How to install curtain rails

Updated February 21, 2017

Curtains are both decorative and functional, providing privacy and keeping out sunlight while also giving you a way to dress up a room. While curtain styles and details vary, all are hung on a rod or rail that spans the top of the window. The rod or rail, in turn, is hung from brackets that affix to the wall. With a curtail rail system, in which the curtain runs on a track and is pulled open or closed by a string-and-pulley mechanism, the brackets need to be especially sturdy because of the pressure applied when the string is pulled.

Hold the curtain rail above the window to decide where you want it go to. Generally, curtains are hung so they will cover the window by two or three inches on the top and each side, and hang down at least that far below the bottom.

Use a pencil to mark the wall through the screwholes in the two brackets that will hold the rail to the wall. Depending on the width of the window, you may also need to mark where a centre support bracket will go.

Make sure each mark is the same distance from the ceiling so your rail will be level.

Drill holes at each mark in the wall. Tap screw anchors into each hole with your hammer so they're flush with the wall.

Attach each bracket by aligning it with the anchors, threading the screws partly in by hand, then tightening them with a screwdriver.

Hang the drapery onto the rail according to its design and set the rail into the brackets.


If you want to attach the curtain rail to a wooden window frame, don't use screw anchors. Drill pilot holes in the frame with a 1/16-inch pilot bit and drive the screws directly into the wood frame.


Wear eye protection when using your drill.

Things You'll Need

  • New curtain rail, with brackets and mounting screws
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Drill bit the same thickness as the screws that came with the curtain rail assembly
  • Plastic screw anchors to fit the thickness of the drill bit
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
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