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The Best Way to Hang Curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

The simplest curtain rod is a curtain pole, which is a dowel-like piece of wood or metal with a finial at each end. Curtain poles are easy to install, and you can use them to hang simple rectangular panels from curtain rings. Tab curtains and curtains with a rod pocket are also suitable for hanging from a curtain pole. Curtain poles are good for less formal settings. The curtain rod best suited to more formal rooms is a traverse rod. You would use these rods to hang pleated drapery. The traverse rod allows you to open and close the drapes using a pulley system.

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  1. Measure the width of your window and add 6 inches. The curtain pole will extend 3 inches beyond each side of the window. The finials will extend beyond that.

  2. Make a mark 4 inches above each of the two upper corners of the window frame. This is the height at which you install the brackets to hold the curtain pole by screwing them into the wooden header above the window.

  3. Make two additional marks 2-1/2 inches out from each mark you made above the corners.

  4. Hold each bracket up to the wall at the point you marked and trace the holes for the screws that will hold the brackets into place. Position the top bracket hole on your mark. Remove the brackets and drill a pilot hole for each of the screws using a 1/16-inch drill bit and an electric drill.

  5. Screw the brackets to the wall and place the curtain pole into the brackets. Attach the finials.

  6. Measure the length of your curtain panel. Mark on the wall where you want the bottom hem of the drapery to fall. Measure the curtain's length upward to find where it will start above your window and mark that place on the wall or window frame. Subtract 3/8 inch.

  7. Measure your drapery panels from the first pleat on the left panel to the last pleat on the right panel. Subtract 5 inches to account for the overlap when the drapes are closed. This is the width of you traverse rod. The flat fabric at the far ends will form the return, the part of the curtain that goes from the front of the traverse rod back to the wall on each side of the window.

  8. Divide the width measurement in half, and, starting from the centre of the window measure to each side to determine where you will install the traverse rod brackets. At the level of the height marks you just made, measure outward from each side using this width measurement and mark where the top bracket screw hole will be.

  9. Hold the brackets up to the wall with the top bracket screw hole over the mark you made. Mark where the other screw holes will be. Drill a pilot hole for each screw using the drill.

  10. Screw the brackets into the wall and mount the traverse rod between the brackets.

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Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Electric drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • Screwdriver or electric driver

About the Author

Tanya Lee

Tanya Lee is a professional writer with more than 30 years experience. She has published extensively in the field of education and as a journalist, the latter in such publications as "High Country News" and "News from Indian Country." Lee holds a M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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