Curtains and window treatments do more than just offer privacy. They are as important to a room’s overall design as any other element such as paint selection, artwork, and accessories. They are often the finishing touch a room needs to look complete. The right window treatment has the ability to transform a room. It can make a space seem larger, taller, and more grand. Curtains and drapes can also be used to turn a small nondescript window into an impressive focal point. One of the secrets to a successful window treatment is knowing where to install them. Even less expensive curtains will have look better if they are hung at the proper placement. Here are some designer tips and tricks on how to hang curtains.
How to Hang Curtains
Hanging the Rod
- The standard mounting height for a curtain rod is 4″ to 6″ above the window frame.
- The higher you hang the rod, the taller the window will appear. To make a window appear taller, hang the rod from 8″ above the window frame to as high as the ceiling or bottom of crown molding, if you have it.
- If you have low ceilings and want to create the illusion of greater height, hang the rod as close to the ceiling as possible.
- To allow more light to come in when the curtains are open, the curtain rod should extend a minimum of 3″ beyond the window frame on each side.
- To make a window appear wider and more grand, extend the rod 3″ to 6″ beyond the frame on each side.
- Generally, the rod should be no more than 1/3 the width of the window. For example, with a 54″ window you can add up to 18″.
- If you have decorative trim that you’d like to reveal when the curtains are drawn back, allow at least a 12″ extension on both sides.
Width of Curtains
- To ensure that the curtains look full when closed, the combined width of the panels should be 2 to 2-1/2 times the width of the window.
- If the curtains are just framing the window and won’t be opened, you only need 1-1/2 times the width of the window.
- For more fullness, opt for three times the width.
- Always round the number up when determining the width of your panels. And when in doubt, go for the wider width.
Length of Curtains
- Floor length curtains should just skim the floor or hang a 1/2″ above it.
- You could allow a break of 1″ to 3″. This break is similar to what they do for trousers. This style is great for helping to compensate for uneven floors.
- To create a more extravagant puddling effect, allow for an extra 6″ to 9″ in length. Tuck the fabric underneath and “poof” it up. Keep in mind, each time you vacuum the floor you’ll have to readjust the puddling. And if you have pets, they love to curl up on the extra fabric. 😉
- To determine the measurement of floor length curtains, measure from the top of the rod to the floor. Then subtract as necessary to allow for hanging hardware. If you plan to puddle the curtains on the floor, add the additional inches needed to do so.
- In kitchen and high traffic areas, consider choosing a curtain length that skims the window sill.
- Cafe curtains should be installed half-way up the window and be parallel to the fixed horizontal mullion. The length should just skim the window sill.
- It’s easier to hem curtains than to make them longer. Always round up your measurements.
- Always press or steam your curtains to remove the wrinkles. Don’t just take them out of the bag and hang them up.
I hope you found these tips on how to hang curtains helpful. Keep in mind they are all general rules-of-thumb or guidelines. As a decorator, sometimes I have to break these “rules” to compensate for odd shaped windows. I’ll share more on that in a future post!
Images: Better Homes and Gardens