Design Tips & Tricks - #4 How To Hang Curtains

How To Hang Curtains - If windows are the eyes of a room, then curtains are the eyebrows. I’m not sure who said that. Probably no one. But, its true. One of the biggest missed opportunities I see is failure to dress the windows. There are usually blinds or shades of some kind needed for privacy, but often curtains are overlooked. One of the best ways to add some much needed drama and color to a room happens with curtains. And one of the best ways to do that is to mount the curtain 8-10 inches outside the window and as close to the ceiling as you can get. Yep you read that right. Buying the standard 84” length curtain sold in every store is a design no-no. If your ceiling height is standard it’s probably a whole number like 8ft, 9ft or 10ft. So, for example, if you have a room with an 8ft ceiling (96”) you want a curtain length at or around 95-96”. If the ceiling in your space is not a standard height, plan on purchasing either a custom length curtain to span floor to ceiling or the closest standard length pre-made you can get. So, if your ceiling height is 10’6 and you’re not planning to splurge on a custom length, get a 10ft or 120″ curtain. The curtain should skim or puddle at the floor. I personally prefer it to skim just above the floor for cleaning purposes but others like the look of a little puddling at the floor.

How To Hang Curtains - What To Look For When Buying A Curtain Rod

When deciding what length rod to purchase, make sure to account for the added width you will need. Measure to the left and right side of the windows 8-10” and mount the brackets. That means if your window is 30” wide, you will need a rod that extends to at least 46” in width. Installing curtains high and wide will create a larger, more dramatic look at the window. Check out the illustration below. Same window, 3 different mounting styles. When you hang the curtain outside the window, it allows maximum light in when the curtains are pulled open. The old traditional way to hang curtains guarantees you will cover up some part of the window, reducing natural light, even when they’re open.

How To Hang Curtain - Bonus Tips

  1. When deciding where to mount the brackets at the ceiling, be sure to physically place the mounting hardware and the curtain finial (the end piece) against the wall/ceiling before you drill your first hole. Sometimes the finial can be 3-4” in diameter and you’ll need to lower where the bracket gets mounted to make sure it will fit.
  2. When purchasing a rod, don’t buy a rod if the overall length you need is close to the maximum extendable distance the rod offers. For example, if you need an 86” rod, don’t purchase a 48-88” rod. The center will begin to sag when the rod gets to it’s full extension point. Move on up to the next size if you’re close to the largest number.
  3. Don’t use the crappy hardware that comes with the curtain rod. Buy a decent bag of self-drilling anchors and use them and the screws included with them instead. The screws that come with the rods are cheap and will strip easily. Trust me on this. I’ve spent HOURS trying to get a cheap screw out of a wall because my drill stripped the head. (And yes, for some reason that last sentence sounded dirty to me too, but it was legit 🙂 My favorite anchors are the Toggler Self-Drilling Drywall Anchors.
  4. Wait to hang artwork until the curtains are up. Curtains sitting outside the window will change where you’ll want to hang art on the walls next to the window.