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How to Hang Curtains

How do the professionals get their curtains to look so lovely? They iron (or steam) them before they hang them! Wrinkled curtains will never fully unwrinkle without a little help. Avoid a messy finished look and grab that iron! 

Hanging curtains 5-8 inches above the window frame and 5-6 inches out creates the illusion of a larger window and the curtains end up blocking less light. Perfect for making a room feel larger, light, and airy. 

Curtains are the perfect way to add a finishing touch to any space—one, that when done correctly, ties the look of a room together. Mounted correctly, properly hung curtains (or drapes) enhance the aesthetic of the room and make the space feel bigger. Learning how to hang curtains can seem daunting, but we have narrowed down everything you need to know to make this task a quick and easy update. Before you begin installing your new curtains learn what you need, where the brackets should be installed, and how to achieve the look you want. Follow our tips below to get your curtains up properly in no time!

What you will need:

  • Curtain hardware (rods, brackets, screws)
  • Tape measure
  • Screw driver
  • Power drill
  • Hammer
  • Level
  • ​Stud finder
  • Drywall anchor (optional, but recommended)
  • Curtains
  • Finials for finishing touches

​Things to Consider:

1. Curtain Rod Placement

  • Standard mounting is 4 inches above the window frame and 2 to 4 inches out from each side. For a more dramatic, ceiling raising illusion, place the curtain rod 5 to 8 inches above the window frame.
  • Measure, as noted above, for all windows before deciding on the rod placement so that the drapes are a consistent height and length for all windows in the room.

2. Curtain Height

  • Before hanging each curtain remember to measure the height from rod to floor. Make certain to account for the height of the rings or hanging hardware and the amount of space you want between the curtains and the floor.
  • Decide the length that you want the curtains to be: at the windowsill, just below the windowsill, between the windowsill and the floor, to the floor, or pooling on the floor. If you want curtains to pool on the floor, be sure to get curtains with 6 to 8 inches of added length.
  • When in doubt, overestimate the curtain length that you need. It is easier to fix if the curtains are too long than if they are too short—you can always hem later! 

3. Curtain Width

  • ​​If the curtain has softer folds (waves in the curtains), each panel should be one-and-a-half times the width of the window frame.
  • For a tailored look, curtain panels shouldn't overlap too much. Look for curtains that total 2 inches wider than the window. For a draped, more romantic look, the curtains should measure three times the window width and may often pool on the floor for a more dramatic, elegant feel. 

​4. Curtain Hanging Style

The top of the curtain, referred to as the header, comes in a number of styles:

  • Rod Pocket Curtains are the most basic curtain style with a sewn-in rod pocket at the top of each curtain panel. They are hung directly on the curtain rod.
  • Grommet or Eyelet Curtains are hung by inserting the curtain rod through metal rimmed openings, or grommets, along the header. 
  • Tab Top Curtains have a row of fabric tabs (loops) at regular intervals that are used to hang the curtain panel from the curtain rod.
  • Pleated Curtains allow curtains to be shaped into neat pleats and hung by rings. 

Read How to Choose Curtains and Drapes for more information about curtain styles.

Step-by-Step Guide to Hanging Curtains

  1. Measure and mark where you would like the bracket to be installed. Be sure to allow room on the outside of the bracket to accommodate a finial (the detail at the end of your rod) if you have one.
  2. Use the level to determine if the marks you have made for the brackets are even so that your rod hangs exactly parallel to the floor. Double check your measurements to be sure your curtains will fall where you would like them to at the bottom.
  3. Before drilling your pilot holes (small holes used to guide the screw), check to make sure that you are installing into a stud by using a stud finder. If you do not have a stud finder or cannot find a stud, install drywall anchors to support the weight of your curtains.
  4. Carefully screw in the hardware, following the manufacturer's instructions, into the pilot hole or drywall anchor and attach your curtain rod brackets.
  5. Once the brackets are up, string or clip the curtains to the rod and place the rod in the brackets. Keep in mind that you may have to remove the finial on some rods to do this.
For a room that gets too much sun or is used for TV watching, consider installing blackout curtains or blackout liners to existing curtains. This will keep your space cool, dark, and movie ready!

    Curtain Hardware & Accessories
    Curtains & Drapes

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