|Okay, so what’s your question about curtain rods? Hopefully we’ll have your answer right here. Let’s start out with some basics. A curtain rod is a device used to suspend curtains (so you already knew that much).
Curtain rods usually consist of three main parts: the pole that holds the fabric, finials that decorate the ends of the poles and mounting brackets that support the rod on the wall. But that’s where the similarity ends. You have an incredible selection of curtain rods today.
You mean there’s more than one kind of curtain rod?
Wow, yeah. Like, more than you can imagine. Used to be there was very little variety, but that’s not so anymore. Curtain rods have stepped up on the scale in decorating value for your rooms.
You can choose from standard rods, spring-loaded rods, traverse rods, decorative rods, adjustable rods, magnetic rods, double and triple rods . . . made from brass, chrome, ivory, graphite, mahogany, teak, walnut, plastic, metal . . . . And we haven’t even mentioned color or style yet!
How do I pick the right curtain rod?
It’s not as hard as it sounds. First, you’ll want to decide if you want your curtain rod exposed or hidden by the curtains. If it will be exposed it should match the room’s style and décor, so look around the room to figure that out. (A lot of you don’t have to do that; you just know your style. But there are others….)
Now consider what kind of curtain or drape you’ll be hanging. Will it be light and billowy, heavy and insulating or something in between? You guessed it: the weight of the coverings will be instrumental in choosing your rod. Maybe you want a layered look, so you’ll be considering double or triple rods.
Don’t get scared off and quit – this is all easier than you might be thinking. You’ll probably just know what rod is right when you see it. After all, it will probably catch your eye because it‘s your style. And it will be easy to determine if it’s strong enough for your curtains. So hang in there ‘cause now’s the fun part: picking it all out.
Thanks to our access to online stores today you can easily customize your curtain rods. Just mix and match rods, finials, rings, brackets, holdbacks, tiebacks. And don’t hold back (oops!) – go for it all!
How do I measure for a curtain rod?
We’ll answer that with another question: are you hanging them on the wall or on the window trim?
For wall hanging curtain rods: the idea here is usually to cover the window completely. Measure 2-5” out from each side of the window trim. The total curtain rod length should be about 12” longer than your window width. And don’t be fooled: measure each window in the room – they may look the same size, but they may not be!
If you’re hanging a curtain rod inside the window (typically spring or magnetic rods) measure at the inside point of the window.
Measuring for the curtains themselves should also be done carefully. Floor to ceiling curtains should end about 2" from the floor to prevent dragging. Other curtains should start about 1" from the top of the window molding and end just below the window sill.
What effect does the position of the curtain rod have?
Many people make the mistake of hanging rods too high or too low. There really isn’t a wrong way, but we like to think there’s a better way: if you have really high ceilings and the windows don’t go very close to the top of the wall, you can create longer looking windows by hanging the curtain rods closer to the ceiling. You’ll need longer curtains of course, but your windows will look much taller.
You can also create more width to your window by hanging the curtains wider. If you don’t open the curtains past the window edge it will seem like they are covering a much larger window. (Can you see how this works?)
Okay, so how do I hang curtain rods?
You hang them straight.
Oh . . . you need more info? Well, okay…..
To hang most curtain rods you will need a pencil, measuring tape, hammer, drill, screwdriver and a level. Having an extra pair of hands is really helpful too. You can follow the instructions the come with your curtain rod or just follow these general guidelines.
Remember how you measured to buy the rods? You decided how far out from each side of the window you want your curtains to hang. For most windows you’ll want the curtain to start about 1½ inches above the window trim.
Now look at your curtain rod. For standard hidden rods measure out from the window 3-5” (whatever you decided on) and up from the top 1½”. Mark this spot on each side of the window and make sure it’s level, even, straight – whatever you call it, it’s important! Now just follow the instructions that came with your curtain rod for hanging that particular type of hardware.
For exposed curtain rods, like today’s popular decorative rods, you’ll want to determine where to hang the brackets. Follow the above directions for a hidden rod, except you’ll be marking the spot the bracket hangs – which may a different distance from the window.
I’ve got a really wide window. How long a curtain rod can I get?
You’d be surprised. In a hardware or department store you can get curtain rods that span at least up to 110”. If you go to a specialty shop or search online you can find even longer ones.
The curtain rods that span wide windows are usually supported by one or more brackets in the middle. And don’t worry: they are designed to stay out of the way of the sliding curtain, and are usually invisible.
My curtains are the heavy insulated kind, and weigh a ton. Can I get a “heavy duty” curtain rod?
Absolutely! These days you can find really strong – and really beautiful – heavy duty curtain rods. Like rods for really wide windows, you’ll probably want to consider a supporting bracket or two in the middle, depending on the curtain weight and window span.
How many rings or pinch clips should I buy?
As a general rule of thumb, you should have 10 rings or clips for every 3 feet of curtain rod. That’s about 3 per foot. And for those anal comrades among us, it’s actually 3.3333…..
What’s the difference between a curtain and a drape?
Depends on who you talk to. In our opinion, there isn’t a great deal of difference today, although by definition the word drapery is traditionally something that “drapes” over a rod and is purely decorative. In the 1800’s curtains became popular in middle-class homes as an insulating barrier to the cold in the winter and heat in the summer. They were different from the stationary and decorative draperies of higher-class homes because they could be pulled shut against the cold night air. As you can imagine, it was around this time the curtain rod industry took off.
I heard I can use my curtains to save energy – how do I do this?
Great! You’ve just joined zillions of others who use their curtains to keep out both cold and heat. The heavier curtain rods today will hold more weight so you can hang those heavy, insulating curtains. And for less cash than it would cost you to replace the windows in a room, you can achieve almost the same energy efficiency by using energy saving window coverings.
How does it work? The curtain creates an insulating layer of air between it and the glass - the air gets cool in that layer but it doesn’t enter the room.
To be effective, the window has to be “sealed” with the curtain. Any open space between the curtain and window will just let cold air in, and your cost savings with flow out with the heat. How do you seal the curtain? There are a few ways to consider. First, remember your goal is to block air flow, with curtains flush with the wall all around the window, or flush at the sides and touching the ceiling and floor. Think of it this way: if the curtains are closed during the day and you can see light around the curtain it’s not sealed well.
An easy way to accomplish this is with Velcro tabs. Attach them to the window frame and the edges of your curtain – and it’s a good idea to do this with the curtains in place so you can line them up. This tactic provides an exceptionally good insulating layer.
Or use magnets. Just attach magnetic tape to the curtains and window frames. You can get magnetic tape at a hardware or craft store.
What else can I do with curtain rods and hardware?
Thought you’d never ask! We’ve got great ideas – and we’d like to hear about yours too. Here is just a smattering of our idea collection: