The Right Way to hang Curtains and Drapes.

Hanging Curtains and Drapes…Stack Back

When a person goes to hang a pair of curtains or drapes, they will most likely attach a bracket to the outside edge of the molding that frames the window, attach the rod, hang the curtains or drapes, and call it a day. There has always been one problem with hanging window treatments that way…When you go to open them, only the center portion of the glass or window is exposed. The drapery fabric has no place to go. (see illustration 1-A).

Stack Back …Stack Back is achieved when you mount your drapery rod, not on the molding that surrounds your window, but out on the wall. If you position your rod in this fashion, every time you go to open your curtains/drapes, the fabric panels will Stack Back onto the wall, exposing all of the window.

Calculating how far out onto the wall to mount your rod, for stack back, is easy.

Step One …Measure the width from the outside left to the outside right of your window frame. (see illustration 1-B). No difference if the window is a bow, picture, multiple casement, or double hung.

Step Two …Take that measurement and figure out what 25% to 30% of it is.

Step Three …Take that number of inches you have come up with, which make up the 25 to 30%, and divide that number in half. That numbers is the distance out from the outer edge of the molding, around your window frame, to mount your drapery hardware. (see illustration 1-B).

Example Calculation …A 100 inch long picture window, divided by 4 (for 25%) equals 25 inches. Twenty Five inches, divided by 2 equals 12 1/2 inches. 12 1/2 inches is how far out on each side to extend your rod.

If you have a corner window, sliding glass or patio door, you might want to stack back all of your drapery fabric on one side. There are right pull and left pull traverse rods. Vertical blinds also pull back from the left or right.

Hanging Drapes to Suggest Height in a room (Vertical Tension) …Now that you know how to Stack Back your curtains and drapes, the next thing to think about is hanging them, so you suggest height in a room. Most people mount the rod at the exact top of the molding that surrounds the window. The drapes hang down from that point. When the eye looks at the draped window, it thinks the top line of the drapes is the height of the ceiling, not the ceiling itself. By mounting the rod, above the window, or as close as possible to the ceiling, or just below any kind of decorative molding, you are giving the illusion the window is taller, and it even gives the room a feel of height it does not possess. (see illustrations 1-C and 1-D).

Look at the difference between a drape hung at the top of the window frame, and one hung at ceiling height. The one hung at ceiling height makes you think the room is taller. If you are paying extra money to have taller ceilings, than the standard 8 foot, why would you want to mount your drapes to counteract the look you paid extra money for?

Hanging Valances …A Valance is a short drapery used as a decorative heading to conceal the top of curtain/drapery hardware. When hanging a valance over a window, hang it high! Position it above the window, so just the bottom edge of the valance covers completely the top piece of window molding and sash that holds the top of your window pane. (see illustration 2-A). I have been to homes, where valances were hung from the tops of window frames. The valance fabric was in your face, blocking your view outside.

Calculating how much drapery/curtain width is needed to properly cover a window …It is said “Drapes should look like Ball Gowns hung on a window”. What that statement is really saying is “Drapes should be full and voluminous of fabric, never skimpy things stretched across a window”.

It’s easy to calculate the amount of inches of curtain/drapery width you will need to properly cover a window.

Step One …The first thing to consider is how far out from the wall the rod extends, which is also called Return. This measurement could be 3,4,5,6 inches or more, with a combination traverse and valance rod. What ever that number is, multiple it by two. (for Right and Left Return).

Step Two …If you are using a traverse rod (opens and closes by pulling a cord) there is a Center Overlap of 4 inches. Notice how one drapery panel passes in front of the other in the center, when they meet.

So if your rod extends out (return) 4 inches from the wall on each side, that measurement is 4 X 2 = 8 inches. If the center overlap is 4 inches, Between the Right and Left Return, and Center Overlap, you have 12 inches. Now add the 12 inches to the length of your rod, hung on the wall for stack back. That is the minimal amount of drapery width you will need to properly cover the sides and front of the rod. (see illustration 2-B).

If a person is having custom-made curtains or drapes, someone will come in and take measurements. You will get exactly how much drapery is needed, no more, no less. If you don’t elect to have custom-made window treatments, you can put together multiples of different sizes of pre-made drapery panels to get proper window coverage. In my living room, I have 17 feet of window to cover. I have three panels joined together on one side, and three panels on the other side. You can sew or pin, in spots, the panels to make one piece of drapery fabric.

If you are going to hand drapes, just to frame a window, not to be opened and closed, don’t just put one panel on each side. Hand up two panels on each side for fullness.

There are many right ways to hang curtains and drapes, and one wrong way. Illustration 2-C shows how curtains are hung on a pair of double hung windows. In this case, the curtains are not hung up by the ceiling. They are hung on the wall, just above the molding that surrounds the window. They extend down, just below the window to cover the lower part of the molding that surrounds the window. This kind of window treatment is not fussy, and would look great in a boy’s bedroom.

Illustration 2-D shows drapes framing a pair of casement windows. They start up by the ceiling and extend downward, stopping an inch or two above the carpeting or floor. If you have any kind of heating element below a window, never block it. Have your drapes hang 2 to 3 inches above any kind of baseboard, hot-air heat vent, or radiator.

Illustration 2-E shows drapes puddling onto the floor. To achieve this elegant/formal look, buy drapes 12 inches longer than necessary. Arrange the extra fabric on the floor in a billowing way. This look would work best, if it just frames a window. Some kind of shade, blind, etc. would provide privacy and light control.

Illustration 2-F shows the one wrong way of hanging a curtain or drape. It is the unattractive three quarter window treatment. It is not long enough to be a drape, and not short enough to be a curtain. Its panels just hang there mid-wall. Many people have this window treatment no-no in their homes. My advice to you is go Long or Short, never mid-way.

So now you know a few things about hanging drapes and curtains. Hopefully this post will Let the Sunshine in, help with Air Movement, and Optimize your View outside.

For more information read my July 15, 2012 companion post to this article, it is titled Hanging Valances, Curtains and Drapes on Different kinds of Windows click here.

Companion Posts
The Right height of a Table Lamp for your End Table 5-19-2011 ,
Pick (Use) four colors when decorating a Room 3-7-2011,
  Looking at Patterns used on Upholstery Fabric, Drapes, Wallpaper and Carpeting 3-10-2012,
Mixing and Matching Fabric and Wallpaper Patterns 4-13-2012

(Arranging Furniture)
Arranging Living Room Furniture so Sofas talk to Chairs, like the Pros do 9-7-2012,
When buying Living Room Furniture, FORGET the Loveseat, buy two Wing, Club or Occasional Chairs instead 10-13-2012,
Arranging Furniture TWELVE different ways in the Same Room 9-15-2012,
Arranging Furniture around a Fireplace in the Corner of a Room 9-29-2012,
Arranging Furniture in a 12 foot wide by 24 foot long Living Room 2-5-2014,
It’s easy to Arrange Furniture in a Square Living Room, some ideas that will inspire You 11-29-2013,
Arranging Furniture in a 15 foot wide by 25 foot long Bedroom 1-24-2016.

(Hanging Pictures and Mirrors)
Picking and Hanging the Right size Picture or Mirror over your Fireplace 6-23-2011,
It’s Easy to Make a Grouping of Pictures 6-29-2011,
Making an Interesting Arrangement of Pictures 7-18-2011,
It’s Easy to Hang Pictures up on the Wall, 7-17-2011,
Hanging Pictures around a Room 8-3-2011,
Hanging Pictures over a Sofa 9-12-2011

(Unrelated, but really Popular Seasonal Posts)
Putting Lights on a Christmas Tree..The EASY WAY 11-3-2011,
How to Decorate a Christmas Tree with Tulle 10-20-2012,
Cutting / Making Paper Snowflakes 10-27-2011,
Christmas Tree Decorating…Step by Step, Like a Pro 11-13-2011


About fredgonsowskigardenhome

Your eyes deserve to view beauty. I hope Fred Gonsowski Garden Home helps to turn your vision, into a reality.
This entry was posted in Hanging Curtains and Drapes, Interior Decorating Principles, San Francisco Chronicle / eHow references or resources. Bookmark the permalink.

