What kind of curtain rods to use?

Written by stephanie daniels
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What kind of curtain rods to use?
Knowing what kind of curtain rod to use depends on the window treatment and the window. (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

There are many different types of curtain rods on the market, each having its own application. The type of curtain rod needed largely depends on the style of curtain being hung, as well as the type of window the curtain will hang in. Curtain rods not only vary in style, but in cost. Simple, standard curtain rods are most often inexpensive, while more elaborate styles can cost a great deal more.

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Standard Curtain Rods

Standard curtain rods are the plain-Jane hardware in the world of drapery rods. Use this type of rod for most typical window treatment applications including hanging sheers, panel curtains, pleated and ruffled curtains and even some types of valances. Most standard rods are made from aluminium, as it is a lightweight material capable of holding most light to medium-weight curtains and draperies. Typically white in colour, standard rods are normally concealed by the curtain hanging on the rod. Standard curtain rods come in various lengths and widths, though larger rods include central support brackets in addition to end brackets, to support the curtain's weight without bending or bowing.

Tension Curtain Rods

Tension curtain rods, also known as spring rods, fit on the interior frame of a window and do not require any drapery hardware. The end of the rods press against the wall using rubber stoppers, which are perfect for apartment and rental home dwellers, as the stoppers will not markup or damage the wall. The rods twist to increase or decrease the length of the rod in order to fit the inside window frame. Curtains hang on these types of rods either with curtain hooks or by sliding the rod through the pocket in the curtain. Curtains may also be hung from tension rods using cafe rings. Tension rods work well with rod pocket curtains, tab-top curtains, eyelet heading curtains and any curtain that can be hung with cafe rings. Tension rods are available in many different lengths and in various diameters. Like standard rods, white tension rods are the most common; however, rods may also be purchased in numerous colours.

Magnetic Curtain Rods

Magnetic curtain rods allow curtains to hang on a metal door or on sidelights, without having to drill a hole in the metal of the door. Installing magnetic rods is extremely easy, as no hardware is needed to attach the magnets to the metal. Magnetic rods are available in different thicknesses and lengths and commonly come in both white and gold colours, while other colours are available. Unlike curtains suspended from a window frame, curtains hanging from a metal door normally have a magnetic rod running through a pocket at the top and at the bottom of the curtain. Attaching the curtain at both the top and bottom keeps the curtain from swaying when the door is opened or closed and provides privacy.

Decorative Curtain Rods

Decorative curtain rods may be used with several different types of curtains that can be hung with decorative curtain rings or valances that drape over the rod. Decorative rods may be made from wood, wrought iron, various metals, or PVC, and may offer a smooth finish or include a design etched into the pole's surface. The hardware used to hang decorative poles is normally designed to match the poles, adding more embellishment. Decorative end pieces, known as finials, are normally used to draw even more attention to the rods. Homeowners may choose from various shades of white, numerous metals and several different shades and stains of wood.

Bay Window Curtain Rods

Bay window rods are designed specifically for use on bay windows. Homeowners can hang rod-pocket curtains, cafe curtains or panel curtains to cover a bay window; however, the type of curtain used will depend on each individual bay window and its angles. While standard curtain rods might work over each individual window section in the bay window, bay rods are specifically designed to eliminate problems with bunching and/or gapping due to odd bay angles.

Traverse Rods

Traverse rods are primarily used when hanging pinch pleated draperies. This type of window treatment hardware has the ability to expose the window by pulling a cord on one side of the rod, attached to a pulley system. Traverse rods utilise a track mechanism attached to a rope that allows the curtain to open and close similar to the set-up of a vertical blind. Drapery pins attach the drapes to the rod clips, which slides across the track, pulling the drapes open from either one side or from the middle.

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