Installing Custom Curtains Part 3: Mounting Hardware

Explore part 3 of our in-depth series on installing custom curtains.

installing custom curtains

Hello again!

Following up on last week’s post on what tools you’ll need to your custom drapes, I wanted to discuss mounting hardware.

You can hang drapes with curtain rods, track mounts, curtain wires, hooks, tension rods… then you need to think about finials, curtain rings, mounting brackets, and a million other things. How do you choose?

Part of the answer is personal taste, of course, but other factors include the style of the room, the size and location of the window, the type of curtain, and, of course, your budget.

Curtain Rods

Let’s look at wall-mounted curtain rods, first. There are different sizes, styles, and materials, and they range in cost from around $3.00 to upwards of $100 per window.

Let’s not discuss the $3.00, hollow ⅜” steel tubes you can buy at Wal-Mart, as they’ll break in a week, but beyond those you have options. Common sizes are ½”, ⅝”, ¾”, and 1″. Generally, the heavier the curtain, the thicker the curtain rod. Fabric choice, curtain length, and width all contribute to weight. Our sheers at home are mounted on ½” steel or wooden rods and our linen curtains on ¾” steel rods. (See photo below.)

curtain rod size

When it comes to materials, your only real options are steel and wood. I recommend steel for larger windows both because it’s inexpensive and because it doesn’t warp, unlike long wooden rods.

Curtain rods are a more conservative look or just a more decorative one compared to other ways of hanging custom drapes. Make sure to get all the hardware you need to go with them.

Finials

A finial is the decorative head that you attach to the ends of a curtain rod. They commonly come in wood, plastic, metal, or transparent plastic/glass. Really, there are only three concerns when buying them: Will you still like them in five years? Do they go with your custom curtains? Do they fit your curtain rods?

Curtain Rings

When you choose to use a curtain rod, you need (usually) two things to hang your curtains; curtain pins (we provide ones that work with our curtains) and curtain rings, which slide onto the rod. Check the size when you buy.

Track Mounts

Track mounts are a simpler-looking alternative to curtain rods. They’re basically a hollow metal “track” with small plastic or metal “runners” inside and the ends capped so they don’t fall out. The runners can move back and forth and have a hole at the bottom to hook a curtain pin into. They’re the most modern-looking, simple option for mounting curtains and can accommodate most kinds. All you need to go with them are curtain pins, which we provide with each order of custom curtains.

curtain track mounts

Curtain Wires

Curtain wires are a step further in the direction of “simple and modern”. They’re basically just two wall mounts with a wire to string between them, and work fine for small, light, single-layer window treatments. They tend to look less elegant than other options, though.

Hooks

Believe it or not, I’ve seen people suggest that you can hang curtains with 3M hooks or the little screw in ones. You certainly can, but you wouldn’t be able to open or close them.

Tension Rods

Tension rods are the best option for renters and others who cannot actually install hardware, but they’re limited in that you can only put them inside a window frame. Since curtains should generally be installed a few inches above a window, they don’t look great. The only exception is with cafe curtains, where the curtain should cover the bottom half or so of the window and can therefore fit inside if needed.

Mounting Brackets

Mounting brackets are a world in and of themselves, as a quick look on Amazon or Home Depot’s websites will tell you. I’m going to provide a list with brief descriptions, but feel free to get in touch with questions.

Ceiling Mounts

As the name suggests, you mount the brackets to the ceiling and thread the rod in the ring mount. Best for full-length windows.

Room-darkening Mounts

These are meant to let you draw the curtains right up to the wall when you shut them. They work only with matching rods so buy everything together.

Adjustable brackets

They’re wall-mounted but can be extended to push the curtain rod further away from the wall. Work well for curtains with depth.

Double rod bracket

Made to accommodate two layers of custom drapery, usually a sheer and a drape. Way simpler than trying to mount two curtain rods separately.

Adhesive brackets

The name says it all, but if you’re not sure, these are brackets that attach to the wall via an adhesive sticker material. Regardless of how strong the adhesive claims to be, these almost always ending falling, usually within 15 minutes of hanging your curtains. Not recommended.

A Few More Tips…

  • Especially for heavy curtains, look for a bracket that isn’t just an L-shape, as they might sag under the weight. Heavier brackets usually have some kind of diagonal brace.
  • There should definitely be two screw holes for affixing the mount to the wall; one isn’t enough.
  • Be careful with adjustable brackets, if quality isn’t good the two parts slip and slide.
  • For double brackets, make sure the space between the two rods lets your custom curtains slide past one another without catching.
  • Longer brackets give more space. Some of ours extend 7-8″ out from the wall to accommodate both our custom sheers and our curtains.
  • Not all curtain rods come with their own brackets, and many come with poor quality ones, but brackets come in as many sizes as curtain rods. If you buy separately, check the diameter of the mounts when you buy, twice.
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