HOW TO HANG CURTAINS

Last week Corey and I finally got around to hanging curtains in our master bedroom and, as always, I’m in awe of how big of a difference they make in the room as a whole. There’s just something about curtains that brings it aaaaaaall together and makes it feel a little more polished, you know?

If you aren’t all caught up on our bedroom, we recently added DIY picture molding to the entire room and painted it this gorgeous, luxurious blue (it’s called Ink Black by Behr), and then we held a curtain fashion show over on Instagram stories to determine what color we should do for the curtains in here.

I’ll admit, I was skeptical about the gold curtains. But, my goodness, were they ever the right choice. I’m so in love with how it turned out, and they really truly bring the room together in a way I never could have anticipated!

I hung these curtain rods myself – it was my first time hanging curtains and I needed quite a few pointers from Corey as I worked. So, I figured there were probably some of you out there who don’t know how to do it either! So I put together this post with all of the tips and tricks I learned about how to hang curtains, along with a few other things you should know if you’re going to embark on a curtain hanging adventure in your own home.

I’ll get to the step-by-step in just a moment (complete with a simple trick that I wish I would have thought to use before I got started!), but here are a few basic DO’s and DON’Ts first.

6. Add Your Rod Curtain Panels

With both brackets secured to the wall, you can hang your rod with your curtain panel already attached. Now you’re done… unless your panels require any hemming. Or you could just hide the bottoms behind a bed like we did below. Ha!

Video

Step 3

Next, measure the window height. Wall-mounted rods are usually installed four inches above the window. To find your ideal placement, measure down from the ceiling to the top of the trim at the left corner of your window; mark the midway point. Repeat this in the middle of your window frame and in the right corner, then check your markings with a level.

While measuring, keep in mind the length of your curtain panels. If you can avoid it, you don’t want to have to alter the hems once you’ve mounted the rod. You may need to adjust your penciled-in placement by an inch or two to get the panels to fall where you want them. Curtains that just graze the floor or sill appear classic and tailored, while those that break slightly at the floor (from one to three inches) are also on trend.

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To give the illusion of height in the room, mount the rod even closer to the ceiling. Don’t go higher than eight inches above the window frame; any more than that looks awkward.

If you plan to puddle your curtains for a look that is extremely formal, allow six to eight extra inches of fabric to fall at the bottom. Skip this style if you plan to open and close your curtains regularly, as the bottoms will dirty quickly from constantly brushing the floors.

Step 2: Make Your Cardboard Template

We used a scrap piece of cardboard to make our template – marking 10.5″ from both sides (see white arrows) and 3″ down from the top (yellow area). This was actually the cardboard that came in the curtain package, so you might have something like it on hand already! Once we marked our lines, we lined up the curtain rod hook and marked the two screw holes on BOTH 10.5″ marks.

How High to Hang Curtains

A rule of thumb (from Architectural Digest) is that curtains should be hung between four to six inches above the window frame, so install your curtain rod accordingly. When you hang the curtain rod high, it will make the window appear taller.

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How to Determine the Number of Curtain Panels Needed

Wondering how many panels to add? If you want the curtains to be functional, the rule of thumb is to get enough panels to cover space at least twice the width of the window.

Things You’ll Need

  • Curtain rod
  • Brackets
  • Screws
  • Wall anchors (if needed)
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Pencil
  • Small nails or brads
  • Hammer
  • Stepladder

How Height Impacts Curtain Rod Placement

Use these tips to make sure you place your rods at the right height:

  • For standard drapes that hang on either side of a window, the typical height is halfway between the top of the window casing and the ceiling. This applies if there are more than 12 inches between the window trim and ceiling. 
  • For cathedral ceilings, leave approximately four to six inches above the window trim as a guideline. 
  • No matter what the ceiling height, the minimum distance from the top of the window casing to the curtain rod is two inches.
  • To create the illusion of height, mount the drapery rods close to the ceiling. This is particularly important to do if the room has low ceilings.
  • Use these same rules when the windows are arched.

