Hanging curtains is a task that can be completed in an afternoon, but there are specific steps to follow to get the job done right. It can also be a daunting task if you don’t do things right, but if you follow these steps discussed below, you will have beautifully hung curtains in no time. And, if you have blinds on your windows, you can learn more about how to hang curtains over blinds on our blog.
In this article, you will learn how high to hang curtains and other crucial things to keep in mind when it comes to this topic – let's explore in more detail.
Hanging Curtains – How High Should They Go?
How high you hang the curtains depends on several things.
One is how much space there is to fill in the window once the curtains are hung, and the other is a personal preference. To decide where to put your curtain rod, we'll need some measurements.
Press up against each side of your window frame – measure from the edge of the window frame to the wall. If there are multiple windows in your room, you will need to measure each one and add them up together (you may also want to account for extra fabric on a rod that is too long).
Another thing to consider is the width of the window frame. If your curtains do not reach the edge of the window, you may end up with a gap on either side.
Now that you have all of these numbers, we can move on. The first thing I want to address is a personal preference. This will play a huge role in this decision. To start, look at some pictures of curtains in other rooms in your house – if you like them, they are probably long enough.
Another thing to keep in mind is how much light comes into those windows throughout the day and how bright you would like it to be inside when there's natural light available.
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:
- 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.
- The same goes for tall windows – if they aren't high enough, hang them lower.
How High Do Curtains Need to Be?
Let's say you've measured your windows and determined where you want to mount your curtain rod. Here's some guidance:
Curtains with a rod mounted at the top of the window frame should be about 70 inches long. This will keep things lined up nicely and is also a good length if you have curtains on 2 windows facing each other (so they are even). If you need your curtain to run across 3 or more windows, I would recommend adding an extra 10 inches for each additional width that it spans.
If you want curtains to hang below molding (for covering wide spaces in between 2 windows or something), add another 5 inches per window space being covered. For example, if there's a wide wall of windows that you're trying to cover, mount your curtain rod 6-7 inches above the molding and you should be fine.
If your curtain rod is mounted lower than the top of the window frame, it's perfectly acceptable to shorten up long curtains. Here are some tricks for shortening curtains:
- You can take a seam ripper or scissors and cut off the bottom 6-8 inches of fabric. This will give you a clean line that matches up with your curtain rod height if you're using tiers or multiple panels on your window.
- Instead of cutting, take hemming tape (the sticky stuff) and cover this bit of extra fabric so that it doesn't hang down below the edge of your curtain – this looks nice and keeps things tidy.
- If you have 1 panel of very long curtains, you can attach 2 curtain rods side by side and have them run the length of your window (instead of using a single rod). It will be just slightly out of alignment, but it works.
If your curtains are shorter, feel free to hang them higher than 70 inches if you'd like – whatever is most pleasing to the eye.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
Final thoughts on how high to hang curtains
In conclusion, when it comes to hanging curtains, keep the points mentioned above in mind. This will help you choose the right curtain rods and decorative touches that blend well with your existing home decor.
One final thing you might consider is to sew your own curtains if you'd like to take on a new adventure and make it personal.