:

    What would you think about painting your vanity the wall tile color? Seems like it would recede a bit and let the patterned tile show more. So much fun to re think spaces!

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      I’ve thought about painting the entire vanity black, but haven’t considered the tile color. It’s not an easy one to match, and it might read differently on wood than ceramic. There are about 4 different greens between the floor and wall tile. Thanks for the idea!

  5. Sandy says:

    Wonderful to see you still have vintage tiles (I’m a fan). Using window curtains with a shower liner is a great choice, with so many more options. I’m curious about your new-vintage pictures. How do you guard against the effects of damp and steam from using the shower? I’ve hesitated to put any works on paper (and with a rag matt) in a bathroom, but would love to be able to.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Good question about the art. It’s definitely something to consider. I’ve used framed art/photographs in here for years with glass over them and haven’t had a problem. The Scottish prayer has glass, so I’m not concerned. The other embroidered one does not. The cloth may get damp, but I expect it will dry out much like a towel that is hung after a shower. Plus, I only paid about $30 for it, so I’m not losing sleep over it! Definitely wouldn’t recommend putting an expensive piece of art in the bathroom, though!

  6. Teresa Wright says:

    I recently discovered the roller double shower curtain hooks. It eliminates the need for 2 rods, since you can hang your shower curtain on one side, and liner on the other. Course you can’t use a curtain, which I love the idea of, but for those of us dealing with bulky look of two rods with liner/shower curtain, it looks and operates much better. Thanks for your post Kristi!

  7. ceil tarwater says:

    When we moved into our vintage cottage home, I placed curtain panels instead of a shower curtain! It looks stunning! PLUS, I placed the same crystal drops chandelier in our master bathroom! It’s equally stunning and eye catching without it being just another large chandelier – just very simple.

  8. Penny says:

    I just wanted to show you examples of what I was discussing above about curved rods, extra long liners and grommet curtains (makes easier movement on rod). Hopefully these links will work to show examples:

    Here are the “curved double shower rods” I was discussing above. They also come in tension variety so there would be no need for drilling & attaching should you choose.

    Grommet type curtains that I used — just for some sample ideas

    Examples of extra long shower curtain liners

    • Carol Thompson says:

      Penny, could you possibly post a picture of your bathroom showing the shower curtains you used? I am so interested in the overall look of them hung high. Thank you very much for all the links. I have been looking and looking for ideas for my bath.

  9. Louanne says:

    I, too, love using 95″ or 96″ grommet drapery panels for shower drapery. I also use an x-long shower curtain liner on a separate rod and hang both rods at the same height. The x-long liners are available at Bed Bath and Beyond for under $20.
    …looking forward to seeing you in June😊

  10. Kathi Vogt says:

    I really like the curtains you chose to use as a shower curtain. Could you tell me where you found them please?

  11. Carrie Chinn says:

    I think using window curtains with a shower liner is a great choice. When we moved into our vintage cottage home, I placed curtain panels instead of a shower curtain. Can you tell me where you found them please? Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Hi Carrie,
      Unfortunately, these particular curtains are only available to the design trade. But you could find options through retailers like West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Ballard Designs!

  12. Tamara from BetterBuyerSavvySeller says:

    Great look! While touring model homes, I’ve seen some shower curtains that looked so fancy that I thought they might be real curtains. Nice to see the same thing in a real home. I would think you just need to add a plastic shower curtain as a liner so the real curtain doesn’t get wet?

    • Kristie Barnett says:

      Yes, Tamara – I have a separate inexpensive spring rod behind the curtain for a liner, but someone earlier commented that you can get an extra-long liner and mount it on the same rod as the curtain.

  13. Candace Hutchison says:

    Hi Kristie, I had a question, not about shower curtains, but I remember awhile back, you had addressed black window frames. Are they still a good option to purchase if I am replacing windows? Or should I stay with white as the safe alternative? Thanks

  14. Sunny Penner Cox says:

    Yes to this. IKEA curtains have been my best friends in the “hang ‘em high” department. They come in very generous lengths, and very well-curated designs. Especially in a tiny bathroom, the tallest possible curtains are transformative. Highly recommend.

  15. Sue says:

    On the dingy grout issue, have you looked into the grout paints that recolor and act as a sealant? There are a couple of brands available at stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s or on Amazon. I have a light yellow grout that matches the travertine tile in our bathroom. I was able to mix two colors to get an exact match to the original. It’s tedious work to paint the lines but when done the grout looks brand new. A year later it’s still looking like it was just applied. It was an extremely effective and inexpensive way to bring the grout back to looking new.

  16. Kathy Cutforth says:

    I have used fabric shower curtains as curtains! So it works the other way around too.

    They drape nicely and are an inexpensive way to cover a lot of window. They worked especially well when I lived in Germany, which had big windows and built-in window tracks in the ceiling, and the length was perfect. I have used them in the states too with nice shower rings.

    And I have used curtains in the shower as well over the years. We have moved around a lot, so you just work with what you have if possible.

  17. Fredrick Morgan says:

    The curtains make the bathroom more beautiful. The curtain has an especial role to make any bathrooms excellent. Your bathroom looks luxury. Your idea is great and creative. It’s a dream to make of such a bathroom. I follow your tips. Some simple appliance change it looks more beautiful, as like your bathroom it looks so amazing.
    Thanks for sharing the great post!

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