6 Mistakes to Avoid When Hanging Curtains

sitting room with curtains

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Curtains can be an investment if your space has a lot of windows. Sure, there are some economical ways to create window coverings, but you still have to spend money on fabric and hardware, not to mention the time you invest. Take a look at a list of curtain crimes to avoid.

Selecting the Wrong Style

Curtains are finished at the top in a variety of ways that are directly related to how they function. For example, you would not want to pick panels with tight-fitting rod pockets if you want to open and close them often. Think about how you want your curtains to operate and choose accordingly.

Thinking About the Curtains Last

When designing a room, many people tend to pick a paint color first, then add in soft furnishings like curtains and pillows. Since paint colors are practically limitless, you will have better luck if you pick curtains first, then pull your paint colors from the fabric pattern.

Taking the Wrong Measurements

It seems logical to measure your window to determine how large your curtains should be, right? Wrong. While it is true that you should know the size of your window, panels should really be hung much higher than the top of your window casing—in fact, as close to the ceiling as possible in most cases. Valances should not be hung this high; they are meant to top the window. This will make your room feel bigger, which is of particular importance in small spaces. 

These are the measurements to jot down before heading to the store:

  • Top to bottom: Starting a few inches down from the ceiling, measure all the way down to the floor to achieve the correct curtain length.
  • Window width: Measure the width of your window, then multiply this number by 2 or 2.5 to achieve fullness and avoid the "bedsheet look." For panels, this means that if your window is 36 inches wide, you should look for panels that actually total about 72 inches or more in width. The same is true for valances if you want them to have a gathered look. Unlike panels, however, valances can have a more tailored appearance, in which case you could opt for one that is closer to the window's width. 

Hanging High Water Curtains

While some pants look great cropped at the ankle, this is not the same situation with curtains. Take care to measure from close to the ceiling all the way to the floor to achieve the correct panel length. If you cannot find panels the exact length you need, you can always buy them long, and then hem them. Or add a contrasting band of fabric or specialty trim to the bottom to make too-short panels skim the floor.

Being Cheap With Hardware

Purchasing quality curtain hardware can be a hard pill to swallow when most of it is hidden by the curtains anyway. Luckily, you can save some money with these clever curtain rod hacks. These are some common pitfalls to avoid when considering curtain hardware:

  • Flimsy rod: Do not get a rod that is not sturdy enough to support the weight of your curtains, resulting in a sag in the middle.
  • Short rod: Do not use a rod that is not long enough, which results in curtains that cover most of your window. When the rod is the exact width of your window, your curtains will cover most of it, which blocks a lot of sunlight and creates a too-dark room. Instead, make sure to measure your window and buy a rod that can extend well beyond the window's width so you will be able to open your curtains nice and wide.
  • Thin rod: Do not use a rod that is too skinny for grommeted panels. If you are hanging curtains with large grommets at the top or even tab-top panels where a lot of the rod will be showing, make sure to get a rod that is substantial-looking and attractive. 

Skipping the Iron

While ironing is a chore most of us would happily avoid, this is one case where you should not skip it. If you are going to invest time and money in window treatments, make sure they look their best and get out the iron. Wrinkled curtains look sloppy and sometimes do not hang straight.