How to Fit Curtains

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Once you have your new curtains, you’ll naturally be keen to put them up. The thing with fitting curtains is that whilst it's not the hardest job in the world, it's something that's a bit harder than it looks! In order to have your curtains looking their best, there's a certain element of precision that’s involved. In this guide, we'll be taking a look at the best way to have your curtains well fitted.

What Tools Will I Need?

This isn't a task that should need too many tools, likely just:

  • A tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Stud finder (optional)
  • Possibly the help of a friend!

Measure Up

The first step is to make sure you carefully measure up. Now, be careful here; where you choose to place your curtain rod makes a massive difference to the rest of the process. For instance, if you hang your curtain rod too low, your room will appear smaller. Hang it too high, and your curtains will also look wrong.

Generally, the ends of the curtain rod should be 3 to 6 inches outside of the frame, but, say you wanted to give the illusion of higher ceilings, then you’ll want to place the rod 4 to 6 inches above the window frame. So, you need to decide the style you most like and measure accordingly.

It's recommended you use the best measuring device you can (in other words, a very good tap measurer) as this will help make it easier for you to take accurate measurements – ideally, choose one that doesn’t slump when you're in the middle of measuring. When you have the correct measurements, you need to mark them with a pencil.

Before you do anything else, make sure those measurements are level. No matter how careful you were when marking out the measurements, it's easy to make even a slight mistake. Use a spirit level to check everything is perfectly level. Of course, how you measure will depend on the types of windows you have, so research this carefully.

You May Wish to Use a Stud Finder

If you're concerned about your curtains slipping and bringing your whole wall down, consider a stud finder – a handy gadget that'll help prevent the above problem. All you have to do is put a stud finder along the wall and it will tell you when a wall stud is reached – the best spot to hang the curtain rod. These devices aren’t expensive and are worth having for any future DIY projects.

Now, it could be that the area where you want to drill the bracket in doesn’t have a wall stud. In this instance, you need to use a drywall anchor along with a regular screw. If you don’t do this, the screws along the wall won’t be able to hold the rod and curtain. If you have a wall stud available, just use a normal screw. A drywall anchor acts like a jacket for your screw, serving to increase its strength.

Bring Out Your Bracket

You will need a bracket for your curtain rod. Ideally, you want something strong and sturdy to help it last longer. You’ll find lots of different bracket styles available, so you can choose something that compliments your home interior. Many rod sets will come with brackets, so check this before purchasing any more.

Preparing the Curtains

Once you have your curtains unpacked and begin examining them, you’ll usually find a strip of tape stitched across the top of your curtain. The heading tape will typically have three rows of string that have been threaded through. You need to pull these strings to gain the gathered look that's generally desired.

First, though, you need to tie a knot at one end of the strings so they don’t come all the way through and out the other side. Sometimes you might find the ends have been machine-stitched down, but if not, it's best to tie them off on the outside edge.

When you need to pull the strings, take hold of all three and pull them as evenly as you can. You want each curtain to be pulled up to the width of half of your track, plus an extra centimetre or two for overlap. Before tying the strings, hold the curtains up to the window to check they're the right size. A recommendation for tying off the strings is to use a slipknot; that way, they can be adjusted or undone if required (for instance, if you take your curtains down to wash them). 

Once you've completed the above steps, you're now ready to hang your curtains.

Should You Fix Your Curtains Up Yourself, or Bring in a Professional?

This task shouldn’t be too difficult, but there can be complications along the way – for instance, if the measuring isn't completed accurately. That kind of error will throw the whole process. If you think measuring isn’t your strong point or using a drill isn’t, by all means, call in a professional. Quite often, a professional fitter will be included if you order made-to-measure curtains. Just remember, if that isn’t the case, you'll pay a little more to have the curtains fitted. For those who feel they can do it, it shouldn’t take too long, and they can save a bit of money at the same time.

One problem you might have is if you rent a room, flat or house, your landlord/lady might not allow you to do anything DIY related, such as drilling, but some people get around this by using removable hooks with adhesive backs to hang curtain rods. You could also use an expandable tension rod, which will cut a number of steps out.

Hopefully you've found this guide to fitting your curtains helpful. Sometimes people rush the steps leading up to hanging the curtains, so take your time and get the process right so you can enjoy your curtains at their best.

Fitting Commercial Strip Curtain is Slightly different so follow this link for more information.