Tips on hanging curtains

For many a young homeowners hanging curtains is not as easy as it appears, especially if you also have to mount a curtain rod or track. It's important to measure up so that curtains completely cover windows and also add extra character and texture to a room. Here are some tips on hanging curtains...

Take a look at home interiors and you will immediately notice that curtains make a big impact on a room. You can use something as simple as curtains to introduce colour, pattern and texture all in one. Curtains are also a way to give the illusion of width, lower a high ceiling or visually widen a window. Curtains are an interior decorator's magic wand for turning a so-so space into a beautifully decorated interior.

Measuring up for curtains
Before you start measuring up for curtains you need to have an idea in mind for how you want the curtains to be mounted. You have the option of mounting a curtain rod or track just above a window (normally 15cm above the top of the window), or placing it higher up if you want to visually add height to a window.

You will often see curtain rods or tracks mounted as high as possible in a room that has a low ceiling. Additionally, if you are mounting curtains in a double-volume space, raising the height of the rail will make the ceiling appear closer. However, bear in mind that ready-made curtains only come in standard lengths and anything longer or wider will have to be custom made. Use a retractable steel tape measure for measuring up the width and height of a window. It's much easier to hang from a rod or suspend the tape measure where you want the curtains to hang from.

Measure the width

Take into consideration the length of the curtain rail or track, or how long the rail or track needs to be, bearing in mind that the rail or track should be wider than the window to allow for curtains to be open and placed at either side. A distance of 30cm is usually sufficient, but if you are looking to visually increase the width of the window you will need to allow extra space at the sides, around 4 to 5cm is sufficient.



Your choice of hanging will determine the total amount of fabric required for making up or buying ready-made curtain panels.

  • Pencil Pleats X 1.8 or X 2 for fuller width
  • Tab top X 1.5
  • Eyelets X 1.5 or X 2 for fuller width
  • Generous X 4

Add an extra 3cm to the total width if you want the curtains to overlap at the centre once hung. Determine the number of panels (drops) that you need for a particular window by multiplying according to the heading you will be adding - or divide by the number of ready-made drops you need. In most cases when having curtains made to order you will simply provide the width and height of a window and the calculations will be done for you. If you are making your own curtains, allow extra fabric for side hems.

Measure the height (or drop)

Once you've decided how long the curtains need to be you can measure from the top of the rail or track, or where the rail or track will be mounted, to the required length. Since not all window frames are level, measure the height at the sides and centre. You can hang curtains that have a 1 or 2cm gap, touch the floor, or have extra length if you want curtains to pool on the floor - usually about an extra 3cm is sufficient.

When buying ready made curtains, the total length includes the header, but when making your own curtains allow at least 30cm extra on the top and bottom for heading and hems.

If you have installed or are installing a decorative rod and would like this to show, measure the height from the bottom of the rod, allowing for the type of hanging you will use. Some curtain rings and clips are larger than others, so you will need to know in advance the type you will be using.

Dressing up
Shop around for decorative rods, finials and accessories to add a finishing touch and a dash of glam to your window treatments. Simply by adding a decorative finial you can create a feature or frame a beautiful view. Tiebacks are another way to dress up a plain window treatment and also help to let in a lot more natural light when curtains are fastened to the sides.