Content of the material
- Installing Curtain Rods
- Determining Rod Height
- Installing Drapery and Curtain Rods
- Step 1: Mark the Placement of the Drapery Rod
- Where Should Curtain Rod Brackets Be Placed?
- Step 3: Mount the Brackets
- How to Hang Curtain Rods in Drywall
- Step 4: Attach the Drapery Rod to the Bracket
- How to Install a Valance Rod
- Step 5: Hang Your Drapery
- Step 1: Determine Your Measurements
- 4. Drill Larger Holes Add Anchors
- DONT hang the brackets right next to the window
- Step 4
- DONT skimp on the curtain width
- How to Hang Double Curtains Without a Double Curtain Rod
- HOW WIDE SHOULD A CURTAIN ROD BE?
- Width Considerations
- The Best Curtain Styles to Use
- Back-Tabbed Curtains
- Panels on Curtain Rings
- Final Hardware Installation
Installing Curtain Rods
The trickiest part of hanging curtains is knowing where to put the curtain rod. It differs based on a few factors including the style of the window, the type of window covering, and the height of the ceiling.
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 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 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!
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 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.
Step 1: Determine Your Measurements
We held up one curtain panel on the rod to finalize what spot looked best and then held the curtain rod bracket in place to take measurements. Using a tape measure, we determined that we wanted to place our curtain rods 10.5″ from the outside of the window frame (weirdly specific, I know) and 3″ down from the ceiling. These are our measurements to the top screw hole in the rod bracket since we find it easiest to work with the measurements of where you’ll actually need to drill.
- Determine how wide and long your curtains need to be for your window (visit full article for detailed instructions)
- Use a drywall anchor to attach the curtain rod brackets to the desired location.
- Place the curtain rod onto the brackets.
- Adjust the curtain to the correct size.
- Hang the curtain onto the rod with curtain rings.
4. Drill Larger Holes Add Anchors
Once you’ve made pilot holes on the other side of the window using the other half of your template (this is why you marked 10.5″ from BOTH sides of the cardboard) you can proceed. If you hit any studs, skip to the next step. Otherwise, you’ll need to add anchors, which are typically provided with your curtain rod
Swap out your drill bit for the correct size that works with your anchors (ours needed a 3/16″ drill bit) and drill into each premade pilot hole to make larger holes for your anchors. Bonus – the template acts as a great way to catch drywall dust!
With all of your anchor-ready holes drilled, gently tap in your anchors in with a hammer or mallet. If you’re able to push your anchors into the wall by hand, you’re making your holes too large! Switch to a smaller bit or keep your drill steadier as you drill. Loose anchors can cause your rod to sag or fall out of the wall over time.
DONT hang the brackets right next to the window
I said it once already, but it bears repeating – be sure to hang your curtain rods a good 10-12″ wider than the window itself. This allows the curtains to cover the walls when they’re open and not the window. It creates the illusion that the window is larger than it actually is and it also allows more light to flow into the room!
In a setup like ours in the bedroom, it’s hard to hang the curtains wide (since the windows are right next to the wall), but we did it as wide as we could – and sometimes that’s all you can do!
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s chat about how to hang curtains!
This is really a pretty straightforward project – it only took me about half an hour to hang these curtain rods in our bedroom. But, there are a few tips and tricks that’ll make it easier (including a genius template that I love), so let’s dive into those details.
Once you’ve factored in curtain length, window height, and width, proceed to install the curtain rod bracket.
- Hold a bracket up to the wall so that the position of the rod lines up with your initial markings.
- Use a pencil to indicate where the screws should go.
- Predrill the pilot holes at those marks.
- Insert the plastic wall anchors, align the bracket with the anchors, insert the screws, and tighten until the bracket is flush with the wall.
- Repeat the process for the other bracket.
If your pole is longer than four feet, consider adding a center support to prevent sagging.
DONT skimp on the curtain width
Consider the width of your actual curtains when you’re purchasing, even if you don’t ever plan on closing them. We rarely pull our curtains all the way closed (we have blinds and tend to use those instead), but we always make sure to get curtains that theoretically could be pulled closed to cover the window.
