Curtains can be a fantastic finishing touch for a space. Think of them like a scarf, adding extra style to your outfit while also serving an important function. In the case of the scarf, that function is to keep you warm. In the case of curtains, it’s to give you privacy.
Curtains and window treatments do more than just offer privacy, though. They can be as important to a room’s overall design as any other element such as paint selection, artwork, and accessories. They are often the finishing touch a room needs to look complete. While they aren’t always necessary, like when you have a picture window or shutters, they can bring warmth and a look of completion to a space that is lacking it.
The right window treatment has the ability to transform a room. They can trick your eye by making a space appear larger, taller, and more grand. Curtains and drapes can also be used to turn a small nondescript window into an impressive focal point. In some rooms, the windows will lack balance and make the space feel awkward. Curtains can solve this problem by unifying them.
One of the secrets to a successful window treatment is knowing where to install them to achieve the look you want. Even the most expensive curtains will look “off” if they aren’t hung at the proper placement.
Here are some designer tips and tricks on how to hang curtains, as well as a handy guide for you to download:
The No-Fuss Guide on How to Hang Curtains
THE CURTAIN ROD
- The standard mounting height for a curtain rod is 4″ to 6″ above the window frame.
- The higher you install the rod, the taller the window will appear. To make a window appear taller, install the rod from 8″ above the window frame to as high as the ceiling or bottom of crown molding.
- If you have low ceilings and want to create the illusion of greater height, install the rod as close to the ceiling as possible.
- To allow more light to come in when the curtains are open, the curtain rod should extend a minimum of 3″ beyond the window frame on each side.
- To make a window appear wider and more grand, extend the rod 3″ to 6″ beyond the frame on each side.
- Generally, the rod should be no more than 1/3 wider than the width of the window. For example, on a 54″ window you can add up to 9″ on each side (54 x 1/3 = 18) . That means the curtain rod can be up to 72″ in length.
- If you have decorative trim that you’d like to reveal when the curtains are drawn back, allow at least a 12″ extension on both sides.
WIDTH OF CURTAINS
- If the curtains are just framing the window and won’t be opened, you only need 1-1/2 times the width of the window.
- To ensure that the curtains look full when closed, the combined width of the panels should be 2 to 2-1/2 times the width of the window.
- For more fullness, opt for three times the width.
- Always round the number up when determining the width of your panels. And when in doubt, go for the wider width.
LENGTH OF CURTAINS
- Floor length curtains should just skim the floor or hang a 1/2″ above it.
- You could allow a break of 1″ to 3″. This break is similar to what they do for trousers. The style is great for helping to compensate for uneven floors.
- To create a more extravagant puddling effect, allow for an extra 6″ to 9″ in length. Tuck the fabric underneath and “poof” it up. Keep in mind, each time you vacuum the floor you’ll have to readjust the puddling. And if you have pets, they love to curl up on the extra fabric. 😉
- To determine the measurement of floor length curtains, measure from the top of the rod to the floor. Then subtract as necessary to allow for hanging hardware. If you plan to puddle the curtains on the floor, add the additional inches needed to do so.
- In kitchen and high traffic areas, consider choosing a curtain length that skims the window sill.
- Cafe curtains should be installed halfway up the window and be parallel to the fixed horizontal mullion (the vertical bar between the panes of glass). The length should just skim the window sill.
- It’s easier to hem curtains than to make them longer, so always round up your measurements.
- Always press or steam your curtains to remove the wrinkles. If you just take them out of the bag and hang them up, there will be ugly fold marks all over them.
These tips will help you make the most of the curtains in your home. Keep in mind, they are all general rules-of-thumb or guidelines. In decorating, sometimes you have to break or bend these “rules” to compensate for odd-shaped windows. I’ll be sharing more on those in a future post!
And don’t forget to grab your free Guide to Hanging Curtains below to bring with you when you go shopping and hang up your new window treatments: