Up until a week ago, my bedroom window did not have curtains. What it had as a covering was a sad, thinly woven blanket nailed to the wall. Before you judge entirely and deem me unworthy of writing for an interior design blog, let me explain. When we moved into this apartment, all of the windows were bare and I found that choosing window treatments was one of the more paralyzing design decisions for this first-time designer. For the first few weeks, blankets and towels were indeed hung over the windows which was a pretty unbearable sight to witness. Eventually, I procured proper curtains for the common living areas but due to design decision fatigue, I chose to ignore the bedroom window until I knew what the design plan would be for that room. I was admittedly being cheap and a tad lazy, so a blanket was our curtain for an agonizing 3+ YEARS. Finally, last week I couldn’t take it anymore so I purchased an actual curtain rod and curtains for the poor, forgotten bedroom window. I probably don’t need to tell you the difference it has made for my mood/mental health. We have actual privacy now, and I no longer avert my eyes and pretend the window doesn’t exist. Now all of this is to say that picking the perfect window treatments can be confusingly debilitating. It can feel like a big design choice/investment so if you are having trouble facing this decision you aren’t alone. The first step is acceptance and the second is to find the right size and style curtain rod for your needs. Are you ready?
There are several window treatment options out there (roman shades, shutters, blinds, etc) but if you are going with hanging curtains there are a few things you should know:
- Make sure you have the right tools BEFORE you get started. For most curtain rods, you’ll need a power drill, the right size drill bit (depending on the size of the screw), a stud finder, and measuring tape. Depending on the weight of the curtains, you might need a supportive wall anchor, too. Sometimes hanging curtains the right way takes a few tries and a few different applications (this is coming from experience). You could also hire out!
- Don’t hang your curtain rod right above your window. Ideally, your curtain rod should be hung 2/3 the distance between your window and the ceiling.
- If space allows, the curtain rod should extend 10-12″ past the window on each side. When you are measuring make sure to take that into account before you determine what length you need your curtain rod to be.
- Make sure your curtains are not too long or too short. We advise having your curtains “kiss” the floor.
Here is a handy visual to reiterate these steps:
Curtain Rods By Size
1. Essential Black Curtain Rod: This is a really classic modern matte black option that is currently on sale for $80!
2. Curtain Rod: We love the clean line look of this one and reviewers say it is sturdy and easy to install.
3. Ball Finial Curtain Rod Set: A ball finial is classic and this comes in matte black and polished nickel too.
4. Boule Black Curtain Rod: This modern meets traditional curtain rod is really stunning.
5. Cole Curtain Rod: The ridged ball finial adds a lovely texture to this luxe glam rod (and also comes in black!).
6. 3/4″ Singles Curtain Rod Set with Round Finials: This is a great affordable option that comes in a range of finishes.
1. Standard Curtain Rod: Here is an affordable standard black rod that has great reviews.
2. Matte Black Ball Finial Curtain Rod: This traditional matte black with ball finials is super versatile.
3. 3/4″ French Rod: We love a French return style curtain rod and this one by Rejuvenation comes in three beautiful finishes.
4. Bridgette Curtain Rod: The circular plate detail on this one adds a cool, modern flair.
5. French Return Drapery Hardware Set: Caitlin cannot stop raving about this curtain rod that she bought for her living room windows. She says that it is really beautiful and super affordable for the quality.
6. Double Curtain Rod and Large Marble Round End Cap: A double rod is essential if you want to add a blackout curtain layer to your window treatment and the marble finial is so pretty.
1. Hidden Connection Room Darkening Curtain Rod: This cast iron French return style rod combines a rustic texture with a modern flair and comes in a variety of finishes.
2. Matte Black Blackout Curtain Rod: Jess had this one in her old living room and loved the way it looked.
3. French Curtain Rod – Project 62™: Here is an affordable modern curtain rod that is thin and sleek but can hold up to 25 pounds.
4. French Return Curtain Rod Matte Black: This is a really classic affordable option.
5. Dauntless Curtain Rod: This one is the lucky winner that replaced my aforementioned blanket over the window situation. I’m really glad this is the one I happened to snag at Target as it is really sturdy and looks high-end.
6. Bolt Matte Black Rod: If you are looking for an edgy, modern shape look no further.
1. Simple Curtain Rod: We love the wraparound bracket detail on this simple curtain rod.
2. Rustic Curtain Rod: Here is another affordable option that comes in a variety of lengths!
3. Oversized Adjustable Curtain Rod w/ Cylinder Finials: This is such a classic and elegant curtain rod that would look good in any room.