Why? Your curtains will feel disproportionate if they’re really skinny or don’t bunch up at all on either side of the window. If you want to create a full, luxurious feel to your window trimmings, get curtains that can fully cover the window with even a little extra width. Many curtains have extra wide options, which is the perfect solution for those large windows.
Bottom line? Just be sure to check how wide the curtains are before ordering so you don’t accidentally end up with a skimpy-looking setup!
How to Hang Double Curtains Without a Double Curtain Rod
Is it possible to hang double curtains without a double curtain rod? Yes. However, a single curtain rod does not provide the same functionality or create the depth that a double curtain rod does.
Two sets of curtains can hang on a single rod, but they would remain fixed unless you hold them open with a curtain tieback or holdback.
Kwik-Hang’s single curtain rod brackets hold up to 20 lbs., so they’re ideal for hanging two sets of curtains on a single rod (like pictured above).
You can also experiment with hanging thinner, non-traditional rod alternatives like a tension rod or a bungee cord. But depending on the style of your single rod bracket, this may not be possible.
HOW WIDE SHOULD A CURTAIN ROD BE?
Most people know the rod should be at least the size of your window.
However, if you want the curtain to look expensive, the window to feel larger, and allow more natural light into the room, make the rod wider than the window.
It’s recommended that the curtain rod brackets be placed at least 6″ from the window opening but not wider than 12″.
TIP: Place the brackets 12″ away for a more dramatic effect.
For example, if the window is 36″ wide and you want to place the brackets 12″ away, you would add 12″ + 12″ + 36″ for a total of 60″ plus 1″ to 2″ more for an overhang, resulting in a total of 62″.
SIDE NOTE: If you want to save money, make your rod and brackets using this DIY curtain rod tutorial. It will cut the cost in half. The rod and brackets in the image were made using this tutorial.
Use these tricks to make the drapes a standard width and to create the illusion of wider windows:
- The standard distance from the window casing to the end of the curtain rod (excluding finials) on each side of the window should be four to 10 inches.
- As a general rule, drapes will be open during the day, so make sure the curtain rod extends at least four inches on each side of the window’s inside frame.
- To create the illusion of a wider window, extend the rod up to 10 inches beyond the window's frame.
The Best Curtain Styles to Use
One of the biggest challenges in using Command Hooks to hang a curtain rod is that the rod ends up significantly closer to the wall than when hung with standard brackets (which usually hold a rod out from the wall a good 4-6″). Below is a picture of the underside of the rod. As you can see, there is less than 1″ of clearance between the wall and the rod.
Years ago, I invested in a ton of grommet-topped curtain panels so that I had enough for our entire house. However, when you place a grommet-topped panel onto a rod so close to the wall, the rings project way forward and the panels don’t hang nice and straight. I really didn’t like the way it looked, so I explored other options.
One great option is to use curtain panels that either have a rod pocket or tabs across the back. This allows you to thread the rod across the top of the curtain, but all the excess fabric either gathers or pleats toward the front (as shown below). Many stores sell both rod pocket and tab-style curtains, and I’ll have a tutorial showing how to add tabs to any panels coming up in a few weeks.
One of the biggest benefits to using back-tabbed curtains is that it camouflages the Command Hooks really really well. However, using either rod pocket or back-tabbed panels causes them to sit fairly wide on the bar (because they are essentially squishing an entire curtain panel together horizontally). This can be great in some instances; but since I wanted to hang two panels on each side, I needed something a little more compact…which lead me to curtain rings!
Panels on Curtain Rings
I was 99% sure I was going to hang my panels with back-tabs; but on a whim, I hung a set up with some curtain rings I had on hand. The result looked so much cleaner since it allowed me to make crisp, clean pleats and easily adjust how wide the entire arrangement sat on the rod.
Although the curtains themselves looked (and hung) so much better on the rings, the large, chunky Command Hooks were suddenly in plain view, which really, really bothered me. Had I picked more decorative hooks, it likely wouldn’t have been an issue. But my eye kept getting distracted by the big black blobs on the wall!
Final Hardware Installation
If you don’t like the look of your curtain rod, there are more appealing hardware options. Decorative curtain rods are an easy and inexpensive way to upgrade your window hardware. You can also hide the curtain rod with a DIY window cornice.