Learn how to hang curtains like a pro and help answer all the questions you might have about hanging curtains in your home.
Curtains in a room can be the thing that brings it all together, makes a window feel larger, and helps add privacy. But how do you hang a curtain? Especially one that looks expensive or that someone knew what they were doing. Let’s answer the questions associated with 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 probably tell you how to do it slightly differently.
So you need to decide how to properly hang curtains your way because it works best for you!
Let’s look at some more questions to help you decide your way to hang curtain rods.
How wide should a curtain rod be?
The rod should be at least the size of your window but if you want the curtain to look expensive, the window to feel larger, and allow more natural light into the room you SHOULD make the rod wider then the window.
SO how wide?
The recommendation of where the curtain rod brackets should be placed is at least 6″ from the window opening but not wider than 12″.
TIP: Place the brackets 12″ away if you want the window to feel more significant.
For example, if the window is 36″ wide and you wanted 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, 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 plus the rod and brackets in the image are made using this tutorial.
How high should you hang curtains?
There is a saying when it comes to curtains: hang them tall and wide. We already discussed why you hang a curtain wider, but why taller?
It’s recommended to hang curtains taller to make the ceiling look taller, which will help make the room feel bigger.
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. But 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 funny if you go too high.
And remember to let the ceiling breathe too, so give at least 3″ of space to the ceiling.
SIDE NOTE: The example image is 3″ from the ceiling.
So decide now how far from the window opening, or trim, the curtain rod will be on your window.
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.
This is done 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 (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. Then take the actual bracket you will be using and place it at this interception, top of the bracket at tallest measure and side at width measurement.
Once the bracket is aligned to the 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.
Then flip the template and mark the other side of the window.
SIDE NOTE: If you have a window opening bigger 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 hung, but the most popular is drywall, so let’s talk about that.
To clarify you will need a bracket to hang the curtain rod, also known as a curtain rod bracket. So we will be discussing how to hang curtain rod brackets in drywall.
The best way to hang anything on a wall is to use a stud, the wood behind the drywall. But studs are typically spaced 16″ apart meaning you cannot always use one.
So you do NOT need a stud to hang a curtain rod, but you do need a different type of wall anchor to help 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 share using 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).
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.
TIP 3: Use a vacuum to help collect the dust!
Using a vacuum to 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 then 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.
Once all the bracket holes have been drilled, hammer the plastic anchor into the holes.
After, secure the brackets to the wall using the screw provided and screwdriver.
When all the brackets have been installed, place the curtain rod onto the brackets.
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. So you will work from that!
First, 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. So you will probably need to hem the curtain.
How to hang curtains with rings
In this example, we are using metal curtain rings to hang the curtains, so I am going to share how to hang curtains with rings.
SIDE NOTE: If you are wondering the exact metal ring I’m using, they are a 1-1/2″ metal curtain ring with clips.
The beautiful thing about using rings with clips is 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.
Add the rest of the rings the same way. Then install the ring 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.
And that is it for all the tips and tricks on how to hang curtains like a pro. Please write a comment if you happen to have a question I didn’t answer.