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Making a room feel finished is tricky. Furniture is important, yes, but the final touches really make all the difference. As interior designers, we know that one of the best ways to make a room complete is to add window treatments. While bare windows are a totally valid design choice, most people like to have a curtain or shade to protect against harsh light and to add a little bit of panache to their room.

We get asked a lot of great design questions but “How do I hang curtains” ranks at the top of the list. Here’s our comprehensive guide on how to hang draperies like a professional. It isn’t as hard as you think!

Choose Your Panels

Picking the perfect curtain is the first step. Do you prefer a simple sheer or a blackout panel? Do you like a bold border or an allover print? Be sure to buy the correct length: panels should be hung as high above the window frame as space allows, and should come all the way down to the floor. For a modern look, avoid extra fabric pooling on the bottom and measure before you buy! For most windows, two curtain panels looks best. 

There are several terms to know when it comes to curtain panels. The sleeve that hangs from the rod can differ: rod pocket styles will conceal the rod entirely, tabbed curtain panels will display portions of the rod, and you can always use rings with clips that match your rod for a different look!

Pick out Hardware

The next step in hanging your drapery is to choose hardware! There are endless hardware options, but here’s what to consider:

  • Choose a rod that’s thick enough to support the weight of the curtain panel. A diameter of at least one inch is usually sufficient.
  • Decide whether you want to see your curtain rod. Some models are designed to be invisible, but others have decorative finials or caps to add a little accent to your window.
  • Measure! This is the most important step. You want your rod to extend 3-6 inches beyond the window frame, if possible. This adds width to your window and blocks less precious light. Make sure you’re accounting for brackets, too. You’ll need a bracket roughly every fifty inches of rod.

Install Tips

We have a few more tips that will help you install your curtain panels like a total pro.

  • Use a pencil to mark where your brackets will go. Be sure to check that they’re level!
  • Iron or steam your curtain panels before you hang them on the rods. It will make them look extra great!
  • Use sheers layered under blackout curtains for functionality: filtering pleasant sunlight during the day, with the privacy of blackout shades during the evening.
  • Alternatively, you can buy low profile window shades that work well layered under more decorative drapes.


Words by Kate Connors