Decor

Are You Hanging Curtains Correctly?? (Plus, our favorite curtains and rods!)

July 29, 2020  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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My friend Marco Polo’d me from her new house earlier this week. She walked me through room by room showing me everything they have done and wanted to do. When she got to her daughters’ room, she stopped, “Look at the curtains–did we do them wrong? They are just huggggginnnggg the window and look weird.” Sure enough–they were hung to cover the window precisely with no breathing room on the sides or above. It’s a pretty common error and it’s not entirely your fault. Most box stores only carry up to 84″ curtain lengths which gives you NO room to hang your curtains higher. I always take the extra time to order something online (I linked all of my go-tos at the bottom of this post!) so I can hang our curtains both higher and wider than our windows. It really helps your window (and space!) look larger and more grand, and who doesn’t want that?!

You can also use this trick to center an off-centered window or make shorter rooms look taller. Curtains. have. power! For 8′ ceilings, I almost always order 95-96″ curtains and for 9′ ceilings, I go for 108″. I don’t mind a little puddle on the floor with our curtains, but you can always easily hem them or use hem-tape if you prefer your curtains to barely KISS the floor. Avoid high water curtains at all cost. If your curtains are hanging out 6-12 inches from the floor, it’s not doing your space any favors. If it’s for safety sake (like, maybe you have a baseboard heater right where you curtains would hit), I’d opt for a crisp roman shade instead.

Let’s take a trip down curtain memory lane and see how we’ve hung curtains in a few of the spaces in our projects.

Greta’s Room

Lowe’s Arizona Bedroom Makeover

 

Clayton Two-Day Bedroom Makeover

 

Our Living Room in Our Last Home

 

Our Closet

 

Our Bedroom in Our Last Home

 

Brooke’s Apartment

 

Pugmire’s Bedroom

 

Polly’s Old Nursery

 

Polly’s Room

As you can see, curtains can add color or blend in. Sometimes we added 4 panels for a super luxe look, or something light and airy or blackout or went custom (like our closet) for just the right vibe. A lot of the photos we have curtains paired with shades and I can’t get enough of that layered  look (these bamboo ones are a fav around here).

As for our go-to curtains, check these out:

1. Aruba Blackout Curtain Panel $29
2. Sour cream Plaid Curtain Panel $29
3. Preston Plaid Darkening Curtain Panel $39
4. Linen Light Filtering Curtain Panel $39
5. Blackout Vintage Textured Curtain $48
6. Pinstripe Curtain Panel $49
7. Beige Blush Velvet Curtain Panel $60
8. Italian Textured Faux Linen Hotel Blackout Curtain $68
9. Quincy Cotton Canvas Blackout Curtain Panel $69
10. Broadway Rod Pocket Curtain, Set of 2 $79
11. Belgian Flax Linen Melange Curtain $89
12. Classic Belgian Flax Linen Rod Pocket Curtain $109
13. Velvet Copper Curtain Panel $119
14. Extra Wide Velvet Blackout Curtain $126
15. Worn Velvet Curtain $129
16. Emery Linen/Cotton Rod Pocket Curtain $159

 

When shopping for a rod, make sure you choose a length that’s long enough to extend past your window on either side. If there’s space, I like the inside of the curtain to just cover the window trim.

1. Kenney Curtain Rod $24
2. Adjustable Curtain Rod $30
3. Gold Ivilon Drapery Window Curtain Rod $34
4. Silver Ivilon Drapery Window Curtain Rod $37
5. Matte Ball Drapery Rods $39
6. Urban Modern Barrel Curtain Rod $49
7. Seamless Black with Brass Band Curtain Rod $49
8. Sofia Curtain Rod $49
9. Blackout Curtain Rod $49
10. Black Ivilon Drapery Window Curtain Rod $57
11. Brass Room Darkening Curtain Rod $59
12. Mid-Century Wooden Double Rod $160

 

What do you think?

  1. Thank you very much for presenting this data about are you hanging curtains correctly plus our favorite curtains and rods, it’s known how to get approved but what are the next steps after getting the approval… Wonderful information, thanks a lot for sharing kind of content with us… great post!Do check out this Beautifulblinds.co.nz, it has some great and nice ideas to look for.

  2. Laura Y says:

    What do you think of doing short curtain rods on either side of a large (149 inch) window in my dining room? I am putting woven wood shades there, but would like to soften and add more dimension to the room. Because of the length of the window I would need to get a custom rod if I were to put a rod the entire length of the window, so I thought two 12-20 inch rods would be a solution. How would I place the rod (thinking 8-10 inches off the frame to allow the curtains to remain “open” but not covering much of the window frame.) And then, would you hang 50″ panel or a 100″ panel? Thank you for any help you can give me!

