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Can you hang curtains yourself?

Hanging curtains can seem daunting, but with the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can absolutely hang curtains on your own. Learning how to properly hang curtains allows you to customize your home’s look without the added expense of hiring an installer. This article will walk you through everything you need to confidently hang curtains like a pro.

Can you hang curtains yourself?

Assess Your Windows

Before purchasing any curtain rods or panels, assess the windows you want to treat. Consider the following:

  • Window measurements – precisely measure each window’s height and width. Account for any protruding window trim or frames when taking measurements.
  • Window type – casement, double hung, bay windows, etc. The window style dictates what curtain rod types can be used.
  • Window surface and walls – assess what the rod will be mounted into. Drywall, plaster, concrete, wood? This determines what fastener types are needed.
  • Natural light patterns – note what parts of the day direct sunlight enters each room. This influences curtain lengths and liner needs.
  • Room functions – consider how each room is used. Greater light control and privacy may be needed in bedrooms or bathrooms.
  • Aesthetic goals – decide if you want to frame the window tightly with curtains or have a more relaxed, puddling effect.

Document these assessments to reference when shopping and installing.

Purchase Proper Hardware

Using the right hardware prevents headaches and accidents down the road. Consider the following:

Curtain Rod Types

Rods come in a variety of sizes and styles:

  • Standard straight rods
  • Tension rods that expand to fit inside of window frames
  • Bent or corner rods for bay windows
  • Double rods allowing two layers of curtains

Choose rod diameters thick enough to handle the weight and fullness of your curtain panels. Heavier drapes require thicker support rods.

For especially wide windows, consider center support brackets to prevent sagging rods. If drilling into walls, buy wall fasteners suitable for the wall material the rods will be mounted into.

Curtain Weights and Hook Types

Match heavy curtain panels with enough hooks to distribute the weight evenly across the rod. For wider curtains:

  • Clips hook fabric to rods in discrete points
  • Ring tops have built-in rings along the top edge
  • Tab tops have buttonhole slits with built-in hanging tabs
  • Grommets have rust-proof reinforcing holes with internal rings

Lighter sheer under-curtains can use simpler tie-back hooks. Make sure all hooks smoothly glide across rods without snagging.

Mount Rods Properly

Install curtain rods level and securely enough to handle the weight of curtains and operation.

Height Placement Tips

Standard rod height is:

  • Just below the ceiling for hanging curtains close to windows
  • Around 12 inches above the window frame for a more spacious look

Considerfunction too. Place blackout liner rods right against windows for maximum light blocking.

Secure Mounting

When drilling into walls, hit wood studs or use special fasteners for drywall, plaster, or concrete. Follow individual fastener instructions carefully.

For tension rods, ensure a tight, secure fit inside window frames to keep rods from collapsing when drawing curtains. Extend tension rods at least 1-2 inches longer than the window width.

Level Alignment

Use a small level tool to keep curtain rods perfectly straight during installation. Level alignment prevents curtains from awkwardly bunching to one side.

Measure, Purchase & Hem Curtain Panels

With hardware installed, it’s curtain shopping time!

Measure Carefully

Note the precise rod length and window height when measuring for curtains. Include the extension past window edges you want curtains to reach on each side.

Add hem allowances if you need to shorten pre-made panels to fit.

Mind Panel Width & Fullness

Panels not wide enough leave annoying light gaps. But too-wide panels bunch unsuccessfully over rods.

Sheer under-curtains work well 20-30% wider than windows to gently filter and soften incoming light.

Opaque curtains can have soft fullness up to 150% window width. Pinch pleat tops help gather extra fabric attractively.

For a custom sleek look, order pole-pocket panels sized precisely to your windows with 0% fullness.

Hem Long Panels

Panels too long can be professionally hemmed, or use iron-on adhesive hem tape. Leave curtains an extra 1/2 to 1 inch longer than the window height to puddle slightly at bottom edges.

Final Curtain Installation

Once you’ve assembled everything, it’s time for the fun part – hanging your fabulous new curtains!

Evenly Distribute Hooks

Space curtain hooks evenly across entire rod length, not bunched in the middle. Pull panels gently to relieve wrinkles before closing hooks.

Employ Curtain Weights

Add weights to bottom hems if curtains are too lightweight to hang neatly. Zip-in weights keep panels taut and straight with subtle elegance.

Arrange Pleats Evenly

For pinch-pleated drapes, evenly distribute pleats across the width of the curtain panel. Grouping pleats unevenly looks messy and asymmetrical.

Utilize Tie-Backs

Tie backs keep stationary side curtains out of interior walkways when opened. Clip tie-backs vertically onto stationary panels, then tie moveable curtains away at handle height.

Key Takeaways

Hanging curtains is an easy DIY project with the right planning and tools. Follow this process for professional-looking results:

  • Carefully assess windows and rooms
  • Purchase suitable hardware and anchors
  • Measure meticulously for custom panels
  • Mount rods level, straight and securely
  • Distribute weight evenly across rods
  • Arrange pleats and tie-backs neatly

Now flaunt your windows with beautiful new window treatments you installed completely yourself!