4. Swoop Blackout Curtain Rod – Dark Bronze: The curve on this one is really special.
5. Hillcrest Drapery Rod: The wood finial paired with the oil-rubbed bronze finish creates such a dynamic look.
6. Cg Matte Black Curtain Rod: To end our readymade options, we have this simple but sturdy curtain rod that comes in seven different finishes (and has a wraparound bracket that adds a special modern detail).
Some window sizes and shapes are too unique to be covered with readymade curtains, but luckily we know so many great companies that make incredible custom window treatments. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Wovn Home: In my living room, I have curtains and roman shades from Wovn Home and am still obsessed with them. The quality is top-notch and customizing on their site is so easy.
2. The Shade Store: The Shade Store does custom shades, blinds, and drapery and handles the installation.
3. Decorview: We’ve used Decorview for countless rooms and projects including the Farmhouse, Mountain House, Portland project, Jess’ office/living room, and cannot say enough great things about their quality and service!
4. Etsy: Etsy has a ton of shops that provide custom window treatments and is a great place to go if you want to support small businesses.
5. Everhem: Everhem is a Los Angeles-based brand that offers custom drapery and roman shades. If you are nervous about measuring, they will connect you with someone to come take measurements for you.
6. Highland Forge: Highland Forge custom rods are hand finished and significantly stronger than readymade options. Their site is user-friendly and you can do everything online.
That is all for today, my friends. If you were looking for curtain rods I hope this post helped. See you tomorrow!
Opener Image Credit: Design by Dee Murphy | Styling by Velinda Hellen | Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp for The New Design Rules
Is custom the only way to go for a corner curtain? I’ve seen drapery rod corner connectors, but not exactly sure how well they work or what sort of rods they’re compatible with!
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I have 2 windows that require a corner rod and I got mine at Bed Bath and Beyond. I am not sure if they still carry them since they seem to be going out of business but if they have them I am sure you can find them elsewhere!
Pottery barn has corner rod connectors that are compatible with their rods. I’ve seen chrislovesjulia use them.
I was able to get corner rod connectors at Target years ago. They work great for corners and bay windows. IKEA also has a hanging system that allows you to go around corners. I think it’s called a track system, so you can do multiple layers and wall or ceiling mount. I really like this system.
I’ve got the Ikea Vidga curtain rail system. The single-track version can be installed around corners. As a bonus, they have a clean look and my curtains move smoothly.
Is custom the only way to go for a corner curtain? I’ve seen drapery rod corner connectors, but not exactly sure how well they work or what sort of rods they’re compatible with!
I’ve seen a lot of home tours recently with old fashioned short curtains in newly designed spaces. Is this look making a comeback? And what are your thoughts?
Was gonna say the same! I actually think “the bad” illustration looks kind of fresh right now—AS LONG AS it’s done intentionally. I think the mistakes happen when things are too short/too crowded in a way that looks noncommittal. I agree the I’ve seen quite a few great examples of shorter window treatments lately, and they look great when executed well!
I think it only works in a casual space, like a kitchen or bathroom.
I think a more causal look could work. This really reminds me of something my interior design professor explained when considering window treatment length: she stressed that the place between the window sill and the floor was a “no-zone” – but, if the drapery sits snuggly inside the window sill or slightly (and intentionally) covers the window apron, the drapery treatment looks so much more considered.
This may be a lazy, basic approach but for my current house (old house, high ceilings) I bought 95-inch long curtains from Target and hung them to barely brush the floor rather than calculating the perfect curtain rod height and then having to hem or order custom curtains. Happily the rules outlined here (expand the rods beyond the edge of the window frame, don’t hang the rod right at the top of the window) worked pretty naturally with this approach. We have crisp white curtains, classic black curtain rods also from Target, and it was a minimum of headache.
Same, but with Ikea! (And they look beautiful!)
Sometimes I think we’re overthinking things a bit…and if you actually LIKE shopping and plotting fo years on design projects, great! But three years with a blanket on the wall would drive me INSANE!
This tape is honestly one of my favorite home purchases EVER. It allows the curtain to glide effortlessly over the break of a telescoping rod. Please include it in future talks about curtain; I wish I had known about it sooner. Modtek Curtain and Drapery Ring… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08RXKVK3X?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Whoa, Courtney, thank you. I hope this works as well for me as it did for you. Fighting with my curtains on telescoping rods is one of those minor physical tasks that provokes inexplicable rage in me. (See also removing the kids’ toys from the tub before my shower. )
The bump on a telescoping rod is incredibly frustrating on a daily basis! What a good idea. I have a ton of types of tape already so I might just try one of those though before spending the money on this product. What do you think? I needed 10′ and 12′ foot rods and managed to find a bunch of 10′ non-telescoping rods online at the Home Depot for a very reasonable price. One of my best purchases ever! I’ve been out of luck on a 12′ rod though so a solution like this would be perfect.
