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What are the 2 different ways you can hang curtains?

Hanging curtains can seem deceptively simple, but getting them to hang just right takes a bit of know-how. Essentially, there are two main ways to hang curtains:

What are the 2 different ways you can hang curtains?

Using Curtain Rods

The most common way to hang curtains is by using curtain rods mounted above the window. Curtain rods come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials to fit your decor.

Types of Curtain Rods

  • Straight rods – These standard curtain rods span the entire length of the window and use rings or clips to secure the curtains. They work for most basic window treatments.
  • Tension rods – Tension curtain rods fit into place by tension against the walls on either side of the window. They are easy to install and remove without tools or hardware.
  • Curved rods – Curved or bell-shaped curtain rods create a graceful, elegant look. The curve helps the curtains drape beautifully around the window.
  • Double rods – Double curtain rods utilize two parallel rods to hang two separate curtains. This allows you to layer sheers and heavier curtains for added privacy and light filtering.

Mounting Considerations

Proper mounting and placement of the curtain rods is key for functionality and visual appeal:

  • Mount the rod above the window frame – For most rooms, a good rule of thumb is to install the rod 3-4 inches above the window frame. This creates nice folds and stacking of the curtains when open.
  • Adjust to window height – The rod should be mounted high enough so the curtains clear the window height when closed, while not hanging too low when open. Measure precisely for best results.
  • Wall mounting – Most rods mount securely into walls studs on brackets or finials for stability. Make sure to hit studs, or use hollow drywall anchors.
  • Ceiling mount is another option, especially for very tall windows. Be sure to use adequate ceiling hooks rated for the weight.
  • Span past window edges – For full window coverage when closed, the curtain rod should span 4-6 inches past the edges of the window trim.

Hanging the Curtains

  • Ring tops utilize metal or plastic rings on the top back side of the curtain to slide onto the rod neatly. Even pleating and spacing is key as you slide them on.
  • Clip tops have sewn-in clips to bite onto the rod snugly and prevent sliding. Grab the clip bottoms when positioning curtains on the rod for best control.
  • Tab tops have buttonholes sewn into the top back for slipping onto specialty curtain wand attachments. These offer very smooth movement and even spacing.
  • Pinch pleat tops have pre-formed pleats with hooks at the pinched areas for attaching to the hooks on a traverse rod system. Traverse rods draw the curtains open and closed across the window.

No matter the specific hardware used, the curtain tops should attach securely to the rod, with smooth operation and even spacing for best functionality and visuals.

Using Tension Curtain Rods

The second main way to hang curtains is by using spring-loaded tension curtain rods. These handy rods mount inside the window frame to grip tightly in place for hanging curtains.

Benefits of Tension Rods

Tension curtain rods offer some unique advantages:

  • Easy installation – Just cut them to size, press into place between walls or in the window frame, and mount the curtains. No brackets, screws or tools needed.
  • Portability – Lightweight tension rods can move from room to room in a snap. Take them on trips to darken hotel rooms affordably.
  • Remove whenever needed without damaging walls or window frames. Great for rentals and temporary blackout needs.
  • Adjustable sizing – Most models have adjustable telescoping ends to squeeze down snugly from 30 to 48 inches or more. Find a custom fit for any tricky narrow spaces.
  • Strength – Sturdy steel springs provide ample strength to securely hold average curtain weights without sagging. Length and weight limits vary by model.

However, tension curtain rods do have some drawbacks to consider:

  • Can bow outward under very heavy fabrics or too wide a span. Measure precisely and use lighter curtains for best results.
  • Overtensioning them can put undue stress on window framing. Use reasonable pressure.
  • Will not work over roof-to-floor windows or for handing multiple panels.

Hanging Methods

Tension curtain rods use two basic hanging methods to keep them firmly planted inside the window for hanging curtains:

Spring tension pressure rods have telescoping pieces that press tightly outwards on the sides. Find the exact width for a tight friction fit.

Twist and lock tension rods have adjustable locking sections that twist into place. Once inserted, rotate them 90 degrees to lock them in place securely. Reverse the turn to unlock for moving or adjusting.

When installing, find stud positions first for the strongest anchoring. Press into place while keeping the rod reasonably straight. The tension spring design allows them to self-adjust within the window frame. Hang curtain panels like you would from a regular rod using ring, pinch pleat or clip tops.


Knowing these two basic methods – using standard curtain rods or convenient tension rods – gives you all the knowledge you need to successfully hang curtains over any window in your home. Take measurements, assess hardware needs, then make your functional and fashionable curtain ideas a reality. Your windows will thank you for the stylish treatment.

“How to perfectly hang curtains”

Hanging curtains well comes down to finding the right hardware for your space, precise measurements, proper installation, and suitable curtain styles to create beautiful window dressings that function flawlessly and stand the test of time. This complete guide covers all the essential tips and types of rods to make your curtain project succeed with style.

