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Design Mistake #5:

Hanging Curtains All Wrong

Design Mistakes_hanging your curtains the wrong way_header 1

A pretty room with poorly hung curtains is like a beautiful, pulled-together lady wearing way ‘too-small pants’. It cheapens everything else, stands out in a jarring way and just makes everyone feel uncomfortable.

Let’s combat this problem head on and really get into what people are doing wrong:

Emily Henderson_Design Mistakes_Curtains Rod Too Low

I used to do this, I hung my rod just slightly above my window frame mostly because I would buy the wrong length of curtain then as I was trying to avoid the too-short curtain (see below) I was forced to hang it lower . Now, it doesn’t ALWAYS have to be 20″ above your window, literally just under the ceiling, but go at least 1/2-2/3 the distance towards the top to help your ceilings look as high as possible. It’s not just the better way to hang your curtains but at this point we have a ‘cultural height’ of where your curtain rod line should be, the height where we as a collective people are used to seeing it, and if you get too close to the window sill, and if you have a lot of space to play with, it just stands out in your room. Lift the rod, which lifts the eye which makes your ceilings look higher and your space bigger.

What I do love, however, is how that white pillow is styled on that chair in the above/right shot. It’s all WHUT, I’m not just a pillow, I’m a diamond. And I get ladies. 

Emily Henderson_Design Mistakes_Curtains not long enough

Meanwhile the most common curtain mistake is just painful to look at – the ‘too short’ curtain. The waiting for a flood curtain. It does EXACTLY what pants that are too short do – it cuts off your room (leg) in a really jarring way, making it look feel short/stubby and awkward. You have three other options – all good/legal ones to avoid this look:

1. The slight float – Less than an inch above the floor. If you want to hang your curtains without any break at all, so they hang totally straight then the float is the best option for you. It doesn’t touch the floor, but only just barely.

2. The kiss – It barely touches the floor. This is the hardest one to pull off as you need to measure SUPER accurately from the rod (and making sure to include in your measurements the rings/clips or s hooks). It is my favorite as it looks the most custom and intentional, but it is the hardest to accomplish. There is often a tiny break/bend in the curtain when its open that I’m totally ok with.

3. The puddle – Where it does just that, it puddles all over the floor. This is best for you romantics out there, or for those looking for a more feminine, old world, european feel. Marie Antoinette puddled hard all over that villa, dripping with her cakes and sapphires. We just installed a couple of puddles in a baby girls ultra-feminine nursery and it looks BEAUTIFUL. It’s especially a good idea if/when your fabric is really high quality – either washed linen or velvet, because the more it puddles the more you can see the beautiful texture of the fabric that you probably splurged on. It should be thick and grand, not dinky little cotton curtains that will simply look accidental and way too long.

Emily Henderson_Design Mistakes_Ways curtains can hang

Another common mistake is not having the rod wide enough, on both sides of the window, so that your curtains are forced to be hanging partially in your window, blocking light and making the window look smaller (thus making your room feel smaller). Extend the rod at least 6-10″ on either side of the window frame (if you have the space) so that when the curtains are pushed totally open you can see almost all of the window.

Emily Henderson_Design Mistakes_Curtains Rod Not Wide Enough

The height above your sill can be similar to the space on either side of the window sill – lift and widen where you put the rod so that the window frame feels as big as possible and allows for as much light in as possible. Remember natural light is your best accessory, so let it…shine…

If you have a big window make sure to have double wide panels on both sides of the frame. Say your window is 100″ wide and your panels are 54″ wide (standard), then SURE when they are closed they will technically block the light, but they will be taught and won’t have any softness in them. Additionally when the curtains are open they will look really dinky and disproportionate to your grand window. You may have to buy four panels (2 on each side), we do that often. You can either have your tailor/dry cleaner sew them together OR just hang them as-is and often you can’t see the break because now they are so full and billowy.

Emily Henderson_Design Mistakes_Curtains not wide enough

Now with all that said, you may be asking your self how do I not be the girl wearing the too-small pants? With the help of illustrator Jonna Isaac, we have created this handy guide to hanging your curtains the very best way possible. You may have to invest in longer curtains or even more panels if you have a larger window, but otherwise hanging a curtain the right way actually costs the same as the wrong way. So please, follow this guide and save everyone the discomfort of the ‘too short’, ‘too low’, ‘too thin’ and ‘too narrow’ curtain.


But where do we buy these?

Well, we’ve pulled together a roundup of our favorite readymade long (at least 96″) curtains for you. There are very few houses that only need 84″ high curtains. It’s like the housing and curtain industries had lunch, got drunk and one of them said ‘we’ll make the standard height of newly installed windows around 6′ or 7′ high so you just go ahead and only manufacture curtains around 84″ high and they’ll all buy it and we’ll all become millionaires’. But 84″ is almost always not long enough. Annoyingly 96″ can often be too long if you have 8′ ceilings but its better to buy the 96″ and have them hemmed to around 90″ (which is what we usually do in that case) than to go for the 84″. Of course I’m hoping that the heads of the world’s curtain senate are reading this post and will start implementing change, making a 90″ length as a standard size. And if you still make 72″ long curtains, go ahead and press pause on that mission. It’s a failed one and you are doing more harm to society than good. Maybe we’ll get a presidential candidate who will run on the ‘Long readymade and affordable curtains for all’ platform. You might think it niche, but I promise it would have broad appeal that would provoke mass change throughout our municipalities.

On to my favorite long/affordable/readymade curtain options (in a variety of styles to satisfy many of you) that will hopefully solve all your problems.

Emily Henderson_Best Curtain Panels Under 50_Roundup

1. Navy Blue Stripe | 2. Pink Diamond Fade | 3. White Cotton Slub | 4. Taupe Henna Ash | 5. White Smocked Top | 6. Blue Scallop Scale | 7. White Vineyard | 8. Striped Sahaj Jute | 9. Yellow Sketch | 10. Blue Bold Stripe | 11. White Cotton Weave | 12. Blue Tile | 13. Grey Basketweave | 14. Wavy Blue Lines | 15. Cream Silk | 16. Cotton Nova | 17. Platinum Chambray | 18. Canvas Etched |

A lot of those are sold per panel so just make sure that you buy at least two if you need.

For those of you who don’t mind spending more here is a roundup of 96″ curtains over $50.


1. Navy Pom Tassel | 2. Heathered Wool | 3. Linen Cross Weave | 4. Indigo Belgian Linen | 5. Grey Striped Linen | 6. Sanaga Stripe | 7. Slub Velvet | 8. Lagoon Silk Dupioni 9. Yellow Thayer | 10. Ascending Stripes | 11. Bark Leaf  | 12. Blue Color Block | 13. Punch French Tassel | 14. Rhombi Flocked Curtain | 15. Linen Color Block  | 16. Blue Star Flocked |17. Blush Luster Velvet | 18. Ivory Tassel 

There needs to be a whole rod/ring conversation but I’ll just say this right now – when in doubt go simple (white, black, brass or silver), stay away from crazy curly wrought iron stuff unless you live in a Scottish Castle (or an old Hollywood home) and fancy finials are only your friend if the style of your house can handle it.

In case you missed any of our posts from our Design Mistakes Series/PSA’s, check them out here: The Generic Sofa Roundup | Rugs That Are Too Small | Painting a Small, Dark Room White | How To Hang Art Correctly

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  1. Your best series ever! Such great advice and definitely what your blog should be all about!

  2. This guide is perfect – just what I need right now as we are finishing up our baby’s nursery. Thanks for pulling all this together!

  3. It’s taken me years to finally hang curtains correctly. I have so many holes above my windows but I finally have a wonderful float happening in my house now. The worst part is when you do everything right and then your rods aren’t level, oohhhh the insanity!! This is a great post.

  4. I struggle to deal with the horizontal short windows in our mid century ranch house. I am sure that Roman shades or something along those lines would look good… Cafe curtains are not really my jam. The two rooms that I have this issue with the one window in the room is also off centered. Can I do long curtains? How do I make these windows look good?

    1. I would ask the same question. Emily what are our options here?

    2. yes! This is my question as well. We have the horizontal short mid-century windows in all of our bedrooms. I just hung long curtains, high and wide, like I would (per your instructions) anywhere else, but they look so heavy against the windows.
      I was planning to hem them shorter to see how that would look, but I am a little scared cause you can’t really go back once that is done.
      I was thinking that maybe blinds are the way to go, but I need blackout for the bedrooms and blinds are never as good as the curtains.
      What are your thoughts?? PLEASE, PLEASE.