165 Responses to The Right Way to hang Curtains and Drapes.

  1. KEN MORGEN says:

    ****Hi there Everyone**** The wonderful people at the San Francisco Chronicle used this post as references for four of their articles on hanging window treatments. If you have a moment check them out. Here are the direct links and and and
    eHow used this post as a resource for their article titled How to Calculate Curtain Stack Back written by Kathryn Hatshita-Lee, here is that link

    Hello Fred,
    I’ll need some help determining the stackback for drapes I’m making for a window that outer frame to outer frame is 75″ wide. Glass to glass width of window is 68″. When the drapes are open, I only want an inch or two covered. My questions are:
    1) How long should the traverse rod be (I’m planning on pinch pleat drapes) so that when the drapes are fully open and stacked on either side of the window, they only cover an inch or 2 of the glass?

    2)How wide and how deep should the inside of the straight padded cornice be? Thank you very much.

  2. KEN MORGEN says:

    I read your info with great interest! Thank you for posting it. I needed some help determining the stackback for drapes I’m making for a window that outer frame to outer frame is 75″ wide. Glass to glass width of window is 68″. When the drapes are open, I only want an inch or two covered. My question was:
    1) How long should the traverse rod be (I’m planning on pinch pleat drapes) so that when the drapes are fully open and stacked on either side of the window, they only cover an inch or 2 of the glass? AND, based on your formula, my rod should be 91″ long and that will allow the curtains just to cover an inch or two of glass. Am I correct?

    I do have another question which your article didn’t address. About cornices.
    2)How wide and how deep should the inside of the straight padded cornice be in the above application if the rod is 91″? Thank you very much.

    • Hi Ken,
      Looking at your comment…75 inches divided by 4 is 18.75 inches. 75 + 18.75 = 93.75 The rod should be about 93 inches. Your measurement of 91 could still be fine. BUT, the one thing about the Stack Back is, you have to consider how thick the drapery fabric is. I have unlined drapes in one room here (store bought) that stack back really tight, I have the ones in the living room that are lined, and they take up more room on the rod. Also the lining of the pinch pleats might be stiff at the beginning, and not want to stack back so much. So I would go with the 93.75 because if they work right, you can open them as far as you want, and if they are a bit too wide, you can control the opening anyway.
      As for the cornice box, it is best to make it after you have your drapes hung up. Open them and take a measurement, how far they stick out from the wall. Then do a measurement with them closed. Look to see if the pleat measurement (depth) is the same with the drapes closed and opened. After seeing what is the greatest pleat projection, add about an inch or inch and a half space between the outside facing pleat, and the inside of the cornice box. You don’t want the pleats to be rubbing on the inside of the box. Good Luck with your project!

  3. Yvonne Harris says:

    Thank you for all the knowledge on hanging window treatments. I hope you can help my by giving me the name of the drapery hardware I need. I have 1 window on each side of my bed. The windows are 48 inches wide and I do not have the room to use the stack back treatment because the wall ends 3 inches away from the window. My drapes are shirred on the rod and keep creeping into the center of the window stealing my precious light. (My rod is like your illustration 1-A). I saw a person on TV who screwed what looked like a 2 knobs directly into the rod to keep the curtains pushed back the same amount on each side of the window. I have searched on the internet and asked at different stores to no avail. Please tell me what the name of this kind of rod is and what the name of the knob thing she screwed into the rod is? I tried tiebacks they open up the bottom of the drapes but the tops still creeps into the middle. I have blinds behind the drapes so I don’t have a privacy problem.
    Thank You,

    • Hi Yvonne.
      Have you ever looked a all the drapery hardware that they sell at J C Penny’s? They might have something for you. I was thinking about your problem.
      What if you took some clear, or matching colored thread, and sewed a string, on the inside back of the drape, at the shirred part.
      For the panel that is on the left side of the bed, sew the string on the right side top edge of that panel back. Leave a good amount of string to work with. Position your curtain as you want it on the rod, and then tie the string to the left side of the rod, kind of to anchor it from moving. The string will be on the side facing the wall, so no one will see it. That way, the string will not let it move across your rod. If you try this, tell me if it worked.

  4. Yvonne Harris says:

    Thank you for the quick return email. I’ll check out J.C. Penny’s drapery hardware. I really like your idea of tacking a long heavy duty thread to the inside shirred top of the drapes and tying it off on the opposite edge of the drapes on the rod. I know that this will work and I won’t have the expense of purchasing two new rods and knobs. Brilliant idea!
    Thanks again for the great ideas,

    • Hi Yvonne, it is nice to hopefully have a Happy Ending to a project ;-}

      TO ALL MY READERS…If you want to always know when I put up a new post, click on +Follow, and every time I send up a new post, you will get an E-mail from WordPress telling you it is there.

  5. Julie says:

    I am having a similar problem as Yvonne in my living room. The room is 196 inches long with three windows spanning 172 inches long. The windows are 46 inches wide and there are 18 inches between each window. It seems like I would need a very long rod and there would be no room for stackback. I really want the light to come though the windows. Is there a way that I could hang stationary panels on short rods? If so where exactly would they go and how long should they be? Or I saw something once with knobs instead of rods (very classy looking) but not sure of how to do that. Any ideas?
    Thank you,

    • Hi there Julie..Not really seeing the room, but trying to draw the space on a piece of paper…I think you should have a set of stationary drapes starting in the left corner, going up to the first window. The next set of stationary drapes should be between windows #1 and #2. The next set after that should go between windows #2 and #3. and the last set starting to the right of window #3 and going right into the corner. If your room is formal, have your drapes full of fabric(billowy). For a modern looking room think about them being streamlined using less fabric. Try to envision a wall of fabric, with windows in it.

      If you can, get three sets of fancy looking rods (wide pole) with finials that catches the eye, and hang then up above your windows, close to the ceiling. It would be OK if the tips of the finials touching each other, or are spaced close together. Have the drapery fabric go right to, or an inch or so above the floor. In a way, think of your 3 windows, as three sets of french doors, and how you would drape around them. Get honey comb shades, roller shades behind sheers, roman blinds, or what ever you like to control light and provide privacy.

      Another option could be to have scarfing fabric tied around the windows. It would just offer softness, but not much volume of fabric. What ever color the drapes are, try to work some of that same color around the room, you don’t just want it isolated in one spot. I hope this is helpful ;-}

      • Fahri says:

        Hello, I’m having a similar problem as Yvonne in my living room. The room is 196 inches long with three windows spanning 172 inches long. The windows are 46 inches wide and there are 18 inches between each window. It seems like I would need a very long rod and there would be no room for stack back. I really want the light to come though the windows. Is there a way that I could hang stationary panels on short rods? If so where exactly would they go and how long should they be? Or I saw something once with knobs instead of rods (very classy looking) but not sure of how to do that. Any ideas?Thank you,Julie

      • Hi Fahri, If your windows are 46 inches wide, the stack back, on either side of the window is 6 to 7 1/2 inches. With the 18 inches between the windows, there is enough space for three separate rods, one over each window. Remember, the width of the window is divided by 25 to 30%. Here at Whimsey Hill, I have a 17 foot rod on one of the windows. If I could not find a rod that long, I could mount two rods, one left patio pull and one right patio pull, next to each other, to have enough rod to accommodate the drapes. Good Luck with your project, and Thank You for your inquiry ;-}

  6. Vivian says:

    Very informative article, thank you….got some great tips!

