The Secret to Hanging Curtains Beautifully
Learn key methods and measurements for fullness and stacking to get your window treatments on the right track
To help you get your curtains just right, here are some guidelines for height, width, installation and more.
Even the humblest curtain can benefit from two key rules: in almost every scenario, the best place to hang a curtain is from the ceiling line – either right at the ceiling or just below a bulkhead or moulding – and stretching down to the floor.
This gives the longest possible appearance, which can make small spaces look larger and large spaces look grand.
Find an interior designer near you.
In this case, let about 3cm to 5cm of material hit the floor to create a bit of buckling. Just be sure to keep the floor free of debris so your curtains don’t turn into a dust broom.
Using pairs of panels on one long curtain rod or track is usually the most polished option, even for complex sets of windows, such as a bay or a wall with windows and patio doors.
Another no-brainer approach is to simply curtain an area wall to wall. This helps erase any oddly placed windows and creates a clean plane, making for a beautiful backdrop to other design elements.
It’s important to remember that the literal width of a set of curtain panels shouldn’t simply equal the width of the curtain rod. This is for two important reasons: fullness and stacking.
Fullness refers to the fabric width needed to give the curtains a pleasant, natural wave (rather than trying to have them stretch tautly and awkwardly across a wall when closed).
Typical fullness for curtain width is 2½ times the rod width. Tripling the rod width is a more luxurious option, especially for thinner, flexible fabrics such as sheers.
This means that, if you want a curtain to open fully and uncover a window completely, the rod or track will need extra length at the end to allow the curtain to “stack” out of the way of the window.
Therefore, if you want your curtain to open wide enough to reveal the whole window, the rod or track should be this percentage wider than the window itself.
You might also enjoy How to Choose and Hang Curtains in a Bay Window.
Besides taking up space, the stacking of patterned curtains can dramatically change their look from how they appear when drawn shut. When selecting a fabric, try to get your hands on a sizable sample so you can see how the material looks folded. This will give you a much more accurate idea of how the curtains will look installed.
Notice how the curtain in this room goes from looking like a series of circles when shut to looking like perfect stripes when stacked. This can be quite a surprising change.
Would you employ any of these design tips in your own home? Share your thoughts in the Comments.