      1. Maegan, For 17 years, I had short windows in all bedrooms. I hung our curtains, high & wide, and then used shades (matchstick, bamboo, rice paper, fabric) to create the illusion of a taller window. You hang shade as an “outside mount” with the top of shade, level with the curtain rod. I once used two shades on a window: A matchstick blind with a (white) “black-out” liner, behind it–the 2 shades worked independently. It worked. Sometimes, placing furniture beneath a short window or between windows helped with balance. (Way back, I used a valance/cornice/pelmet between ceiling & top of the window.) Hope this helps!

    3. Also curious about this.

    4. Ditto — would LOVE to hear your take on this. In two of our bedrooms we have one long, short window and one narrow, tall window. Floor length look fine on the tall window but weird on the short one since there’s so much wall visible underneath — but I think curtains of differing lengths would look just as odd!

    5. Good question. Add me to the list of people with this same dilemma!

    6. I had the same question! Mid-century house with long windows But short from top to bottom.

  5. This is so helpful! Just moved into our new home and am in process of hanging curtains in my daughter’s nursery as we speak. Now I know how to do it right… I do have one more question for you – curtain RODS! The ones installed by previous homeowner’s are so flimsy (and ugly) and ready to fall down. I’d like to invest in new ones but I also don’t want to break the bank. Any recs on ready-made rods that you think are good quality? Thanks!

    1. My advice would be to invest in good rods. The best you can afford. In my case (I don’t have a million dollars to spend), I have purchased most of mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond. You can get very nice, simple ones, and if you use the 20% coupon, the price is not too bad.
      I have also purchased a few at West Elm on sale (which made the price not too bad). The quality is VERY good.

    2. For a budget option, IKEA has basic rods in black, white, or silver. We got the thicker sized rods and they look good. We also used their curtain rings, which made a big difference in how the curtains hang.

  6. Ikea has one set of curtains (the RITVA) that is 30$ for 2 panels, which, at 15$/panel, is about as cheap as you’re gonna get.

    Tip: their offered colours are, shall we say, limited. Get the white ones. They’re 100% cotton and respond really well to RIT dye. 15$ curtain panel + 3$ dye packet = super-cheap blush pink curtains, which is what we currently have in my daughter’s room.

    Other tip: 15$ curtain panel + 10$ of edging ribbon + a half-hour either sewing or iron-gluing it on = black-edged curtains for the dining room.

    Final tip: when hemming them, seriously, spend the extra time to either put curtain weights or pennies into the bottom seam. The extra weight helps them hang and swing well, and the fall of the fabric looks so much better.

  7. Emily- any recommendations on where to purchase simple but “nice” curtain rods? The selection at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Target, etc. leaves me wanting.

    1. Lisa–I liked this rod at Home Depot (I just looked at it about an hour ago) http://www.homedepot.com/p/Home-Decorators-Collection-66-in-120-in-Telescoping-3-4-in-Curtain-Rod-Kit-in-Brushed-Nickel-with-Modern-Cylinder-Finial-DHU-BN66120MD020/203717552 Also, Emily linked some curtain rods from World Market in the post on the E-design winner (and they’re on sale right now with free shipping).

    2. I’ve bought mine at Home Depot. Stylish and very sturdy at an ok price!

  8. Love this post! Thank you!!
    I love the look and style of the long floor length panels, but my HVAC ducts are right below almost every window throughout my mid-century house. So when the curtains are closed it blocks the AC/ heat. Any advice?

    1. I have the same problem! Radiators under most of the windows in my home so I don’t want to block the heat with long curtains!

    2. YES!!! I’m in a house where all my HVAC vents are next to the windows. PLUS, I have a cat who will pee on any fabric that’s on the ground, sigh. Right now my living room has the rod up at the ceiling and the draperies end just past the windows, about 8″ from the floor. I’m wondering if I’d actually be better with draperies that truly just cover the windows – maybe a couple inches above and a couple inches below.

  9. I suffer from the “too narrow” curtain in my living room. In my defence, I recently moved on my own and I had to buy a lot of stuff, so I couldn’t afford tailor-made curtains.

  10. Any suggestions for how to handle a really asymmetrical window placement? I have a wonderful, huge group of three windows in my living room – they’re grouped together into a single large opening, so they definitely want to be treated like one big window with a single curtain rod across the soffit above. The tough part is that there’s about 2′ of wall on the left side, and absolutely no wall on the right – the window opening goes right to the corner, so any curtain panels that get pushed to the right are going to block a big chunk of window. Is it too weird to run the curtain rod all the way across the entire wall, and push all the panels (white sheers) to the left side so only a couple inches of window get covered? Or should I put one or two panels on the right to balance it out (even though it’s really obvious they’re covering a window)?

  11. Great post! Thank you! I showed my husband (who just hung our master bedroom curtains this weekend) and he said, “I think ours are tonguing the floor.”

  12. Thank you thank you thank you! All this work is hugely appreciated by this reader! We just bought a house and it is overwhelming! I know rods merit a separate discussion but could you maybe just give a favorite source for buying them?! I need something to hang the curtains I am about to purchase from 🙂 thinking 9 and/or 13 might make it into my house!

  13. Love this series so so much. This one especially came at a great time, since I’m pretty sure I made all of these mistakes when we first moved in. Now that I’ve lived with them a while, I see the error of my ways, and as I’m painting a few rooms, I can take the rods down and fix my mistakes! Thank you.

  14. I have been waiting/requesting this post! Thank you!!!!!!!! Now let’s talk about pinch pleat like in the first photo! Maybe inexpensive sources or even diy! Also to clip or not to clip pinch pleat (below the rod).

  15. Perfect timing as I’m just about to hang bedroom curtains and wasn’t sure about how high to put curtain rod. This is one great post.

  16. What do you do when you have baseboard heaters? We don’t have curtains at all because I don’t know what to do!

    1. This is my question too. The house came with short-ish curtains (a few inches below the window), which doesn’t look terrible, but….

    2. Me three! Do baseboard heaters mean you are stuck with roman shades??

    3. For all those of us who don’t enjoy LA weather all year, please let us know your thoughts… (Emily and team) I do not have one window in my house without baseboard heaters below it, and they get hot! not even sure, really how to buy or style Roman shades, so instead we just live in a fishbowl… Please help!

      1. I also have baseboard heaters under all of my windows. The windows are short windows too! If you hang the curtains so they “float” on top of the baseboard heater, like you would on the floor, then the curtain itself holds in the heat and doesn’t let it heat up the room. As far as I can figure out, you have no choice but to have them fall just past the window sill so the heater can do its job. Emily, do you have any suggestions? Maybe you can post pictures of what you have done in this situation?

    4. Nope? No help for those of us cursed with baseboard heaters? Any solutions from the peanut gallery?

      In my last apt I just bought curtains I liked (which were hella long), but I was too terrified to hem them because they cost bills and I might move in 8 months to a place that would be able to use a reasonable length. So instead of anything decent looking, I safety pinned each corner around 2ft down from the top of the curtain, creating a weird bubble-skirt situation.

      Three years later, I finally moved, and yes, baseboard heaters everywhere, especially under windows. I give up. 🙁

      1. I purchased heater diverters to put over my heaters so it wouldn’t blow up the back of all my curtains. found this post because I have ranch windows too. got the diverters at home depot. poorly made diverter so had to duct tape them as the magnets fell off. not pretty. maybe will permanently super glue them on. still working on a solution

        1. Hi! What are diverters? I did a search on the Home Depot web site and couldn’t find anything. Thanks!

  17. Any tips/resources for finding curtains that are even longer than 96″? We live in a 113-year old house with huge windows and high ceilings (11 feet). We love how open the house feels, but have pretty much struck out everywhere on finding panels long and/or wide enough. I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re just going to be stuck with having to pay for custom, but I’d love to hear any thoughts you have! 🙂

    1. Sarah@802 Park Project: It wasn’t what I was looking for, but I noticed that Restoration Hardware seems to have a lot of extra-long options — just double-checked and, yep, 108″ and 120″ long options. Pricey, but beautiful, and, if you can do it, hopefully you’re buying them only once. Otherwise, yes, purchasing fabric and have tailor sew — an option we thought about. If you’re good at light DIY, Young House Love blog has good primer on how she used iron on hem thingy. Hope that helps.

    2. We have 11′ ceilings in our family room and I found curtains that were 120″ (I think) from Macy’s website. They are sheer, so definitely decorative vs. light-blocking.

    3. Ikea! You can get 118″ length in some of the styles. The simple ritva is only like $35 per pair for the longer length. You can’t even buy fabric that cheap. Its a heavyweight 100% cotton that dyes beautifully. If you don’t live near one, drapery is one of the things you can buy online on their site.

  18. This makes me want to cry! I just got some amazing long curtains on sale and i hemmed them Emily! I hemmed them! As soon as I hung them up my brain went click and I couldn’t believe what i had done. This post just reinforces my terrible mistake. I still love them but I will never be 100% satisfied now!. Waahhhh! 😉

    1. Aw I’m sorry! I feel your pain. Next time, just fold and don’t use scissors and then whip out your seam ripper if they are too short! The extra fabric tucked in should just make them hang nicely.