  7. Debbie Tolland says:

    I have heating vents below my windows… Do I cover them with curtains or just have them go to the tops of the vents? Then vents are about 5 inches high from the floor and are not below every window. Thanks!

    • Hi Debbie..Happy New Year to You! Never cover the vents. Practicality before beauty ALWAYS! Have your drapes fall to an inch or two above the vent. Have the same length drapes on all the windows, for uniformity, so everything looks the same.

      Here at Whimsey Hill I have MILES of cast iron base board heating under ALL the windows. The drapes fall to 2 inches above all the heating units.

      If a person had double hung windows, they could have stationary drapes that just framed the window, and they could go to the floor. Under the stationary drapes, on a window like that, sheer curtains could be hung, that went down just to above the heat vent. A roller share, or a honeycomb shade could be put behind the sheers for privacy and light control. If a person did not want sheers, roman shades, blinds, or some other kind of privacy controlling device could be put behind the stationary/ window framing drapes. Hope my comment is helpful ‘-}

  8. Lana says:

    I am trying to hang curtains in my dining room. We are having the room re-painted and want to add curtains. The ceilings are 10 feet. There are three windows (25″, 35″ and 25″ with 8″ between each window). The windows are covered with 2″ wood blinds. There is molding above the windows and right above the molding there are three more windows-two triangle shaped ones on the ends with a square shape in the middle. Where do I position the curtain rod? Should it be right above the molding, leaving the three top windows exposed or should it be above the three top windows? Also, there is carpet in the room. Should the length of the curtains meet the carpet or should I leave a puddle?

    • Hi Lana, I tried drawing out your windows on a piece of paper, and I have two options for you to think about. The First, I think you could have fabric SWAGGED around the whole outside edge of your windows for softening, and just use your wooden blinds for light and privacy control. Start your fabric at floor level on the left side, run it upward, attaching it along the molding edge of the left triangular window, and create the first swag there. The second swag would be across the top middle window, and the third swag would be on the right triangle, and then the fabric would work its way down to the floor. Since the fabric would not be moving in any way you could puddle it. The Second option is to run your rod across the top of the bottom windows, close to the upper ones as possible. If you do that, have your drapes float an inch or so above the carpet, so when you open and close them, the fabric will not wear down on the bottom edge. Go to your local book store and look in magazines like Veranda, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful etc (magazines that cover expensive homes that have high ceilings) to see what different designers have done. You will hopefully see a window like yours, and that will help you make the right decision. Good Luck ;-}

      Today 2-18-2012 I was looking at a magazine called Elegant Homes. In it I say a tall window with a rounded top over it, not at all like what you described as yours, but it could have a vibe like yours. The drapery rod for that window was hung up at almost ceiling height on the wall, and the drapes were stacked back to show the window. The designer did not seem to care about the wall space to the left and right of the arched part of the window, not covered by the drapes. The drapes stack backed to just the edge of the molding, that made up the vertical sides of that big window. Thinking about it, there are no real wrong ways to drape your window, it is just the choice that you feel is best for you.

  9. gloria says:

    I have a bow window. It has five windows that are only 17 inches wide but 70 inches long. So the bow curtain rods are so expensive-around $450 for just one rod. From one window to the other is 138 inches long. any suggestions? I would like curtains as it is a west window that gets lots of hot sun.

    • Hi Gloria I don’t understand the 138 inch part. Not seeing the space, I have two ideas that I can see in my mind, that possibly would work. #1 How about mounting 5 separate rods, one over each of the 17 inch wide window and then hanging a valance over each window. On both sides of the wall that comes up to the bow window, in the room, hang drapery panels and a valance on each side of the bow window to frame it. Hang honey comb shades, that you can lower from the top down, or pull up from the bottom in each of the windows to provide light control and privacy. #2 hang a ceiling mounted travers rod across the inside wall of the room, that when opened will frame the bow window. You could still hang some kind of valance over the tops of the windows in the bow window part. Good luck with your project.

  10. Connie Honaker says:

    Here’s my problem. I just hung pinch-pleated drapes in my LR. on a traverse rod. I’m putting a valance up but the standard 2 1/2″ valance rod does not extend out far enough on the sides to be out of the way of the drapes when I open and close them. Do you know if there are extensions for those brackets so my valance will sit out and my drapes will move freely? I bought the drapes at JC Penny and was down there yesterday and they have no answers.

    • Hi Connie, Valance rods come in a number of sizes that extend out into the room, so the drapes will easily move back and forth behind them. I just measured mine in the dining room, and they extend out 7 inches from the wall. Did you talk to the head of the drapery department, or some kid that just dismissed you? Go back and talk to someone that is in charge, or go into the custom drape department at Penny’s and talk to someone there. Also look in their catalog, to see the different sizes of rods you can order. Just because you order them, does not mean you have to keep them. Also look for rods at Sears, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe’s. Good Luck with your drapery issue ;-}

  11. Jody says:

    I am planning an arched outside mount valance for a sliding glass door where vertical blinds are stacked on the left side of the window….how do I determine where the center of the arch should fall? Do I need to extend the valance on the right so that it equals the blind stack back on the left?

    • Hi Jody Not really seeing the window, and guessing what it possibly looks like, I say, First hang up your vertical blinds. Then start your arch on the right side of the window, at the exact spot where the vertical blinds ends when closed, and extend it left to the exact edge of the stack back. You would want the bottom edges of the arch to line up with the side edges of the vertical blinds.

      Take a piece of paper and try to make some simple drawings of the shapes of an arch, the sliding door and the stack back, to see how it would look before doing the project.

      Ask at a bunch of different stores, that have a drape department how they would address your problem, and see if there is a common answer to your question. I hope I was of some help. Good luck with your project ;-}

  12. Shana says:

    Hi Fred, I’m currently living in an apartment home and would like to add drapes to my sliding glass door since its the only window in my livingroom. The window is 102″h x 100″w. I have picked out the drapes and want to get them in the grommet style. How far above the window frame c
    should I hang them and how wide should I go with material? Also, the sliding glass door has blinds and Im not sure if I want mgmt to take them off or not. I have remove the top bracket from the blinds but at this point Im also considering a cornice. What would be the best thing? HELP


    • Hi Shana I think the Grommet style would not be that great for you unless you have a light fabric, that is not that heavy to move. (And on a narrow window) If you are using the grommet style, can a rod be sewn on the inside edge of the panels, so you can pull them back with it. That way the main pull would me at the upper part of the drape, where the fabric is many layered and heavy. (I personally like the travers rod when it comes to moving large amounts of fabric) If you are a renter, make the project as inexpensive as possible. Can you do the project with pre-made panels, all pinned / tack sewn together, off the rack, from a JC Pennys? When figuring how high you want them to be, go about 2 or 3 inches above the blinds hardware at the top of the window. The place making the drapes for you will know how much fabric to use for proper fullness. Good luck with you project ;-}

  13. Shana says:

    Hi Fred, Im not sure if a rod can be sewn into the drapes since they are custom made to order. They offered me a choice of pinch pleated drapes but I honestly like the grommet style better. The fabric will be lined with standard lining so they wont be that heavy. I’m thinking with the blinds being behind them and with the sheer in the middle, I’ll be able to use tie backs for the custom panels when I want to open the curtains back for sunlight. I’m not really trying to leave the curtains open as I have an apartment facing my window. So they are for privacy and as well as for decorative purposes. What do you think?

