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How to hang curtains like a PRO

Learn how to hang curtains like a pro and get answers to all the questions you have about hanging curtains in your home.

Have you bought or made magnificent curtains that sit in your closet for months, waiting for the big day to arrive? 

You know, the day you finally figure out how to hang them up?

Adding curtains to a room brings it all together, makes the window (and room) feel larger, and adds privacy. 

But how do you hang a curtain and make it look professional? Let’s explore what’s holding you back from having gorgeous window treatments.

how to hang curtains

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HOW DO YOU PROPERLY HANG A CURTAIN ROD?

It’s my firm belief that there is always more than one way to do something correctly. 

And it’s no different with curtains. Everyone will tell you how to do it slightly differently.

But you need to decide how to hang curtains in the way that works best for you!

Let’s look at some more questions to help you choose.

HOW WIDE SHOULD A CURTAIN ROD BE?

Most people know the rod should be at least the size of your window. 

However, if you want the curtain to look expensive, the window to feel larger, and allow more natural light into the room, make the rod wider than the window.

It’s recommended that the curtain rod brackets be placed at least 6″ from the window opening but not wider than 12″.

TIP: Place the brackets 12″ away for a more dramatic effect.

For example, if the window is 36″ wide and you want to place the brackets 12″ away, you would add 12″ + 12″ + 36″ for a total of 60″ plus 1″ to 2″ more for an overhang, resulting in a total of 62″.

SIDE NOTE: If you want to save money, make your rod and brackets using this DIY curtain rod tutorial. It will cut the cost in half. The rod and brackets in the image were made using this tutorial.

HOW HIGH SHOULD YOU HANG CURTAINS?

It’s recommended to hang curtains higher than the window to make the ceiling look taller and the room feel larger.

So, don’t hang the curtain rod at the top of the window; give it some space, let it breathe.

Try to have the curtain rod at least 3″ above the window opening and if your window has trim have it at least 3″ above the trim. The higher you can go, the better.

But do not place the curtain rod higher than 12″ from the window opening or trim. It might look awkward if you go too high.

And remember to let the ceiling breathe too, so leave at least 3″ of space between the ceiling and the curtains.

SIDE NOTE: The example image is 3″ from the ceiling.

Once you’ve decided how far the curtain rod will be from the window opening, or trim, you’re ready to move on.

HOW TO HANG CURTAIN RODS?

Now that you know how tall and wide the curtain rods will be, let’s talk about how to hang the curtain rod.

The easiest way to hang a curtain rod is to create a template for where the curtain rod brackets should be placed.

You can create one by using a cardstock paper or cardboard. Use one corner of the paper at where the end of the window is. Then, measure the extra width from this corner (in our example, it’s 12″).

TIP: If your window has trim, use it to your benefit by having the template wrap around it, like the example picture below.

Then, measure how tall the curtain will hang (from the window opening or ceiling).

Where the two measurements intercept is where the top of the bracket will be. 

Now, take the actual bracket you will be using and place it at this interception, top of the bracket at the tallest measurement and side at width measurement.

Once the bracket is aligned to your template, mark the top screw hole of the bracket onto the template. Cut out the marking hole, if you can, with a hole punch.

Place the template onto the wall with the corner at the correct location. Mark the hole on the wall with a pencil.

template to hang curtain rod

Then, flip the template and mark the other side of the window.

SIDE NOTE: If you have a window opening wider than 48″, I would recommend placing a middle curtain rod bracket.

You are now ready to hang the curtain rod brackets.

HOW TO HANG CURTAIN RODS IN DRYWALL?

There are many different materials in which curtain rods can be installed, but the most popular is drywall.

To begin, you will need to attach a bracket to hang the curtain rod, also known as a curtain rod bracket. 

The best way to hang anything on a wall is to find a stud, the wood behind the drywall. Studs are typically spaced 16″ apart so sometimes you cannot always use one.

So what do you do in this case?

Well, you do NOT need a stud to hang a curtain rod, but you will need a special type of wall anchor to hold the weight.

There are two different types I like to use: a drywall anchor or toggle bolts.

Because my exterior walls are plaster (similar to drywall) with brick behind, I am going to use the drywall anchor screw. Some types are made for drywall and masonry.

SIDE NOTE: If you are wondering what a toggle bolt is or how to install them, be sure to see my tutorial on how to install a toggle bolt.