  19. I *just* finally pulled the trigger and bought curtains last night, and I have been looking at them since last September – no joke. This is perfect timing; thank you! Any advice about when to use solids vs. with stripes/other decoration, please??? We have a bedroom that’s all white/ivory (came that way), with texture on the wallpaper to make it look stripey (medium-wide), and we looked at solids but got really pulled toward a vertical stripe. horrible, or maybe ok idea? Welcome anyone’s thoughts…

  20. Such a helpful guide! I’ve been struggling with curtains for my living room for a while. I’ve got a big built-in for my radiator under my windows that extends out on either side, so there’s no way for them to touch the floor. Any advice on length for those curtains?

    1. Quick and easy guide – How to buy the right curtains and measuring your drapery size.

  21. I think my curtains are hung a bit too tight to the window in the living room, but I try not to complain because my dad surprised me by putting up the curtain rod for me when he was working on my house. However, in the drawing, the “correct” curtains seem hung WAY too high. I’m sure they look great when the curtains are closed, but when they are open, it looks awkward.

  22. Thank you so much for this series! It’s really great. x

  23. wonderful guide – my favorite of your series!!! I can’t wait for a part 2 (hint hint) about roman shades and similar and getting them made yourself – what to ask/tell the seamstress. And part 3 about matchstick blinds and what to look for. thanks emily and team!!!

  24. Do you have recommendations for pleated drapes? I know they are less popular but our home is pretty midcentury and pleated just makes sense. Mostly I am seeing only custom though and they are super pricey.

  25. How many panels would you suggest for a bay-type window? We have two windows that angle off the main wall at a 45 degree angle, they meet together with about 3-4″ on either side (they are not symmetrical unfortunately). Currently I have it styled with a single panel at the center tied together. I would love something more substantial, but I feel like there is not enough room between the two windows for a full 2 panel per window look.

  26. Thank you for sharing this post! I’ve always tried to be conscious of how our curtains are hung, although I’ve never been 100% satisfied. Now I know my mistakes to fix! Keep the advice coming 🙂

  27. Thank you so much! Great tips! What curtain rod height do you recommend with vaulted ceilings? I hung them high and it makes my bedroom feel like a deep cave.

  28. Great post! My question is also about rods. I usually hang my curtains higher so my windows look larger, but the rods always have that center support that sticks out like a sore thumb. Any advice how to conceal that?

    1. And I noticed none of your example photos have it? I feel like it’s a must on bigger windows? Am I wrong?

  29. This is the kind of post where you wish the blogger had a little paypal button installed so one could make a donation of thanks. All the work that went into this lovely how-to and all the researched links to make it easy to follow up and get those curtains we all need and want but have been putting off b/c we’re just not sure how it all works. LOVE! And THANK YOU!

  30. good to know! i’ve never purchased curtains. i have those plastic blinds in my rental and i was thinking of covering them up! the old rod holders are still there on the window frame…… too low! 🙂

  31. Thanks for the tips! What would you suggest for a bay window with a window seat? I already have UV-blocking window shades installed, but would love to add curtains for some colour and texture – I’m just not sure how to hang them!

  32. This post is my everything. And now I need to get some curtains.

  33. Emily – Great post! What do you recommend if you have a wide set of windows and the width of most curtain panels is not quite big enough? We have two linen window panels that just barely meet in the middle when closed. I know there needs to be a little more fabric on either end of the panels, but can’t find anything wide enough.

    1. Emily said you should use two panels per side. If they hang well, you might not even need to sew them together, because the extra fullness hides the edges. I think the reason the panels are so narrow is because decor fabric comes in a standard width of 54 inches.

  34. This is such great advice – thank you! But what about curtains for sliding glass doors?? Extra wide panels?

  35. Ok — question! How am I supposed to hang curtains with arched windows? I’ve got a bedroom with standard rectangle windows but then immediately above each one is an arched window. (So there’s maybe 6″ of wall between the top of the window and the bottom of the arch part.) What do I do? I feel like hanging either above or below the arch will look weird either way!

  36. I’m joining the chorus of grateful readers. This is indeed a marvelous series–thank you. I’m painting a room now and looking forward to choosing curtains. This post will be a tremendous help. (ps I can’t believe some of those cute Target curtains for so little moolah.)

  37. You hung short curtains in a nursery once I think, right? Maybe Oh Joys? So what’s the deal with that? I have a window in my daughter’s teeny bedroom with a shelf underneath, where long curtains would functionally be a PITA, but I’m still not convinced about going shorter…

  38. #13 is calling my name!

  39. I definitely could’ve used this tutorial a few weeks ago, my curtain rods are too short and my curtains are too short as well. Haha. Boys just shouldn’t measure things..

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  40. Hi Emily, I don’t know if this has been mentioned but as a decorator who sees the sins of the short drapes all too often, I will add a coordinating color or pattern by way of color blocking in order to save those darn 84″ drapes and raise them up! I only go to the trouble if they are good quality and their only offense is being too short. Cheers!

  41. Awesome post. And the white pillow…lol.

  42. Fantastic post! But now tell us how you measure to hang curtains. Any tips and tricks? I always have the hardest trouble measuring!

  43. This is great, and settles many of the curtain-hanging arguments that have been going on between me and my fiance since we’ve been redecorating (in my favor, thankyouverymuch). But we still have one question: I think that the curtain rod needs to be hung with a level and be perfectly level no matter what. But in our 1920’s Spanish bungalow, not all of the windows and walls are perfectly level and my fiance insists that we should be measuring from the ceiling to hang the rods parallel with the top of the wall. Help! Who’s right here?

    1. The rods should be level, so that the curtains hang straight and move properly.

  44. Let’s say one of the bad curtain examples is an image from your friend’s blog… what’s the diplomatic way to bring the issue to her attention? 🙂

    1. That’s funny! In your friend’s defense, I don’t think you can really argue that those examples are “wrong”, it’s just a preference thing. If you click through to say Urban Outfitters curtains from one of her links above, you’ll see their own photos break most of Emily’s ‘rules’.

      I think IF you want your walls to look taller, hang the rods higher, but we don’t all want that, or want wider. It just depends on the room. I have vaulted ceilings. It would look ridiculous to hang my rods 2/3 up the wall. I’m also in Phoenix and have tons of windows. We don’t all need to maximize our sun by having every entire, giant window exposed when the curtains are pulled open. Some homes lack wall space instead.

      1. Thank you Mary for bringing things back to reality. I also have vaulted ceilings and hanging them further up the wall would look ridiculous. I had to find living room panels that would coordinate with the valances in the kitchen since it’s a great room. They share a wall on one side of the house. I found patterned ones which break the rule about being too short, but my living room is not “formal” and the windows are in the back of the room-not the front. I added a block of color to the bottom of them to make them longer, didn’t like the change, and removed them. I really love how they look and coordinate with the kitchen valances. I think you have to to do what you think is best for the room and your budget.

  45. Hi Emily! This post could not have come at a more perfect time! My fiancé and I just bought our first house and were debating curtain rod placement just last night! I’ve been struggling for weeks to decide on curtains for our bedroom which is painted Aloof Grey by Sherwin Williams. What color curtains do you recommend for grey bedrooms…. I feel like white is so boring and safe?!? Yet you don’t want something that is going to clash with your duvet or sheets. Thank you for this post!!!

  46. I love this post! My house is a 1930s craftsman style with thick moldings on the windows. I see screw holes on the actual moldings where previous owners have hung curtains. Should I also hang the curtains from the moldings? Or hang the rod higher and wider (covering some of the pretty molding)? Any help would be appreciated!

    1. Hang them high and wide, so when the curtains are pulled back you can see the moldings. I can’t believe some people screw into beautiful old moldings. I’ve definitely seen those holes of travesty in some of my previous apartments.

  47. I have these LENDA curtains from IKEA


    they are super long, 118″, come in white and beige for $35. I’m not sure if I’m totally in love with the hanging tab things but for the price, they are pretty good.

  48. The post is really helpful! I love these textiles you picked. The challenge with curtains is how to match them to the overall design of a room, and it might prove quite tricky to match it with the rug. http://www.dorisleslieblau.com/blog/

  49. This is so helpful! What would you suggest for a wall that has 4 individual windows spaced about 6 inches apart from each other? Should you treat them as individual windows or as a large group?

  50. These tips are great and I’ve see a few other tips for how best to hang curtains (yes, I understand “high and wide”) but I’ve never seen anyone address what to do with curtains when you have picture rail between the tops of your windows and the ceiling (but no crown molding). I’ve taken to using cheap tension rods inside/below the window frame but I’m pretty sure I’m short-changing my windows. Also, what’s the best way to hang curtains in a bay window where there isn’t a lot of spacing between the windows for extra billowy softness?