    • Hi Shana, as I read your note, I am thinking …Have the sheers put on their rod THICK, so there is a lot of fabric and volume to them. Having them thick will give you privacy, even with the lights on, you won’t even have to bother closing the drapes that often. The more folds, the more opaque it will be. My next door neighbors have a good 17 plus feet of window in their living room. They just have the sheers on thickly, and even at night, with all of their lights on, you can’t see a think inside. They have swagging around the windows for softening, but that is it. Their sheers are on standard rods. Are yours going to be made that way also? Don’t take the blinds down until the end, when the drapes and sheers are up. That way you can see how each element adds to the final effect.

      I have seen the rod sewn into the drapes at motels. It is a white, or clear wand kind of device. Again, good luck with the drapes ;-}

  14. Brenda says:

    Hello, this is my first time seeing this site. Very interesting ideas. I am trying to get an idea of how to hang curtains in my newly painted dining room. I have 3 standard size windows with a corner. 2 on main wall then corner then other window. Would love to do something with a scarf and I want to hang wood blinds. It is so close in the corner and seems there is never enough room to get the rods straight. In the past always seemed that curtains on single window after the corner is not level with other windows. I am not a decorator and like very simple things and nothing fancy. I have seen some sheer scarves panels that I really like. I would really love to use a scarf to maybe wrap the corner but not sure how to do rods. Any ideas?

    • Hi Brenda Get a leveling ruler (Hopefully you have a family member or friend who has one).. (the kind with the air bubble in it). Figure how high you want the rod to be over the two windows, then mark the spot. With the leveling ruler keep marking, with little dots from one wall to another. That way you will be making a perfect line from one wall to another, not using the ceiling as a guide. Mount your rod hardware using that line as your guide

      Hang the rods, if you can right into the corner of the room, so they meet. Do your swagging, starting at the floor on the outside left of the two main windows. Work in the direction of the place in the corner, where the three windows meet. Have the tail of the swag only come down, maybe 18 inches in that spot and end. From the outside right edge, of the single window start the swagging in the direction of the short swag in the middle. The long scarving to the floor on both the outside left and right side, and the short in the middle where they two meet, might be a really nice look. Try drawing out the three windows on a piece of paper. You don’t have to be an artist. After drawing them out, make simple sketches of different ways you could possibly hand the sheer scarves. You could also try braiding part of the scarves. Use common pins, florist wire or even two sided tape to secure the swagging fabric to the rod. Just hide the mechanicals.

      Even with me, I have to do a few trial runs, before deciding on how to do the project. You might have to reverse the suggested pattern here, starting with the short swagging fabric in the middle, working outward from there. Only by doing, you will know.

      Sorry to be slow responding to you, Hope I was of help. You know every time a person asks a question on this blog, they are helping out someone else that might have a similar problem. People seem to read through all the questions and answers. Good Luck Brenda ;-}

    • Brenda I made a mistake and put my reply to you under a comment made by Sharon. I made the comment March 21,2012. Hopefully you will find it.

  15. Sharon says:

    I want pinch pleat drapes for patio window. I have 4 3/4″ on left side of window, window opening 58 7/8″ and 30 1/2″ on right side. I know I have to have a one-way right draw rod. Should I go all the way to right side with the drapery or leave some wall space and how much on left side should I go?
    My ceiling height is 96″, should I go to the ceiling or drop it down aways. I would appreciate any help. Thank you.

    • Hi Sharon, I would start the drapes in the left corner, right up next to the wall, or as close as possible to hang the rod. I think I would have the rod extended right up to the right wall. It would give the illusion of a bigger window. I have a project for you. Take a bed sheet or two, and with a few tacks, tack it/them from the FAR right side, toward the window. You will then see how a lot of fabric looks. I always try to do a visual of some sorts before doing the real thing. If you question having the drape start right at the ceiling, go a few inches down, or half way between the ceiling and top of the molding around the patio door. I hope I was of help Good luck with your project;-}

      • Sharon says:

        Thank you. The left side wall of the patio flows into the kitchen and there is only 4 3/4″ on the left side of that patio window before a switch plate. I was thinking bringing the drapery 2″ onto that wall, across the patio and extend to the right corner. This would make the drape approximately 91″ wide. I have two valances in this same area that start 8 1/2″ from the ceiling; so I am thinking the drapery could start at the same height. What do you think?

      • Hi Sharon, starting the drapes at the same height as the top of the valances next to it is the way to go. The eye will move from the top of the patio door to the top of the valances in one smooth movement. Smooth movements are a lot of what interior decorating is all about. If you have a moment look at my past post Interior decorating is all about Equal Balance it is in the Archive section to the right of this post in the February 2011 slot. Hanging pictures around a Room 8-14-2011 is another. It will get you looking at continuing lines from one surface to another. Good Luck with your project;-}

  16. Melanie says:

    Hi – I have two windows which are together (about four inches of trim in between) and the outside measurements of the width of both windows together is 78″. I’m really trying to save some money, but all the pre-made drapes I like (as in JC Penneys, BB&B, etc.) seem to come in 50″ wide panels. I am a good seamestress, but am wondering how good they will look stitching the two of them together. I prefer the grommet style – can the top seam be opened, stiched and re-closed for a seamless look? Have you ever done this? Also, I would like to stack the sides back, as you recommend – so would my rod be about 100 inches? I read your comments about the thickness of the drapes, so I understand that. Thanks so much for your help – your blog is great!

    • Hi Melanie, somehow I missed your comment, a bunch came in at once. I would put two 50 inch wide panels on each side of the window. Don’t try taking them apart. Just put them up first, and pin them with straight pins to keep them together. If they look OK like that, then do some minor sew/tacking at the top of the panel, a few places down the side and maybe at the bottom. Keep everything simple as possible. I have 17 feet of window to cover here at Whimsey Hill House in the living room, and I have three panels hooked together on each side. The dining room, which has glass on two walls, forming the corner of the room, also has three panels on each side. Both windows having one side stack back.

      I see a problem that a lot of people are having…Curtains and Drapes these days are being designed for the Faux Colonial/ Mac Mansion style of house, that has double hung windows. All the grommet, tab top, sheered on non moving rods styles, work fine on windows like that, that are Narrow. When it comes to moving large amounts of fabric, the traditional travers rod is ideal. That rod was probably designed in the 1940’s or 50’s when modern houses of that period had large expanses of glass to drape.

  17. vivalacocina says:

    Hello Fred! just a quick note to say thanks for this post. My husband hung our curtains about a month ago and I told him that they were to low (just a few inches above the molding) and that i wanted them raised. He googled it and found your blog which convinced him that they should be higher. He did it this afternoon and said it was a huge difference and looks much better…and it does! thanks! cindy

    • Hi Cindy, Thank you for YOUR COMMENT. I have had tens of thousands of read articles, and even if my information was helpful, few will come back and said thanks. You made my day today, with your lovely comment. Happy Spring to you and your husband.

  18. hannahkarena says:

    Thank you! Just finished hanging my curtains and they look awesome!

    • Hi Hannahkarena, It looks like from all the comments made on the Curtain and Drape post, and seeing the numbers for all the people that just read the post, I am helping THOUSANDS of people with their window treatments. Tell a friend about my web site, maybe one of my posts can be of help to them also. Thank you for just coming back and saying my advice helped ;-}

  19. I used your post to hang my bedroom curtains, and they came out perfect. I hung them similar to drawing 1-D. I never knew the right distance to set back the rods on each side of thew window, or that there was a logical way to calculate it. Thanks for the informative post, and for including such nice illustrations as well. This was very thoughtful of you.

    • Hi there Steven Gary ..You are one of THOUSANDS of people with the same problem, who have found my site, read my post, and I hope I helped everyone of them. You are one of FEW to come back and give a testimony. Thank you for doing that.