That was a very quick “add to cart”!
I prefer curtains that are the tiniest bit shorter than touching the floor so they just hang straight. I don’t like the look of curtain hems crumpled on the floor. I like the height and width recommendations for the most part though I find that when they are hung way high towards the ceiling it can sometimes just look silly.
I’m with you on this. Plus if they touch the floor, they get cast and dog hair on them and get caught up in the roomba.
I agree. With wooden floors, the curtains become dustbunny traps if they ‘puddle’ on the floor… and really, this puddling was only ever done historically, due to gaps under doors (also why curtains were hung inside, in front of doors).
I ended up going to Home Depot. Buying a 1” wooden dowel and painting it. Then bought matching brackets. $15 total I believe.
Yet to install it…
In my 90 year old house, the original wood window frames are 5 inches wide, and then above that is only 5 more inches to the ceiling. Where do I hang the curtain rod? Do I squeeze it in that 5 inches below the ceiling?
I have a similar situation and chose to install the curtain tracks onto the top wooden frame.
My walls are solid brick, so I think very carefully before drilling coz filling holes on really old textured walls is n.o.t. easy.
I can vouch for Highland Forge. Very happy with rods and customer service. They helped with an oddball configuration.
I’m in need of a HUUUUUGE curtain rod – like 20 feet long, maybe even longer – for a series of 5 arched windows in our living room. Does that exist? Or what are my options there?
Hi Julie! My window isn’t quite as big, only 15 ft, but I got my rod from Paso Robles Ironworks. It was one of the most affordable options that I could find and it’s really well made & sturdy. The customer service people are helpful too, if you have questions. You’ll probably have to use c-rings, since long rods need supports in the middle. This is what I ordered: https://www.ironhardware.com/product/standard-iron-curtain-rod/
My daughter is very happy with the rods she ordered from Paso Robles. I want 12’ French return rods which I’m going to order from them.
Not sure what look you’re aiming for, but when I worked at IKEA we would combine our telescoping rods together. Each bracket has a plug on the end that you can just pop off. This feature allows you to combine as many rods as you see fit. Of course you would then just use a bracket to support each span evenly.
I meant “each rod has a plug”
Can you remind me of where that dining room post (from the first large photo) is? I don’t see it listed under the dining rooms section and no link under the photo 🙂
The opening image is always credited and linked at the very bottom of the post. Although in this case this doesn’t help those of us much who wanted to see more immediately, since this is a shot from Emily’s book that hasn’t been published on the blog yet. Buuuuut you can see more of the dining room on the designer Dee Murphy’s own blog here: https://murphydeesign.com/2019/02/18/home-sweet-deesign-dining-room-anthropologie/ Which I looked up this morning cause I also loved it and wanted to see more 😉
It is by Dee Murphy and in the latest book. Here are some posts with a few more images of it sprinkled in, if it helps:
And here’s her House Beautiful tour: https://murphydeesign.com/2021/05/15/murphy-deesign-house-beautiful-home-tour/
I have a window that goes all the way to the corner of a room (but doesn’t wrap the corner). What’s the best way to hang a rod in that case, or do the make a product specifically for that situation that I haven’t found yet?
Highland forge made a rod for me to address this. One end hangs from a wall mounted bracket (unobtrusive) and the other end has a French return. Available with finials too. I couldn’t put that configuration in the cart myself. I wrote to customer service. They wrote back with a link to a cart.
I needed draperies for my family room’s large windows, one 15’ and the other 10’. I checked around and my local drapery workroom was cheaper than a workroom that you mentioned and they installed the draperies, steamed them and they look lovely. Sometimes DIY just isn’t worth it.
Great post! We had custom curtains made for our sliding glass door and our designer recommended having the curtains hang 1 inch about the floor. This was so when we draw the curtains open they are not brushing against the hardwood floors and collecting dust and dirt. Otherwise, all my curtains kiss the floor. I wish there could be a post on how to accurately place the brackets so they are even and straight. I’ve never quite figured out how to do this!
Your information and illustration was a big help -I had my curtains hung using the same rules several months ago- it took some planning to get it right in terms of measuring and height. I wish I could have used this earlier -for any readers out there -this is definitely a great source for info and inspo. On a different topic- curious if Boucle chairs are “trend proof” – your thoughts? I love those “teddy bear” chairs – I seem to be seeing more of them out there.
