Tips on How to Hang Curtains

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Curtains may seem like a fairly straightforward addition to a home. But much like painting a room or laying tile, curtains are a lot more complicated than they appear. The key to recognizing the complexities of curtains is in the heading, which is the part of the curtain where it connects to the rod, and also in the drape and weight of the fabric.

The curtain heading you choose depends on the type of room you are decorating. Certain headings are more suitable for formal rooms, like a dining room or sitting room, while others will do the trick in more casual surroundings, like a children's room or a kitchen.

Pleated Curtains

Pleated curtains, or "pinch-pleated" curtains,are the most ornate of all curtain types. These require special hardware to put into place, and require extra care while hanging. French pleated curtains are pinched at the top by crimps that are connected to the rod. Pencil pleated curtains feature smaller and more frequent pleats, and are generally more casual than other pleated styles. Goblet pleated curtains are pleated at each connection to the rod, and form little cups or "goblets" out of the top of the curtain. Box pleated curtains hang in a way so the curtain stays flat against the rod, and forms small, square pleats along the heading.

The easiest way to hang pleated curtains is with pin hooks.If the curtainsare pre-pleated, you will need single-prong pin hooks. If they are not pre-pleated, you will need four-prong pin hooks. Ineach case, insert a pin hook into every other pocket. If they are pre-pleated, insert a pin into the back of every pleat. If they are not pre-pleated, insert a hook into every other panel. This will form the desired pleats.

Panel Curtains

Panel curtains aremade when the top piece of a curtain is doubled over and sewn shut, creating a pocket or tube where a curtain rod can be inserted. They areused almost exclusively for aesthetic purposes, since they are often difficult to open and close. When choosing curtains with a panel heading, it is wise to hang them with tie backs at either side, since sliding them open and close becomes a chore very quickly. These types of curtains are also referred to as casement or rod-pocket curtains. To hang these, insert the rod into the very end of the curtain, and scrunch the curtain onto the rod with your hand.

Table-Top Curtain

Table-top curtains are casual curtains that look best in a rustic or provincial-style room. They are typically very causal, but very common. They are hung using small loops made out of the curtain fabric, or another contrasting fabric. These loops allow the curtain rod to slip through and move easily. These are hung easily by threading the curtain rod through the loops.

Grommet Curtain

Grommet curtains are made by inserting rings, or grommets, into the curtain itself. The curtain rod slides through these rings, which are usually metal. Grommet curtains are easy to slide back and forth, since the metal provides minimal friction against the pole. These are hung in the same manner as table-top curtains.

Lined Curtains

Lined curtains are the most common and most practical type of curtain. A lined curtain consists of two types of fabric that aresewn together. These are the most durable curtains, and can be made out of practically any fabric. Often times, lined curtains will consist of a heavy, blackout fabric to minimize or eliminate escaping light, and a decorative inner layer that faces the inside of the room. However, not all lined curtains minimize light. In fact, a light, white, cotton lining is often used to extend the life of the curtain without compromising the light it lets in. Before hanging, make sure these fabrics are pressed.

Unlined Curtains

These are generally cheap or purely decorative curtains. While they are the easiest to make, you generally do not want to rely on unlined curtains for much more than decoration. They are also not very sturdy, and will most likely need to be changed often throughout the years. However, they make a great addition to your decor, especially in rooms that do not get direct sunlight, and therefore do not require lined curtains. These are sometimes flimsier than lined curtains, so make sure you get all the wrinkles out before hanging.

Blackout curtains

Blackout curtains are heavy curtains that are specifically made to block out sunlight. They are often found in hotels, and can be made in any color. While some curtains have blackout linings, blackout curtains are also sold separately, allowing you to choose your own decorative curtain. In this case, unlined curtains are suitable since the second blackout curtain will act as a sort of lining. Think of blackout curtains as the plastic shower curtains of window treatment. They're practical, but not too pretty on their own. No special care needs to be taken with these before hanging since they are so heavy and not prone to wrinkling.

Three More Tips for Hanging AllDifferent Types of Curtains:

  1. Most curtains are hung in the same way, but take careful consideration with heavy fabrics and special pleating. Incorrect ironing and washing could lead to the destruction of your elaborate ornamentation. As a rule, if curtains need to be cleaned before hanging, take them to a dry cleaner, especially if they are pleated. The harsh action of a washing machine and dryer could causefancy pleats to distort or fall flat.
  2. Always iron curtains on low heat before hanging. While many wrinkles may fall after a few days of hanging, some fabrics may stubbornly hang on to their wrinkles. If you cannot safely spread your curtains across your ironing board without fear of getting them dirty, invest in a steamer and steam them after hanging.
  3. Allow curtains to hang on the rod for a few days before tying them back. You want to give the fabric time to settle before adjusting.

Much like all the other basics of your home, curtains don't take much effort, put pack a powerful decorative punch.

Last Updated: July 22, 2011
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for

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