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How to Choose, Measure and Hang Curtains: A Hassle-Free Guide

How to Hang Curtains
By:Ali Hurley| Last Updated:06/23/2023
Time to Read: 9 min

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How to Hang Curtains

Curtains have many practical applications, such as providing privacy, filtering light and keeping the cold out. But they also have a big influence on the ambiance of a room. Looking to create a cozy bedroom atmosphere or formalize your living room? Read on to find our best curtain hanging tips and learn how to put the final touches on your interior design.


How Do You Choose the Right Types of Curtains for Your Home?

There are many types of curtains with a variety of benefits, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right fit for your home. Each room in your home provides a different opportunity to showcase your personality through décor.

When choosing curtains, you’ll want to consider what you value in each room — are you looking to enhance the natural lighting in the room, or are you looking for more privacy? The current décor in your home can also help point you in the right direction. Natural woods and lighter furniture colors may point you towards sheer curtains, while more ornate furniture may call for velvet curtains. Curtain color choices will vary depending on the colors you already have playing in the room. It’s also important to consider your budget when choosing the right curtains, as some materials are more expensive than others.

We’ve compiled the most common types of curtain fabrics and styles to choose from, which rooms they complement best and their price points, so you don’t have to.

BD Quote Icon

“The most important part of choosing the right curtains is considering how you want them to affect the room. Curtains and drapes are a very large part of your room and will certainly draw attention. Do you plan on leaving the window itself bare, or are you going to layer them with blinds, if so what kind of blinds? Custom curtains will demand attention and frame up best source of natural light in your room, which is why I always recommend custom drapes or curtains. If you want them to blend in, use neutral tones or contrast ever so slightly with your wall color. If you want them to pop and make an impact, consider more vibrant tones or patterns.”
Ben Blythe | SelectBlinds


Types of Curtains for the Living Room

Sheer Curtains

Average Cost: $5 - $20 per panel



  • Cost-effective and widely available.
  • Allow a lot of light to filter through.
  • Provide a more refined look when paired with a second set of curtains.
  • Lack of privacy.
  • Poor insulator.

Cotton Curtains

Average Cost: $20 - $150 per panel



  • Go well with both modern and traditional styles.
  • Great breathability.
  • Strong and durable.
  • Fade with exposure to the sun.
  • Can attract mold and mildew.

Types of Curtains for the Bedroom

Blackout Curtains

Average Cost: $20 - $100 per panel



  • Block out all light.
  • Great insulator.
  • Add a calming effect to the bedroom.
  • Let in less natural light.

Velvet Curtains

Average Cost: $10 - $200 per panel



  • Add an elegant look to the room.
  • Block sunlight.
  • Good insulator.
  • Capture dust and other particles easily.
  • Difficult to remove stains from.

Types of Curtains for the Kitchen

Valance Curtains

Average Cost: $21 - $40 per foot



  • Easy to clean.
  • Allow sunlight in the room.
  • Affordable.
  • Lack of privacy, as they cover only the top half of the window.
  • Poor insulator.

Café Curtains

Average Cost: $12 - $50 per panel



  • Allow for some privacy as they cover the bottom half of the window.
  • Allow sunlight into the room.
  • Poor insulator.

DIY Curtain Ideas

Want to make your own curtains? DIY curtains are a creative and cost-effective way to decorate your windows — and you don’t even have to leave your home to make them. Use bed sheets for a lighter curtain option in your living room, or cut up a tablecloth to make valance or café curtains for your kitchen. You can mix and match your own colors and textures to get the desired curtain design you want without the price tag.

Woman Measuring Wall for Curtains

How to Measure for Curtains

There are a few standard curtain sizes you'll find in the store, available in 63, 84, 96 and 108-inch lengths. However, you’ll need to take both the length and width measurements of your windows when choosing your curtains.

Length: Before measuring for curtains, you’ll want to decide where you want the bottom of the curtain to rest. The most common options are curtains that stop at the bottom sill and floor-length curtains.

Longer curtains are commonly used in the living room, dining room or bedroom. Measure from your curtain rod placement to the floor to get the length for your curtains. Curtain rods are typically placed four inches above your window frame. This elongates your windows and gives your space a modern feel. One popular look is to have curtains puddle on the floor. To create this effect, add between one and 12 inches to the final measurement. When installing floor-length curtains, it's always best to go for a longer curtain if you can't find a size to match your measurements.

In rooms with windows above countertops, such as the kitchen, it's best to measure for a shorter curtain. You have two choices when measuring for shorter curtains. If you’re installing valance curtains, measure from where the curtain rod will be placed to halfway down the window. For full coverage, measure down to the windowsill.

These measurement rules are the same if you’re using adhesive hooks or a tension rod instead of your average curtain rod. For adhesive hooks, you’ll measure from the point on the wall you’ve decided to hang your hooks to the floor or windowsill. For a tension rod, you’ll measure from the top of the inside of your window frame (where your tension rod will be) to the floor or sill.

