Hanging curtains without drilling might seem impossible. If you've hung curtains before, you might be convinced that the project requires screws, drywall anchors, dust, and lots of frustration. Or does it?
No-drill curtain systems avoid wall damage, plus they usually go up faster than the kind that requires screws or nails. Most are portable, making them ideal for renters. So, whether you want to hang curtains temporarily or just prevent damage to the walls, find out how to hang curtains without drilling.
Equipment / Tools
- 1 tape measure
- 1 pencil
- 1 tape measure
- 1 sharp knife
- 1 roll painter's tape
- 1 tape measure
- 1 putty knife
- 1 screwdriver
- 1 lightweight hammer
Magnetic Curtain Rod
- 1 tape measure
- 1 tension rod
- 2 self-adhesive hooks
- 1 cafe curtain rod or dowel
- 2 wood dowel caps
- 1 spray paint
- 1 wood glue
- 2 self-stick broom and mop holders (as needed)
- 1 self-adhesive pleated shade
- 2 tap-in brackets
Magnetic Curtain Rod
- 1 magnetic curtain rod
How to Hang Curtains With a Tension Rod
Tension rods are an easy, dependable, and inexpensive way to hang curtains without drilling or nailing. If you love the showy look of bracketed curtain rods and fancy finials, you'll get the opposite with curtain tension rods. Tension rods are all about getting the job done as invisibly as possible.
Built-in springs within the rod compress and extend, allowing the rod's sections to squeeze together, then push firmly against each side of the window frame.
Thin cafe tension rods are best with sheers or lightweight seasonal panels. Some thicker tension rods are strong enough that they can even be used with heavy blackout curtains. On average, a tension rod will hold 10 to 16 pounds.
Simple to install
Easy to adjust
Can be moved
Gap at top of curtain
No middle support
Measure the Space
With the tape measure, measure the width of the window at the top.
Purchase a tension curtain rod that's from 1/2-inch to two inches longer than the window width. The thicker the curtain rod, the more distance it can span. Curtain rods 3/4-inch to one-inch in diameter can cover windows up to 90 inches wide. Longer, thicker curtain rods are often classified as curtain/shower rods.
Twist the Curtain Rod to Lengthen
Rotate the smaller section counter-clockwise within the larger section to extend the curtain rod to equal the window opening. Further lengthen the rod so it is 1/2-inch longer than the width of the window for smaller windows (up to around 34 to 41 inches). For larger windows (between 41 and 90 inches), extend the rod up to 2 inches wider than the opening.
Compress the Curtain Rod
Press one end of the curtain rod against the side of the window frame. Compress the other end of the rod so that it fits into the frame. Once, in the frame, allow the rod to expand to fit the opening. Test and adjust as needed. The rod should feel tight and firm within the window, but it should not be excessively hard to push it into place. If the rod's length is correct, remove it.
Add the Curtain
Slide the curtain onto the rod. Push the curtain toward the middle in order keep the ends two to three inches clear. Install the rod as before. Adjust and smooth out the curtain.
How to Hang Curtains With Adhesive Hooks
Self-adhesive hooks come in a plethora of styles for practically any use. Whether you need to hang string lights, jewelry, organizers, pictures, brooms, or spray bottles, you will find a self-adhesive hook dedicated to that purpose alone. Self-adhesive hooks can also help hang curtains without drilling or nailing.
General-purpose medium plastic hooks, often used for hanging small towels, robes, or keys, can also be repurposed for hanging lightweight curtains or sheers on thin curtain rods. Medium self-stick hooks hold up to six pounds per pair.
Hooks hug close to the wall. So, thick curtain rods or rods with large finials (ends) will not fit. Use a thin metal cafe rod, adjustable up to 84 inches. Or use a 1/2-inch by 48-inch wood dowel. Cut to any size you need, the dowel should be capped with 1/2-inch wood caps as finials. The dowel can be painted any color.
Easy to place
Close wall projection
Cannot be moved
If the wall is dirty, it will need to be cleaned for the adhesive to stick properly. Pour one teaspoon of all-purpose cleaner per quart of warm water into a clean bucket. Use with a sponge. Rinse with clean water. Let the surface thoroughly dry.
Mark the Bracket Locations
Use short strips of painter's tape to hold the brackets in place on both sides of the window. Do not use the self-stick adhesive strips yet. Stand back, check the positions of the brackets, and adjust as needed. When you are satisfied with the placement, add a light pencil mark above each bracket.
Stick the Brackets Into Place
Remove the protective backing from one of the hooks. Line up the hook with the pencil mark and press it firmly into place. Follow by doing the same on the other side of the window.
Let the Adhesive Cure
Wait at least one hour. The hooks' adhesive needs one hour or more to develop maximum adhesion with the wall.
Add the Rod to the Brackets
Slip the curtain onto the rod. For a cafe rod, add the finials and place the rod into the hooks.
Add the Wood Dowel Caps (Optional)
If you are using a wood dowel as a curtain rod, it will need finials to prevent the rod from slipping off of the hooks. First, check to make sure that the curtain can slip over the finials. If so, add the finials with two drops of wood glue to the pocket of each finial. Then, force the finials onto the ends of the dowels and let the glue dry for at least an hour before mounting the rod in the brackets.