Here’s a post Emily wrote about it in 2019: https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/fabric-trends-boucle-2020
A few additional suggestions from Calico, the retailer with 60+ stores across the country–in addition to making custom window treatments, we have a wide selection of rods (many can be sized to order) and hardware–even clear Lucite. CURTAINS are unlined, often made with sheers or casements to filter light. DRAPERY PANELS are lined, which protects the decorative fabric and also looks uniform from the outside. If possible, we like window treatments to be installed about 4-inches below the ceiling/crown molding; that will carry your eye upward and make the room appear taller. For areas where short window treatments are needed, we suggest Roman shades or blinds/shades by Hunter Douglas (Calico is one of their largest dealers in the country). Our designers will come to your home at no charge to help you figure out what to do with your windows–and then arrange fabrication and installation. To make an appointment: Interior Design, Custom Furnishings & Fabric by the yard | Calico (calicocorners.com)
What if you have radiators under your windows? I can’t do long curtains :'(
I see sooooo many people ask this question, but no answers.
It must be a real issue for so msny people in the northern hemisphere.
While not an issue for me (Australia), I’m interested to learn what the solution is.
I hope you get some answers/ideas here.🤞
I’d probably just opt for a fabric or woven shade that rolls down from the window casing. It’s too weird to think of all that extra fabric heating up.
I need the answer to this too!! I have thick wood trim/moulding above my window and a radiator below. So tricky !
Thank you for such a comprehensive post! I have hung many a curtain panel over the years and it is always a bit of a learning process each time. A French Return style is simple to install as it’s essentially one piece and the curved design also provides excellent privacy such as in a bedroom. I have used the French return rod in this post from Ballard Designs and it is good quality. From personal experience, one thing to keep in mind, always check the weight that the rod your are using will hold. If you have a wide window, high ceilings and heavier curtains (like velvet) you may need an iron rod or at a minimum a larger width pole than if you have a single window w average weight drapes (like cotton or linen) . I typically like to use a 1″ rod with curtain rings, but the rod may need to be thicker (1.5″ – 2″) if the window is wider, taller and/or if the curtains are on the heavy side. Just another thought, if you have basic sewing skills making your own curtains is quite a straightforward project and you can have “custom” work at a… Read more »
Personally, I prefer curtain tracks or rods close to the top of the window. I think it looks strange further up the wall. If I match my track to the window frame, then it becomes invisible, and there is no track distracting from the wallpaper or paint behind it. The first photo on this post with the dark hardware cutting across the wallpaper design would really bug me!
I have windows directly next to a portion of wall that pops out about 4 inches. The end of a curtain rod would hit the wall on that one side of the window but could be mounted normally on the other side. Wondering what you would do here? Could you just leave the finial off the side going into the wall? Do you only hang one curtain panel? The other curtain panel would cover more of the window since the wall would be right there. I guess it would be a similar situation to a window that was directly next to a corner if that helps clarify the description at all. Thanks so much!
If it makes you feel better, we’ve lived in this house for 7 YEARS and still don’t have curtains in our bedroom. My excuse is that we’re in a finished attic, so the windows are all under eaves, and I can’t decide which roman shades to use (two of them are regular but one is recessed)–should I do an inside mount or an outside mount? Or inside for one but outside for the others? What fabric to use? And why are they so $$$$?! Anyway maybe 2023 will be the year.
Courtney the choices are different for everyone and each type of window but here are a few suggestions. If all 3 window frames have the depth to hang the blinds inside then you can go either inside or outside mount. An inside mount will expose your window frame and the shade will be tucked neatly inside. Reasons to do an outside mount that covers your window frame might be to add more privacy/darkness (light will peek in on the sides of an inside mount) or to visually make the window look larger by mounting the top of the shade to the wall some distance above the window frame. Whatever you choose, do all 3 windows the same way. I like to use solid fabrics in a bedroom and add some trim tape to add to the design. A nice linen, poplin or cotton duck cloth is always a good option for me – I would not use heavy weight fabrics like velvet, brocade… For inspo, look at images on Google and Pinterest, go through design magazines, look at online retail stores like PB, Smith & Noble, Etsy… there are examples of fabrics, styles and how they are mounted – see… Read more »
For anyone that has recently moved and needs something to cover their windows temporarily, until they can afford to put something more permanent or custom-made on them, Home Depot and Lowes both sell a product called Redi Shades. They are a pleated paper shade that comes in light filtering or a black-out version. They are very inexpensive. Between $7-12/shade. They come in a couple of different widths and you can cut them with a scissor to fit your window. It is better than hanging a sheet or blanket over your window for several weeks, months or more.
The article on curtain rods is a fantastic resource for those seeking to improve the style and practicality of their window coverings. The author offers precise guidelines on selecting the appropriate size and hanging the rods accurately, which I found helpful. This is a must-read for anyone looking to enhance their home decor.