The Spruce / Almar Creative

Installing Drapery and Curtain Rods

Different types of curtain rods may have varied, unique instructions, but the information included here will provide general instructions for installing drapery hardware. No matter which type of drapery rods you choose, it’s important to read the instructions before you begin the installation process.

Step 1: Mark the Placement of the Drapery Rod

Before you even pick up your materials, you need t

Before you even pick up your materials, you need to determine the exact spot where you want to install your curtain rods. Use a pencil to mark where you will hang the curtain rod. The best way to do this is to decide where you want the bottom of the curtain to fall, and then measure upward. Drapery rod placement will also depend on the type of drapery you’ve selected, as different types of drapery have unique lengths. For example:

  • Sill length curtains should reach the bottom of the window sill
  • Floor length curtains should hang just above the floor
  • Puddled drapery should touch the floor

Step 2: Mark Where the Curtain Rod Brackets will be PlacedIn general, most drapery rods are installed a few inches above the window frame. However, if you are interested in a more dramatic look, we recommend mounting the drapery higher than the sill and wider than the width of the window to make the windows appear larger. 

Once you’ve marked the spot for your drapery rod, you need to decide where to put the curtain rod brackets. 

Where Should Curtain Rod Brackets Be Placed?

Curtain rod brackets should be placed at the height determined by the drapery rod, and the brackets should be marked approximately 3”- 4” from the ends of the drapery rod (usually beyond the window frame to allow for the curtains to open fully). If you have selected longer or heavier-than-average curtain rods, these typically come with center brackets, which should be installed at the midpoint of the two end brackets.

Note: Any backing to the brackets should be removed in order to mark where the drill holes on the brackets should go. Otherwise, you may end up with an inaccurate marking. 

Step 3: Mount the Brackets

After you’ve measured and marked the spots for the brackets, it’s time to mount them. This part is relatively simple: all you need to do is drill pilot holes where you made your bracket markings.

Once you’ve drilled the pilot holes, it’s time to fasten the brackets to the wall using the provided screws or nails. Again, make sure that you check all pieces before beginning the drapery rod installation process to make sure you have all the necessary screws or nails. Once you’ve installed all of the curtain rod brackets, check to make sure they’re secure before you move on to the next step.

How to Hang Curtain Rods in Drywall

If you’re installing curtain rods on drywall, the installation process will vary from curtain rods on other surfaces. It’s important to either mount the brackets into the framing of the wall or use wall anchors for the installation. Otherwise, you run the risk of insecure brackets which may tear and fall out of the wall. 

Step 4: Attach the Drapery Rod to the Bracket

Once the brackets are secure, you can install the drapery rod. If you’ve measured the space and mounted the brackets properly, this last step should be easy. 

Some types of drapery rods come with finials or rings. These should be installed once the rod is in place. 

How to Install a Valance Rod

You can use a window valance by itself or with curtains and drapery to cover the upper portion of the window. Follow these steps to install a valance rod:

  • Measure and mark where you will place the curtain rod brackets
  • Mark the spot for the first valance bracket. Aim to place the valance bracket approximately 1 inch from your curtain rod marking. Use a different color so you can tell the difference between markings
  • Next, measure from your first valance rod marking to the opposite side of the window. Just as you did in the last step, place the second valance bracket mark 1 inch outside of the curtain rod marking
  • Use a level to make sure your bracket markings are aligned
  • Using your drill, carefully attach the valance brackets to the wall
  • Arrange the curtains on the rod and place the rod between the brackets
  • Once your curtains are in place, slide the valance onto the rod
  • Place the valance rod into the brackets
  • You may want to use a steamer to remove wrinkles or creases in the valance

Step 5: Hang Your Drapery


Now that everything is in place, the final step is to actually hang your drapery. Hang your curtains on the rod and test that the rods and brackets are secure by opening and closing the curtains. The drapes should hang naturally on their own.