Add the Middle Bracket (Optional)
For cafe rods extended longer than 48 inches, add a bracket to the center of the window or door. First, place the extended curtain rod with the curtain into the left and right brackets. Standing on a chair, hold the third bracket at the center of the rod. Slightly raise the bracket up the wall until it is supporting the center of the rod. Mark the position. Remove the rod and curtain. Add the middle bracket in the marked location. Replace the curtain rod and curtain.
How to Hang Self-Adhesive Pleated Shades
If you're looking for quick privacy but also want gentle, filtered light in the room, self-adhesive pleated shades give you that privacy in just a few minutes. Made of paper, these shades are lightweight and easy to raise and lower. Child- and pet-safe with no cords, the shade is lowered or raised by pulling or lifting the bottom edge.
Width is easy to adjust simply by cutting one end with a utility knife or kitchen knife. Length is self-adjusting: raise or lower the shade to the desired height.
Self-adhesive pleated shades are a quick fix, especially if you've just moved into a new house or apartment. Yet shades will not darken a room. Plus, the top adhesive strip may eventually fail due to the frequent downward pulls to close the shade.
Child- and pet-safe
Width and length adjustable
Straight cuts difficult
Adhesive may fail
Non-transferrable to other windows
Prepare the Surface
Since the continuous adhesive strip attaches to the top of the window frame, the frame must be flat, painted, and clean. If there are curtain or mini-blind brackets, remove them with a screwdriver. Scrape away adhesives with a putty knife. Patch any holes with wood filler, then paint over.
Measure the Window
With the tape measure, measure the width of the window in three places: top, middle, and bottom. Write down the smallest of the three measurements. Subtract 1/8-inch to produce the final measurement.
Transfer the Measurement to the Shade
Use the tape measure and pencil to mark the measurement on the top of the pleated shade. Some paper pleated shades have shipping end caps that must first be removed.
Cut the Shade
Place the shade on a cutting surface like a kitchen cutting board or cardboard. Compress the shade with one hand. Holding the knife perfectly vertical, cut through the entire shade as a stack, from top to bottom. A sharp, large kitchen knife works best for cutting. Do not use a serrated knife. Slowly saw back and forth to cut down through each layer of paper. Be careful of your free hand as you cut.
Install the Shade
Peel off the protective strip from the top of the shade. Standing on a chair or ladder, stick the shade to the top of the window frame, carefully centering the shade.
How to Hang a Curtain With Tap-In Brackets
Screwing curtain rod brackets into window frames or trim creates large holes that are difficult to patch. But what if you could shrink those holes and shift them to the top of the trim, where no one will ever see them? That's the clever concept behind tap-in curtain brackets.
Two brands of tap-in curtain brackets, Kwik-Hang and Tap Brackets, work much the same way. For windows up to 60 inches wide, two brackets, one on each side, support the curtain rod and curtain. Resting on top of the window trim, each L-shaped bracket has two thin pins on the bottom. Lightly tapping the tops of the brackets secures them to the trim.
Each pair of brackets holds up to 30 pounds. For windows over 60 inches, one center support is needed. For windows over 120 inches, two supports are necessary.
Attaches without adhesive
Appearance similar to permanent fixtures
Heavier weight capacities
May separate trim from wall
Creates tiny holes on top of trim
Might crack trim
Clean the Trim
Use a soft cloth to clean off the top of the window or door trim. While this is also a good opportunity to clean the entire length of trim, you only need to clean off four inches at each end.
Each kit comes with a left and a right bracket. Start on one side. Standing on a ladder, fit the vertical side of the bracket against the vertical trim. Slide the bracket down until the pins touch the top trim.
Tap Bracket Into Place
With a lightweight hammer, gently tap the bracket into the trim. Do not tap too hard since trim is fragile and might crack.
Tap Other Bracket Into Place
Switch to the other side of the window or door. Tap the bracket into place in the same manner.
Add the Curtain and Curtain Rod
Separate the curtain rod into two pieces. Slip the curtain onto one side. Reassemble the rod. Standing on a chair or ladder, rest the curtain rod into the brackets.
How to Hang a Curtain With a Magnetic Curtain Rod
For curtain rods that require no drilling, no tiny nail holes, and no adhesive, magnetic curtain rods are the perfect solution. Magnetic curtain rods look just like regular, screwed-in curtain rods: metal, adjustable, two side brackets, and projecting from the wall by about 1-1/2 inches. Magnetic curtain rods are easy to mount on the wall or the door and equally easy to remove—leaving no damage behind.
One catch is that they do need to be mounted to a metal surface, and metal is often lacking above or to the side of windows. Plus, only ferrous metal like steel counts; magnets do not stick to aluminum, copper, or brass. Nor are the magnets strong enough to stick to the drywall screws or nails embedded in walls.
Yet magnetic curtain rods will stick to metal trim or any metal elements around windows. They also work well on metal exterior doors with windows that need to be covered.
No drilling, no adhesive
Easy to install
No damage when removed
Must be stuck to metal
Low weight bearing—2 pounds
Short—48 inches maximum
Clean the Surface
With a soft cloth, clean the metal surface. Scrape away any loose paint or dried adhesives.
Separate the Curtain Rods
Most magnetic curtain rods are telescoping, with one piece inserted into the other, wider piece. Pull the two apart and separate them.
Add the Curtain
Slide the curtain onto the larger of the two rods. Slide the narrow section back into place.
Stick Curtain Rod to the Surface
Telescope the curtain rod to the desired width. Stick the two brackets to the surface. Adjust width as needed. Check level with a bubble level or by eye.