Needing to add some curtains to your home? I’ve got you covered! This post has everything you need to know about how to hang curtains. Read on for all of the details!
Hanging curtains can be a tricky business if you haven’t ever done it before. It feels overwhelming – how high do I hang them? How do I make sure it’s all straight? What do I do with all of those pieces that come with the rod?!
Despite the fact that I’ve tiled and built things and renovated multiple houses, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually hung my first set of curtains. Before that, I’d always had my husband do it!
Thankfully, it’s incredibly easy. And now that I know how, I’ve hung tons of curtains. And today, I’m here to help you do the same. I promise – you can do it! No need to wait around for someone else to help.
This post has all of the tips and tricks you need to know about how to hang curtains, along with a few other things you should know if you’re going to embark on a curtain hanging adventure in your own home.
I’ll get to the step-by-step in just a moment (complete with a simple trick that I wish I would have thought to use before I got started!), but here are a few basic DO’s and DON’Ts first.
Dos and Don’ts of Hanging Curtains
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 frame, 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!
Note: Most stores only sell 84″ curtain lengths 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.
The curtains in our bedroom 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”. 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. But, if you want some help, my general rule of thumb is to hang the rod about 3″ below the ceiling.
DON’T Skimp on the Curtain Width
Consider the width of your window and the 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 curtain panels that can fully cover the window with even a little extra width. Many curtains have extra wide options, which is the perfect solution if you have 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!
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 drapes 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 purchase something different because it’s trendy or someone else suggests it, you’ll be disappointed.
The lesson here is that we all approach window treatments (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 that just has some simple texture.
DON’T Hang the Curtain 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!
DO Consider Fabric & Lighting
Generally speaking, you’ve got three options when it comes to the type of fabric you use for your curtains: sheer fabric, light-filtering, or blackout curtains.
The draperies you choose will depend on your needs for the space. Choose heavier fabrics for bedrooms where you need more privacy and dark. Stick to lighter fabrics (like a linen) for a space where you want to let all the light shine in!
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.
How to Hang Curtains – Tips & Tricks
Tools you’ll need
Step One: Determine Your Measurements
We’ve already talked a bit about this, but the first thing you’ll want to do is figure out how high and how wide you want your curtains to be from the corner of your window.
Generally, a good rule of thumb is to have the bracket somewhere around 10-12″ from the window (keeping in mind that the actual rod will extend another couple of inches past that). If you have any moldings or trim that will affect it, be sure to consider that as well!
Hold the first bracket up to the wall where you want it to be, and use a pencil to mark spots for the screws. Then, measure how far the screws are from the top of the window frame and from the side. Use that measurement to mark the spots for the screws on the other side of the window.
Step Two: Drill Pilot Holes
Once you’ve marked your holes for the bracket, your next step is to grab your drill, insert a small drill bit, and drill pilot holes in your wall.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, it’s much easier to drill your bracket into the wall if you’ve got some pilot holes for the screws to get started in. It’s also a fool-proof way to see if you’ll need anchors. If you can feel that there’s no stud behind the drywall (meaning, once the drill bit goes through the drywall there’s nothing there), then you’ll need to use an anchor. If you feel resistance all the way, then you’ve hit a stud and you can just use a regular screw.
And, if you’re unsure, use a stud finder to double check before moving on to the net step!
Step Three: Add Anchors (if needed)
Your curtain rod probably comes with anchors, so you’ll want to use those if you aren’t drilling into a stud.
Use the directions provided with your rod to determine what size drill bit to use for the anchors. Drill a hole (right on top of the pilot hole you’ve already drilled), then insert the anchors and hammer them into place. Now you’re ready to wrap things up!
Step Four: Attach Brackets
Now you’re finally ready to hang those brackets! Simply line the holes on the bracket up with the holes you’ve drilled in the wall (or the anchors), and use the provided screws to attach them to the wall.
You may need a middle bracket, depending on the width of the window. Use the directions provided with your curtain rod to determine if this is necessary!
Step Five: Finish the Installation!
Once your brackets are all in place, you’re ready to slide the curtains on and put the rod up! There are a couple of different ways curtains can attach to the rod:
- Grommets: These are holes in the top of the curtain that will slide directly onto the rod.
- Curtain Rings or Clips: These attach to the top of the curtains and then slide on the rod.
Either way, once you’ve got the curtains on the rod, you’re ready to slip it onto the curtain rod brackets and bask in the glow of a job well done.