How to Find and Hang an Extra Long Curtain Rod

How to Measure Your Window for Extra-Long Curtain Rods

First things first: Measure your window to determine what length curtain rod you need.

Use a steel tape measure to precisely determine the width of your windows. You can measure from frame to frame or casing to casing, depending on the style of your window.

Check out our step-by-step guide on how to measure for curtain rods with precision and accuracy.

Jot down your window’s measurements, then add 20% or six inches (whichever is most suitable for the room) to account for curtain stack back.

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


Step 4

Once you’ve factored in curtain length, window height, and width, proceed to install the curtain rod bracket.

  1. Hold a bracket up to the wall so that the position of the rod lines up with your initial markings.
  2. Use a pencil to indicate where the screws should go.
  3. Predrill the pilot holes at those marks.
  4. Insert the plastic wall anchors, align the bracket with the anchors, insert the screws, and tighten until the bracket is flush with the wall.
  5. Repeat the process for the other bracket.

If your pole is longer than four feet, consider adding a center support to prevent sagging.

3. Drill Pilot Holes

Load up your power drill with a small pilot hole bit (we used a 3/32″ bit) and hold your template above your window with the top edge flush to the ceiling and the side edge lined up with the outside edge of the window frame. Then you can just drill small pilot holes through your two template marks.

A note about keeping things level: CEILINGS AREN’T ALWAYS LEVEL (I’m looking at you, duplex) so using the ceiling as your guide might seem ill-advised.

What if your ceiling is sloped and your curtains end up being sloped too?!

Don’t panic! When you’re hanging the rod close to your ceiling, you actually want the rod to follow any slope in the ceiling! It will be your eyes’ closest reference point for a straight line, so it will likely appear level even if it isn’t. That’s why a level isn’t required for this process.

In fact, putting a perfectly level curtain rod next to a sloped ceiling could actually make the rod look wrong. Or emphasize that the ceiling is wrong. So yeah, using the ceiling as your guide actually works well for wonky ceilings (again, the duplex has plenty of those).

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

How to Support an Extra-Long Curtain Rod

Here are a few tips for reinforcing extra-long curtain rods:

  • Use heavy-duty rods and strong mounting hardware, especially if you’re hanging multiple panels or drapes.
  • Add a drywall anchor for reinforcement if you have traditional mounting brackets.
  • Consider using longer screws if you have plaster walls.
  • Ensure you’re using enough center brackets.

If your windows are wider (as many living room windows are), you might find it frustrating to ensure each center support bracket is straight and equidistant. Luckily, Kwik-Hang’s revolutionary curtain rod brackets eliminate the hassle of measuring and leveling.

Window Treatments for a Sunroom

Thankfully, the wood blinds came with the home (otherwise, that would have been a big investment — 14 sets of wood blinds, $$$!); but the space still needed to be softened with curtains. Everything in the room had straight lines or a hard texture, except for the couch and chair.

It wasn’t difficult to choose the curtains. Basic, white, curtains are my go-to window treatment. They offer a casual, breezy look, which is perfect for a sunroom. White curtains frame the windows, drawing the eye out the window toward the scenic view. Sunrooms aren’t are a room that needs curtains to become a focal point.

You’ll notice that we didn’t flank every window with curtains. Privacy isn’t an issue since we already have blinds. I used 8 curtains for 14 windows. On each end of the room, there is a set of three windows flanked by two curtains. Across the length of the sunroom, there are 4 curtains for 8 windows. I chose where to hang curtains based on how it looked with the furniture. For example, a curtain on each side of our couch — which equaled 3 windows.

Sunroom Curtain Rods

So, how did I hang all those curtains? An assortment of electrical conduit, fasteners, and plumbing hardware.

You can search “pipe curtain rods” or “DIY curtain rods” to find a variety of tutorials. This Custom Long Drapery Rod tutorial from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs was one of the most helpful. We didn’t follow that tutorial exactly, but it was a good reference.

Sarah chose to spray paint her curtain rods black, which really compliments that room and definitely makes this a very versatile project. Essentially, you can easily coordinate the long curtain rods with any existing hardware… all you need is a can of spray paint!

In our Sunroom, we didn’t want to draw the eye up or create much contrast. So, in our case, the galvanized steel was great as-is (yay for simplicity!) and just required a little Goo-Gone to remove sticker labels from the conduit.

How to Hang Curtains

Hang the curtains using this simple two-step process once you have panels in the correct width and length.

What You Need

  • Curtain rod with brackets
  • Screws
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Wall anchors (optional)

cottage style contemporary living room with blue curtains Credit: Brie Williams

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

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

5. Install Your Curtain Brackets To The Wall

The rest is pretty straightforward – hammer in your anchors and secure your curtain rod hooks to the wall using the provided screws. We do all of this in real-time in the video above if you want to see exactly how quick this whole things goes.

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. Thread the rod through the openings if your curtains have large grommets or eye holes. 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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