How to Hang Curtains Like a Designer

white desk in a room with gray curtains and a white and gray chair with a basket

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So, you’ve decided it’s time to add some curtains to your home – Excellent choice! Curtains are a complete game changer for your decor, and they are personally one of my favorite ways to finish a room. They provide privacy, light control and they also add cozy vibes to any room. But do you know there is a right way to hang curtains?

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to hang curtains like designers. Including the three basic curtain tips you need to know, as well an added FAQ at the bottom for getting the look “just right.” You’ll be surprised to learn how easy hanging curtains can be. And when you see what they do to your spaces after hanging them this way – you will never go back!

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Three Basic Tips you Need to Know before Hanging Curtains

Keep these 3 tips handy before you buy curtains and before you start drilling holes in the wall. Hanging curtains like this will elevate your home decor!

How to Hang Curtains Diagram

1. Hang your Curtains High

Curtains should be hung well above the window or door frame. A good rule of thumb is about 3 inches above the frame. This means, if you have lower ceilings, the curtain rod should be just about at the top. If you have crown molding, you can hang them just below this. Higher is better. It gives the illusion of taller ceilings.

2. hang your Curtains Wide

Curtains should ideally be hung 5-10 inches outside the window or door frames. This gives the illusion of bigger windows and lets in more light. This means that you might have to order wider than normal curtains to reach adequately across the window or door frame (unless you have no intention of closing them).

a women sitting at a desk, there are gray curtains hanging behind her and a brown basket on the floor

What if your window frame is right up against a corner or wall? Hang them as wide as you can, and repeat this measurement on the opposite side for balance. Or, consider roman or woven shades for a totally different look – that’s for another post.

3. Curtains Should kiss the floor

No high water curtains! Curtains should kiss/graze/touch the floor, or if you prefer a very romantic look, you can puddle them. Having curtains hang this way gives several benefits. For one, the weight of the longer curtain will give you straighter curtains. Secondly, having a longer length curtain is easier on the eye. It’s a bit jarring to see a curtain stop several inches or more about a window frame! It makes the room feel short.

The exception to this rule is cute little cafe curtains, which are typically made to cover the bottom half of the window and hang from a bar or tension rod. You will need to measure the length from above the window frame to the bottom of the floor, plus an inch or two for good measure. More on this in a bit.

Expert Tip: Measure Twice! Drill once. Measure twice. Buy curtains once (or make sure you can return them easily if needed). There is a proper way to measure for curtains. See the handy diagram for more information.


Things You’ll Need to Hang Curtains

Let’s gather up our tools and materials first.

  • Curtain Rod, Curtain Rod Brackets and hardware (usually these come all together when you buy the curtain rod, including the wall anchors)
  • Heavy Duty Wall Anchors (again – check your curtain rod)
  • Drill and appropriately sized drill bit + screwdriver bit
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Stud Finder
  • Curtains
  • Clip Rings or Curtain Rings (see note)

Note: If are hanging pinch pleat curtains, you will need curtain rings or clip rings (see how to use clip rings here). If you are hanging rod pocket or grommet curtains, you don’t need these extra items as these curtains go directly on the rod.

Gray pinch pleat drapes from Amazon, in post, learn how to hang curtains the right way
Pinch Pleat Curtains from Two Pages

Standard Curtain Lengths

A little note about standard curtain lengths. You’ll notice that most curtains, especially the affordable curtains, are sold in the same lengths. These are standard curtain lengths: 63 inches, 84 inches, 96 inches and 108 inches and 120 inches. It is much cheaper (and easier) to buy curtains in these standard lengths. You should also take the window height into account but the following should work with standard sized windows:

  • For an 8 foot ceiling: Go with 84 or 96 inches
  • For a 9 foot ceiling: Go with 96 inches
  • For a 10 foot ceiling: Go with 108 inches or more

Standard sizes mean you can measure exactly 96 inches from the bottom of the floor on up to get a rough measure for placement. I like to add an inch or two for that extra kiss on the floor (and to avoid the dreaded high water curtain look). You don’t have to do this, you can certainly choose custom made curtains as well but it will be more expensive.

How to Hang Curtains

How to Hang Curtains like a Designer!

Total Time: 30 minutes

Measure Around Window

measure for curtain bracket placement

Measure at least 3 inches above the window frame and at least 5 inches wider than the window frame. Mark this area with a pencil. Repeat on the other side of the window. Take your curtain bracket and hold it up to this area, then mark each hole with a pencil.

Use Stud Finder

Take your stud finder to the area you marked in step 1 and determine if you need wall anchors. If you are located on a stud, you won’t need them. Typically, most curtain rods come with the hardware and wall anchors. I like to use heavy duty wall anchors when necessary because curtains can be heavy.

Drill Pilot Holes

drill pilot holes for curtain bracket

Drill pilot holes on these marks. Read the instructions of your curtain rod to determine the recommended drill bit size. If you determined that you need wall anchors, install them now.

Install Curtain Rod Bracket

install curtain bracket on wall with a drill

Place your curtain rod bracket on the wall and line up the holes on the bracket with the pilot holes you drilled. Insert your screws, adhering the bracket to the wall. Ensure the bracket is nice and sturdy. Again – curtains can be heavy! Repeat on the other side of the window. Note: If you have particularly heavy curtains, or if your window is really large – you will need a third curtain bracket in the center. (See FAQ – how many brackets do I need?)

Hang Rod and Curtains

install curtain and curtain rod on bracket

We are almost done! If you are using curtain rings, or if you are placing curtains directly on the rod, you can put them on the curtain rod first, although you don’t have to. Take your curtain rod and place it on the brackets. You can hang your curtains now if you haven’t already. Tighten the tiny screw on the bracket to hold your rod in place. All done!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Brackets will I need?

If you have heavy curtains or if your window is long, you will need at least three brackets; one in the middle and two on either side. It never hurts to be extra safe and if your rod looks bowed, that’s usually a telltale sign that you need more support. Please note; wherever you place a bracket, that will prevent your curtains from sliding along the rod, so you may need to purchase additional panels.

How do I hang curtains if I have low ceilings?

If you don’t have enough space above your window frame to hang a rod, you can opt to hang curtains from the ceiling using a ceiling track. You can also consider using shades in this scenario instead of curtain panels.

What if one side of my window has more wall space than the other?

If you have a window that has uneven wall space on either side, go with the smaller width and repeat this measurement on the other side. You can fill in the extra wall space with art or high furniture (like a hutch or bookshelf) so it looks balanced. If you find that there is not enough width on the one side for it to look good, then skip the curtain panels and opt for a stylish roman shade or woven shade.

I rent! How Can I hang Curtains and Avoid Drilling Holes in the wall?

They sell adhesive curtain brackets. These brackets stick to the wall and do not require you to drill or make any holes. The one drawback to this is you are limited by weight, as these adhesive brackets can only hold so much. For added cost savings and style, you can make your own conduit curtain rods or wood dowel rods. These can be spray painted (or stained if they are wood) for added flair.

Can you hang curtains on one side of the Window Only?

guest bedroom with gray blanket

This might be an unpopular opinion but I think in certain scenarios it’s totally acceptable to do this. If you want a wide curtain over to one side and it’s a sliding glass door, I think that’s ok. If you have two windows that are very close together (little middle space), I think you can add curtains on either side of these two windows and it’s ok. In most cases, two curtain panels look best because it’s a more balanced look. It’s all about balance, my friend.

Now you know how to hang curtains like a pro! You will see how hanging curtains this way instantly kicks your decor game up a notch.

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