    1. They do make special rods for bay windows, which may help. Also, though Emily didn’t address this, a valance or cornice that covers all the windows will tie them together. That would be a more traditional look. A more modern look would be to use Roman shades on the windows.

  51. Anyone know of somewhere that sells longish roman shades? I tried curtains but had trouble installing the hardware in the wall and my windows are almost 80″ tall.

  52. Guilty!! Totally and completely guilty! And the other day, the curtain rod in the guest room came off the wall and my husband rehung it with only one panel. I totally haven’t fixed it. So guilty!!

  53. Okay, here’s the real question – HOW do you have curtains with kittens?!!?

    1. Maybe take down the curtains until the kitten is grown?

  54. Help! We moved into our home a year ago and I’m still totally stumped on what to do with our front triple window. They span the width of the sunroom; three in a row- standard size. The catches- we have a radiator between the 2nd and 3rd, the edge of the 3rd butts into the corner and the far edge of the 1st is totally obscured by a closet that protrudes into the room. My solution all this time has just been to leave up the sheers and ignore the problem. Image can be seen here: https://twitter.com/ellcartwit/status/626008646447669248

  55. Like many others, I love this series!

    I have two questions.

    1) Do you make an exception for curtain length when designing for families with little babies? How do you deal with young ones pulling on them when they are not higher up?

    2) If your room has a very thick, detailed crown molding, does that change the distance you hang the curtain between the top of the window and the ceiling? Do you mount it through the molding?


  56. Love this! I’ve heard this advice many times but your guide puts it together very nicely!

    My problem is in my master – there is a window seat, but the window seat doesn’t but against walls, and is only the width of the window. I know have short curtains will look weird, but I don’t imagine curtains pushed to the side of the window seat will look much better? So so far, all I’ve done is throw up ugly blinds so I can sleep – and then I ignore the glaring ugliness.

  57. I’d love to see a guide on different types of curtains and curtain rods! We’re moving into our first house (eek!) and I’m not sure what kind of curtains will look the best with our mix of modern and traditional.


  58. A very informative post! Thank you for enlightening us!

  59. Oh how I love this post. Thank you!

  60. hey, thanks for these tips!
    p.s. i saw you on the Bachelorette: the Men Tell All!
    so fun spotting you….

  61. Perfect timing! I’m an interior designer but my specialty is hotels so sometimes residential style is a little different. I’ve been debating the install height of drapery in a residential project and need help deciding! Does the mount close to ceiling method look ok here for the side panels?

    Also – I’m thinking of leaving the windows themselves uncovered (there is an exterior motorized solar shade for sun control) but do you think they look naked? I kind of like them this way.

    (digital mock up at link below)

    1. Too high! Somewhere a little lower will make that whole space feel like its being used more, in my opinion!

  62. These posts are just too good, I love them all so much! I feel like I should send them to all my friends and family, but….that’s so rude right?!?!!

  63. I also have radiators, and haven’t been able to figure out how to deal with that. I fear that having them come over the radiators will be a fire hazard. Any recommendations?

  64. YAY! I have been bothered by the 84″ curtains for years! Thank you for validating me. IKEA is the only place I’ve found curtains long enough at a reasonable price, although limited colors. Where do we buy the ones you list here?

  65. Oh my goodness, Emily! I was just talking to a friend about how 84″ curtains are the worst thing ever and how I’ve never seen them work well ANYWHERE! It’s especially a shame for the big red box because their panels are beautiful but never, ever long enough. Thanks this post. I will be saving the link for future reference for my decorating-challenged friends and family. 😉

  66. What do you suggest if there is a radiator in front of the window? This keeps happening to me!

    1. I’ve always wanted to know about this, too!

  67. I love love love this post.

    Thank you soooo much for all the tips and insights and all the links, Emily! Wow. What a total lifesaver you have been for me, time and time again…

  68. I so appreciate this series! I’m about to move into a condo with an entire wall of windows, floor to ceiling. They currently have Venetian blinds up, but I hate Venetian blinds. I’m probably only going to live there for a year and a bit, so any ideas for an affordable, attractive solution and how to hang them? I’m thinking puddling curtains but I don’t think I can afford a fancy fabric for that much space.

  69. Good advice and a really great round-up of sources! Thanks Emily, keep up the great work!

  70. I’ve struggled with this since moving in, I have cathedral ceilings!!! Any hanging suggestions??? Please

  71. Is it strange to hang curtains _inside_ the window frame if there is beautiful woodwork that you don’t want to hide? Would tension rods be an elegant way to do this or is that just hacky?


  72. Thank you for this! I have the same problem many others do, old steam radiators under most of my windows. Was there a response I missed? If so I’d love to hear your advice! I hate to hang too-short curtains, but I’m worried it would be a fire hazard otherwise.

  73. Very helpful post that I’ll be sharing. Great series too. I laughed when I clicked on #16 Cotton Nova and my immediate thought was that they (West Elm) hung the drapes to low and they’re shorter than I like- mini flood style.

  74. I was nervous as I read this post (as often happens when one reads about such weighty matters as curtains), because hanging the curtains in my guest room (a.k.a. the only room in my apartment to currently boast window treatments) was such a painstaking and time-consuming process. After all of the effort I put into picking out the curtain rod (the oversized metal rod in antique brass from West Elm, which they didn’t actually carry in that color at that time, so I had to buy it on Ebay), checking week after week for many, many (far too many) months to see if West Elm got the oversized curtain rings in stock in brass (I finally gave up and ordered brass rings from Restoration Hardware, which are not a perfect match but are pretty close…naturally West Elm now has their rings in stock in brass), and hemming the curtains myself (I am cheap), which took a couple of attempts as apparently the curtains were just totally different lengths to start with…what if I did it all wrong? Hallelujah, I got it right! Of course, I was consulting your blog all along, so I was armed with a slew of Emily tips already. Otherwise, you might find me ripping everything out this weekend and starting all over again. Emily, as always, you are my style guru par excellence. I adore you.

  75. This post is amazing! Thank you for clearing up so much of my confusion about curtains. We have a bit of a weird situation in our apartment. Our ceilings are 8.5 ft and our windows are 6.5 ft tall, starting pretty much from the ceiling, which means that we’re stuck hanging curtains right above the window no matter what. Should we just cut our losses and follow the width guidelines? Any tips for making our type of situation look a little better?


    1. I’m in a similar situation, my windows start about 9 in or so below the ceiling. I ended up hanging them at the sill, but still hung them wide and to the floor. I could have hung the rods slightly higher, but I would have had to purchase and then hem 8 panels (I’m on a budget…) and at the height they are now I could buy the perfect length ready-made.

  76. Also, I hate it when the curtain rod finals are too small/large for the scale of the space/windows (or just the entirely wrong style for the design, but that’s another rant). There are options people! Emily, what are your favorite sources for curtain rods?

  77. Emily, This entry was so amazing and insightful! We are not putting up curtains in the apartment at this time, but if we were, I would probably made all these mistakes that you identified. Thank you so much 🙂 xx

  78. Fabulous post! You addressed one of my biggest pet peeves in people’s homes. One helpful hint to remember is that the fabric will relax after hanging for a while. I’ve spent oodles of time getting my curtains to just kiss the floor and after a couple of weeks they’re not puddling but doing the awkward drag. So I spend oodles more time fixing it by either moving the rod (extra holes) or getting out the sewing machine.

  79. Thank you so much for helping me to understand better window treatments!

  80. I have a question that I have googled and pinterested to death and found no answer: I have a corner window in the living room that is wider on one wall than it is on the other (left side is 2x the right side).

    Do I buy two panels for the wider side and one panel for the other side? Do I leave one of those two panels in the middle or move both panels to the outside of the window? Or just one panel for each side?

    Help! 🙂

    1. Hi Monica, I know this post is almost a year old, but if you haven’t found a solution yet this may help. If you’re not using sheers or semi-sheers, how about a rod that would be the same length on both sides of the corner (with a 90 degree bend in rod at corner) with 2 panels or one double wide panel on each side? This way, your curtains (when closed) and rods will be the same width on each wall, (the rod on the smaller window side would be extended further past this window). When they are open, you can open them only to the inside edge of the window trim of the narrower window and the same width of open window on the bigger window side. It will appear as though the two windows are the same size if the curtains aren’t transparent, which would then show sun shining through the larger window. So, I guess if you don’t mind giving up the extra light from the larger window then you’d at least have the look of both windows being the same size and the same amount of fabric on each side.

