How to Hang Curtains

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


How to Hang Curtains: Living Room

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.

How to Hang Curtains: Living Room

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.

How to Hang Curtains: Bedroom

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.

How to Hang Curtains: Living Room

More Tips

  • 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.

How to Hang Curtains: Living Room

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!

For fun ideas for window treatments, check out these tutorials for DIY curtains and no-sew curtains.


Images: Better Homes and Gardens

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    • 2

      Peggy Pardo says

      You’re very welcome; so glad you enjoyed the post. I’m sure these ideas would look great with your blinds! :)

  1. 3


    I have a triple wide sliding glass door I’m trying to get curtains for. What do I do about a rod(s) as none of them are long enough? I just need them in the morning sun to protect the furniture and wood flooring. What fabric would you recommend?

    • 4

      Peggy Pardo says

      For wide sliders, you’ll need to have a long rod that allows you to add extensions to it. You’ll find these rods at Lowes, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Walmart, and department stores that sell window treatments. Make sure you add extra brackets for support. Since you are looking to block the sun, you’ll want drapery with lining that offers sun protection. :)

  2. 5

    Lisa Lynn says

    My new apartment has windows that are wide and short. To make matters worse, the two windows in my living room aren’t at all the same length. I really want sheers. How can I pull it off?

    • 6

      Peggy Pardo says

      The best way to hide uneven windows is to treat them all the same. Use sheers that hang to the floor on each window and use enough to make them really full. This will still allow enough light in, but help hide the actual size of the windows. You may even want to go with a textured sheer. I’d also recommend hanging a second rod in front of the sheers and adding a couple of floor length drapery panels on each end to frame the window. They don’t have to be closed, so you won’t need the fullness. By doing this it will help to make all the windows look the same size. :)

  3. 7

    Brandi says

    Thank you so much for this blog! I have 9 ft ceilings in my bedroom and the window to floor mesures 84″. I purchased 95″ curtains but now I’m not sure I like how they looks so far from the top of the window. It’s literally right in the middle from the top of the window to the ceiling. Help! Should I hang them 8″ higher than the window and let the extra 3″ pool on the floor?!?

    • 8


      Happy to help, Brandi. If you’re not happy with how they look at the current height, then I would suggest you hang them 8″ above the window. I don’t usually like things to be in the “middle”; I think it looks better when they’re a bit off. Hanging the rod at the 8″ mark will be visually appealing and add height. :)

  4. 9

    Jenn Davies says

    Thanks for the pictures! I’ve always loved the look of drapes, but I never invested in them until this house. I love the sheer look, but I still want privacy. Is there a way to layer the cloth on top of itself? That way I could keep the curtains pretty, but still functional.

  5. 11

    Anadeane Bringhurst says

    I will be moving into a condo on the first floor. It has a sliding door to a small patio. Since we are on the first floor there will be people outside of this sliding door looking in. Here is the problem. The sliding door is 58.5 inches wide, 79.5 inches tall. and there is a 10.5 inch window above the doors with 4.5 inch wall between door and the window. The ceilings are 9 ft. high. Do I put in curtains from the ceiling down or just above the door. I like the grommet curtains but I was thinking that taking the curtains from the ceiling there would be too much pull on the front side of the curtain when they are being closed. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • 12


      I’d recommend hanging your curtains above the window. If you put hung the curtains just above the door, it would break up the space and make the ceilings appear lower. Hanging them from just below the ceiling will be visually more appealing and you shouldn’t have any problem opening and closing the drapes. :)

  6. 13

    Jane Branch says

    Thank for this post. I’m unsure about what to do when there are two ceiling heights for same-sized windows in a room. I’d prefer to hang the rods as close to the ceiling as possible. However, there is a dormer slope for one window that lowers the ceiling height about 8″ below all the others. The windows are the same size and are the same height above the floor. Should all rods be at the same height, or should the one just be hung lower than the rest?

    • 14


      You’re welcome, Jane; I’m glad you enjoyed the post. When you have a situation like yours, it’s perfectly fine to hang the rod lower on the window beneath the dormer. Using the same drapes on all the windows will give it a cohesive look and the lower window will blend right in. :)

  7. 15

    sisilalala says

    What you have introduced is so practical and detailed, I think I can hang the curtains myself and if I still have some problems of the installation, I would ask you for help.

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