How High to Hang Curtains (Height Guide)

How High to Hang Curtains (Height Guide)

How to Mount the Curtain Rods

When selecting the right curtain rod, go for one that is a bit wider than the width of your window. This will allow whatever curtains you chose to cover the window at all times. Go for a curtain rod that is between eight and 12 inches wider than your window, as it will give the illusion that your window is larger than it is. This is just one idea for how to make a small room look bigger.

How To Hang Curtains For Wide Windows?

If you have wide windows that need to be covered, bring the rod as high as possible (between 8 and 10 inches depending on wall height). This will balance out the width, making the window seem taller as well.

You may want to avoid making the rod extend too much further than the window frame on wide windows. It can make it appear even wider and may look awkward.

How High To Hang Curtains Above Sliding Glass Doors?

The curtain rod over sliding glass doors is hung between 3 and 6 inches over the door frame. Just like with windows, the higher you hang the rod, the table the door will appear. These curtains should hang, so they touch the floor barely to make for convenient passage through the doorway. 

NICETOWN Sliding Door Curtain

These curtains are designed to be wide enough for use with sliding doors. Click here to see them on Amazon.

Video

How to Hang Curtains

Once you have panels in the right width and length, hang the curtains using this simple two-step process.

What You Need

  • Curtain rod with brackets
  • Screws
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Wall anchors (optional)

cottage style contemporary living room with blue curtains Credit: Brie Williams

Should Curtains Touch the Ground?

Yes, curtains can touch the ground slightly or eve

Yes, curtains can touch the ground slightly or even pool onto the floor. Long curtains that trail onto the floor slightly create a romantic look, which is a good option for bedrooms. Keep in mind that curtains that puddle onto the floor tend to get noticeably dirty quicker than curtains higher off the ground. You will also need to hold or tie them up when vacuuming or sweeping.

These curtains are 95 inches long, which should be tall enough to allow for pooling. Click here to see these on Amazon.

Width Considerations

Use these tricks to make the drapes a standard width and to create the illusion of wider windows:

  • The standard distance from the window casing to the end of the curtain rod (excluding finials) on each side of the window should be four to 10 inches.
  • As a general rule, drapes will be open during the day, so make sure the curtain rod extends at least four inches on each side of the window’s inside frame.
  • To create the illusion of a wider window, extend the rod up to 10 inches beyond the window's frame.

Illustration: The Spruce / Emily Mendoza

Types of Hangers

When you’ve figured out how high to hang your curtains, the next thing is figuring out what kind of hangers (or hanging method) you want to use. There are quite a few options for this – here’s some overview:

  1. Tiebacks and pullbacks can be used as an alternative to curtain rods when curtains aren’t lined up with each other. You can even add decorative finials or butterfly clips on top. This is my preferred style – I love tiebacks and find that they look very crisp and clean. The downside? It doesn’t work well if you have small windows/areas where the fabric might fall short of the molding below it without being tied back somehow.
  2. Hooks are easily the cheapest way to go if you’re just looking for something that will work. I don’t recommend hooks in most cases, because they can look messy and are harder to adjust/tighten than curtain rods or rings.
  3. Rings are a versatile option that has been in use for decades – no surprise. They make up our favorite type of rod hardware and usually come with screw-in mounts so that you can drill directly into your window frame (or you can also hand curtains without drilling).
  4. Screws are like rings, except they screw into the wall rather than being free-standing pieces of hardware. They can be useful if you want to mount some decorative brackets on the wall instead of a rod, as an alternative to curtain rings.
  5. Rods are the most common type of hardware for curtains -they come as exposed hardware (no finials or brackets) or with nice decorative touches like finials.
  6. Hanging rod systems are more complicated than traditional curtain rods, but they can offer a lot of interesting design options – especially if your windows have unusual shapes you want to work with. These can also be a good option for large rooms where multiple panels must line up well together (ie columns).

Steps for Hanging a Curtain Rod

Follow these steps to learn how to properly hang a curtain rod. Scroll down for the list of tools and materials needed for this project.

Step 1: Measure the window

  • To add drapes that partially cover the window, I’d add 2-5 inches to each side of the frame.
  • To position the curtains completely to the sides of the window, which is always my preference to let in the most light, I’ll add 8-15 inches to each side of the window.
  • To fine-tune this measurement, I use a stud finder to locate the stud beside the window. If a stud if close to my desired location, I’ll shift my placement so that my mounting screws can insert into a stud.
  • If your placement can’t land on a stud, just be sure to install wall anchors before installing the hanging brackets. If you have a long span of over 4 feet or are using a thinner rod, you may also need to add a center bracket to prevent the rod from sagging.
  • Next, I’ll measure the height, from the floor to the top edge of my window’s frame. A curtain rod usually sets about 4 inches above the window, but many people raise the rod even higher to make the room feel taller.

Keep in mind that floor-length curtain panels come in somewhat standard heights of 84 inches, 95 inches, 108 inches, and 120 inches. If you decide to move the rod up, you may need to purchase a longer panel and hem it to length or spend more money on custom curtains.

Step 2: Decide what kind of curtain you’ll be installing before hanging the rod

  • The most common hanging types are grommets, which are metal-lined holes in the curtains, tabs which hang above the top edge of the curtain, rings which clip onto the curtain and hang on the rod, and a pocket sleeve which slides over and completely conceals the rod.
  • The hanging type can adjust the overall height of the curtain, so be sure to have your curtains on hand to help determine the final height of the rod.

Step 3: Measure and mark the location of the hangers on the wall

  • On an open space, it can be difficult to replicate these measurements on both sides of the window and have them turn out perfectly level, so today I’m creating a quick cardboard template.
  • To do this, cut the corner out of a square piece of cardboard that can fit over the top corner of the window frame.
  • Measure and mark the desired location of the hardware
  • Create two holes using the hanger as a guide. Now place the template on the wall, slide it against the window frame, and mark the position of the holes.
  • Drive the screws into the wall, and position the hanger.
  • Flip to the opposite side to make the remaining marks and install the screws.
  • Feed the curtain onto the rod, and then place it on the hook. Add a finial, and then tighten the set screw

How Fabric Impacts Curtains

Lighter fabrics, such as sheers, will help make the room feel airy as they let in more light. If you need to warm up a room, try denser fabrics or thermal drapes which will also give you more privacy. Winter curtains can stop drafts and save energy.

How High Should Your Curtain Rod Be?

The next thing is to make sure that the curtain rod will be mounted high enough above the window frame. Generally speaking, 12-14 inches above the window frame is fairly standard and will give you adequate fabric flow in most cases. Longer windows may need a higher rod. 

Other things to keep in mind: 

  1. If you have a shorter window and are opting for longer curtains, your rod height will need to be lowered accordingly. If the curtains reach the floor but won’t cover ¾ of the space (because there’s molding on the bottom or something), that also needs to be taken into consideration before placing your curtain rod.
  2. The same goes for tall windows – if they aren’t high enough, hang them lower. 

2. Hang them wide

When you open your curtains, you want the panels to just “kiss” the outside edge of the window frame rather than obscure any of the glass window pane. This simple trick allows the maximum amount of light to come through, and it has the added benefit of making your windows feel wider. Aim to hang the curtain rod brackets approximately 6 to 8 inches beyond the window frame so when the curtains fall naturally, they won’t block the light.

Low Curtain Rods

Hanging curtain rods lower–generally just a couple of inches above the window frame–is more traditional, and works best when the window frames and ceiling molding are close together. Lower curtain rods also help keep the proportions balanced in wider windows, according to HomeEnvy.com.

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