How to Easily Hang Curtains, According to a Pro
May 13, 2021
Take it from a repeat offender, there is definitely a correct way to hang your curtains and once you make the change, you will never go back. For a long time I was very stubborn about this design rule. I don’t even know why.
Well actually, I do.
I did not want to spend the extra money on longer curtain panels. I knew I was doing it wrong but refused to buy new curtain rods and panels to fix it. Even for a décor enthusiast, that isn’t something I enjoy spending money on and the cost can add up quickly.
Looking back on my home décor journey, I wish I would have done this sooner.
So I am about to share with you how to hang curtains like a pro, and hopefully convince you to give it a try sooner rather than later. You will be amazed at how much more inviting it makes your space feel.
Tips For Hanging Curtain Rods
Hanging curtains isn't that complicated, but hanging them in a way that looks good can be a bit tricky. Here are some easy tips to make sure that you hang curtains and curtain rods correctly the first time!
Proper Height For Hanging Curtains
Instead of recommending that you hang your curtain rod a certain amount of inches above the window trim. I prefer to measure down from your ceiling or crown molding instead. I recommend about 4-5 inches below the ceiling in most cases.
It is all about creating the illusion of a bigger window and space. This is also why you need to purchase the longer, more expensive, curtains. I suggest 96” drapery panels for an 8ft ceiling height. Curtain fabric should graze or float less than an inch above the floor. You can also let them puddle on the floor if you like the look. It’s really a personal preference, you just don’t want them to be too short.
If you have vaulted ceilings you don’t have to go that far up the wall, but the higher you go the better.
Where To Place Curtain Rod Brackets
So now that you know how to find the proper height for hanging your curtain rod let’s talk more about the actual curtain rod bracket placement. It is important that you measure your window frame prior to purchasing a curtain rod and make sure that the rod can extend at least 24” wider than the total width of your window. A standard curtain rod will probably not be wide enough and you should try and stay away from any sort of tension rod.
On a wide open wall the rod should hang about 8-12 inches wider than your window. This won’t work for every window, so just try to go as wide as you can for your space.
Again, this is to make your window appear bigger than it is. Having the curtain brackets extend past the window will allow the curtains to hang on the side of the window vs. in front of it and block less light.
This is my go to curtain rod and the easiest I have found to hang. I like that they have a clean, minimal look and that you can’t see the rod sticking out on the ends (no crazy finials). For these rods you will hang the end pieces (the brackets) exactly where you want the edge of the curtains to hang and you don’t have to worry about trying to make the curtains slide around any traditional style brackets.
Master Bedroom Before and After Changing Curtain Placement
I want to share this view of our bedroom after we moved into our current home. The curtain rod was not long enough for the width of our window and the curtain length was too short to hang them any higher.
About a year after moving in I prioritized fixing the curtains in our room. I am still amazed by the difference it made in our space.
Have I convinced you yet?
Apartment Living Room Before and After
In case you need another transformation to sway you, Brooke over at @nestingwithgrace recently shared this before and after of the curtains in their apartment.
They are living in an apartment during the renovation of their new home and decided to make some renter friendly changes while there. When they move out they will remove the peel and stick wallpaper and pop the original blinds back up. This is the perfect example of why you should not let living in an apartment or rental deter you from hanging curtains.
Most people also have some sort of blinds or shades in their home. Usually they are used for added privacy. For a more minimal look both shades and curtains can stand alone. However, I do think using them together gives a more finished look and brings an added layer of overall coziness to the space.
Woven wood shades seem to be the trendy option at the moment. They go well with any style of home décor, add beautiful, organic texture to spaces AND look great with or without curtain panels. Plus they are an awesome eco friendly option since they are made with bamboo and other grasses/jute materials.
We are currently saving to start adding woven shades to our windows. Arlo brand is a great budget friendly option if you have a lot of windows that need covered.
Other options include a roman shade, roller shades and vertical blinds.
Under Mount or Overmount
There are two types of ways that you can mount these window coverings. Inside the window frame (under mount) and just above the top of the window (over mount). There is no right or wrong way for this. It is purely preference. Though under mount does seem to be the popular choice (especially for woven shades), it may be because it is one way to save money on your window treatments. Under mount does not have to be as long or as wide to properly fit your window.
Photo by @francescabattagliadesign
I have seen beautiful spaces styled both ways. However, if you have over a foot of wall space between the top of your window frame and the curtain rod, doing an over mount is a great way to help fill that space. You can hang them 5-6 inches above the window (0r more if you like) to continue with the illusion of a larger space. Make sure that you plan ahead and take the added length into account when purchasing your window treatments.
Here is a good article on how you can measure your window for shades.
Add Another Curtain Panel
One more thing you should take into consideration when hanging curtains is the panel width. If your budget allows, consider adding two panels on each side of the window instead of only one. This will give a fuller look over all and allow your curtains to still drape nicely when pulled closed, especially for a large window. You don’t want them to just barely cover the window. This trick works really well for both lighter fabric like a linen curtain or heavier fabric like a blackout curtain.
Brooke’s ‘after’ photo featured above is a great example of doubling up panels on each side of the window.
How to Hang Curtains
Now that we’ve gone over my best insider tips for how to hang curtains like a designer, let's quickly go over step by step of how to actually hang them! If you are newer to DIY and power tools intimidate you, this is a great project to start trying things on your own without any help.
What You’ll Need
- Tape measure
- Drill bit (slightly smaller than your screw size)
- Wall anchors
- Stud finder/ laser leveler
- Curtain rods
- Curtain panels
- Curtain rings (if you’d like)
- Ladder or step stool
Step 1: Measure and Mark
The very first thing you need to do before you hang curtains is measure and mark exactly where you want the rod to go. As I mentioned above, you want to have the rod both high and wide. Use your tape measure to go out about 12 inches (or your predetermined amount) from the top corner of the window frame. From there, measure straight up to the ceiling and make another mark around 4 inches below the ceiling. You can use a leveler to make sure you are going straight up if you'd like. This mark will be where your bracket goes.
Repeat this step on the other side of the window.
Step 2: Pre-Drill (Pilot Hole)
Next double check that the marks for the brackets are level with each other. A laser leveler is the easiest way to do this
Once you are sure the marks are level, use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than your screw OR the appropriate size for your drywall anchor to drill holes into the wall where the bracket will go.
Step 3: Install Brackets
If you are using denser fabrics or more than a couple panels you will want to consider installing a drywall anchor at this time so that your rod can support the weight of your curtains. You should follow the instructions for your specific anchors, but typically they just pop into the pre- drilled hole.
After you have your wall anchor in, hold the bracket up and secure it with a screw. Typically there are two screws per bracket and once the bracket is up with the first screw you can easily pop the second screw in.
If there is a center bracket you will want to hang that at this time as well. Find the center of the window and measure up to the ceiling. Make your mark in the same spot you made your others and then check that it aligns with your outer brackets.
Step 4: Hang Curtains
Finally it’s time to slide your panels on and hang the rod on the brackets. Fluff and adjust your panels as needed.
Guide For Hanging Curtains
That’s it! Hopefully I have given you some inspiration to try something different next time you hang curtains. You need minimal skill or tools to take charge of this project, and it's pretty empowering once you learn how to hang curtains yourself. Plus these simple tips will completely transform your space. Feel free to save this handy guide for hanging drapes to reference later
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