Width: To get the right curtain width, measure the total length of the curtain rod you're installing. The length of your curtain rod should be the width of your window, including the frame, plus five inches on either side to account for where the curtain rod will be hung outside of the window frame.

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Pro Curtain-Hanging Tip: To fully cover your window when closed, you’ll want to make sure the curtains are 1.5 to 3 times the width of your curtain rod.


Looking for more interior design tips? We have you covered.

How to Hang Curtains

1. Gather Your Materials

Aside from the curtains, rod and brackets themselves, you’ll need a few more simple DIY tools to hang your curtains:

  • Cardboard
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Pencil
  • Screws
  • Tape measure
  • Anchors
  • Step ladder
BD Quote Icon

“Hanging blinds and drapes is easy, in my personal experience, [but] don't be afraid to ask for help. A lot of people are familiar with how to change a ceiling fan, or replace a faucet, because we see those on channels like HGTV but they don't feature a lot of window treatment projects. SelectBlinds has free Design Consultants that you can speak to, and we can help you through the process of hanging your drapes regardless of who manufactured them.”
Ben Blythe | SelectBlinds


2. Determine Where to Hang the Curtain Rod

When hanging your curtain rod, you'll want to consider two different measurements. The first is the height of your curtain rod — do you want the rod in line with your window frame or hanging above it? The traditional height to hang a curtain rod is four inches above your window. If you're working with a small space, hanging your curtain rod higher on the wall helps make the room feel larger.

Woman Measuring Wall With Tape Measure

The second measurement you'll take is the width of your rod. It's best to allow for five inches on either side of your window in addition to the width of your window for the curtain rod measurement. This allows for the optimal amount of light to come through your windows when you pull your curtains aside. When you hang your rod in line with your window, your curtains will block part of the window when opened.

Brackets should be placed about four inches to the side of your window frame on either side. If you’re using a heavy curtain material, you’ll need a center bracket, too. The center bracket should go directly in the middle of your curtain rod. Once you’ve determined the bracket locations for the curtain rod, be sure to mark them on your wall with a pencil.

3. Install Brackets and Hang Your Curtain Rod

Hanging your curtain rod is relatively simple and only requires a few quick steps. First, make sure your pencil marks are level. Then, start from the left and position one bracket on the side of the window where you made your pencil mark. Use your level to make sure the bracket is straight, and mark the spots for the screws. Do the same thing with your mark on the right side. Next, drill holes where you have made your screw marks and install the plastic anchors to provide support. This is especially important when you’re drilling into drywall. Then, screw the brackets into the wall. Repeat this step for the other end of your curtain rod, and you’ll be ready to insert your curtain rod into the brackets.

Woman Installing Curtain Rod Brackets
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Pro Curtain-Hanging Tip: Have a hand tool like a screwdriver ready, as it can be difficult to install the brackets with a large drill.


No Drill? No Problem: How to Hang Curtains Without a Rod

If you're renting your space or simply don't own a drill, there's no need to worry. There are several ways to install your curtains without drilling into your wall.

Adhesive Hooks: This is an easy renter's method for hanging curtains without leaving a mark on your wall. You'll measure your space similarly to measuring for a curtain rod, except you’ll have a few more pencil marks to make. Rather than just one center hook, you’ll need to measure for two in order to hold up both panels. If four hooks are not stable enough for your chosen curtain material, add hooks in between as needed. Keep in mind that this method does not allow you to push aside the curtains as you would on a rod, so you may want to measure your width closer to the window. However, measuring for height will be the same as with a rod. Using your level and a pencil, make pencil marks along the top of the window for each hook you'll stick to the wall.

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Pro Curtain-Hanging Tip: Grommet curtains work especially well with this method. They already have holes at the top of the curtains, which makes it easy to hang them from hooks.


Tension Rod: If you want a look similar to a curtain rod, a tension rod is your best bet. Rather than hanging the rod above your window, you'll have to install the tension rod within the bounds of your window frame. Measure the width of the inside of your window frame, and buy a rod that is longer. For example, if your window width measures four feet, buy a tension rod that measures up to six feet. Tension rods lose their strength as they are expanded, so if you use a tension rod that is exactly the width of your window, it may not hold up your curtains. You'll need to hang your curtains on the rod first, then hang the rod and curtains together.

Magnetic Rod: A magnetic rod is a good solution if you're working with a window frame that is metallic rather than wooden. Similar to the tension rod, you'll need to hang your rod within the bounds of your window frame. In this case, measure the inside width of your window frame and buy a rod that matches that measurement. Again, you'll need to hang the curtains on the rod before installing the rod in the window.

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Pro Curtain-Hanging Tip: While hanging curtains without a drill is easy and convenient, it’s important to note that these methods are less secure for holding the weight of your curtains. It’s best to choose lighter-weight curtains when using these methods. It’s also important to test the weight of your curtains before your final installation to make sure they aren’t too heavy to stay in place.


4. Install the Curtains

You did it! Simply hang your curtains on your curtain rod (or hooks) and admire your new lovely home décor.

Woman Hanging Lace Curtains

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