Everything You Need to Know About Hanging Curtains

curtain length bright and colorful living room

Reena Sotropa 

Whether they're in your bedroom or living room, curtains are a must for most homeowners. They block light, provide privacy, and add warmth in cold weather. Curtains are a great way to accessorize any room and help tie a decor scheme together throughout your home. But the key to a polished space is hanging the curtains currently. Curtains that are too short or too long can look messy or juvenile, and getting it just right can be surprisingly tricky.

But no matter how big or small your window is, you can hang a curtain in under an hour with these tips.

Materials Needed to Hang Curtains

  • The right size curtains (see step one for details)
  • Curtain rod and brackets
  • Cardboard
  • Drill or screwdriver
  • A level
  • A pencil
  • Screws
  • Tape measure
  • Anchors (optional)

Read on for the four easy steps to hanging window treatments perfectly every time.

Calculate the Curtain Size You Need

Choosing the correct width and length of your curtains is incredibly important to creating the right look. When it comes to the width, you want to ensure you have enough curtain to cover the entire panel. A good rule of thumb is both panels together should be double the width of your window. The rod itself should be about eight to 12 inches longer than the window.

When determining the length, measure from the floor to where you will hang the rod (typically about four inches above the window). Curtains that are too short will make your space feel smaller, while curtains that drag on the floor can look unkempt and messy. The right length can make a room feel more expensive and purposeful.

Curtains typically come in lengths such as 63, 84, 95 inches, and 108 inches. Pick the size closest to your measurements, but err on the side of a few inches longer if you're in between sizes.

Determine Where to Mount Brackets

You should have already measured the length when you purchased your curtains, but when installing your brackets, you will want to go about four to six inches above your window and about six inches outside of the edge of the window. Using a piece of cardboard as a template is a great way to get this right.

Trace and cut two four-inch rectangles out of your cardboard and then glue them together to create an L-shape. Using your level and this template, make a mark at the outermost corner of the L to determine where your bracket should go.

Mount the Curtain Rod

Using a screwdriver or a drill, screw the brackets into the pre-measured markings. If you are hanging particularly heavy curtains (think velvet or blackout), you may want to first install anchors to avoid any damage to your wall. If you don't have anchors, you can use a stud finder to see if you can find studs in the right location to help support your curtains.

Place the rod onto your bracket and use a level to ensure it is straight.

Hanging curtains is one of the first things you should do when you design your bedroom. Pick a heavier curtain that can help block out light and aid in better sleep.

Add the Curtains

Now comes the easy part: hanging the curtains. Carefully slide the curtain rod through the fabric loop at the top or use rings to attach the fabric. Step back and assess your handiwork. The curtains should be level and just barely graze the ground.

One of the most common mistakes people make when picking out curtains is not picking the right fabric for the room. When hanging curtains for your living room, opt for a sheer panel that will still allow light to come through.

Bonus Tips for a Custom-Looking Job

You don't have to spend money on custom curtains to get a high-end look. The biggest must-do is ensuring you've hung your curtains correctly and purchased the right size curtain.

Looking for other ideas to elevate your curtain look? Consider doubling up on your curtain rods to allow for different window treatments such as a sheer and an opaque panel. Other ideas include adding your own tassels or even picking out your own fabric and sewing curtains to match your decor perfectly.