  3. Shalee says:

    The bamboo ones that you recommend, only come in a 60” length. My window is only 33” length. What would you recommend for this situation? Thanks!

  4. Evelina says:

    Hi! Thanks for this clear and very helpful post on curtains! I’m struggling with deciding on how to hang my curtains. When do you opt for curtains touching the rod vs clipped to rings? I’m doing white curtains on white walls. Thanks!!

  5. Jessica says:

    Hello. I have two windows super close together but on separate walls, how would you properly hand curtains on windows like this? There is not enough room for two separate rods.

    • Erin says:

      I’m having the same problem! If I put up 2 rods they are going to be askew. Can’t do a shade and all the corner rods I find are either not cute or cost a fortune. We’re renting so I have no interest in spending a lot on a custom treatment.

  6. Cindy says:

    This is by far the best post I have seen regarding hanging curtains.
    Love the details with curtains and rods.
    Your posts are so helpful and completed with great detail and professionalism.
    Thank you

  7. Jessica says:

    Love your style so much! Any suggestions on how to handle a large arched window with a pitched ceiling? I’m so stumped. Thanks!

  8. CL says:

    Great info! Thanks for putting it together. How high is too high? We have vaulted ceilings, and there’s about 7 feet above our window to the ceiling. 108″ looks a bit too disconnected from my window, but I’m not sure.

  9. Patricia Caviness says:

    How many inches past each side of the window should the rod extend? Thank you!

  10. Amy says:

    Thank you for your curtain blog post today! I have a question: I have 8-foot ceilings and the windows in all of our bedrooms are only 42″ high, which means if I use to-the-floor curtains there is almost the same amount of fabric over the window as there is hanging over the wall below it. I know that to the floor is what is usually recommended, but it feels like I’m trying too hard to make the windows look grand, which they aren’t! Could I do curtains that hang just a few inches below the bottom of the window, or is that just a bad idea?! Or do you have any other suggestions? The trim on the windows is not interesting – think late ’60s architecture – so I don’t want to just do a roman shade as the curtains hide the boring trim. Thank you!

  11. Gem says:

    Please could you let me in on the secret of the master closet curtains? They pleat perfectly – is there a dart or something stitched in to the fold, or is this a style of curtain I maybe don’t know about? They’re just so gorgeous!

  12. KarenJ says:

    Lots of great information here but do you have any advice about how to hang curtains when baseboard heaters are below the window? No one ever mentions this even though it must be a super common issue. I inherited the curtains from our home’s previous owner in the master bedroom – one window has the baseboard heater and the other doesn’t and the drapes are different lengths! To me that just looks silly.

  13. Amy Fischer says:

    Thank you for this. I have a question: I have 8-foot ceilings and the windows in all of our bedrooms are only 42″ high, which means if I use to-the-floor curtains there is almost the same amount of fabric over the window as there is hanging over the wall below it. I know to the floor is what is usually recommended, but it feels like I’m trying too hard to make the windows look grand, which they aren’t! Could I do curtains that hang just a few inches below the bottom of the window, or is that just a bad idea?! Or do you have any other suggestions? The trim on the windows is not interesting – think late ’60s architecture – so I don’t want to just do a roman shade as the curtains hide the boring trim. Thank you!

  14. Janis says:

    What do you recommend for living room corner windows where the two windows meet in the corner? Would you just hang 2 panels, one on each opposing side (far left and far right) or would you also hang a curtain in the corner where the windows meet?

  15. Jessica says:

    I would love to know what to do if your window is almost up against a wall. Just skip curtains?

  16. Gem says:

    All these look so great! My curtains always look a bit sad. Your master closet curtains seem to hang very beautifully – is this a special kind of pleat? It almost looks like there’s a dart sewn in at each fold? I love how the rings are barely visible and can’t work out what’s making them hang so perfectly. Could you please help?!

  17. Kelsey says:

    Would you ever choose to not use curtains in a bedroom? We have a beautiful window with blinds and I keep going back and forth to hang curtains or not. Thanks!

  18. Alexis says:

    We have low ceilings (very old colonial) that would benefit from high curtain rods to make room look taller. We also have hot water baseboard heaters throughout our house. They’re not electric, so not concerned about a curtain near it, but think the curtain might hit it and create a weird lump at the bottom. Do you know of any rods that come out from the wall further than usual?