  81. #1 on the under $50 looks a lot like the Gulsporre from Ikea: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10268828/
    for $17 for a pair. I used these in my bedroom and triple pleated to give a custom look
    – Amanda

  82. Great post, and love the graphic for easy reference! Funny enough, one of your ‘bad’ pics is from my blog (the purple drapes hung too close together)…that shot was grabbed from a ‘progress makeover’ post…where fixing the curtains was one of the goals. I feel like I need to redeem myself and show you the finished room…with properly hung curtains! http://www.hisugarplumsblog.com/2015/01/dining-room-makeover.html

    Now all is right in that room! too bad we sold that house. 😉 xo

    1. ps — I posted a pic to my IG last night from a recent photoshoot, and someone said we look alike! I’m so flattered…you are darling!

  83. Mydilemma for the past 25 years is short inset windows with radiators built in under the window sill. Due to drafts in the winter the curtains need to stay closed. This eliminates floor to ceiling curtains There is also very little wood framing to secure the outter brackets. Currently I have room darkening roll down shades but I need to resolve this with a wedding coming up. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

  84. This post was very useful.

  85. Hi Emily,
    I love your blog and plan using your curtain hanging tips. My question is about where to find the curtains that hang like the ones you have in the very first photo on this page. I love the ring look, but don’t know what kind of curtains to get or where to find them.


  86. This post was so helpful but what do you do when the windows have electric baseboard heat running under the windows? I know a few people that have the same problem any suggestions? I want to avoid a fire hazard & so far have done nothing & want to figure out a solution so my rooms look more pulled together!

  87. This drapery hardware can make your home have a beauty and a style that is beyond one’s imagination.For better reference http://www.zebrablinds.com

  88. I have a small window with a radiator in the same small room as my big windows, and I want my curtain rods to be the same height. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like any decorators are willing to touch the subject of curtains over radiators. It’s a shame, because a lot of people have this issue.

    Do I still hang them high and wide, even when I have to use short curtains? If I don’t hang them high, that means the big windows can’t have high and wide curtains either, seeing as they’re in the same, fairly small room.

  89. Great info, thank you! My question can you hang floor to ceiling 96″ length and 84″ in the same room? The bedroom has 4 windows, 2 are on high walls with a peak and 2 are standard 8′ walls. I’m thinking of floor to ceiling on the standard walls. Will it look awkward? Thanks!

  90. This site is very interesting .

    1. Quite handy. However, I have a 250 cm height room , about 97 inches and 16 square metters. Im considering to leave the rod about 3/4/5 inches from the ceiling and about 9,8 inches each side large from window frame. The window frame wich is also a door to the balcony is 47 inches total large. I bought 2 side curtains with 106 inches height (to be emmeded) but what worries me is that each curtain is 55 inches large, and I ask if these measures will make the curtain untaught enough when open or close and well framed? thank you very much. Humberto from Madeira Island, Portugal.

  91. Quite handy. However, I have a 250 cm height room , about 97 inches and 16 square metters. Im considering to leave the rod about 3/4/5 inches from the ceiling and about 9,8 inches each side large from window frame. The window frame wich is also a door to the balcony is 47 inches total large. I bought 2 side curtains with 106 inches height (to be emmeded) but what worries me is that each curtain is 55 inches large, and I ask if these measures will make the curtain untaught enough when open or close and well framed? thank you very much. Humberto from Madeira Island, Portugal.

  92. Question for ya. I have large picture windows that are in the front of my house and my ceiling is lined with a ceiling duct. So the trim is right up against it. The windows are so large that they would need a rod with a middle brace, but there just isn’t enough window trim to work with. I’m also leery to hang anything from the duct, I would love your advice!

  93. Gives your home trendy looks with Custom Made Curtains we are providing you stylish curtain for your home.

  94. I just moved and brought with me all of my curtains. I now have 6 ft long windows and the curtains are too short from the floor. The window has a big wooden lip on it kinda like a baseboard that sticks out. My question is the I raise the curtain so that it sits on the lip of the window? That would be 2ft above the top of the window or not use these curtains that I love. Thank you so much for your help, I’ve been thinking of ways to use these curtains again.

  95. I like curtains wide, enough that when you open them they go past the whole window but I’m not really into high curtains. That space between the window top and the curtain rod looks odd. I’ve had curtains hung both high and low and I honestly don’t think high curtains do much for my 8 foot ceiling height. Maybe it has more of an impact with higher ceilings.

  96. Hi Emily, I found this post super helpful! We have 10′ ceilings in our family room with 4 windows side by side. The distance between the top of our windows and ceiling is about 14″ and so we went with 1/2 the distance. I had my husband and brother-in-law hang drapes 7″ above the windows and 4″ wide. Still, it doesn’t feel tall enough. I worry that if I hang them any taller, like just 2″ under the ceiling, the gap between the rod and top of the window will be huge. How high can I hang the drapes above the windows before it starts to look ridiculous or disproportionate?

    Also, what size rods should I be using to get that grand effect?

    Thank you!

  97. I’m curious what one does when they have vaulted ceilings? I have one wall with three windows (touching) where I’d like to hang a curtain, but obviously I can’t use the 2/3 to the ceiling rule. I would appreciate any input someone has as to how high and wide to hang them!

  98. I really love this article, because hanging drapes is something I’ve always just guessed at. I especially appreciate the little diagram of the good and bad ways to hang your drapes. I’ll have to make some adjustments to mine for sure, but then they will be looking great! Thanks!

  99. Hi there! I would love your advise on my window situation. I have 5 windows in my living room that look out to our front porch. 3 on main wall and one on each side wall. The windows are only two feet apart from one another. I would love to hang curtains from higher than the window trim but don’t know if I should use one continuous rod or individual rods. Or, maybe no curtains at all. It might be too much. What do you think? I know it’s hard without a pic.
    Thank you!

  100. It’s good to know how to hang drapes the right and wrong way. That way when you are hanging up yours you can do it right the very first time. It can be frustrating to have to take down all your hard work just because it looks a little off. You might as well try to get it right the first time.

  101. Thank you for the post! One question we still cannot find the answer to. Is it acceptable to have the curtains wide enough to leave the vertical window trim exposed? All the pictures we see have the stacked curtains sitting on the vertical trim instead of outside of it, hiding the trim underneath. Thank you!

  102. Thank you. This advice is just what I needed! 🙂

  103. Our new house has only wooden window frames. What is the best option to cover the windows. We don’t want to do net-curtaining in the back. Maybe blinds on the inside and curtains on the outside?

  104. Hello, this is very helpful. I’m also wondering, if you have a sheer curtain and a blackout curtain, would you put the sheer curtain in front of, or behind the sheer curtain?

  105. So…I have baseboard heaters under my windows and can’t take my curtains to the floor for a puddle, float or kiss. What’s 4th best??

    1. The cries of the baseboard-heatered have gone unanswered.
      Amidst our wailing and gnashing of teeth, those with more curtain-convenient heating systems sit back, silently smiling at their perfectly-hemmed curtains.
      They are oblivious to our pain.
      We are all alone.

      (Or, as suggested above, we might just be stuck with roman shades.)

      1. I have baseboard heaters and put the curtains to the floor. I don’t see what the big problem is?

  106. That’s good to know that lifting the curtain rod can make your ceilings look higher. I have to agree that having the curtains be too short does look a little awkward. I’ll have to measure carefully so that doesn’t happen. The “float” option will probably be what I go with.

  107. In most of the homes that I have been in, I’ve seen that they have had their curtains like the two first few pictures you posted. They either had them too long or too short. Given your explanation, the proper way to hang them is to have them just above the floor but not touching.

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  111. I purchased pinch pleat back-tab panel, I use pin hook in the pleat, but when I open them the pleat goes in not the plain part so they can not open them(as pulling them in one bunch so you can look out the window)

  112. Thank you so much for sharing such great information on how to hang your curtains right. I just moved into a new home, and decided to put some curtains in my front living room, however, I have no idea how to hang them correctly. Thus, the thoughts and ideas you share were helpful. Specifically, about the curtain that puddles on the floor. I definitely think that this looks so elegant and beautiful, and I want to make sure that I do it just right in my home. You talk about how high quality materials like linen or velvet is best to use, and I will definitely keep this in mind and look for curtains with this material. Thank you for sharing!

  113. Great post! Question… Our house has two front windows that anchor the front foyer. Each window belongs to a different room and will be decorated a little differently from each other. My question is, because both of these windows face the front of the house, is there a general rule to follow in terms of window treatments and consistency? Should they be of the same colour so it looks symmetrical on the outside. Interior Decor-wise, I would prefer dark drapery in one room and light/white in the other. Would love to get your thoughts!

    1. They should both be lined with white fabric so they match from the outside.

  114. happy christmas research turned up this little gem. Thanks Emily. What if you have one sliding door, with a window half its size to the left beside the slider and the ceiling angles so steeply that any rod put over the smaller window would bisect the slider?

