How to Hang Window Curtains


Story Updated: Jan 31, 2012

Home Sweet Solutions: Build It

How to Hang Window Curtains

By Jean Nayar for Home Sweet Solutions

There’s an art to hanging curtains that goes well beyond the basic technical skills that are required to mount them on a rod and attach the rod to a wall. That’s the easy part! But nailing down the basic rules of scale and proportion are the key to ensuring your window treatment’s aesthetic appeal. So before you get your tools out, consider these factors:

Rod height and curtain length: Begin by envisioning where the curtain rod will be positioned. To keep the windows from feeling cramped and the treatment from looking skimpy, plan to mount the rod as close to the ceiling or crown molding as possible -- well above the top of the window frame.

Rod width: To determine the proper width of the rod, designers often rely on the “rule of fifths” -- that is, the window itself should account for about three-fifths of the overall width of the treatment-covered area. When pushed back to expose the window, the gathered curtain panels should account for another one-fifth of the width on each side of the window.

Style: Once you’ve decided on the proper width and placement of your rod, purchase the curtain hardware and curtains that suit your decor. Then you’ll be ready to mount your curtains, so here’s how to do it properly:


• Stepladder

• Tape measure

• Pencil

• Curtain rod, rings and mounting hardware

• Wall anchors that are appropriate for drywall or plaster (depending on your wall type) and sized to fit the bracket screws

• Drill and drill bits

• Hammer

• Screwdriver

• Drapery pins (optional)

• Curtain panels

• Handheld steamer




To determine the proper width of each curtain panel, measure the width of the window outside the frame from side to side:

Double or triple this measurement, depending on the fullness you desire, and purchase two panels to approximately this width dimension. Depending on your preference, choose panels at a length that will allow the curtains to just touch the floor, break at the floor about 1 inch at the bottom, or hover about 1/4 inch above the floor once the curtains are mounted on the rod.



With the help of an assistant, hold the rod and brackets in place and mark the positions of the screw holes.


Drill pilot holes for the wall anchors.


Then insert and tap in the appropriate wall anchors for your walls, depending on whether they’re made of drywall or plaster. Place the brackets over the screw holes and screw in place:


Longer rods for wide windows may require a center bracket as well as the two on each side.



Attach the curtain rings to the curtain panels using drapery pins or clips, as determined by the hardware you’ve chosen:



Slide the rings of both panels onto the rod. Attach the finials to the ends of the rod:




With the help of an assistant, lift the rod over the brackets and set the rod and curtains in place.



Draw the curtains open, softly and evenly pleating the panels at each ring with your fingers. Use a handheld steamer to steam out any wrinkles and loosely press the soft pleats into place.


Jean Nayar is a licensed real estate agent and design journalist who’s authored nine books on decorating and design, including Green Living by Design, the best-selling Staged to Sell (or Keep) and The Happy Home Project: A Practical Guide to Adding Style and Substance to Your Home. The former editor in chief of Kitchens & Baths, Easy Decorating and Remodeling & Makeovers blogs at about living with style, sustainability and substance.