How to Install Curtain Hold Backs

Updated July 20, 2017

Curtain hold backs are a practical and decorative part of window treatments that hold curtains open and allow you to drape scarves at the top and sides of windows to coordinate the look of the window and add to a room’s decor. They are usually J-shaped hooks, or knobs, that are often made of metal, wood or a resin and metal combination. Curtain hold backs are available as individual pieces or as part of curtain hardware sets, where they are designed to match the finial ends of the curtain rods in the set.

Mark a spot on the wall about one-third the length from the bottom of your curtains on each side of the window.

Place the stud finder over one of the marks to find the nearest stud on that side of the window.

Move the stud finder along the wall until it beeps at the edge of a stud.

Mark the stud’s edge with a pencil, and continue to move along the wall until you find the other edge of the stud. Mark it, too.

Repeat Steps 2 through 4 on the other side of the window.

Position your hold back in the centre of your stud markings, and then tuck the curtain around it to determine the height that works best for your drapes. If you’re installing hook hold backs, position the closed part of the hook facing in and the open part facing out.

Move the hold back up or down until you find the best height.

Align the height of the hold backs horizontally on each side of the window with a laser level.

Mark the position of the upper and lower parts of the hook hold back, as well as the holes for the screws. For knob hold backs, outline the base of the hold back with a pencil and, if external holes for screws are available, mark them. Please note that some knob hold backs are designed to be attached to the wall with one screw, and then the hold back is placed over it.

Make sure that each side is even with the laser level, and then take a final look at the positioning. Make adjustments if needed, and then drill the hold backs in place.


If your windows are framed, you can attach the hold backs to the frame instead of the wall; however, use caution, because incorrectly placed drill holes in the frame may be more time consuming to repair than drill holes in the wall. If you don’t have a laser level, a manual level can be used, but you may need someone to help you keep the level in place. Knob hold backs can also be used with separate fabric or rope ties that are then looped over the knobs to keep the curtains open.


Wear safety goggles as a precaution when working with power tools. Do not install hold backs in drywall, because the weight of the hold backs combined with the weight of the curtains could be too heavy for the hold back to stay in the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Cordless drill
  • Stud finder
  • Laser level
  • Retractable tape measure (optional)
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