  115. I appreciate all your tips regarding how to hang curtains perfectly. All the things you have mentioned are awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  116. What great names for the looks! I’m trying to achieve “The Kiss” in the front room and will have to make a sewing project out of the main solid panels. They are turquoise damask that I just adore, but at 84 inches they are complete “high waters” for the new 60 inch windows in my house 🙂 It’ll take some convincing to make my husband replace the wall anchors he just installed (opps, should have read this first)…but brownies will fix that. Thanks for all the great advice and motivation to make a beautiful home!

  117. Hello,

    I have blinds in my bedroom windows now, but would like to add light blocking panels. The room is big & the ceilings are vaulted. My preference would be to hang one double wide panel on each window & push them each to the side during the day. I have a bureau between the windows & don’t have room for anything to hang there. My problem is that there is an electric baseboard that runs long the wall under the windows. Can I hang panels, how high do I hang them, & where should they fall? I don’t think they should hang over the baseboard. Thanks.

  118. Yeah. I agree. Poorly hung curtains will give unprofessional and unfinished looks. And, sometimes it just need a simple touch to make a total differences. What I usually do seems similar with the one you put here, it just kiss the floor. Nice post, btw!

  119. This was so helpful. I have 8′ ceilings and was struggling with what length curtain to order. Advice on where to hang the rods above the window and how far they should extend past the window was extremely helpful. Thank you!

  120. I would like to know how to duplicate this look on the “Biggest Design Mistakes” hanging curtains all wrong” photo.

    How do I determine the width of the rod and the size of the rings?

  121. In my dining room I have a window and then there is about 6 inches and another set of Windows start. I’m not able to hang my curtains on the higher window because the vault ceiling meets it on each side. I was going to put the rod in between the 6 inch space but my mother said to go above but the rod would go across the molding on the upper window, not sure if that would look weird .

  122. I got a question… How far from the end of the rod do you recommend mounting the bracket? For example if the rod is extended 10″ on one side of the window, would you mount the bracket at 8 inches? Can’t seem to find that info anywhere, and it seems like it would be critical part of hanging nice curtains! maybe i’m wrong.

  123. How is the diameter of the rod determined? I want to hang a light weight drape, sheers or linen, preferably tab top.

  124. Hi. I have three windows in my living room , the length is 12 ft I wanted to put up A rod that size , putting two panels on each end ( there is a couch in front of the window ) would a 12 ft rod look silly ? Thanks Anne

  125. I really like your tip about how color matters. A fresh coat of paint and some cheap home decor can make any space look amazing even on a budget. I will definitely keep your tips in mind. Thank you for sharing.

  126. Hi there,
    I am going to make my curtain panels with my mother’s help. I have a tricky install issue. The bottom of my picture moulding is only 1 1/2″ above the top of the window moulding. I have plaster coved ceilings in my period home. I thought about the idea of attaching the bracket to the very bottom of the coved ceiling just above the picture moulding but I am afraid it will look so wrong. If I install the brackets and rods as close as possible to the bottom of the picture moulding, I am afraid my curtains, which will be attached to rings will look slightly too low on the window trim.
    Do you have an opinion on this? I would love your input. Thank you!

  127. We have radiators under all of our windows upstairs. Can you give me some tips for getting curtains for this sort of wondow the right length? Or would you advise blinds?

    1. Do you have to choose?

  128. thank you sweetie.

  129. If I only want to hang side panels on either side of window but do not want them to close, would I put a rod the whole length of the window or just use short ones? I just want to get a cosy room look to finish the room off.

  130. I need info on hold backs. Anyone?

  131. Hanging a curtain higher may make the room look taller but it chops the horizontal of the wall up and makes the space look smaller. By pushing the curtains out pass the window you compound the space issue even more. Also, hanging a curtain 2/3 of the way to the ceiling looks as though you are trying to avoid the “too long” curtain look. Your suggestion would have everyone wearing the “too-big pants look.” This appears to be a case of the emperors new clothes.

  132. I have long windows on the sides of my fireplace with about 1 foot between another set of windows above them. Where should I hang the curtain rod? Should it be just below the top of the top window or halfway between the two?

  133. My husband and I just finished painting our elderly neighbor’s dining room. He took down the drapes. Now that we are ready to rehang them, he insists that the contrasting/companion
    material belongs on the outside of the curtain. I think it belongs on the inside. Help! Our neighbor returns in two weeks. We want everything to be done when she returns.

  134. We have just purchased a home with huge sliding glass doors. They are approximately 7 feet tall. The ceiling is twelve feet to the top. There is only wall in between. Should we hang the curtains at the top of the wall or 2/3rds between the wall and window. It is a lot of space. The windows also fall between beams protruding out about 6″. Should we hang the curtains on the beams. This will not be much wider that the doors themselves or should we just hang one curtain across the entire wall. It features two sliding glass doors and a window with beams in between each. Any help would be appreciated.

  135. i think i read 100 comments…still waiting for the brilliant solution for hanging curtains when you have radiators directly under windows. i have one in every single room, then a 2nd window which is ‘normal’. I have no idea what to do except to make them match in length and float above the radiator. anyone else?

  136. Hi Emily, what are your thoughts on blackout lined curtains in the master bedroom- is it a must? Or is cotton lighting that lets light in okay?

  137. Thanks for the tips, I never knew how to hang curtains!

  138. It is so practical and instant, I just bought new curtains and I know clearly about how to hang curtains. Thanks

  139. This has been very helpful, since I am getting ready to hang curtains in my small (6′ X 10′) study/sunroom. I am using long linen white solid. But I did not know about the hanging close to the ceiling and about the 10 to 12 inches on the sides of the Windows. So, thank you for this information.

  140. Emily-

    Blessed with large mouldings around windows but in an 8ft room- do I follow the 2/3 rule for the rod from the top of the moulding or the top of the window frame? Your article has finally given me the confidence to try curtains- TY

  141. I know this is an older post but I’m hoping you might weigh in on a design dilemma I’m having. I’m redoing my bedroom with a Bauhaus/Deco feel and I want to hang the curtains all along one wall and so that they touch both the ceiling and floor. The wall is white, the curtains will be white and I think that the hardware should be white so that it disappears. How would you achieve that? A French return rod? I know the commercial answer is a traversing rod but I’m not sure if that would work with two windows. Thanks!

  142. I don’t think that a lot of people know that they are hanging their curtains wrong. I’m sure they just hang them up and call it good. Since there are different ways that you can do it, you need to know how to do them all. Of the three you showed above, doing the float style would be the most ideal for a lot of people. I’d only do the puddle type if I had carpet, not hardwood floor.

  143. I have a curtain dilemma for my front room. There is a front window, a side window and a tiny side window. I want to hang curtains but I’m not sure what to do with the tiny window because I’d have to hang the rod right at the corner of the window because of the window being right in the corner of the room. There is no room to hang the rod further out from the window. If that makes sense. 🙂

    1. For the tiny window, you could either use a swing arm rod, (one that is only attached at one side with one bracket), or use a shade in the same material as the panels on the other windows.

      1. Meant to say ‘inside mount on shade if necessary’.

  144. Hi! Great post thank you! I have a question do you have to hang curtains on all of the Windows in a room. My living room has 3 Windows. One window facing east is 5 feet wide the other 2 are on either side of the couch facing south. All of the Windows have plantation shutters. Can I hang drapes on just the large window or will that make the smaller ones look funny?
    Thanks for your help!!!

  145. Are you saying hanging 64″ curtains is not good?

  146. Very helpful.
    Is it wise to hand or drape for a more dramatic effect above the hung curtains? Is it is how do you do it?

  147. Very helpful thank you!! The short 84″ panels are great for over a bathtub as that rod is shorter. They look custom if you get the proper fabric panels. I still bought several and bunched them as tight as I could on the rod.

  148. I’m looking for some curtain rod/curtain hanging advice for a large bay window that has a regular size window abutting each side of the bay window. How do I overlap the rods?

  149. I bought a home recently and I’m researching (probably too much) before I attempt to hang a thing. Yesterday, I measured floor to ceiling where I want my curtains. 89″ is what’s needed for length. I totally laughed and agree completely with your last comment. Someone high and mighty in the window treatment world PLEASE READ THIS. Great advice! Thanks a million.

  150. “The puddle” – confounding vacuum cleaner operators everywhere. “WTF!!!!” they exclaim as the vacuum gives the high-pitched whine as it digests the hem of your lovely, puddled curtains.

  151. I prefer the kiss the floor method for hanging curtains. I can’t stand having a puddle of curtains on the floor. It gets in the way and the curtains don’e hang right. So, I try to measure really accurately from where I want to hang the curtain rod, then I wait to hang the rod until I see where the curtain will sit. If you have to move the rod a quarter of an inch up or down I don’t think it will make much of a difference.

