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Looking for advice on how to hang curtains?
This post is the ultimate guide to tell you how you need to measure and what things you should note to hang curtains in your home or apartment like a professional interior designer. I’ve also included this free window measurement guide you can print out to help you. This will help you simplify your process, feel confident in hanging curtains in your home, and reduce the number of errors and holes you make in your walls! I use to be someone who would wing it, which would only result in having a ton of holes and pencil marks showing around the rods. That’s when I decided it was time to do some in-depth research and learn how to hang curtains professionally.
This post is about how to hang curtains.
In all honesty, curtains can really make or break a room. If they aren’t hung properly, the room can feel very closed and poorly designed. When the proper attention is given to curtain fabric selection, the window measurement, and hanging precision, magic happens. By hanging your curtains properly in your room, your ceiling will naturally appear higher, making the room feel more open and the windows look bigger. It will feel like more light is let into the space, creating a much more welcoming and beautiful atmosphere. Not to mention, with beautiful curtains hung, the room will feel balanced and finished. Here’s an example of the difference curtains can make in a room, and how much more elevated the space can feel.
When measuring your window for curtains, you’ll want to sketch out the wall and windows on a sheet of paper so you can draw out all of the measurements. When measuring, try to measure to the nearest 1/8″ for precision. It’s never a bad idea to measure twice. It’s also important to measure every single window and area individually. Sometimes features in a home appear to be the same but are actually a smidge off in measurements. It’s always best practice to just measure everything individually.
Here is a handy, free printable window measurement guide. You can sign up below and download this free guide to help you hang curtains like a professional. Simply print out the guide, and use it to measure your window and walls. This will help you see what you’re working with so you can determine what size rod you need as well as what length and width of curtain panels you need.
By measuring your window properly and precisely, you’ll be able to ensure that you don’t make any costly mistakes in purchasing the wrong size rods or curtains. Always make sure you have patience with this process and keep all of your receipts. The last thing you want is to have to settle with poorly selected curtains. You’ll want to perfect this process because curtains are something that stays in your home for a very long time. Having curated, professional-looking window treatments will totally elevate your home.
A really common mistake many people make when hanging curtains in their homes is that they hang them too low. When hanging your curtain rod, be sure to hang it at the right height above the window. You’ll also want to take into account the length of drapes you’ll need. I always recommend measuring the window BEFORE purchasing your curtains so you know what length to get. Keep in mind that you can always remove the fabric, but you can’t add it. It’s always better to get curtains that are a tad longer than you need and get them hemmed, versus ending up with curtains that are too short and look funny.
It’s standard practice to hang the curtain rod about 4-6 inches above the trim of the window. The closer the rod is toward the ceiling, the taller the ceiling will look. You just don’t want to be too out of proportion otherwise it will look awkward. It’s best practice to start with the standard 4-6 inches, and if you’re able to go higher, use your best judgment.
To determine how wide to hang curtains, you’ll have to consider the fabric of the curtains you’re using. For fuller, thicker fabrics like velvet, you’ll need the rods to come out wider on the ends because this fabric won’t bunch as easily. It needs more space when you open the curtains.
For lighter fabrics such as sheer or linen, the rods don’t have to extend as much as for fuller fabrics. You still can extend them as much as you’d like but it’s not as necessary.
To determine how much to extend the rods, hang the curtains on the rod and hold the rod up with your hands. Try to determine how many inches the curtains take up when they’re opened or bunched up. This will help you determine how much to extend the rods on either side. A very general rule of thumb is 6-12″ but you really should just use your best judgment based on the fabric you’re working with and the appearance of the room.
Be sure to consider where you screw in the brackets because if you screw the brackets in too narrowly, the curtains won’t be able to extend wider than the bracket placement.
The main goal is that you want the inner edge of the curtain to barely cover the outermost edge of the window trim. This is how you achieve a wider-looking window appearance that also allows more light in.
When determining how to hang curtains properly, you’ll have to consider the length of the curtains you’re buying. Typically, a more tailored, classy, and elevated look entails curtains that barely skim the floor, maybe by only 1/2 of an inch. If you prefer a more casual, relaxed feel, then you can have your curtains “puddle” as interior designers call it. This is when there are several inches of extra fabric at the bottom of the curtains that they bunch together on the floor.
Puddling is not recommended for drapery that will be opened and closed regularly, as the bottoms will get dirty very quickly. Whatever you do, don’t get curtains too short. Honestly, my personal opinion is to ditch the curtains that end halfway down the wall. If they have to go behind furniture, I’d recommend getting floor-length curtains and pulling the furniture out a few inches. There’s just something about floor-length curtains that takes the space to another level.
If you take anything away from this post let it be this…
When determining how high to hang your curtain rod, you’ll want to consider the amount of drop from the way the curtains attach to the rod. My best tip for figuring this out is to put the curtains on the rod and lay them flat on the ground. Then you can measure exactly how long from the bracket holes to the bottom of the curtains. This is how you can perfect how high to install your curtain rod.
It’s very easy to see the measurement on the package of how long the curtains are, say 84.” Only to find that once they are hanging from the rod with the hooks, they are actually 87″ long. Precision is key when trying to hang your curtains like a professional interior designer. If there’s one thing any designer will tell you it’s that hanging window treatments are no joke. They can really make or break the room, which is why they are installed with the utmost precision, patience, and attention.
So now you should be a professional at how to hang curtains. There are just a few final tips I want to leave you with. For the most luxurious curtain appearance and to really take your curtain-window-vibe to the next level, you’ll want to make sure that your windows are cleaned well. Here is the best rag duo I have ever found for cleaning windows perfectly with no streaks whatsoever.
You’ll also want to make sure that you steam your curtains so they look perfect. I recommend steaming them by using a good steamer like this one. You’ll also want to spray a good amount of wrinkle release spray on the curtains prior to steaming them. Not only will this make the curtains smell amazing, but when the heat from the steam touches them, the wrinkle release spray will activate and the creases should come right out, leaving you with luxurious, wrinkle-free curtain panels.
The last tip I have for you is when you open your curtains, make sure not to bunch them so tightly together that they wrinkle again. You’ll want to gently open the curtains and not push them past the end of the window. The goal is to give the illusion that the window appears bigger, so you don’t want to reveal the end of the window.
This post was all about how to hang curtains!
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