How to Measure and Hang Curtains the Right Way
Use these tips to measure and hang curtains correctly the first time. Find out how to determine the ideal curtain panel size and hanging height.
As a necessary part of bedrooms and living areas, curtains serve to block out harsh lighting, provide privacy, and give bare windows color and texture. While hanging curtains can be challenging, a refined and neatly draped look can be achieved with these easy tips.
Before you begin, make certain the curtain panels you have are big enough to completely cover your windows. There’s nothing worse than being abruptly awakened by a glaring sliver of sunlight your curtains can’t block. Get accurate window measurements before buying or making curtains for your home. As a rule, your curtain panel width should be about twice the width of the window.
Just as important, curtain length should also be correct. Drapes that are too small tend to look awkward, but even worse they shorten your room visually by making the ceiling look lower and the room look smaller. Conversely, too-long curtains that drag on the ground are a dust collector and pose a tripping issue. Ideally, curtains should float just above the floor.
When pinpointing the perfect length for your curtains, measure from the floor to where the curtain rod will be hung (typically 4 to 6 inches above the frame of the window). Placing the curtain rod just below the ceiling is another popular option — a design technique that creates the illusion of higher ceilings. Since curtain panels can be found in customary lengths like 63, 84, and 96 inches, you’ll want to pick the length closest to your measurement. When in doubt, choose the length a little longer rather than shorter.
Lastly, make sure your curtain rod is wider than the window so that your curtains can be pushed completely to the side. Doing so is another visual trick to create the illusion of a bigger space. Find a rod that is 8 to 12 inches longer than the window width, which adds an extra 4 to 6 inches on each side.
Once you’ve found the perfect curtain panels in the right length and width, it’s time to hang them using this easy two-step method:
- Curtain rod with brackets
- Tape measure
- Wall anchors (optional)
Step 1: Find the right height for your curtain rods. In order for your perfectly sized curtains to hang correctly, mounting the curtain rods in the right spot is a must. As mentioned before, a rod positioned too closely to the window will make the room seem smaller than it actually is. To guarantee your curtain placement is right, you’ll need to measure the depth of your window molding so that the correctly sized curtain brackets can be determined. Your curtain brackets should extend past the depth of your trim. Curtains don’t hang right if they’re too shallow.
Use a tape measure and a pencil to find and mark the perfect spot for your curtain brackets. It should be about 4 to 6 inches above your window frame and about 6 inches from the outside edge of the window frame. Ultimately you want the curtains to brush against the floor or hover right above it.
Step 2: Install rod and hang curtains. Once you’ve figured out placement, hanging the curtains is a snap. Just install the curtain brackets using a screwdriver. A level will ensure the sides of the bracket are even. If your curtain rod or curtains are especially heavy, installing wall anchors might be a good idea to make sure the brackets are securely attached to the wall.
Finally, it’s time to add your curtains to the rod. For curtains that feature eye-holes or grommets, simply thread the rod through the openings. Otherwise, use clips or curtain rings to attach the panels to the rod. Hang the curtains by setting the rod into the brackets on the wall.