    1. I’ve hung the rod first, to see exactly what my measurement for panels should be. And to get the rod exactly where it should be. Then, in my case, since I like to use clip rings, I put them on the rod and measure from the inside of the clip to the floor. If using tab tops, rod pocket, or whatever else, then just measure accordingly from where the panel will position on the rod. Much better than putting another set of holes in the wall or to have to re-do the panels!

  152. I thought this curtain post very helpful. However, scrolling down the comments section I saw **many posts** asking for help on similar questions not addressed in the write up. I went all the way to the end of 196 posts (July 2015 to April 2016) and didn’t see even one answer from blogger E.H. If a blog has specifically set up a comments section, it seems like there ought to be the courtesy of an answering public response from the owner to clear up the main questions that keep arising from your readers. Just a point of courtesy. 🙂

  153. Help… I know this is old. But I have an eye level (23″ in height) window above the bed, and can’t figure out if I should use floor length curtains. I can’t find any advice/examples?!

  154. Hi!
    I have a super problem. I have a space with a large nearly floor to ceiling window. The sill literally goes all the way to the ceiling. How do I hang curtains? Help!

    1. Either mount the brackets on the ceiling, or place the rod so it’s in front of the top window trim. Match the color of the rod to the color of the trim if you don’t want it to be so obvious.

  155. Love this post!!!! Thank you!!!
    We are about to hang all of our drapes in our house and your knowledge is confirmation to what I was thinking.
    We have 10ft ceilings. Our trim above the windows is 6.5 inches. Trying to figure out where the rod placement should go..2/3 above window or trim? All our drapes (from RH) are 10 ft so we will need to hem them all.

    Thanks so much!!!!

  156. This post and pictures are very helpful! We just moved into our first house and are starting to hang curtains. One question, in several of our bedrooms, one window is very close to the wall (so I can’t overhang the rod but by 4 inches) but the second window in the bedroom has plenty of space on either side. Should they match when I hang the rods, or can I made one different than the other?

    1. It’s fine if they are different widths, just your personal preference, take into consideration the panels will probably be a slightly different fullness. What’s most important is that they are at the same height.

  157. I totally get what you’re saying and have experienced almost all of these disasters. What I would like to know about is in my son’s room…
    1. I want a curtain to hang just below the window, not to the floor. How far past the sill should it go?
    2. There is a sliding glass window in that room as well which will have room darkening curtains hung to match the single window. Should the bars be at the same height so visually it looks uniform? Thanks!


  158. Thank you so much for this concise info. Regarding the height of the curtain rod, does crown moulding affect the measurement?

  159. China Home Life 247 is one of the supplier for 100% Polyester Curtains. We are accepting Bulk orders with a minimum of 500 pcs. We guaratee that the material is 100% Polyester. For more information, please visit our website at: http://chinahomelife247.com/

  160. What’s the best way to hang curtains when you have a tall window with blinds and then a shorter window directly above that? My house has several of these windows and the prior tenants hung their rods at the level above the blinds to accentuate the long window but left the top window exposed. We did the same to let more natural light in but I have questioned whether this was the right design decision.

  161. Emily, I just hung curtains in my master bedroom, and I referenced this post at least five separate times during the process. THANK YOU for keeping me from screwing it up. Please please PLEASE do more of these “design mistake” posts. They are a great resource.

  162. What do I do?! I just got a house but all of the windows have one side that is two inches from another wall (poor 1970’s design). So literally the end of the rod would be touching the wall.

  163. Looking for curtains to hang in my dining room and living room. They are directly across from one another and so I feel like the curtains need to match. My issues are my slider is really wide…140″ wide. And there’s not much space on either side of the slider to widen the curtains out beyond it which I’m afraid is going to make the room look smaller. What do you think? Also I am confused whether I should go for a curtain with rings or grommets? thanks for your input! So much to think about.

  164. I have linen Roman shades on a very large window. Can I blend velvet drapes with linen? Thank you

  165. Hi Emily,
    I have a question about curtains. I read your blog about curtain length. I am trying to figure out what color curtains to match my bedroom. Right now they are white, but I would like to put a little color. The walls are a light-medium gray. The room has a lot of light, south facing. I have a dark gray geometrical rug (white design). The headboard is ivory and 2 nightstands are white. I have a table that is blue which I distressed. The duvet is gray and white with a smal geometrical pattern and white/gray/yellow throw pillows. Do you have any suggestions on a color that would work, make it pop with a color? I’m really stuck! Thanks Donna

  166. This is my first visit to your site. Most definitely, it will not be the last. Your tips are extremely beneficial as well as your designs and room color schemes.

    I only recently began experimenting with simple sewing. I’ve focused on window treatments for several reasons 1. They were are needed 2. A much needed sense of accomplishment 3. They don’t have sleeves, legs and zippers.

    I began the sewing about a year after a stroke. I’m still experiencing residual problems. As I’m now home 97% of the time, I need to stay busy, exercise my brain, improve hand eye coordination, etc . A friend of mine purchased a gift for me of a new Singer. When I had to resign from my successful career, that I loved so dearly along with the aforementioned, the sewing has been a positive beginning. I told my aunt there are 2 very significant skills needed in sewing, those being able to cut and sew straight; neither of which I possessed. LOL. At any rate, I look forward to utilizing your knowledge & site & welcome any & all suggestions, corrective criticism, & the opportunity to learn. Your contributions will ensure I will be a very frequent visitor!

  167. So what if you have two windows but the second window is only about two inches from wall. Making the 4-6 inches not possible. How would you then hang the other window. Would you hang it the exact dimenions ( 2″) as other window or hang it correctly?

  168. Very helpful insights! It confirms my style.

  169. Love the information you have shared on this site.
    Is it ever ok to have heavy cotton fabric “a beautiful Sanderson floral” drapery hung from right up tight again the floor to puddling correctly on the floor?
    I never pull these draperies closed and am hanging them almost all outside the beautiful trim of the window frame. ???? I’m not one for having to follow ‘social norms’ but if you can tell me a reason your eye wouldn’t like the balance of this, I can probably see your point.
    I think it looks cleaner coming almost up against the ceiling
    Much appreciate your input.

  170. “Puddled hard” lmao!

  171. Hi! We have a window next to our front door, across from a coat closet (in a hallway, essentially). My husband thinks we should hang curtains on this window, and I think not – because it’s not a room, it’s a hall, and I feel it would look strange. I’d prefer blinds. Is there any etiquette on places where curtains DO NOT belong? Thank you! I can’t find anything online on this subject.


  172. Being the latest election gave us none other than Donald Trump, I’m thinking this may be the president you mentioned in your piece that would usher in the standard 90″ length! Lol. Trump curtains, why not?!

    1. Hello! Do you know where the curtains in your top right image came from? Under the “rod too short” category. Has the cream block on top of curtain and solid oatmeal-like color to the floor.. I’d love to get these!! Please share if possible, thank you!

  173. Love your ideas! I have a difficult window situation in my master bedroom. I would love to have luxurious floor-length curtains, but the bay window area has a deep sill, making that difficult. The other set of windows are lower than the bay window sill, making those perfect for floor-length curtains. Any ideas?

  174. Do you think hanging curtains by the rings is out dated? Or still in style?? I need my curtains to move because they’re going in front of my sliding glass door but I’m debating over grommets or rings.

  175. Thanks for this! I’m stymied by having a bank of three windows in our master that have NO wall space in-between and not much (about a foot) on the ends. They currently just have faux white wood blinds in each opening. Do I just keep the fabric at the sides or do something that has 2 panels in the middle as well as the sides? Any ideas would be welcome! Thank you!

  176. I was wondering what you do (with your entire blog considered) about what kind of curtain length needs to be hung when your couch butts up to the windows. I also have baseboard heat so I’m thinking shorter and no one will see that they’re floods behind the couch!? But I’m not 100^

  177. How would you recommend hanging curtains on difficult windows? I have a vaulted ceiling with 2 windows: a regular rectangular window,and then 1/4″ above that a second window that is so close to the ceiling you can’t hang a curtain rod across it. What to do? The previous owners hung the rod in between the two windows, so the top window was showing with the blinds and no other window treatments and the curtains started right below that just for the bottom window. Prevents the high and wide curtain look I like. I’ve also considered getting really good light blocking shades and maybe hanging non-functional curtains on either side of the window that start at the ceiling and drop all the way down. I’d have to hang them on an angle with the vault of the ceiling,so I’d also have to altar them to be on an angle as well to hit evenly with the floor. My third idea was to put in a giant triangle-shaped pelmet box that would cover the top window completely and go wide enough to hang curtains that begin inside of the pelmet box and go on either side of the bottom window. Can you help me?! I’ve looked everywhere for three years for good ideas on window treatments for odd-shaped windows and have come up empty. Thanks!

