Hanging curtains can seem daunting to some, but with the right tools, patience and following key steps, it is an easy DIY project that can make a big impact on the look and feel of a room.
Assessing the window and gathering supplies
Before beginning, take measurements of the width and height of the window so you know what size curtains to purchase. Also check for obstructions like window cranks or handles that the curtains will need to clear.
Gather the necessary supplies:
- Curtain rods/brackets
- Screws and anchors if needed
- Tape measure
- Drill with assorted drill bits
- Step stool/ladder
Choosing curtain rods and hanging hardware
Picking the right curtain rod and hardware for your window is key:
- Rod diameter: Choose based on the weight of curtains. 1-1 1⁄4” for sheer/lightweight, 1 1⁄4-1 1⁄2” for medium-weight, 1 1⁄2”+ for heavy curtains.
- Rod length: For a standard window, choose a rod 2-3” wider than the window frame.
- Extenders: If needed for very wide windows.
- Brackets: Match metal/finish of decorative rods. Clear plastic works for simple rods.
- Tiebacks: Optional but add a nice finished touch.
Marking the bracket locations
Use a pencil and tape measure to mark:
- The desired height above the window for the rod. Standard is 6-12” above the frame.
- Locations for each bracket, distributed evenly along width of rod.
- Level placement from one bracket mark to the other
- Studs in the mounting locations (use a stud finder)
- Clearance from window cranks/handles if present
Installing curtain rod brackets
Follow the hardware’s instructions for anchor choice and screw size. Most common options:
- Drywall anchors: For drywall or plaster. Drill a hole slightly smaller than anchor.
- Wood screws: If brackets align with wall studs. Drill a pilot hole to avoid splitting wood.
Use a drill to screw each bracket into the pre-marked spots. Check level and adjust if needed.
Hanging the curtain rod
Simply set the rod onto the brackets. If not staying put:
- Add set screws to brackets securing the rod
- Bend the brackets to tighten the grip
Putting up the curtains
Read and follow curtain heading type and hardware instructions.
Feed fabric evenly across rod, pulling to reduce wrinkles and sagging edges.
Even out length on sides and bottom. Base of curtains generally should just graze the floor.
Add end hardware pieces. Curtain tiebacks optional for gathered/decorative look.
Voila! Admire your work and enjoy your new window treatment!
Key tips for an easy experience
- Use metal extension rods if standard sizes won’t fit
- Invest in quality support brackets for heavy curtains
- Take it slow on step stool/ladder for safety
- Start in room’s least visible window for practice
- Follow all hardware directions precisely
- Have someone assist with extra-long curtains
Proper measuring, window assessment, selecting adequate hardware, accurate installation and patience lead to success. Follow these guidelines and hanging curtains is straightforward. Exceptions are large or specialty windows where professional consultation may be needed. But tackling standard window treatments as a DIY project with these key steps and tips allows achieving beautiful results from the comfort of home.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the standard curtain rod sizes?
The most common sizes are 28-120 inches long. Diameters range from 3/8 inch for decorative rods up to 2 inches for heavyweight curtains.
- How high should curtain rods be installed?
The standard height is 6 to 12 inches above the window frame. Adjust based on the look you prefer and size of the window.
- What tools do I need to hang curtains?
Basic tools include a tape measure, pencil, drill with drill bits, step stool or ladder, and screwdriver. Refer to specific hardware instructions for details.
- Should curtain panels be touching the floor?
Curtains should just graze the floor, so measure window height and purchase curtains based on that size. Having too much extra length looks messy.
- How do I hang curtain rods on drywall?
Use hollow drywall anchors designed for screws. Drill a hole slightly smaller than the anchor, then tap it gently into the hole before screwing bracket into place.
- What if there is no stud behind my bracket?
Hollow drywall anchors work well when no stud is present. Just follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully and do not overload with extremely heavy curtains.
- How do I hang a curtain rod without brackets?
Use spring tension rods that mount inside the window frame by pressure. Or install a decorative finial on the ends of the rod which can be anchored to the ceiling and floor.
- What is the strongest way to mount curtain bracket hardware?
If possible, locate studs and use wood screws directly into them. If not, use heavy-duty hollow drywall anchors rated for the curtain weight.
- How do I hang blackout curtains?
Blackout curtains are installed the same way. Ensure a tight fit across the rod and overlap seams to prevent light leakage. Layer different curtain types for maximum darkness.
- Can I use Command strips to hang curtains?
Command strips should not replace traditional hardware for most curtains. Only very lightweight sheers or decorative valances can safely be installed with Command products.
- What are grommets and how do you use them?
Metal grommets reinforce holes in curtain tops for threading onto rods. Ensure grommets match rod diameter, then slide curtains over rod ends to install.
- How do I hang pinch pleat curtains?
Pinch pleats have tops folded into narrow pleats with holes for hooks. Hooks clip onto rings that slide over the curtain rod for hanging.
- Where should curtain tiebacks be placed?
Tiebacks look best installed around 1/3 of the way in from each edge of the window for optimal gathering effect when tied back.
- Where can I buy affordable curtains and rods?
Top places to shop for budget-friendly curtains and rods are Amazon, Target, Walmart, IKEA, JCPenney, Overstock.com, and home improvement stores.
- Can I steam new wrinkled curtains while they are hanging?
Yes, you can carefully use a garment or handheld fabric steamer on wrinkled hanging curtains to remove creases. Do not actually touch curtains with steamer.
- What is the most modern way to hang curtains?
Modern curtain style tends to be floor to ceiling panels stacked closely together while pulled back, showing the window framing.
- What should I know before hanging a hospital curtain track?
Hospital tracks require precise mounting and specialized carriers, overlap, and hook hardware. Consult an installation professional to ensure proper setup and operation.
- How do I hang thermal blackout curtains?
Use bracket extenders and overlap seams for best coverage. Layering types of curtains boosts blackout effects. Close all gaps for maximum light blocking.
- Where should I mount holdback curtain tiebacks on my window frame?
Aim for around 1⁄3 of the way in from outer edges of the frame for balanced look when tiebacks are connected pulling curtains open.
Hanging curtains largely comes down to accurately measuring windows, selecting suitable hardware, and methodically installing equipment. While seemingly intimidating, breaking the project down into key steps makes the process easy and approachable for novice DIY-ers. Along with tips for adapting to tricky situations, nearly anyone can upgrade their rooms with beautiful new window treatments. Simply allow enough time, make careful calculations, follow product guidelines, and the results will impress.