Curtain brackets, sometimes called traverse rods or curtain rods, are an important part of hanging curtains and ensuring proper draping. When deciding on curtain brackets for a window, one key question is whether you need 2 or 3 brackets.
Considerations for 2 vs 3 curtain brackets
Several factors determine whether 2 or 3 brackets are best for your curtains:
- For small, standard windows up to about 50 inches wide, 2 brackets are typically sufficient.
- For larger windows, 3 brackets provide more support in the middle to prevent sagging curtains.
- Lightweight curtains can be held up with just 2 brackets.
- Heavy curtains, especially in wider windows, benefit from 3 brackets to share the weight load.
- Floor length curtains and very long curtains should have 3 brackets for proper support along the vertical length.
- Straight rod pocket curtains can get by with 2 brackets in most standard windows.
- Decorative curtains with grommets, tab tops, and pencil pleats often look better with 3 brackets.
- 2 brackets will save a bit of money over 3. But it’s an inexpensive upgrade to add that 3rd bracket for better support.
- With wide window frames, 3 evenly spaced brackets can look more balanced.
- In some cases with colored brackets, the 3rd bracket introduces another color accent.
So in summary, 3 curtain brackets upgrade the support and draping for many curtain types, while 2 brackets will suffice for lighter, simpler curtains. Read on for more context with photos and specific bracket recommendations.
When to use 2 curtain brackets
Two curtain brackets, positioned at the outer ends of the rod, are sufficient in these situations:
- For standard windows up to 50 inches wide
- Holding lightweight curtains (like a single panel of sheer curtains)
- With pocket rod curtains that bypass the need for rings/grommets
- If budget is very tight
- Bracket colors aren’t important
The main advantage of just two brackets is lower cost. For basic small windows and lightweight curtains, two brackets anchor the ends of the rod firmly to distribute weight at the outer edges. Make sure to position the brackets a few inches wider than the window frame so draw cords and rings/grommets slide easily.
When to use 3 curtain brackets
Three curtain brackets add a middle bracket to better assist heavier window treatments and span wider window frames up to about 72 inches.
The right situations for three curtain brackets are:
- Spanning wide windows and patio doors
- Supporting long curtains that pool on the floor
- Holding the weight of heavier fabrics like blackout curtains
- Using decorative rods and finials
- Grommet/tab top curtains that don’t slide in a pocket rod
- Coordinating bracket colors with the room’s color palette
By adding that middle bracket, the support is more evenly distributed across the rod. This prevents curtain sagging in the middle over time. The middle bracket also decreases strain on the outer fasteners in the window frame.
For more formally decorated spaces using graceful curtains, three brackets look more finished and tailored. They help the curtains hang properly for optimum visual appeal.
Curtain bracket spacing guidelines
When positioning three curtain brackets, follow these general spacing guidelines:
- Place the two outer brackets 2 to 3 inches wider than the window frame
- Put the middle bracket halfway between in the center of the window
- Adjust to make sure brackets align cleanly under curtain seams/pleats
- Make small left or right adjustments as needed to use window frame studs
- If using decorative finials that add length, account for extra space needed
Sometimes in very wide patio doors and large windows, adding an additional 1 or 2 filler brackets looks best. Follow the same spacing concept: evenly divide the extra brackets between your main brackets.
Now that you know whether 2 or 3 brackets are recommended for your specific window and curtains, let’s examine the best types of brackets.
Curtain rod bracket types
There are two main varieties of curtain rod brackets:
Basic brackets have a simple L-shaped design with holes for the rod and screws to mount to the wall or window frame. They are made of metal or plastic, typically white or black.
The pros of basic brackets are low cost and simplicity. Just make sure screws anchor firmly into studs or use hollow drywall anchors.
Decorative brackets have an additional backplate and finial for aesthetics. Common styles range from rectangular contemporary to classic swirling iron. They are made of metal or polyurethane.
Decorative brackets add a touch of sophistication and visual interest. Using three enhances the effect compared to two. Just be aware they often need wider, sturdier mounting plates for proper support with the finial leverage.
Both basic and decorative brackets typically support rod diameters ranging from 1/2 inch to 1 inch standard sizing. Make sure to measure your curtain rod to select the bracket hole size accordingly. Some also allow adjustment angles outward from the wall.