Key Takeaways

  • The two main ways to hang curtains are using traditional curtain rods mounted above the window, or spring tension rods inside the window frame itself.
  • Consider the length, weight and look of your curtains to help determine the best rod solution. Factor in window measurements and room decor.
  • Mount anchored curtain rods properly above the window frame for functionality and aesthetics. Be sure to hit studs securely.
  • Tension rods offer quick, adjustable installation but have limits on width and weight capacity overall.
  • Both tension rods and classic poles have unique benefits and disadvantages to weigh given your specific needs and windows.
  • Measure carefully, follow individual product instructions, select suitable curtain weights, and utilize the appropriate hanging method for best results.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the most common ways to hang curtains?
    The two main methods are standard curtain rods mounted above the window frame using brackets, or tension curtain rods that install inside the window frame using spring tension pressure.

  2. Should you hang curtains above or below the window frame?
    For functionality and aesthetics, most experts recommend hanging curtain rods about 3-4 inches above the window molding. This helps them stack and fold correctly when open.

  3. How wide should curtain rods be compared to the window?
    Standard advice is to have curtain rods extend 4 to 6 inches wider than the window frame. This allows full coverage when closed. Make sure they are also long enough to accommodate the entire window height.

  4. What depth curtains are best?
    For gathering and draping well on standard straight rods, curtain depth should be one and a half to two times the width of the window. More depth and fullness allows more attractive billowing effects.

  5. What height should you place curtain rods?
    The exact height depends on total window height, ceiling heights, and the length of the curtains, but the standard guideline is to mount straight curtain rods just above the window trim molding. Often between 6 to 12 inches above looks best.

  6. Can you use tension rods on all windows?
    Tension curtain rods have weight, width, and length limitations for functionality, so they cannot accommodate extremely large windows. Avoid trying to stretch them beyond their limits. Measure first.

  7. What rooms are best for spring tension curtain rods?
    Tension rods excel in spaces like dorm rooms, rentals, kids rooms, small spaces, offices, travels, and more that require adjustable, temporary rods without brackets, tools or damage.

  8. Why are my curtains sagging even with clips?
    Check that each curtain clip is fully affixed properly to the rod, with bottoms accessible for adjustments. If mounted well, sagging issues usually indicate curtains are too heavy for the rod. Switch to a stronger bracketed pole.

  9. How do I make curtain panels stack evenly?
    Carefully spacing ring tops as you slide them onto curtain rods ensures even pleats. Check spacing consistency and straighten as needed. Alternatively, consider tab topped or pinch pleated curtains that attach at precise intervals.

  10. How do you hang blackout curtains?
    Hang blackout curtains the same way you would regular drapes, using a quality curtain rod mounted just above the window frame. Be sure to overlap panels in the middle and secure edges inside mounts for maximum light blockage.

  11. What is the best way to hang curtains high and wide?
    For extremely tall or wide window spans, use an sturdy extension bracketed pole with multiple ceiling mounts. Or install a track system with cables and pulleys to draw heavier drapes smoothly open and closed.

  12. How can I hang curtains on an oddly shaped window?
    Consider specialty traverse rods systems for rounded windows. Or have custom panels made, installing individual standard rods to follow unique frame shapes.

  13. What fabrics work best for sound dampening?
    Choose curtains with soft, insulating fabrics like velvet, fleece and thick cotton in many overlapping folds when noise reduction is key. Layer shear, blackout and insulating linings too.

  14. Do curtain weights really matter?
    Yes, purchase or sew curtains that do not exceed rod and hardware weight limits listed. Too-heavy fabrics can cause sagging, bowing and possible collapse despite proper installation.

  15. How do I hang floor to ceiling curtains?
    Use height adjustable telescoping rods designed for tall windows. Or select specialty extenders to connect multiples rods for extra long runs. Be sure to securely ceiling mount at studs for safety.

  16. What ceiling hooks should I use for curtains?
    Choose metal drywall anchors and hooks explicitly rated to hold at least 5 times the total weight of all curtain panels combined for proper safety and stability.

  17. Where should you drill holes for ceiling curtain rods?
    Always try to drill directly into ceiling studs for strongest anchoring. If between studs, use hollow drywall anchors able to hold heavy static loads without tearing out.

  18. How do I hang door curtains?
    Narrow tension rods are perfect for spanning snugly across door frames to hang lightweight door curtains or beads. Or install an extendable pole pocket kit with hardware above the door for quick slide-in rod insertion.

  19. Where should you drill holes to hang a bay window rod?
    With bay windows, install securing end brackets directly into studs at a slight angle pointing towards the center for increased stability. Position them to account for mitered corners.

  20. How can I hang café curtains without brackets?
    Spring-style tension rods are ideal for quickly installing decorative café curtains and valances since they grip inside frames with no need for drilling or hardware.

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