As you can see, with some careful prep work and the right hardware, you can definitely hang curtains on your own like an expert. Accurately measuring windows, purchasing suitable rods and curtain types, and using installation best practices helps curtains hang neatly while transforming any room’s style.

Confidently embrace your inner interior decorator, and craft a custom window treatment look that perfectly matches your personal taste without the high price tag. Now that you know how to flawlessly hang curtains from start to finish, you can treat every bare window in your home. So grab a tape measure, jot down window dimensions, and start draping!

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. What length should curtains be?
    Curtain lengths can range from just below the rod to puddling slightly on the floor. For functionality, leave 1/2″-1″ extra length to puddle attractively at bottom edges without impeding open doors or windows.

  2. How wide should curtains be?
    Panel widths range from zero fullness tailored to the window up to 150% wider to create soft folds when drawn. Sheer liner panels typically have 20-30% fullness, while blackout curtains work well at 100-150% fullness.

  3. What tools do I need to hang curtains?
    Basic tools include a tape measure, pencil, level, screwdriver, screws or fasteners, and power drill. Use fasteners suitable for walls – toggles for drywall, expansion bolts for masonry, etc.

  4. Should curtain rods be centered over windows?
    Not necessarily. Rods mounted 4-12 inches above the window frame and 6-12 inches wider create attractive negative space. Feel free to center rods or mount asymetrically based on room layout, furniture or aesthetic preferences.

  5. How do I hang curtains on a bay window?
    Use a curved bay window curtain rod with adjustable length telescoping ends to fit inside the window opening. Center support brackets prevent sagging. Make sure panels are wide enough to cover unique angles.

  6. Can I hang curtains with nails instead of screws?
    Screws provide more secure support, especially for heavier drapes. But light sheer panels may be safely hung using heavy duty nails like bullion nails hammered into wood window trim. Just ensure nails are long enough to bear weight.

  7. What if I don’t have a drill for installing curtain rods?
    Consider no-drill tension rod alternatives. Spring tension rods expand snugly to grip inside window openings without requiring tools, screws or wall damage. Use with lightweight curtains.

  8. Should I hang lining and drapery panels separately?
    Yes, using two separate rods allows you to operate liners and drapes independently. Place lining rods right against windows to maximize insulation, light control and visibility outward when open.

  9. How do I hang curtains on a rental property?
    Use tension rods or removable 3M/Command adhesives to hang curtains in rentals without creating wall damage. Both can handle lightweight curtains and remove cleanly after.

  10. What curtains should I hang in my bathroom?
    Moisture-resistant fabrics like polyester or washable cotton work best. Avoid linen, jute or silk curtains prone to mildew in damp environments. Choose mold-resistant vinyl liners in high humidity rooms.

  11. How high should I mount blackout curtain rods?
    Mount blackout liner rods flush with the window frame to allow full light blocking when closed. Place decorative drapery rods higher up the wall while keeping liners low.

  12. What if my curtains are too long?
    Professional hemming is ideal for clean results, or use iron-on hem tape for temporary at-home adjustments. Leave at least 1/2 inch extra length to account for slight settling over time after hanging.

  13. Where should curtain hardware be placed?
    If centering rods over windows, place mounting brackets 6-12 inches wider than the window itself. For corner windows, use L-shaped brackets to maximize useable space.

  14. How can I hang curtains on an angled ceiling?
    Bendable curtain tracks work well for sloped or angled ceilings. Install tracks across the peak of the slope instead of perpendicular to windows. Cut panels to match the exact track length.

  15. What curtains should I use for sliding glass doors?
    Look for extra wide panels, or use two separate panels with a wide overlap in the middle, to cover the entire slider door opening when drawn. Make sure curtain rods span the full width.

  16. Do curtain grommets need special hardware?
    Usually not. Standard curtain hooks slip right through most grommet holes. But extra large or heavy grommets may require compatible curtain rings from the same manufacturer.

  17. Where should I mount the first curtain hook?
    Hook the first pleat or panel opening 2-3 inches from the end of the rod, aligned with the window’s edge. Subsequent hooks attach to every third or fourth pleat evenly across the rod.

  18. How can I hang cafe curtains?
    Use adjustable T-shaped cafe curtain rods mounted halfway up the window height. Place hooks toward the front of alternating inverted box and rectangular pleats every 3 inches for consistent spacing.

  19. Should you iron new curtains before hanging?
    Yes. Thoroughly iron new curtain panels on low heat to remove creases from packaging and storage before hanging. Use spray starch or fabric sizing compound to maintain crisp shapes after installation.

  20. Can you mount a curtain rod to the ceiling?
    Yes. Use long ceiling-to-floor tension rods, or anchor ceiling clips rated for the rod’s weight capacity into wood beam supports. Draw back hooks allow easy access to curtains mounted near ceilings.

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