HOW DO YOU PROPERLY HANG A CURTAIN ROD?

It’s my firm belief that there is always more than one way to do something correctly. 

And it’s no different with curtains. Everyone will tell you how to do it slightly differently.

But you need to decide how to hang curtains in the way that works best for you!

Let’s look at some more questions to help you choose.

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Step 2

Once you’ve chosen the rod you need, measure the width of your window to determine the correct size to buy. Decide whether you’d like to mount the rod to the wall above or directly on the trim, which would allow you to still see some decorative woodwork.

A general rule of thumb: For wall-mounted rods, allow at least one to three inches on each side of the window to accommodate an open curtain, or as much as six inches on each side of the frame if you’re trying to make the window appear larger. Don’t forget to factor in additional wall space for decorative finials.

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Determining Rod Height

When you hang a curtain rod in the “traditional” way, the rod is usually even to the top of the bracket. In the case of Command Hooks though, the rod nestles into the hook, making the rod even with the bottom. This can be a little tricky to gauge visually, so I suggest first taping the Command Hooks to the wall (as shown below) to test different heights.

Even though I originally placed my hooks at what I

Even though I originally placed my hooks at what I thought was “high and wide,” it wasn’t near high enough once I placed the rod and tested a panel.

I personally prefer my curtain rods halfway betwee

I personally prefer my curtain rods halfway between the ceiling and the window trim. So once I figured out that placement, I made a quick cardboard template using this curtain hack from Young House Love. Using a cardboard template allows you to skip the measuring and leveling and can really save so much time and hassle!

DO know your style and plan accordingly

I used to love a bold, patterned curtain but over the years I’ve learned that my style really leans towards using simpler curtains and allowing other parts of the room to be the star.

I like for my curtains to quietly layer into the space and feel like kind of a background character. You might prefer something that feels bold and exciting – and that’s fine! But if you try to go against your instincts and do something different because it’s trendy or someone else suggests it, you’ll be disappointed.

When we were planning this project, I heard from some people who were so disappointed that we weren’t doing something with some pattern, other people who felt like it would look terrible if it was anything but white, and still other people who thought we should get a couple of different colors and change them out seasonally!

The lesson here is that we all approach curtains (and really, all decor) differently, and that’s fine! Just know yourself well enough to stay away from the patterned curtains if you actually prefer something plain.

Camouflaging the Command Hooks

This next step is 100% optional; but if your eye gets easily distracted like mine does (and you really want to use rings to hang your curtains), it’s well worth a little paint and time to camouflage the hooks with some matching wall paint.

Start by using some painter’s tape around the edges of the hook. If you work carefully, you can likely slide tape between the wall and hook itself.

Then paint the exposed areas of hook with matching

Then paint the exposed areas of hook with matching wall paint. If you use dark hooks, it may take a few coats to get good coverage (when using a light paint color).

Once you remove the painter’s tape, the hook

Once you remove the painter’s tape, the hooks fade into the background and become much less noticeable. An added bonus is that the bottom (non-painted) parts of the Command Hooks almost appear like finials at the end of the rods!

Is this a perfect solution for a “forever ho

Is this a perfect solution for a “forever home”? Probably not. But is this a great way to hang curtains in a rental home without inflicting a lick of damage to the walls? Absolutely!

Steps for Hanging a Curtain Rod

Follow these steps to learn how to properly hang a curtain rod. Scroll down for the list of tools and materials needed for this project.

Step 1: Measure the window

  • To add drapes that partially cover the window, I’d add 2-5 inches to each side of the frame.
  • To position the curtains completely to the sides of the window, which is always my preference to let in the most light, I’ll add 8-15 inches to each side of the window.
  • To fine-tune this measurement, I use a stud finder to locate the stud beside the window. If a stud if close to my desired location, I’ll shift my placement so that my mounting screws can insert into a stud.
  • If your placement can’t land on a stud, just be sure to install wall anchors before installing the hanging brackets. If you have a long span of over 4 feet or are using a thinner rod, you may also need to add a center bracket to prevent the rod from sagging.
  • Next, I’ll measure the height, from the floor to the top edge of my window’s frame. A curtain rod usually sets about 4 inches above the window, but many people raise the rod even higher to make the room feel taller.

Keep in mind that floor-length curtain panels come in somewhat standard heights of 84 inches, 95 inches, 108 inches, and 120 inches. If you decide to move the rod up, you may need to purchase a longer panel and hem it to length or spend more money on custom curtains.

Step 2: Decide what kind of curtain you’ll be installing before hanging the rod

  • The most common hanging types are grommets, which are metal-lined holes in the curtains, tabs which hang above the top edge of the curtain, rings which clip onto the curtain and hang on the rod, and a pocket sleeve which slides over and completely conceals the rod.
  • The hanging type can adjust the overall height of the curtain, so be sure to have your curtains on hand to help determine the final height of the rod.

Step 3: Measure and mark the location of the hangers on the wall

  • On an open space, it can be difficult to replicate these measurements on both sides of the window and have them turn out perfectly level, so today I’m creating a quick cardboard template.
  • To do this, cut the corner out of a square piece of cardboard that can fit over the top corner of the window frame.
  • Measure and mark the desired location of the hardware
  • Create two holes using the hanger as a guide. Now place the template on the wall, slide it against the window frame, and mark the position of the holes.
  • Drive the screws into the wall, and position the hanger.
  • Flip to the opposite side to make the remaining marks and install the screws.
  • Feed the curtain onto the rod, and then place it on the hook. Add a finial, and then tighten the set screw

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

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.

DO hang your curtains close to the ceiling

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but here’s your official reminder to always hang your curtain rods high and wide. If you hang your rods to look like they’re hugging the window, it makes the window (and as a result, pretty much the entire room) feel smaller. Hanging them higher than the window creates the illusion that the window is larger than it is, and that your ceilings are taller than they are!

Most stores only sell 84″ curtains in-store, which can be confusing – that’s too short for even a standard 8′ ceiling if you’re hanging them high! Don’t be fooled – you’re going to want 95″ curtains for a standard 8′ ceiling, and even longer for higher ceilings. Yes, it requires some extra effort (you can’t just pop into Target and pick some curtains up!), but I promise you it’s worth it.

Our curtains are 108″ long. When you’re determining how high to hang the rod itself, it’s really just a personal preference – you can hang them so the curtains sit eeeeeever so slightly off the floor, so they barely skim the floor, or so they puddle a bit. I generally like mine to graze the floor just a bit – somewhere between a “skim” and a “puddle”. Confusing, I know, but there’s no real science to it – hold them up at a couple of different heights and see what you like, then go from there. My general rule of thumb is to hang the rod about 3″ below the ceiling.

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

Tools Materials Needed

Apart from your curtain rod and the included hanging hardware (brackets, screws, wall anchors), there are very few items you’ll need to hang it quickly:

  • Power drill
  • Small drill bit (like 3/32″) to make pilot holes
  • Larger drill bit (like 3/16″) to make wall anchor hole
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Pen or pencil
  • Scrap cardboard sheet (like the one that came with your curtain panels)
  • Stool or stepladder

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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