Wondering what kind of window coverings work best in your space? Or maybe you’ve spent hours figuring out how to hang curtains or shades, only to realize that they don’t measure up. To save yourself save time and money, learn how to hang curtains (and curtain rods) using a few expert tips.
How to hang curtains
Be sure to take measurements before you purchase curtains. The general rule is to opt for drapes that are at least two times the width of the window, says New York designer Elaine Griffin. By following this guideline, curtains will look appealing and flowing even when closed (and the window will look wider, too).
Hang curtain panels flanking the window 6 to 12 inches beyond the frame to lessen any obstruction of the view, and to trick the eye into thinking the opening is larger than it is. This is particularly helpful in a space with a large, blank wall or when the size of the window feels disproportionate to the rest of the space.
How to hang curtain rods
Depending on the length and width of the curtains you choose, opt for a telescoping rod that can be adjusted to the size you need. Using a level, mark with a pencil where the rod should hang on your wall. Then install anchors and attach the curtain rod according to package instructions (it’s best to enlist a friend for an extra set of hands).
If you want to make the room feel taller and more dramatic, hang the curtain rod 6 inches above the window frame, up to a few inches below the ceiling. Just be sure to select drapery that is long enough to skim the floor or puddle just a bit when hung from that height. Drapery that is too short (unless there is a radiator or other obstruction in the way) can stunt the look of the space. Another way to make the space feel larger is to select lightweight, sheer fabrics.
How to hang curtains without a rod
If you don’t want to hang curtain rods, you can opt for drapery hung from an invisible track mounted within the window frame or on the ceiling. Alternately, you could consider roller or solar shades. These are popular because they’re minimal in design and inexpensive. Plus, they come in a variety of styles to suit your needs — from blackout shades to those that filter light. If your goal is to let in light while disguising a less-than-appealing view, opt for something like a neutral, natural-fiber Roman shade or energy-efficient honeycomb shade.
Griffin says you can combine both form and function by using two layers of window treatments. To control light, use wood slat blinds or roller shades. Then add curtains for dimension and visual impact.
Whether you go the custom route or opt for off-the-shelf styles, these tips will help you make the best, most informed decision for your space.
(Real Simple magazine provides smart, realistic solutions to everyday challenges. Online at www.realsimple.com.)