  178. If I did everything you are suggesting, then I would need 100″ curtains. Where will I find those?

  179. Hello, I´m having a trouble with my curtains as my window goes from wall to wall and there is no chance that my rod would be wider, do you think it would be a big problem? Or could you please suggest any solution?Thank you
    photo of the trouble window https://i.imgsafe.org/b8e0f5e5bf.jpg

  180. Love the advice. Any suggestions on how to disguise or soften an ugly 12 ft sliding glass door? Where I can get a rod long enough that is affordable?

  181. I want to put fabric trim/band on 2 cream curtain panels. Typically, I see pictures of bands running down panels on the leader side. Is there any reason I shouldn’t run it across the top? The curtains are back tab, but I may create pleats. I don’t want to run the band on the bottom as the curtains are mostly behind a sofa and end table. Thanks for any advise!

  182. I have two sliding glass doors which are 95″ tall x 105″ wide and 10 foot ceilings. Would you recommend 100″ long panels or 108″? I am going with grommet tops, since both of these sliders are used ALL the time…I am afraid if I go too high, we will have trouble closing and opening the panels (I am only 5′ 3″ tall). I have an Ikea near me…

  183. What about in a loft? I have two windows in my loft with 14 ft ceilings. Do I still go half way to the ceiling?

  184. Emily–I have a double hung window that is 63 inches wide. I am ordering curtain panels that are grommet top 52 inch wide panels, that are sheer (so will not be open with a sheer underneath or anything) do I order 2 or 4?

  185. Hello! I have a big open space. One side is my home office which has one window; the middle section in the “living room” with a large picture window; the 3rd section is the back entrance with 2 windows side by side. Is it wrong to just have full curtains at the picture window? The office single window won’t work with curtains and the 2 windows at the back are close to boots etc (so I don’t want to get them dirty).
    I already have sheer to shades on all of the windows but felt like the large picture window needed framing. So… is it ok to just have the curtains on the picture window?

  186. Hi Emily,

    I’m trying to find a good solution for a slider in our dining room. We want to hang curtains, but the ceilings are pretty low due to a “tray” of drywall that frames the entire room. The craftsman-ish moldings that we chose merge with the ceiling and there is no room to hang a rod above the molding. Should we attach the rod hardware directly to the moldings?

    Thank you!

  187. Thanks for this information – very concise and easy to follow. I have a situation that I don’t see addressed here or on other sites. Our master bedroom has french doors and a window. I will need the 90″ length (8′ ceiling). The french door is 77″ wide the window is 29″ wide. The issue is that there is only 16″ between the window and door, so I can’t use your 10 – 12″ rod rule as there isn’t enough space between the window and door. How would you recommend I address this? I was thinking one long rod to cover both door and window, or two rods that extend only a few inches on each side. The curtains are open the majority of the time.

  188. I have a house with two different length windows in a corner over heat units. How do I hang curtains here to look right?

  189. I have a house with two different length windows against each other in a corner over heat units. How do I hang curtains here to look right?
    We are in a cold winter/hot summer NE state.

  190. Thank you for this informative blog!

    My ceiling is 96″ H, my window is 112″ wide. I just ordered 2″ blinds (3 on one head rail.) to cover this window for privacy. I would like to have drapes hung for a feel of softness and for additional warmth/privacy if needed. I currently have a bronze rod with matching ring clips there now.

    Would you suggest two large panels on either end OR 4 panels to cover blind seams? I like a traditional look.

  191. I just bought some nice drapes from pottery barn and want them to pleat at the top but, not show the curtain rod. I’m not sure how to do this. THe curtains come with hooks. I tried rings but I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong.

  192. I want us to be friends @ “It’s all WHUT, I’m not just a pillow, I’m a diamond. And I get ladies.” LOL!!!

  193. This has been so helpful! We just bought a beautiful 1903 Victorian house with 10′ ceilings. I would hate to make the mistake of hanging curtains wrong and ruining the look of the gorgeous high windows.

  194. Love the info but I have another dilemma. I have two windows by my fire place and window frames are touching the rock on said fire place. I want to hang curtains but how do I pull this off?

  195. My window in my living room is right next to my stairs. I like the longer panels, but it’s too dangerous laying on the stairs. I usually get 63″ panels. Bad?

  196. What is the rule of thumb with water heater basedboards??

  197. This is very Helpful Emily. I am still struggling a little bit on what the perfect length curtain is for me. I want to do the Puddle effect with these gorgeous deep grey velvet curtains from West Elm. The Dilemma is my ceiling height in the living room is 10 ft. If I hang the curtain 20 inches from the top of the window (Which is about 1/2 way between the crown molding on the ceiling and beginning of the window) then it is about 106 inches to the floor. Well the curtains come in 108 or 124″, and I want the puddle effect. How many extra inches do you typically account for that. And then there’s the dilemma of almost hanging them from the top of the ceiling just below the crown (would that look bad?), and if I do that, then to the floor is 130 inches making all options too short. Please Help!! It’s much appreciated. 🙂

  198. Thanks for the information

  199. This is stupid advice.

  200. My wall is 14′ tall and my windows ate 6’tall starting about 19″ above the floor. Where should my curtain rod go?

  201. Emily,

    I have an older home. In each bedroom there is 1 horizontal short mid-century window on 1 wall and then a tall narrow window on an adjacent wall. (The tall narrow windows are the front of the house and the short window on the sides.) Should I hang long curtains to the floor on both windows?

  202. I absolutely love this!!! Your humor, wit, and honesty are just fabulous!! I love “the puddle” for baby girl’s nursery and thanks to you now I know just how to do it!!!! Now I need curtains for my family room that has 20′ ceilings!!! What length should I get if I want “the kiss”?!!

  203. Hi thanks for the info. I have picture windows (i.e. a box sticking outside the external walls) with really wide sills and below is built in bench seating (inside). What length should I hang my curtains? To the bottom part of the bench seat or a few inches past the sill? Bear in mind I am in snow country so I want to maximize warmth but I don’t want people shimmying into the bench seat and dragging the curtain along with them (or pulling it off the rod!). Thanks for any advice. Jodi

  204. I have a vaulted ceiling in my master bedroom. One side is about 40 inches high and the other is nearly 70 inches high. Should I use the 2/3 rule based on the 40 inches?

  205. This is the best web page I’ve viewed all month. I LOL’d heartily at the first paragraph, and then the rest is so well-written, even if it didn’t give useful information, which it did! I’m going to go measure my window now and get just the right curtain.

  206. Emily, any chance you could recommend a NY based custom curtain rod company? I have bay windows and would like a single rod for each, not three rods…
    I appreciate the help! Always a delight reading/seeing your posts.

  207. Hi, I have a window in breakfast area but there is an air vent in the floor under the window The window is about 17″ from the floor. Would it be proper to just hang the curtains to fall on the sill? I can’t put them in the floor.

  208. FYI I reference this page every time I hang curtains!

    I know your newest content probably gets all the love, so I wanted you to know that your existing content is still referenced & very useful!

  209. Thanks for the good information. The master bedroom in our new home has a 10ft tray ceiling and is only 14′ 9″ square, and has a 99″ wide by 60″ tall window. So far, any curtains I have tried (and we wanted room darkening, but….) overwhelm the room. It has a blind with 2″ white wood slats, and looks nice, but doesn’t block enough of the light.

    Any ideas?

  210. Thanks for the good information. The master bedroom in our new home has a 10ft tray ceiling and is only 14′ 9″ square, and has a 99″ wide by 60″ tall window. So far, any curtains I have tried (and we wanted room darkening, but….) overwhelm the room. It has a blind with 2″ white wood slats, and looks nice, but doesn’t block enough of the light.

    Any ideas?

  211. Excellent. Happy to work on your campaign for the next election.

  212. Hi
    thank You for all this create photo i really like it very much an i’m looking for something like this
    i found in another website something nice too , maybe anyone want to see it


  213. Great advice! You are right on point and I never really knew it until you pointed it out. Thank you.

    FYI. You photos of curtain samples that you love are having technical problems.

  214. So, give me your thoughts on tall (5′), narrow (18″) windows on either side of the bed
    (wall here ->| [][] |<-wall here. There's only 6" between the top of the window frame and the top trim, and maybe 2" from the windows to the corner of the room. When I read instructions on hanging curtains, they never give you general rules to go buy so you can apply them to any situation; because I'm sure there are many situations that are not covered. For instance, all of my windows also have rosettes (plinth blocks) on each corner. They are beautiful. But how does that affect how or if you hang curtains!? I'm so lost!