What is the Proper Length for Curtains

Interior designers note the bottom of your curtains should fall to the floor, and you can even let them “puddle” a bit. However, if you don’t want your curtains to drag on the floor when you open and close them, let them stop about an inch from the floor, but no more. If they do puddle at the floor, you can wash your curtains as needed.

When it comes to the width, your curtains should be at least two times the width of the window.

Drapery Sizes

Consider the right size, length, and width drapes for your space. There are many store-bought options or your room may require custom-made drapes to meet specific heights, room, or window specifications.

  • In the majority of cases, the ideal length for drapes is long enough to just kiss the floor. Obviously where you hang your curtain rod will have an impact. If you’re purchasing ready-made drapes, it will be a bit of a balancing act to determine what length to get and where to hang the rod.
  • For a traditional, formal look, consider drapes that puddle a couple of inches on the floor. This look isn’t as popular as it once was but it’s inherently luxurious and can still work in formal spaces.
  • Do not allow your drapes to hang above the floor. When they stop a couple of inches above the floor, it can make the ceilings look lower.
  • For drapes to look full, the panels should have a combined width of at least double the width of the window. If you have two panels, each one should equal the width of the window.
  • Keep in mind that some fabrics hang differently than others, so light fabrics may require more fullness, while heavy fabrics may require a little less.

The Spruce / Almar Creative

How to install a curtain rod, with pictures

Gather all the supplies you’ll need and familiarize yourself with the parts that were included with the curtain rod you purchased.  You’ll need:

  • pencil
  • level
  • measuring tape
  • drill and drill bits
  • screwdriver
  • drywall anchors
  • curtain rod with at least two brackets and two finials

How high should a curtain rod be installed? That will depend on how long your curtains are.   I marked my top hole at 2″ below the ceiling so the curtain rod would be close to the ceiling, making the room look taller.  It’s also common to install the curtain rod half way between the ceiling and the top of the window frame.

How far from the window should the curtain rod bra

How far from the window should the curtain rod brackets be?  It depends on your curtains and how big you want the window to look.  I’m making blackout curtains and I don’t want them blocking the window, so I placed the brackets about 12″ horizontally from the window frame (I roughly measured it but didn’t worry about being precise).  If you don’t want such a big distance 3″-4″ from the window frame will also work.  Just keep in mind that the less window that the curtain fabric blocks, the bigger the window will appear.The curtain rod will actually lie lower than where

The curtain rod will actually lie lower than wherever you marked the top hole of the curtain rod bracket, so remember that when measuring and marking your points.

If you hit a stud like we did, just trim the drywa

If you hit a stud like we did, just trim the drywall anchor with scissors to the thickness of the drywall (drywall is generally 1/2″ to 5/8″ thick). Use a rubber mallet to tap in the drywall anchors.

Use a rubber mallet to tap in the drywall anchors.

Depending on how large your window is you’ll

Depending on how large your window is you’ll need repeat all of the above steps for one or two more brackets. At this point, you’ll want to put the curtai

At this point, you’ll want to put the curtains on the rod, and then attach the finials before you put the rod up. So pretend that there are yellow damask curtains h

So pretend that there are yellow damask curtains hanging from the rod pictured below. Since I don’t have the curtains yet I didn&#

Since I don’t have the curtains yet I didn’t bother securing anything, but generally at this point you’ll want to tighten that screw in the bracket to keep the rod from shifting. Again, you are going to have to picture happy yell

Again, you are going to have to picture happy yellow damask curtains hanging from the curtain rod below.  It looks pretty bare without them!That wasn’t so bad, was it?

That wasn’t so bad, was it?

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Step 2: Mount curtain rod and hang curtains

After you've determined the proper placement, hanging curtains is easy. Use a screwdriver to install the curtain brackets; make sure the sides are even using a level. For particularly heavy curtains or rods, you might want to install wall anchors ($12, The Home Depot) to mount the brackets securely to the wall.

Place curtains on the rod. If your curtains have large grommets or eye-holes, thread the rod through the openings. Otherwise, attach the panels to the rod with curtain rings or clips ($9, Target). Then set the rod into the brackets to hang the curtains.

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