Tension rods are expandable rods with an interior spring that are used to hold lightweight curtains between two solid surfaces. Netting or net curtains are a good choice for this type of curtain rod because most net curtains are light enough for the weight capabilities of the rod. The tension rod presses outward between the wall or frame surfaces but is generally not strong enough to hold standard fabric curtains. Any curtain attachments need to slide easily.
Netting or net curtains are also known as "sheers." Netting fabric is very thin, transparent and light. Typically, this type of fabric is hung behind formal drapes in order to provide diffused light and visual privacy for windows facing the street or where people may look inside. Net curtains are often hung using clips or other small attachments to fit onto the tension rod.
Net curtains are often used on narrow windows on either side of a front door. These windows are called sidelights and a small tension rod is mounted at both the top and bottom of the sidelight, stretching the net curtain fabric between the rods. Small sidelight rods also come with magnets and sometimes adhesive patches in case the mounting position is compromised in some way by a door hinge or wood panel.
Net curtains are mounted inside a window frame using a tension rod. Short net cafe-style curtains set at the middle of the window frame work well. If the net curtain is the inside-height of the window, the curtain can hang straight down and it can be paired with an outside-mounted curtain of the same or a longer length. Net curtains are best used at a length no longer than the windowsill. If the net curtain falls to the floor, it will fall away from the rod at a forward angle in order to skirt the windowsill and add more pressure to the tension rod. If floor-length netting is paired with standard curtains, the forward placement may cause the sheer to be pulled on by the movement of the standard curtain; this additional movement can cause the tension rod to loosen and fall.
A tension rod is very easy to install. After removing the rod from the package, you simply unscrew the rod until the length is one-inch longer than the opening. Raise the wider end of the rod and line it up where you want the rod to sit. Press the smaller end toward the wider end and lift the end into place opposite the first end. In some models you can use hidden screws to prevent the rod from loosening. Longer rods can be hung using a rod extender that mounts between rods.