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How to Choose and Hang Curtains

With the right tools and some planning, you can hang new curtains to freshen up your home's decor.

Tools & Materials

Product costs, availability and item numbers may vary online or by market.

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Know Before You Shop

A chair and table in front of a window with curtains

Before you buy your curtains, snap a photo of your windows. Measure the width at the top, center and bottom of the window frame. Make a sketch marking the largest measurement. Also mark nearby vents, light switches and electrical outlets so that you don't cover them.

The size of your curtains makes a difference in the room's decor:

  • 63-inch curtains usually sit at or just below the sill.
  • 84-inch curtains sit at or just above the floor.
  • 95-inch curtains can be pooled on the floor for a more dramatic appearance.

You may need longer curtains if you're mounting the rod near the ceiling. For width, both curtains combined should be at least twice the width of the window and trim.

Along with curtain size, the rod size and placement can make a difference too. Rods that extend 2-3 inches beyond the frame give a traditional look allowing the curtains to partially cover the window when open. Extending the rod 10-15 inches beyond the trim reveals the entire window, making it look wider.

Hang the rod 6 inches above the window frame for a standard look. Or use extra-long curtains and hang the rod near the ceiling to make the room appear taller. When you're figuring out the curtain and rod placement, remember to account for how the curtain hangs on the rod (hooks, rings, tabs, grommets or pockets). If you're layering curtains, keep in mind that double-rod brackets might extend farther from the wall.

Check the package as to whether the finials are included in the total rod length.

Shop Window Treatments

Good to Know

As soon as you get home, remove curtains from the package and lay them across a bed to allow creases to relax. If necessary, press them smooth with a warm iron or steamer (depending on the fabric) before hanging.

How to Hang the Curtain Rod and Curtains

Good to Know

Proper measurements are critical to this project. Watch our video: How to Use a Tape Measure.


Step 1

Mark the bracket location

To install the curtain rod, measure and mark the bracket locations on the wall. Use a level to line up the pencil markings so that the rod hangs evenly.

Double-check the placement by temporarily hanging the rod on the brackets and checking the rod with a level.

Step 2

Drill a pilot hole.

If your marks aren't lined up with studs, install wall anchors. Make sure the anchors are rated for the weight of the curtains and rod. Drill a pilot hole and install the anchor.

Then set the bracket and drive in the screws. If the bracket rotates or wiggles, adjust the screws to make a tighter hold. Rods wider than four feet will need a center support.


Avoid hammering the hardware straight into the wall without a pilot hole, which may cause the plaster or drywall to crack. Inspect the curtain rod hardware or kit before you drill the holes. Slightly widen your pilot holes to accommodate drywall anchors.

Step 3

Screw in the set screws.

Take the finials off and install the rod. Hang the curtains according to instructions for your rod and window treatment.

Tighten the set screws and then install the finials at the end of each rod.