  19. Nisha George says:

    When would you go with a ceiling mounted rod vs a wall mounted rod? I’m thinking of the ceiling mounted rod in the old bunk room vs the wall mounted rods pictured in this post. Thanks!

  20. Michelle says:

    I have 10 ft ceilings with 19″ between the ceiling and top of the window trim. What length drape would you choose and at what height would you the hang drapes?

  21. Julie Buchanan says:

    Do you have a go to for affordable window blinds? we are replacing our windows in preparation to sell and have to get new blinds. Do you feel they should all be the same throughout the house? Some of the old ones will work with the new windows and i’m debating about keeping those. Thanks!

  22. Renee says:

    Thank you for sharing! What do you recommend for hanging shades or blinds (Roman style)- do you hang them as an outside mount high and wide or do you hang them as an inside mount?

  23. Madison says:

    Not curtain related, but I love the bedding in the third picture (blue/gray bedroom), where did it come from?

  24. Caroline says:

    I’ve been looking for the perfect pin striped window panels. Thank you ???????? CB2 I’m coming!!

  25. Wendy says:

    I would love to hear suggestions for what to do if you do have baseboard heating. It’s on all my exterior walls. I do have curtains in two rooms and have for years, but not entirely if it’s safe or if there are ways to make sure it’s safe.

  26. Sarah says:

    Hi there – thanks for this post! I live in the UK, where rooms and houses are WAY smaller, and ceilings are only 8′. I’ve got a bay window in my living room that goes right up to the crown moulding – do you have any recommendations for that sort of setup? Thanks so much – love your work!

  27. RC says:

    Love these tips, cannot read the white text on tan in your graphics

  28. PJ Musick says:

    I live in Pittsburgh in a +century old Victorian (Painted Lady). My dining room has 2 big beautiful windows that are now naked. The trouble? One window has a radiator beneath and the other doesn’t. It would require two different length curtains. Any ideas?
    Hi to Victoria! (Pittsburgh friends)

  29. Chrissy says:

    I love all of the curtains you have done and I see you and a lot of bloggers making the high and wide recommendation. I live in an old colonial style house with windows breaking up every exterior wall. We don’t have a ton of interior wall space due to open concept and the walls with windows often present the best opportunity for a built in or other storage furniture, but the wider the curtain the less room for that, in a couple rooms we only have 3-4 ft to work with on either side of window to begin with. Would no curtains and just a window shade be a better option than hugging tight curtains? Or a panel only on one side, balanced out by furniture on other side? Is there any type of valence that is ever cute or are those just not a thing anymore?

  30. Lydia says:

    What do you do if your ceiling isn’t level (ours has about a 10 degree slant)? No matter what we do, the curtain rod looks crooked!

  31. Jessica says:

    What would you do for a window that is butts up right next to a perpendicular wall? Meaning, there’s no room to extend the curtain on one side. It has bamboozled me for years now.

    • Julia says:

      If the window is large enough, I would cover part of the window on one side. If it’s a smaller window, I’d do a shade.

  32. Jamie says:

    Would you recommend curtains if the windows go to the corner of the wall?

    • Julia says:

      If the window is large enough, I would cover part of the window on one side. If it’s a smaller window, I’d do a shade.

  33. Linda says:

    Such pretty rooms! I was wondering. What do you do if you have two different size windows next to each other? I have a different size window on each side of a corner. Should I put them at the same height above the window or make them the same height regardless of the window size? They are both the same width size but one is shorter than the other. Thanks for all your great advice! Love your style!

  34. Meg says:

    I live in a historic apartment in the Bay Area – 12″ baseboard, 6″ trim, crown molding and lots of bay windows throughout. It’s all very beautiful, but the thought of dressing the windows seems so daunting to me that I’ve just left up the cheap, ugly blinds that came with the unit. Any tips?

  35. Susan says:

    When, if ever, would you do a double curtain rod look? Is that outdated? We gave a giant 12′ long window with no panes and I think it would give the window some dimension.

  36. Oh well time to post! Thanks Julia! What is the width of window to width of curtain panel ratio that you would recommend?

  37. Katy says:

    Hi Julia!
    I really love the blush curtains in Greta’s room! A perfect example of your pro-curtain argument!
    I am always at a loss for how to do curtains in my home. In fact, I have definitely committed some of the errors you list. But I haven’t seen a good method for addressing the type of windows in my mid-century home. In our bedrooms, we have huge windows but they are wiiiiiiide and short. The windows in my kids rooms are about 2 feet tall and 7 feet wide! Curtains that go floor to ceiling make them look like the have droopy ears! I guess I don’t expect you to address all crazy window types, but I keep crossing my fingers that one day I’ll find an influencer with my same crazy windows, haha.