  20. Tanya says:

    I am at a standstill. I have a wall with a window that have two windows that’s go up and the front door is only 4 or 6 inches away from the window? The drape I have up now, since its so close to the door, cathches in the door when it closes. I would like to have balance in this living room but whoever designed this room did not put the window in the middle of the wall, so I have nearly 4 feet of pure wall on the left of the window with only 4 to 6 inches of the right! Plus, on the hinge side of the door there is only about an inch on the right of it. I think this totally outrageous! I don’t know if I should use drapes or curtains? I’m thinking drapes. Due to the fact the door is longer than the window. I want the two to look equal in size I guess. I’ve found that maybe I should use a Bell valence since the space is o tight, but I also need privacy. In contradiction to this I want all of the natural sunlight to come through. Please help by providing your expertise. -Tanya

    • Hi there Tanya I had to think about, and draw out what I think your wall with door and (double hung) window looks like. I think you should have a double left sided pull back, patio door traverse rod. All the drapery fabric stacking back to the left. On the inside rod (closes to the window ) have a sheer. On the outside (side that you see in the room) have the drape starting at the top line of the molding of the door, and working down to the floor almost (have the drape hand an inch or so above the floor so there is easy movement). If the top of the drape and door are exactly the same height, the eye will go from one to the other, without dropping down, or going up. I think by having the sheer and top curtain the same length, the sheer will cover up the smaller window and make you think it is bigger. Paint the window frame the same color as the sheers so it disappears. Paint the inside side of the door also the same color as the window. The less contrast you have, the easier all the elements will disappear. Good Luck and thanks for the question.

      Every question asked, and if I can possibly answer it, helps someone else with the same problem. In a way it makes the article more information fulled.

  21. Janet Graff says:

    Hi Fred
    I have a window that is 35 wide x59 inches tall. It is in a room that is 10 feet tall.
    I am putting grommeted curtains on a rod across the top of the window. My question is how high should I place the rod? Would it look ok to have about 12-14 inches of wall showing above the window? At the present time I have purchased 108 inch curtains.
    Thank you…love your site!

  22. Janet Graff says:

    Janet here again…
    What I meant was would it look ok to have the ROD 12 -14 inches above the window frame with the wall showing below it before the top of the window.

    • Hi Janet, Hang the drapes the 12-14 inches above the window as you said. If you look in magazines like Elegant Living, Veranda, House and Garden, etc (the more upscale magazines), they do it all the time. Make sure you also have a beautiful looking rod. Think of the rod as part of the window’s visual interest. I love it when you see something across the top of the drapes in an antiqued bronze, satin finished silver, or burnished gold. Good Luck, and thanks for loving FGGH ;-}

  23. Melissa Dudek says:

    Hi, I have a double pleated curtain which is hung on the rod by rings. WhenI swag it into tiebacks, the rings all slide together and I can’t get the proper swag. Is there a product (such as a neoprene ring) that you could put inside the first ring which would make it catch and then I could pull back the curtain and the rest of the rings would stay in place, and I would have my proper swag. I hope you understand what I am talking about. Thanks, Melissa

    • Hi there Melissa, Go to the costume drape department at a place like JC Penny’s, or a Calico Corner, and ask those people, if there is something like what you are looking for. They would know every product on the market, and how to address your problem. If there is nothing, how about sewing the two panels together at the top with some invisible thread, or at least sewing the thread on the left panel, then leaving a small space, and sewing the other end to the right panel. Being almost clear you would probably not notice the thread. Do it on the back side facing the window, so no one will see it. Walmart or any fabric/craft store like Joanne’s sells the thread. Good Luck with your project ;-}

  24. Lori Bennett says:

    Hi Fred,
    I was so excited to find your site! My house is new construction and the first room I’m tackling is my piano room. The room has 10 ft ceilings and the window is 89″ wide and 82″ long. This includes the 3 1/2 trim molding. The window has a 18″ transom and the bottom portion is divided into 3 sections. I’ve already purchased wood blinds and they are hung on the ‘triple’ section only. (as if there were three separate windows…not one large) The window is lacking something…I found some great valances that would bring a splash of color…is it acceptable to hang a valance above a transom or should I go with straight hanging side panels on short decorate rods? (I prefer valances…but not sure if the idea is just dumb) Looking forward to your opinion.

    • Hi there Lori I can see that with the all the hard surfaces of the wooden blinds, molding and windows, you need some softening. How about, swagging scarfing material, from the floor, upwards toward the top of the transom window on one side, across the top of the transom on a decorative pole, and then down the other side to the floor. Or, if you want the valances, how about also adding jabots coming down on either sides a bit, so the valancing is not just on top. A third option would be to have decorative panels just framing the big window divided in three, and not having the transom covered at all. A forth option would be to have a fancy rod hung a bit down from the ceiling, and have drapes hung floor to ceiling. Look in the magazine Elegant Home. It is at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Barns and Noble book stores. They are always showing rooms with big windows like yours. I have seen all the options just listed, the choice is yours. Pick a fabric that is visually heavy as the blinds. Bring a sample of the wooden blinds with you, pass it by the fabrics you like, to see if the wood and fabric works together. When you come up with the fabric for the room, try to have it in other places than around/above the window (pillows on sofa, cushion of chairs, etc). Color and pattern should always be moved around a room, not isolated. Good Luck with the Piano room, it is hard to make a comment, not really seeing the space.

      • Lori Bennett says:

        Thanks for the suggestions…I’m off to find the magazine! Then your landscaping pages 🙂

      • Hi Lori, with all the straight lines of the windows and shutters, stay away from stripes as a fabric choice. You already have straight lines there. Pick something in the round family of patterns, to counterbalance all the straight lines. Look at my March 10, 2012 post called Looking at Patterns used in Interior Decorating. You can also use a dot or medallion pattern.

  25. Mimi says:

    I used your advice to hang curtains in a small room at my sister’s apartment. We did something like your 1-D sketch. The room looks bigger and more polished now because of the height, so thank you! Question: If I were to install a shade (to block more sunlight) on the same window, would I mount it as high and wide as the curtains? We can’t add a valance to hide the top edge, if that makes any difference.

    • Hi there Mimi, You could put the shade up as high as the curtains framing the window, but would it bump into the molding around the window? Instead, how about mounting a bottom up and top down honeycomb shade in the frame of the widow itself. You can control privacy and light with that. The honeycomb shade folds down to NOTHING. At my old house, I had curtains framing the windows in the dining room. They were hung high up like you did . Behind them, at the same level as the top of the drapes, I hung stationary panels of sheers. At the top of the windows, on the frame, I installed roller shades for light control and privacy. The sheers hid the roller shades. Thanks for your quick note, I hope my comment helps you with faze 2 of your project ;-]

  26. Laura B says:

    Great information! You took the mystery out of it. I have lived in my house for 17 years. I have never hung curtains in my living room because I didn’t know how to make it look right. Ready to take the plunge and was wondering if you could help. I did the measurements but I don’t have room on either side of the larger window.
    Here’s the layout: u-shaped area with two windows. Facing the large window, there’s a closet wall to the left, large window in front of you, and smaller window to the right and then a rock fireplace. Going left to right again, it’s wall, corner, 15.5″ of wall, 118″ of window, 12″ of wall, corner, 21″ of wall, 70″ of window, 17″ of wall, rock fireplace.
    At one point I was considering using a corner connector instead of finials in between the curtains at the corner they meet.
    I could follow your instructions for the smaller window but not the larger. Any suggestions?
    P.S. thanks for the info about tacking together ready-made panels. Huge help!

    • Hi there Laura B, Each of the questions, people are sending me, pertaining to hanging drapes, seem to be getting harder and harder to answer, or understand, without seeing the space. Yours, I can’t even envision in my mind to make a guess. Sorry for not being able to help you. Best of luck with your project.

