How to install curtain rods – 7 steps to put up a curtain pole yourself

Why Use a Double Curtain Rod?

With standard single-rod curtains, you have two options — open or closed. That can work for some situations, but it isn’t always ideal. Instead, layering sheer curtains with drapes can filter and soften sunlight without blocking it completely.

You can also use double curtain rods to hang drapes and blackout curtains for a darkening effect. Or, hang drapes with a valance or a window scarf for a decorative touch.


Step 1: Determine how high to hang curtain rods

Wondering where to hang curtain rods? It's essential to mount curtain rods in the right spot, or your perfect-length curtains might not hang properly. A rod that sits too close to the window can make a space seem smaller than it really is. To ensure perfect curtain placement, measure the depth of your window molding to determine the ideal size for your curtain brackets. You'll want curtain brackets that extend past the depth of your trim. If they're too shallow, your curtains won't hang properly.

Using a pencil and tape measure, mark the desired position of your curtain brackets, so the rod is about 4 to 6 inches above your window frame, making sure the curtains will slightly brush the floor or hover just above it. The curtain brackets should be placed about 6 inches from the outside edge of the window frame to allow plenty of natural light.

Step 3

Next, measure the window height. Wall-mounted rods are usually installed four inches above the window. To find your ideal placement, measure down from the ceiling to the top of the trim at the left corner of your window; mark the midway point. Repeat this in the middle of your window frame and in the right corner, then check your markings with a level.

While measuring, keep in mind the length of your curtain panels. If you can avoid it, you don’t want to have to alter the hems once you’ve mounted the rod. You may need to adjust your penciled-in placement by an inch or two to get the panels to fall where you want them. Curtains that just graze the floor or sill appear classic and tailored, while those that break slightly at the floor (from one to three inches) are also on trend.


To give the illusion of height in the room, mount the rod even closer to the ceiling. Don’t go higher than eight inches above the window frame; any more than that looks awkward.

If you plan to puddle your curtains for a look that is extremely formal, allow six to eight extra inches of fabric to fall at the bottom. Skip this style if you plan to open and close your curtains regularly, as the bottoms will dirty quickly from constantly brushing the floors.

How to Calculate the Right Measurements for Hanging Curtains

Before you start hanging curtains, make sure the panels are wide enough to cover your home’s windows. You don’t want to be rudely awakened by a beam of sunlight that the curtains don’t block, so measure your window dimensions before purchasing or making your curtains. The total width of your curtain panels should add up to about two times the window’s width.

Choosing the correct curtain length for your windows is also important. Besides looking awkward, too-small curtains visually shorten your space, making ceilings appear lower. Too-small curtains also make the room look smaller overall. Curtains that drag on the floor could pose a tripping hazard and collect dust more easily. For the ideal middle ground, curtains should hover just above the floor.

To find the right curtain length, measure from the floor to where you’ll hang the rod (usually 4 to 6 inches above the window frame). Otherwise, hanging the curtain rod just below the ceiling is a simple design trick that makes your ceilings appear taller. Curtains come in standard lengths like 63, 84, and 96 inches. Choose one closest to your measurement, erring on the side of a few inches longer than shorter.

Additionally, be sure to choose a curtain rod that's wider than your window. This allows curtains to be pulled completely to the side of the window and makes the space feel larger. The rod itself should be 8 to 12 inches longer than the window's width, which allows for 4 to 6 inches on either side.

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Step 1: Determine Your Measurements

We held up one curtain panel on the rod to finalize what spot looked best and then held the curtain rod bracket in place to take measurements. Using a tape measure, we determined that we wanted to place our curtain rods 10.5″ from the outside of the window frame (weirdly specific, I know) and 3″ down from the ceiling. These are our measurements to the top screw hole in the rod bracket since we find it easiest to work with the measurements of where you’ll actually need to drill.

7. Heavy curtains? Add extra support

If you have a very wide window or heavy lined curtains you may need to support the pole with another bracket in the middle. Slide the rings on to the pole. At each end leave one ring to sit between the bracket and the end of pole to hold the curtains in place across the width of the window when you draw them.

3. Check the pole is level

This stage is a two person job as the level needs to be done by eye rather than using a level. 

Mark up the position of the brackets using a pencil. When nothing is square it is probably best to fix the pole parallel with the top of the window rather than following the line of the ceiling or the result could look wonky.

(Image credit: Loom & Last)

Things You’ll Need

  • Curtain rod
  • Brackets
  • Screws
  • Wall anchors (if needed)
  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s level
  • Pencil
  • Small nails or brads
  • Hammer
  • Stepladder

How to Hang Double Curtains Without a Double Curtain Rod

Is it possible to hang double curtains without a double curtain rod? Yes. However, a single curtain rod does not provide the same functionality or create the depth that a double curtain rod does.

Two sets of curtains can hang on a single rod, but they would remain fixed unless you hold them open with a curtain tieback or holdback.



Kwik-Hang’s single curtain rod brackets hold up to 20 lbs., so they’re ideal for hanging two sets of curtains on a single rod (like pictured above).

You can also experiment with hanging thinner, non-traditional rod alternatives like a tension rod or a bungee cord. But depending on the style of your single rod bracket, this may not be possible.

How to Determine the Number of Curtain Panels Needed

Wondering how many panels to add? If you want the curtains to be functional, the rule of thumb is to get enough panels to cover space at least twice the width of the window.

Bonus Tip: Correct Any Rod Sagging

Depending on your rod and how wide it is, you may notice that it appears to sag a little bit in the middle – especially where the smaller rod piece connects into the larger ones. Your package may come with a third, center bracket to hang in the center of your window, but often a third brack would be overkill for any window that’s not super wide – so we rely on this weird little hack instead. Emphasis on WEIRD.

First, I take some of the protective plastic end caps that come on the curtain rods (they’re just packaging) and use a utility knife or scissors to cut off some small slices.

Then we tuck a piece inside the curtain rod at whatever connection point is sagging. It’s important that you put it on the TOP side of the rod and if you can’t slide it all the way in, just rotate your rod slightly so it’s hidden from view because no one is viewing your rod from the top. I know it’s REALLY weird, but it has been an easy way for us to correct a little bit of rod sag which makes my heart very happy. Just trust me – there is a noticeable difference and it no longer looks like it’s sad and droopy. Plus it’s free and I’m scrappy. So yeah. Five stars, would recommend.

And again, you can check out our tips for hanging inexpensive white curtains and making them more expensive along the way.

Now, if all of this still seems like too much trouble – you can get away with no curtains in your room too. We wrote a guide for when curtains don’t belong in a room and what you can do to your windows instead. Spoiler: some rooms shouldn’t have window treatments at all! But hopefully with this trick for a quick curtain install, you won’t be intimidated to do whatever is best for your space!

P.S. Wanna know where we got something in our house (or what color’s on the walls)? Click here. And we made the same masterlist of sources & paint colors for the beach house too for ya. And we’re pulling together a source lis for the duplex – it’s not very thorough yet, but a lot of the stuff we have there is on this page for ya – and there’s more to come.

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