Basic brackets cost $2 to $8 per pair, while decorative brackets with finials range from $10 to $50+ per pair from retailers like Amazon, Wayfair, and curtain specialty shops. With just one extra bracket, the upgrade price is reasonable to consider the improved curtain support.
Installing curtain rod brackets
Follow these steps when installing your curtain rod brackets:
- Mark the bracket locations on your window molding or wall above. A pencil or painters tape works to mark the spots.
- Drill pilot holes if going into wood studs. For drywall without studs, use hollow wall anchors rated for the bracket weight.
- Screw brackets into place parallel to the floor. Ensure screws bite firmly but stop before stripping out holes.
- Slide your curtain rod through all bracket openings.
- Position rod end caps or finials outside the brackets if using. Adjust angle toward or away from window as needed.
- Hang your curtain panels onto the rod via pocket, rings, grommets, etc. per your curtain style.
- Fine tune rod positioning if needed so middle bracket lines up cleanly behind a panel seam or pleat.
And your curtains are ready to beautifully frame and enhance your window!
While two brackets may be sufficient for lightweight basic curtains, upgrading to three curtain brackets is recommended in many situations for improved support, proper draping, wider windows, and coordination with room aesthetics. Measure your space carefully, evaluate your existing components if reusing, and use the appropriate secure fasteners during installation for best results.
Determining if you need 2 or 3 curtain brackets depends on your specific window size, curtain selection, and decor. Follow the guidelines above for when two brackets will suffice versus when investing in an extra bracket makes sense. Take accurate measurements, space brackets evenly to align with your curtain pleats or seams, and anchor into studs or use hollow drywall fasteners for reliable security. With the right bracket placement and stable installation, your window and curtains will maintain their beautiful form.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What size screws do I need for curtain bracket installation?
Use #8 or #10 screws that are 1 1/4 to 2 inches long. Match to depth of hole pilot and type of fastener.
- How much weight can curtain brackets hold?
8 to 20 lbs is average, but check manufacturer specs based on size, design, and hardware.
- Where should I position the curtain rod on the brackets?
Rod sits on top of brackets to hide them. Angle out from wall if using finials.
- What tools do I need to install curtain brackets?
Pencil, tape measure, level, electric drill with bits, screwdriver, step stool, and pencil/stud finder.
- How do I find studs behind drywall for the brackets?
Use a stud finder tool or tap along wall listening for solid sound.
- How do I align uneven bracket heights?
Use small washers behind lag holes on lower brackets to raise them.
- Should brackets match the curtain rod metal?
Matching or coordinating finishes looks most cohesive.
- Can I hang a bracket from the ceiling?
Yes, they make adjustable drop ceiling brackets for this purpose.
- Do I need reinforcement across wide windows?
A support chain, wood, or metal bar between end brackets helps strengthen the span.
- Should I get adjustable brackets?
Adjustability allows tweaking angles and extension from the wall for clearing windowsills or borders so can be helpful.
- What’s a traverse rod system?
A heavy duty setup of master carriers running in metal pole brackets, often used for opening and closing wide panels of curtains by gliding across.
- What’s the standard height to hang curtain rods?
12 inches is common for above the window frame, ranging from 6 inches to 14 inches depending on room height and style preferences.
- What depth brackets do I need?
Measure your curtain rod diameter. Standard rod sizes range from 3/8 inch to 3 inches wide. Bracket holes typically accommodate up to 1 inch rods.
- How long should curtain panels be?
For floor length, add at least an inch puddle at bottom. Or 2 to 3 inches above the floor is popular too allowing more light.
- What are bypass curtain tracks?
Curtains slide along an exposed track with pulley carriers so openings aren’t blocked. Useful for rooms with French doors.
- Where do I mount brackets for sliding door curtains?
Because sliding doors have no vertical edges, place L-brackets high and wide horizontally along the door frame.
- What are flat track curtain rods?
Low profile systems of mixed metal and plastic parts spanning windows with padded gliders the curtains attach to.
- Why aren’t my curtain rings gliding smoothly?
Make sure you have oil-rubbed bronze or similar non-stick coated rings. Check brackets are mounted level so rings don’t catch.
- When should I use a tension rod instead
Tension rods conveniently press to fit inside frames temporarily. But they lack long term reliability for heavier drapes.
- Will my curtains blow with forced air vents below?
Yes, you’ll get movement. Place vents blowing parallel to the window instead of upward to mitigate.