      An idea…Take some pictures of the wall showing the closet wall, windows, and fireplace. Stand in the exact center of the room. Take a shot of the left closet side first. Without moving, take a shot of the second part, I’m guessing the windows. Then take a shot of the right fireplace side. tape all those three photos together to make one big picture showing the whole wall. Then go to a JC Penny’s or other kind of place like Calico Corners or any other drape making/selling place, and just ask them a lot of questions. Go to a few places, and ask the same questions over and over, to see if there is a commonality of the same answers. Hope I was a bit of help to you Laura ;-}

  27. Laura B says:

    Oh well. It was worth a shot asking. I’ve already paid a “professional designer” to come out to help and she said to run the rods wall to wall with small finials. That would be unbalanced and certainly doesn’t follow your rules. But if that’s all I can do… Thanks for the advice.

    • Hi there Laura, The drapery hanging information I post is for regular everyday double hung and casement windows, not unusual combinations or placements of windows. The draping of them is a totally different story, and not something I can give advice on, without seeing the windows myself. Sorry to say, but FGGH is about helping people with everyday issues, not the unusual. Best of luck with the drapery service.

  28. Michael Mosebach says:

    I enjoyed your information on setbacks. Long ago I had a business hanging drapes but now that I have to hang them in my house I forgot how to measure for setbacks. The only problem I saw was that you say to divide by 25 – 30%. This is a bit nit picky on my part but you are not dividing by 25% you multiply. if you divide your 100 inches by 25% you get 400. When you multiply you get the 25 inches you are looking for.


    • Hi There Michael, Step 2 says take the measurement divide it by 25% to 30%. Example calculation says a 100 inch wide picture window, divided by 4 (25%) = 25 inches. 25 inches divided in half is 12 1/2 inches. Extend the rod 12 1/2 inches out on each side. Thanks for your comment, I hope I clarified it for you.

  29. Alison says:

    Like Michael said, I was also confused at “divide that number by 25%” That means divide by .25, not 4. It gave me a very large number, ha. It needs to say “multiply by 25%,” or, “divide by 4.”

    • Hi there Alison Thank you for your comment, the correction has been made. You and Mike were the first two, of tens of thousands of readers of that post, to have trouble with the calculations. Hopefully the new wording will be easier to follow ;-}

  30. Pingback: Southwest Style Day Five: Painted Curtains | These Two Hands

  31. Terri Davis says:

    Thank you in advance for your response. If I would like to use valances, dark green with a lighter green curtain in the lobby of the hotel I manage, would it work to put the vlances inbetween the curtains, or does a valance have to be in front of curtains? I know this sounds strange, and for some reason I was thinking I saw that somewhere. More I think of it, I doubt it. Thanks for your response anyway.

    • Hi there Terri, Valances are fabric covers that HIDE drapery hardware. It is in front of the drapes/curtains that are hung under them. Jabots (a fall of fabric) could be what you saw. If you do the dark green and light green, have the same dark and light green in other parts of the room. Pillows on sofa, part of the pattern of a rug, upholstery fabric for chairs, wall color (striped wallpaper is an example), artwork with a lot of the two tones of green in it, decorative vases, and accessories, etc. Work those colors around the space, NEVER isolate a color. Good luck with the project

  32. Alison says:

    Will it look dumb if I only have drapes on one side of a window? I have a fireplace that hinders the stacking back on the left side of a family room window, but there is plenty of room on the right side…


    • Hi there Alison, not really seeing the window, fireplace, or room itself, I say stack everything back on the right side. If you can, have the drape floor to ceiling or close to the ceiling as possible, so your drape suggests vertical tension like the fireplace. Could you have the drape in the same color as the room, or paint the room the same color as the drape, so it all blends in, and does not stand out all that much, but provides the light and privacy control you are looking for? Good luck with the project ;-}

      • Alison says:

        Yes, I was planning on painting the walls a light tan and have the drapes two shades darker so that they don’t stand out too much (ie, not a print or different color).

        I asked my husband to rehang the drapery hardware in the bedroom to follow your suggestions. Our new drapes look stunning! I always hated the way my drapes hung – they never looked professional, no matter how I fluffed or arranged them. Now all I need to do is have the new ones hemmed, and they will look even better.

        Thank you for your personal suggestions!

      • Alison, I am soo happy to hear from you, and hear that my post and comments were of help. Go to the paint store and get every paint color strip that you think matches the color of your drapes. When home, pass them one by one, or lay the strips on the drapery fabric to see which one most closely matches the drapery fabric. After that pick one of the darker colors from that paint strip to paint the walls. A paint strip shows the darkest color (shade) and lightest color (tint) on it. The tint is the shade color with white added, to soften it. Happy Painting!

  33. Kim Parker says:

    Finally! Thanks for the tutorial regarding stackback…my 12′ wide patio door is a big project and I am trying to avoid a disaster. The center 4′ door slides over (to the left, handle on right) one of the two 4′ flanking fixed glass windows. I have equal wall space for eventual stacking. Live in southwest so I want to open and close depending on time and temperature. Question 1: Recommendation re draw…center or all right? Question 2: Since I am using blackout lining which adds weight…how many and location of support brackets? I was thinking two along length in addition to end brackets to be located 18″ outside window frame. Does that 18″ at left end change if draw is all right? Aghh! I am so unsure since supports limit movement. BTW I am using 2″ antique bronze rod with ring clips. Thank you for any assistance you might offer!

  34. Carey says:

    I have two windows in my small living room. I am looking for advice on the second window…

    The main one WITH drapes is oblong maybe 36 high by 118 wide (it is a three part window and the two sides open). The ceiling is one foot above the actual window but there is a 4 inch long overhang that juts out above the window and big ugly white moldings around the window, I have hung 84″ drapes under the overhang and above the register. They just fit and I am happy enough with that. I wanted drapes to frame the window as I use the blinds at night.

    OF COURSE the secondary window is at a different height and has to no over hang to contend with (I still must contend with the register and the ugly window moldings). My question is… Where should I hang the drapes from to make it complementary to the other window??? From the ceiling? At the relative distance above the molding? What if they drapes hang higher on than baseboards than they do on the other window? If I put the rod tight to the ceiling I will have to get longer drapes and hem them…

    It is a small room. Should I use the same drapes? Or is it okay to pick the same style but a different colour?

    I would appreciate any ideas that you can offer…


    • Hi there Carey, First of all I think you have to have all the drapes in the room the same color. If they match the walls, they will stick out even less for un-match-ed-ness than if they are a contrasting color. If they don’t match for color, they would also/probably stick out even more for being dissimilar sizes. Could you hand a valance on a rod that hardly sticks out from the wall on the main window, with the 4 inch overhang up by the ceiling, and then put a valance at ceiling height with a more proper fitting rod on the other window, to try to unite the look? Not seeing the room in true life, my solution to your problem is only a guess. Sorry to take so long to comment to you, I have had a lot of things going on here with the garden, and all the other events in my life at this time…running-running-running from one project to another. Good luck with your project ;-]

      • Carey says:

        So I think that your advice would be “do whatever you can to hang them from the same height… preferably from the ceiling… and hang them to above the hot water heating”. And that – is a lot of work.

        I had not thought of using two rods on the one main window to counteract the overhang.

        Does anyone ever say – “darn – I should have consulted you *before* I started”?!

        I am also seeing how I may need to change my drapes to be lighter.

        Thanks Fred!

      • Carey it is always fun for me when someone comes back and says they were inspired by a comment or post. THANKS!

  35. Carey says:

    I meant the heater not the baseboards… thanks

  36. Carey says:

    p.p.s. the second window is 36 high by 58 wide – thanks again

  37. Robert says:

    I am hanging a decorative curtain rod on a 108″ window with 2 1/2 window molding with 9 foot ceilings. The problem I am having is that the center bracket is on the molding. The left and right brackets are on the wall and poses no problems. What is the best way to tackle this job.

