How to Put Up a Scarf Over Curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

For quick decor in a space you can't remake or in a time crunch, use a window scarf for extra drama over a pair of drapes. Or frame a spectacular view, without blocking it, with a twist of fabric across the top of the window and down one or both sides. Window scarves are versatile and simple to remove and clean or replace. The possibilities are wide open: Use a lacy vintage tablecloth or a length of sari silk as a casual valance for a completely original window treatment

Install an extra curtain rod in front of the existing one if opening and closing the curtains will disturb a scarf swagged over them. Leave the window as is if the curtains are decorative side panels and the rod is available for the scarf.

Measure the width of the curtain rod and the distance from rod to floor or however long you want the scarf to hang on the sides. Add the length times two plus the width plus 12 inches for wrapping or draping. Buy a length of fabric to match your measurements. You can also buy premade and hemmed window scarves.

Fold the scarf lengthwise, like an accordion. Tie loose bands of scrap fabric around the folded scarf -- some nearer the ends and a couple in the middle.

Find the middle of the curtain rod and the middle of the scarf. Place the scarf against the rod and pin it in place. Drape the scarf ends over the ends of the curtain rod. Remove the bands from the centre of the scarf and pull it down gently until it forms a satisfactory drape.

Remove the bands from the hanging ends of the scarf and tease the folds into place. Pull the outside fold down a bit lower than the inside one. Spread the folds out so they fall gracefully and you're done.

Wind a scarf loosely around the curtain rod from one end to the other for a different look. Use a stiffer fabric, like raw silk or brocade, that will stand out a bit from the rod as you twist it. Use two lengths and one and a half times the width plus 12 inches as the measurement for fabric that will twist around the rod. Let the ends hang down or tie each end into a big puffy knot at the end of the rod.


Use small pieces of double-stick tape, under the scarf along the top of the curtain rod where they won't be seen, to hold slippery material securely in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Length of material
  • Curtain rod (optional)
  • Drill (optional)
  • Screwdriver (optional)
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric scrap ties
  • Pins
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About the Author

Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .