3 Common Curtain-Hanging Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Have you been hanging your curtains all wrong? Here's how to hang curtains like a pro, plus how to fix a few frequent mishaps.

Curtains are an essential element of home decor. This hardworking accessory provides shade and privacy, helps you achieve restful sleep, and spruces up windows with color, texture, and pattern. But hanging curtains correctly the first time can be intimidating. How high should you install the curtain rod? What about the length of your panels? Luckily, you can achieve a polished look by avoiding these common mistakes made when hanging curtains. We'll help you avoid choosing the wrong panels, mounting curtains too high or too low, and choosing curtains too narrow for your space. And we've got easy DIY fixes in case you've already encountered these curtain conundrums.

midcentury modern living room teal walls oval coffee table gold curtain rod
Marty Baldwin

Mistake 1: Choosing Curtains That Are Too Skinny

The last thing you want during an afternoon nap is to be rudely awakened by a beam of sunlight that your curtains don't block. Before purchasing curtains, make sure the panels are wide enough to cover your windows.

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.

living room shiplap tan leather sofa blue throw coffee table
David A. Land

Mistake 2: Purchasing Curtains That Are Too Long (or Short)

Curtains that are too short look awkward and out of place. They also visually alter your space, making ceilings look lower and the room smaller overall. Curtains that drag on the floor can be a hazard and collect dust more easily. Aim for a middle ground—curtains that hover just above the floor.

How to fix it: 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.—if needed, you can hem curtains that are too long. You can also opt for custom curtain panels, though this comes with a higher price tag.

kids play room corner floating shelves books polka dot curtains yellow lamp
John Granen

Mistake 3: Misplacing the Curtain Rod

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 top of your window frame can make a space seem smaller than it really is. 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 frame and gives the appearance of a larger space.

How to fix it: Visually lengthen your room by mounting your curtain rod a few inches higher than your window. Here are two helpful measurements to know: The rod itself should be 8 to 12 inches longer than the width of the window; a curtain rod should be mounted at least 4 to 6 inches above the window frame. For rooms with tall ceilings, you can choose to go higher with your curtain rod placement.

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