I have long looked for an affordable rail or track curtain system. When I first started shopping for one, they cost hundreds of dollars and were mainly available to the trade industry, meaning that you had to be an architect or designer just to order the system. Having an architect in the family, the latter didn't necessarily matter but the hundreds of dollars certainly did. IKEA curtain rods allowed me to purchase an affordable curtain system that looks great.
The Kvartal curtain system offers a sliding rail rod that can either be mounted to the ceiling or wall. It can also turn corners. Best of all, it cost much less than those designer curtain rod systems.
We recently remodeled our living room, and I knew IKEA's Kvartal curtain system was exactly what I was looking for. I've purchased tons (literally) of IKEA furnishings and decor in the past, so I'm familiar with their great products at fantastic prices. I thought that this would be a wonderful product,
Well, I unhappily report that it has crossed my mind now. Here's what I purchased, and my review of the IKEA Kvartal curtain system along with what I think of each item and my experience with the installation process.It also includes prices that I paid at the time, which may be different now.
IKEA Curtain Rod Review of the Kvartal System
- Quantity of 8 Kvartal Wall Hardware brackets at $2.50 each
This is the first step of the install process, and IKEA's instructional install video makes it look oh-so-easy. Well, it's not horrible and even though I was working on uneven, heavily textured plaster walls constructed in 1925, I had no problems screwing in and leveling the brackets. The problem came when I had to try and actually attach the rails (see next product) to the brackets.
- Quantity of 5 Kvartal Single Track Rails at $5.99 each
I hate to knock these rails because they are so cheap, I almost want to suck it up and deal with them quietly. After all, I spent less than $30 on railings to span almost 23 feet and they are still hanging gorgeously in my living room (see photo) and working well (at the moment). However, I will say that these guys took a lot of work and probably years off of my life to get them to this point.
If you are installing one 55-inch rail between two brackets, you may not have any problems with this system. However, trying to balance and screw multiple rails into place on multiple brackets took hours and multiple people. The screws to attach the rails to the brackets are on top of the bracket and are super tiny, so if you mount the brackets close to the ceiling and then try to screw the rails on, you're going to have a trial on your hands. You just can't see what you are doing miles above your head, upside down. There are still several of these tiny screws lost forever in the depths of my shag rug.
Another flaw: Putting the two rails together results in a terribly bumpy ride for the curtains. In truth, they didn't glide through the connection at all.
The aluminum rail bends easily, so we used a file to smooth the connection and now my curtains glide through just fine. However, these rails are so flimsy and of such a soft metal, I really don't know how long they are going to last in the long run. I expect to have to file again.
- Quantity of 1 Kvartal Corner Piece at $4.99 each
This worked fine, again, after filing it. I liked this little piece, though I thought $4.99 was a bit steep for such a small piece of aluminum. But hey, I'm cheap.
- Quantity of 4 packages of the Kvartal Glider and Hook sets at $2 each
This is where I was really disappointed. I had purchased IKEA's Ritva curtains to use on this track system. I had used these curtains in my bedroom also, and the quality is a great deal for the price. In fact, these curtains are of such a nice quality, they are quite heavy.
The little plastic hooks in this set had a hard time holding the curtains. Plus, the gliders and hooks are so flimsy and cheaply made, I really don't expect these little guys to last long. Yeah, they were only two bucks a pack so I'm not going to make a fuss, but I would have paid more money for a better product. Dearest IKEA, sometimes cheaper isn't better.
Overview of IKEA Kvartal System
IKEA has some kinks to work out with this curtain rod system, and I'm sad to say that this product has been in IKEA's inventory for a while now without any improvements by IKEA. A quick search around the web proves that other folks have had similar issues with this system, so we aren't the only ones who weren't completely satisfied.
Regardless of all of our problems with the installation of this system, I still would hesitantly recommend it for now. Just know that if you plan to use this track system, you are in for a bit of a bumpy ride. I would also recommend that if you are installing it on your own, you should be experienced in the DIY area or grab someone to help you who is. You may have to make some modifications to the system to get it to function well. Here's hoping that IKEA improves this product soon because, with a few modifications, it could be outstanding.