  38. Amy says:

    Do you have any tips on picking shower curtains? Should they go all the way to the top like regular curtains?

  39. Meg Rice says:

    I live in a historic apartment in the Bay Area – 12″ baseboard, 8″ trim, crown molding and lots of bay windows throughout. It’s all very beautiful, but the thought of dressing the windows seems so daunting to me that I’ve just left up the cheap, ugly blinds that came with the unit. Any tips?

  40. Meg says:

    I live in a historic apartment in the Bay Area – 12″ baseboard, 8″ trim, crown molding and lots of bay windows throughout. It’s all very beautiful, but the thought of dressing the windows seems so daunting to me that I’ve just left up the cheap, ugly blinds that came with the unit. Any tips?

  41. Marie says:

    Slightly off-topic- In the Clayton bedroom, did you do panel molding on just one wall? I’d like to do something similar in a bedroom, but with three doors and two uncentered windows across three walls, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around how to make the panels/molding not totally random.

  42. Loralei says:

    Thank you for this post!! I have a question about curtain placement if I can’t get the length I want. My daughter’s bedroom is quite small. I diy’d a desk that butts up to the wall and doesn’t allow for floor length curtains. (I love your directions about extending the curtains beyond the sides of the window.) However, there is about 10 inches between the bottom of the window apron and the top of the desk. What length should I extend the curtains to? I am thinking about 2 inches above the desk. Also, will it look ok if I put the curtain high like you suggest, or does that only work for full length curtains? Thank you!!!

  43. Christine says:

    This is great timing! We are currently figuring out window treatments for our new house. What are your thoughts on curtains AND blinds? I want really dark bedrooms. We currently have cordless blinds on our windows, but I love the look of curtains for a more finished, elegant look. Will it be too much with both?

  44. Lydia bahrke says:

    This was so helpful! I’ve literally been putting off curtains cuz I just don’t feel confident in the “right” rules. This cleared up a lot. Thank you!!!

  45. Christina F says:

    I was excited for this informational post! If you have the time, would you mind advising on my 1960’s windows? They’re the horizontally wide but very short windows under which you usually (I suppose?) place a bed. But I don’t place a bed under all of those windows so they just seem to float… kinda like a prison window. Any advice?
    Similarly, if a window begins at my waist, I suppose use a shade instead of a curtain draping to the floor?
    Thanks!

    • Claire says:

      I am having a similar issue. Our house is from the late 60s/early 70s when “ranch-style” homes were very popular (at least on the west coast). Thus we have very wide and very narrow windows: living room, front room, and all bedrooms. The previous owner had valances that made the low ceilings look even lower and weighed down every room they were installed.

  46. Kasey says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! We are moving next month and this informative post will help me so much when I’m ordering rods and curtains for the entire house!

  47. Stephanie says:

    We have a 9-ft ceiling but the window is only 7-ft high so there is a 2-ft of wall space above it. Would you still opt for 108″ curtain and hang it close to the ceiling with that big of gap?

  48. jessica delaney says:

    Love this post. Thanks so much for the tips. I have three 32″ windows side by side with 4″ in between each. Do I try and find one really long curtain rod?

    • Julia says:

      Yes I would go for a really long rod

      • Chelsea says:

        Thanks, Julia. How do you determine when to do one long rod versus two separate? We have two ~2ft wide windows with ~6 feet between them. Would the middle look too empty if these were under one long rod?

      • Amanda McNutt says:

        Hi there! I know I’m not Julia, but I would do 2 rods, and 4 curtains. I’m thinking there would be enough breathing space for them. (See Young House Loves last master bedroom) If there’s not enough breathing space, do one large curtain rod with 3-4 curtains. I hope this helps!

  49. Kerri says:

    Thank you for this post and all the photos. I noticed that you usually place the rod at the ceiling or right below the trim. Is there a reason for that?

  50. Emily Wachtmeister says:

    Help! We live in an old house with radiators and radiator covers in front of almost every window. What do I do for window treatments?

  51. Gem says:

    The curtains in your closet are really really beautifully hung. I’m trying to work out why they look so good. Almost like you can’t see the ring, or there’s an extra dart or something that makes them pleat very nicely at the top. Is there something special going on with them, or is it just because they’re very full so they pleat closely when open/pushed back? None of my curtains ever look this good!

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