    • Hi Robert, can you mount the rod up on the wall above the window molding, instead of on the window trim and wall? If you can’t, can you first mound two small block of wood the thickness of the molding on the wall at the spot where the ends of the rot will be attached to the wall and then mount the rod on them. If the wood blocks are painted the same color as the wall they will most likely not stand out. Good luck with your project ;-}

      • Robert says:

        Thanks for that suggestion. My brackets slide so I can adjust the ones on the wall. The molding is 1/2″ in depth. The molding is belved so how would I prevent the center bracket from slanting. What would you use?

      • Robert, could you get a wood shim (slanted piece of wood used to level cabinets, windows, doors, etc), and put it between the drapery bracket and the molding to level off the surface? You will have to cut it down to fit under the drapery hardware. If you go to a place like Home Depot and tell them your problem, they might have it (shims) there to sell you. Good luck with the project.

  38. says:

    Thanks so much for the blog! It was just what I was looking for. Quick question – if I double stack – should the sheer curtain go in the front or in the back?

    • Hi there I. The sheer always goes closest the the glass, the drape is in the room. Look at my new July 15, 2012 post titled Hanging Valances, Curtains and Drapes on different kinds of Windows. I just put it up, it might interest you. Thanks for the comment.

  39. Noelle says:

    Thank you for this great article! I am looking to hang double curtain rods in a bed room in my 1920s home. From the ceiling down, is a 4 inch crown molding at the ceiling, a two inch gap, and then a decorative molding above the window that juts out into the room about 3.5 inches at the top and slopes towards the all for 3.5 inches. Just below this molding is a second 4 inch molding (just a plain rectangle) and then the window. I can’t figure out whether it would be better to mount the rod with shims (as you suggested above) just below the crown molding or through the middle of the 4 inch molding. The image below should give you an idea (but this is not to scale).
    ————————————————– Ceiling
    ________________________________ Crown molding
    __________________________ Wall
    \________________________/ Top molding that slopes down towards the wall
    |_______________________| 4 inch Rectangle molding (1 inch from wall)
    | | | | Window and 2 side moldings
    | | | |
    | | | |
    | | | |
    | | | |

  40. Stephanie says:

    I’m so glad I found your site! We just moved into our new build and though we have wood blinds in our bedroom, we desperately need more softness and some more darkening. The problem I have is a lack of symmetry and some windows that are a bit close to corners. Our ceilings are 10′. The tops of molding of the four windows in our master bedroom hit at 100″. All windows are roughly 43″ wide including molding.

    The wall that faces you when you walk in has two windows in the front of our New Orleans style house. Making things symmetrical outside meant that the windows didn’t space out evenly inside. Coming from the left side of the room, you have: starting at the corner…36″ of wall…window…42″ of wall…window…15″ of wall…corner.

    When you turn that corner, you have the bed wall. Here you’ve turn the above corner and have…3″ of wall…window….2″ of wall…king bed….2″ of wall….window….3″ of wall….corner. The two windows that flank the bed each only have three inches between them and the end of the walls. The curtains will no doubt go behind the bed since the molding between the windows is a couple of inches from our king bed.

    I thought about doing panels on the front wall and roman shades on the bed wall. But I’m not sure. Can you help me figure out a way to configure things?

    I have pics I can send but don’t want them public. So please contact me if you’d like them.

    • Hi there Stephanie I think you should drape the whole wall behind the bed,from one corner to the other. Make it up of many different fabric panels, versus one big piece of fabric. Pull the fabric panel for the left window toward the left side of the room, pull the fabric panel for the right window, right into the right corner. Have the fabric behind the bed just hanging down to the floor. Make the swag really high up and have it attached to a decorative pullback or knob. Match the fabric color to the paint color so there is just one color to look at, nothing too high contrast or choppy.

      Sorry put I really don’t want to look at peoples photos. I am just giving everyday information, not customized information. That is something I feel a person should get from a professional in their area. Sorry but I can only give so much information here on FGGH, I really can’t help the world ;-{

  41. briejohnson says:

    Hi Fred, Thanks you for your blog- it is so helpful! I have a window treatment delima. My living room is close to the street and the house next door.  I want privacy without blocking out all the light. I also have beautiful new windows and molding and don’t want to hide them. For these factors, I thought up/down roman shades would be a good solution. What is your take in inside v. Outside mount? I was opting for inside because it would be cleaner, but it will not work with the front window because it does not have the required 2″ depth throughout the inside of the frame. The entire window frame actually contains three windows. The total dimensions of the frame are 97″wide x 45″ long. One central picture window (46×45) is flanked by two smaller double hung windows  that are 22×45 and also separated by molding. 
    There are three double hung windows on the side of the room that are 53×33. 
    Since the front window needs an outside mount, I was thinking of putting a valance above the molding to hide the hardware necessary for the up/down mechanism. I am not sure how high above the molding to put it. Any suggestions? The top of the molding is at 91″ and the ceiling is 111″. There will be one big shade to cover this entire window.
    Also, I wanted the other windows on the side of the room to have inside mounts. Would this look inconsistent if the one on the other wall is an outside mount? Should they all match?
    I know you generally advise on drapes and these are shades, but if you have an opinion, I would love to hear it. At one point, I may want to complement these with drapes, but need privacy first. Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi there Brie Johnson

      You can mount the Roman shade above the window as long as the mechanism juts out further from the wall than the molding, and when the shade passes by the top molding it does not, in any way touch it. You want a straight drop. Recently I saw a windows in maybe House Beautiful magazine draped like that. If you want, mount the valance above it to cover the hardware. If the top of the roman shade is nice looking, as it was in the House Beautiful picture, they just had it by itself.

      Have you ever looked at double honey comb shades? Mounted inside the window frame, when pulled up or dropped completely down to the sill they are almost invisible. Ask the people at the shade store how they feel about shades 46 inches wide, and how easy a large thing like that will be to work.

  42. Pingback: Small Space, Big Style | Practical Enrichment

  43. Christine says:

    Hi Fred, I hope you can help me. I have four windows in my bedroom that have drapes hung on a wooden rod. The rod is about 10 inches above the window casement. I would like to put a roman shade up behind the drapes. I can do that with two of the single windows flanking the bed. My problem is with the double window. It has a large wooden support bracket between the window preventing me from putting a shade under the rod. Can I put the roman shade up under the two single window’s rod and then place a large roman shade on the casement of the double window? Would that look right? Or should I just put all of the shades on the casement? Thank you for any suggestions you may have for me.
    Lost in New Jersey,

  44. Pingback: A Lesson in Curtains | Mountains & Magnolias

  45. Eva says:

    Fred! You are a genius, thank you for these wonderful hints. My question is I have a big picture window that is recessed with a small seat in, the house was build in the early 80’s so I have a bulkhead over the window running the length of the wall. Eventually this will be taken out but for now I have to work with it so do I hang my curtains and drapes under the bulkhead so the rod does not show or just above the window opening (2inches) to show the curtain rod.
    I’m in a desperate help because there is currently nothing there and all my neighbors and passer bys know my business
    Overly Exposed from Milton, Ontario

    • Hi Eva from Ontario, Not seeing your window or the room, I would say, take some push pins and a flat sheets or two, and try hanging up the fabric in the different spots, below the bulkhead and above it, to see which place you like the fabric hanging from. If you are going to redo the window in the next year or two, do the project as inexpensively as possible, and spend your money on the better later. Hope my suggestion is of some inspiration to you;-}

  46. alison6971 says:

    Fred…thanks so much for your information! I am in the process of redecorating my apartment and I do have a problem that although I probably know the answer to it, I am hoping you can shed some creative light on it. I have a baseboard heater underneath the only two windows I have in my living room. I know I shouldn’t have anything covering them, but in all honesty, the curtains I have hanging now just look way too short. I bought ready-made curtains (the same length as my current ones) with the hopes of customizing them with some additional fabric to match my new decor. Is there ANYTHING I can do so they don’t look ridiculous (as the current curtains do right now).

