Have you been hanging your curtains all wrong? Here's how to hang curtains like a pro, plus how to fix three common mistakes.

August 14, 2016

Curtains are an essential home decor item. This hardworking accessory provides shade and privacy, helps you achieve a restful sleep, and spruces up boring windows with their pretty panels. Sure, hanging curtains can be tricky, but you can achieve a polished look by avoiding these common curtain mistakes, including choosing the wrong length, mounting curtains too high (or too low), and using curtains too narrow for your space.

Mistake 1: Not Using Enough Fabric

living room, area rug, couch

First, make sure your curtain panels are wide enough to cover your home's windows. You don't want to be rudely awakened by a beam of sunlight that the curtains weren't blocking. 

How to fix it: Measure your window before purchasing or making your curtains. Curtain panels should be about two times the width of the window you're attempting to shade.

Mistake 2: Wrong Curtain Length

rebuilding together remodel living room

Too-short curtains look awkward and out of place. Plus, they visually shorten your space, making ceilings look shorter and the room smaller overall. Curtains that are dragging on the floor don't look good either, can be a hazard, and collect dust more easily.

How to fix it: Aim for the magic middle ground (literally)—curtains that hover just above the floor. To find the right curtain length, measure from the floor to where you'll hang the rod. Curtain lengths come in common lengths like 63, 84, and 96 inches. Choose one closest to your measurement, erring on the side of a few inches longer rather than shorter.

Mistake 3: Misplaced Curtain Rod

floating shelves for childrens books

It's essential to mount curtain rods in the right spot, or your perfect-length curtains might not hang properly. A rod that sits too close to the window can make a space seem smaller than it really is. Visually lengthen your room by mounting your curtain rod a few inches higher than your window. It's also important to choose a curtain rod that's wider than your window. This allows curtains to be pulled to the side of the window and gives the appearance of a larger space.

How to fix it: Here are two helpful measurements to know: The rod itself should be 8 to 12 inches longer than the width of the window and mounted 4 to 6 inches above the window frame.  

Comments (3)

February 8, 2019
Please do NOT hang draperies half way between ceiling and window! Either at the level of top of the window, or just below the crown moulding or ceiling, and please then cover the blank area with a valance down to the top of the glass. You are framing the window with fabric; it looks cohesive. Two strips of fabric just hanging from the ceiling, or even worse, floating halfway on either side look unfinished. And cheap.
February 8, 2019
Thank you so much for this advice. Concise and helpful, I'll be using these recommendations to finally replace some old curtains and get a lovely new look in my rooms.
February 8, 2019
Yep, yep, yep. Those are all me.