Using the recommended drill bit for your anchor, drill a hole into the premarked spot on your wall (remember your template).

drill hole to hang curtain rod

TIP: If you could have a stud in your wall, use a 1/8″ drill bit to check first. You will know if there is wood!

TIP 2: Mark your drill bit with a permanent marker or tape it, just past the length of your screw if you are drilling into brick.

Using a vacuum, make sure the drilled hole is clean (no dust). Then, place the bracket back at the hole and align the top hole to this hole.

Use a level to make the bracket level, mark the other bracket hole. Complete this for the other bracket locations.

Then, drill a hole into the marked spot the same way as before.

drill holes in wall for curtain rod brackets

Once all the bracket holes have been drilled, hammer the plastic anchor into the holes.

After, secure the brackets to the wall using a screwdriver and the screw provided.

hang curtain rod brackets onto drywall

When all the brackets have been installed, place the curtain rod onto the brackets.

homemade curtain rod

WHAT SIZE OF CURTAINS DO I NEED?

Now let’s talk about the curtains and what size of curtains you should get. The beautiful thing is that all the work you did before is going to make it simple when measuring for the curtains.

You have already determined exactly where the curtain rod will be placed and how wide it will be. 

Now, you need to decide how you will hang the curtains: grommets (eyelets), rings with clips, rod pocket, and tab top are the most popular. In this example, we are using rings with clips.

To determine how wide the curtain panel or panels will be, take the width of the curtain rod and double it. In other words, you want your curtains to measure double the width of the curtain rod.

SIDE NOTE: Ideally, you want the curtain to be 1.5 to 3 times wider than the curtain rod.

Then, divide that measurement by the number of panels you plan on using. This is how wide the measurement of each curtain should be.

SIDE NOTE: If the curtain is slightly smaller or larger, that will be fine.

To determine how tall the curtain panel should be, measure from the top of the curtain rod to the floor. This is at least how tall your curtains should be.

TIP: Remember, a longer curtain makes the room feel taller.

Ideally, you want the curtain to hang just above the floor or pool slightly at the floor. In some cases, you will need to hem the curtain.

See how to sew curtains and hem the bottom with this tutorial. Or see how Young House Love folds the curtain, so no sewing is required.

HOW TO HANG CURTAINS WITH RINGS

In this example, we are using metal curtain rings to hang the curtains.

SIDE NOTE: If you want the exact metal ring I’m using, they are a 1-1/2″ metal curtain ring with clips.

The best thing about using rings with clips is that all you have to do is clip the top of the curtain. The distance between clips is a personal preference. I like mine to be about 8″-10″ apart.

You will fold the curtains so that the right side of the curtain is together (the side you want showing). Then, place the clip 1/2″ to 1″ in from the fold at the top of the curtain.

clip top of curtain to hang

Add the rest of the rings the same way. Then, slide the rings onto the curtain rod.

From there, you will hem the bottom of the curtain. Again, see my tutorial on that in my post about sewing curtains.

Now, stand back and admire what a thorough job you did! The curtains are finally hung up proudly and your room looks incredible.

And those are all the tips and tricks on how to hang curtains like a pro. Please leave a comment if you have a question I didn’t answer.

how to hang curtains like a pro

Interested in more hanging curtains? Here are some other posts you might enjoy: why to hang curtains high and wide by Two Twenty One | how to hang curtains in a bedroom by The DIY Playbook

Or you will love these other home decor projects of ours:

And don’t forget you can see before and afters in our full house tour by clicking HERE.

Yield: hung curtain

How to hang curtains like a PRO

how to hang curtains

Follow these steps on how to hang curtains in your home that will look like a pro installed them. Finally, achieve the cozy and inviting home you have dreamed about.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $$

Materials

  • curtain
  • curtain rod
  • curtain rod brackets
  • drywall anchors
  • metal curtain rings

Tools

  • hammer
  • screwdriver/drill
  • pencil and paper
  • sewing machine (optional)

Instructions

  1. Determine how wide and long your curtains need to be for your window (visit full article for detailed instructions)
  2. Use a drywall anchor to attach the curtain rod brackets to the desired location.
  3. Place the curtain rod onto the brackets.
  4. Adjust the curtain to the correct size.
  5. Hang the curtain onto the rod with curtain rings.