How to Install Curtain Rods

Learn how to install curtain rods to protect your privacy at home.

Man installing curtain rods

Manu Vega / Getty Images

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 30 mins - 1 hr
  • Total Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $75

Curtains are one of the most common additions to the interior of the home and they are primarily used to protect your privacy by covering the windows. However, curtains have other uses as well. They can help keep the home warm during the winter months and keep it cool during the summer months by providing an extra layer of insulation over the windows. Additionally, curtains can be used to block sunlight from entering through the windows, making it easier to see your computer screen in the home office.

Beyond these uses, curtains also add to the esthetic of the home. There are many different types, styles, and colors to choose from, but before you get ahead of yourself, you need to select and install curtain rods to hang the curtains. Installing curtain rods is a relatively easy job to accomplish that doesn't require a large number of tools or parts. Use this guide to learn how to install curtain rods in just a few simple steps, so you can protect your privacy at home.

Before You Begin

The curtain rod type needs to be decided before you can start this project. There are many types of curtain rods to choose from, but the most common are classic rods, double rods, and return rods.

  • Classic curtain rods have an adjustable pole that attaches to the wall with brackets. The ends of the curtain rod typically feature an ornamental finial or cap to keep the curtain from sliding off the ends.
  • Double curtain rods are similar to classic curtain rods in that they are also attached to the wall with brackets. However, the difference is that this style features two curtain rods: a thick, primary rod for the main curtain and a thin, secondary rod that is intended for hanging lightweight sheer curtains or blackout curtains.
  • Return curtain rods have a U-shaped pole that wraps around the entire window, allowing the curtains to completely close out any incoming light. The shape of return rods also makes it possible to move the curtains entirely away from the window, instead of blocking the sides. Simply slide the curtains along the rod until they are sitting back against the walls.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Step ladder
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver

Materials

  • Curtain rod kit
  • Curtains
  • Pencil

Instructions

  1. Measure the Window

    Use a measuring tape to measure the width and height of the window frame to determine where the mounting brackets should be installed. Each curtain rod bracket is typically installed about three inches to either side of the window and about four inches above the window.

    Mark these points on both sides of the window using a pencil. To ensure that the measurements are accurate, it's recommended to use a stepladder so that you aren't stretching up above your head while trying to measure.

    This is a generalized placement, so if your ceiling is too low or your curtains are too long, you can adjust the height by an inch or so to get the ideal positioning for your curtain rod.

  2. Mark the Bracket Placement

    After making this initial mark on the wall, you can use it to position the first wall mount bracket. Use a pencil to mark the location for the screw holes and check to ensure the mounting bracket is straight with a level.

    Repeat this process on the other side of the window to mark the screw holes for the second wall mount bracket. If your curtain rod is longer than four feet, it's recommended to install a center support to prevent the curtain rod from sagging.

    Measure from the right side bracket across the top of the window to the left side bracket and mark the center between these two points. Position the center wall mount bracket and use a pencil to mark the location for the screw holes.

  3. Drill Guide Holes

    With the bracket screw holes clearly marked, drill guide holes into the wall for the mounting hardware. If you are drilling into drywall, make sure to use the appropriate drywall anchors for reliable support.

  4. Fasten Brackets to the Wall

    Next, you can fasten the curtain rod brackets to the wall with a drill or a screwdriver, depending on your personal preference. Cordless drills can make this job faster and easier, but if you want to avoid over-tightening the hardware, then it's best to stick to a simple screwdriver. Repeat this process for each mounting bracket, then check to ensure that they are securely tightened to the wall.

    Tip

    If you're attaching to the drywall, try to secure the fastener to the stud. If you're not able to, use a wall anchor. Windows have framing on either side of the opening, so you can also attach there.

  5. Position the Curtain Rod

    If you are using a double curtain rod, then you will want to put your sheer curtain or blackout curtain onto the thin, secondary rod, then put the main curtain onto the primary curtain rod.

    For single-rod setups, you only need to worry about threading one curtain onto the rod. If your curtain kit comes with curtain rings, attach them to the curtain rod, then attach the curtain to the curtain rings.

  6. Hang Curtains

    With the curtains on the curtain rod, lift the curtain rod up onto the wall mount brackets. Some brackets are made for the rod to simply sit in the bracket groove, while others have screws to keep the rod in place. If your curtain rod brackets have screws, tighten them to prevent the curtain rod from shifting.

  7. Check the Brackets

    The final step in the process is to test the curtain rod to ensure that it can support the curtains. Open and close the curtains a few times, then inspect the brackets to check that they are still securely fastened to the wall without any signs of shifting or loosening.