    Thanks for any help you can give me!


    • Hi there Alison, Could you add a long fringe to the bottom of the drapes? It would give you the length, but not the solidness of fabric, so heat might pass through it. Could you paint the heating element and molding the background color of the drapes so the fabric color would go to the bottom of the room? Here, I have all white drapes in most of the rooms, with painted and wallpapered walls. The drapes float about 2 to 3 inches above the cast iron baseboard heaters, but the wood work and heating are the color of the drapes so the color works to the floor.

      Alison, the questions of my readers are getting more difficult for me to answer, not seeing the spaces, but I still love the questions ;-} I hope I have inspired you a bit in some way, best of luck with your project.

  47. Donna Conrad says:

    Dear Fred, I have enjoyed each and every Q & A comment on your site! You are a miracle-worker! I am so thankful to see this, not only for my current “pondering.” But, also, just to learn! My mother and my aunt were interior decorators. However, both now are quite elderly, and not here to answer or observe for my question. Here goes: I live in a very quaint cottage, one-bedroom, one bath. Upon entering my home, the bath is at the far end of the room, closed off with a door. The left wall has a window a/c unit,quite high. The far end of the wall straight ahead has a very narrow high window, (It is in an alcove – and yes, perfect for my bookcases, and a small chair/lamp. Actually, more of an accent area.) Then to the right of front door is; the only “average” window in my living space. Once one walks past that wall, there is a one-step-down into my kitchen, and there is one window in the kitchen, but not over the sink – it is same side as the living room window, and same size window. My bedroom is off of the kitchen, where there is no door and no wall separating kitchen from my very large bedroom. (Construction is in the works for that “project.”) The only light in that room comes from the french doors at end of bedroom leading off to a side-yard patio. Very quaint, and yes, with TLC, it has been fun for me to decorate. However, the dilemma is the living room window! Since my wall space is small on that wall – I already hung a wooden sunburst dome mirror on one side of the window, (closest to the door, and a small table sits underneath, with a lamp) and on the other side, an expensive repro that is in a most beautiful gold-gilded carved frame. The drapes, I want to use will be for framing the window mostly, since I already purchased and installed all matching white blinds for all windows (the 2 in the living room, the kitchen, the bath, and french doors) Maybe only in the winter would I close the living room drapes because the room would be very dark. To compensate for lack of windows, the original builder installed 2 (two) skylights in the ceiling. One is centered in middle of living room, and the other more towards the alcove wall. My walls throughout are a very subtle buttery yellow. I love the color! My furniture is all white and black leather. My lamps are black leather that frame my grey love seat, ( I reupholstered myself, actually) and one black metal lamp as an accent elsewhere. I have a white floor Ikea pole lamp, and that is at another corner of the room. So, my color scheme is primarily black/white, with exception of artwork. I also love mirrors, and the use of such opens this small living space. There is a gold/silver rectangle mirror over my dining “area” – near alcove, and against the left wall of living room. The dining set is black wrought iron round table, with glass top, and matching four (4) chairs. I covered the seat pads in a silver fabric. The drapes are identical to my wall color, which is a blessing! The drapes were from a previous home. They are “Croscill-brand”, and I paid a pretty penny for them, so I do want to use them! After reading about your suggestion – hanging drapes high to create a larger appearance of a tall ceiling – these would be ideal, as they would just touch the carpet properly if I did so. And, if I hung them at door height (which is an option instead of ceiling height) they would drape floor beautifully, too. The drapes are not lined, but of a heavy fabric, and a soft one. Almost as if they are a chenille-or cashmere blend. Very soft – almost good as a blanket! There is no pattern, and they are solid in color. The tops of the drapes are the shirr-kind, and give the appearance of button-closure. The buttons are smooth and also same color. Quite pretty! It gives the look that the material is draped over the rod and then “buttoned.” The rods I want to use are black, smooth, iron rods, with solid round finial ends. Here’s the prob: They are the swing-out kind.!! Now, do I use 1 (one) rod for both – or does 1 (one) panel go on each rod (?) – and where does the finial meet? Does the finial-end get centered in the middle of the window, or does it matter? The rod lengths are not adjustable, they are all one piece. If I hold one rod against the very end of window, the finial end just comes right to the very end of window frame. If I use the pair, since I am going high to the ceiling, does it matter if it goes beyond the window size – so I can make it look like a larger window, too??? If I did this, the end piece (where I screw it into the wall) would be right above the center of my painting, and the other would be center of that sunburst mirror – (by the way, both these accent pieces are hung at height of my door, simply because I wanted to give the illusion of a higher room – my ceilings are standard size, and the artwork frame is quite large.) It is stunning, but of course the window is begging for adornment! “IF” the finial ends are suppose to be centered. If they are suppose to be at end of each corner, then this won’t be a problem – I am just at loose ends as to the proper way to hang these “swing-out” rods, but they would pull every element in my room together. My flooring is vinyl, and muted with black, grey, and white. I plan to eventually put white tile or wood flooring…I hope I have described my living space and inasmuch as I do not want much attention to the window, the very fact that they are the same wall color is perfect because it does not busy-up the painting I hung on that wall, too. Also, the rods would anchor the heavy dining set and compliment my black accents – what I want to eliminate is – not having excessive drill-holes if I hang these rods incorrectly, so to know where they must be hung (finials at end of window, or center of window, or it doesn’t matter) would be helpful.

    • Hi Donna, your note is really long, and I read it a few times trying to figure out your rooms and problems. I say if you like where your artwork and mirror are placed, and the drapery rod would effect them, then have the rod on the window frame as you first suggested. If you want the window to look larger, and have another place for your decorative accessories then mount the rod out on the wall. In a small house like yours, follow the rules if you can, BUT if the rules don’t work for you, than do the things you want, and enjoy what you have where it is. I think you have got a lot of things going RIGHT, especially with your use of mirrors to open up / give the illusion of space, and your color story sounds nice. I would like to see some kind of area rug on the floor, how about something shag like. A sculptured pile rug, with swirling patterns in a tone on tone would be another possible option. Both of the rugs would be soft looking against all the leather and other hard surfaces. Read my posts about making groupings of pictures, you could hang many framed mirrors in different frames all together to make a visual statement and bounce light and open up a lot of space. Start with It’s Easy to make a grouping of pictures, then read the other companion posts for more ideas.

  48. Kay Riddell says:

    I am so glad to see your website! I have a problem! I want to hang a long drapery rod with a center support above my window. The problem is that the vertical space between the top of my window and the crown molding is not wide enough for the center support. (My ceiling is 9 feet. Any suggestions for an alternative way to support the center of the rod? The top of the window has a board and a piece of molding extending horizontally at the top of it.

  49. ritamessina says:

    I just hung shear curtains on a decorative rod but can’t fiquire out how to wrap the curtain header around the bracket so that it dosen’t show . The first thing you see is the bracket and it looks horable. any thoughts as how to fix this? thank you .

    • Hi Rita, I really don’t know everything about hanging every kind of curtain. I wonder if you should add some kind of scarfing fabric across the top to cover the top edge. I would say, go to the place where you bought the sheers and rods and ask them what they suggest you do. Good luck with your project

  50. Freda says:

    Hi Fred,
    I have a 72″ interior french door. The glass area is about 26.5″ wide on each door. I’d like to hang curtains for privacy when needed, but most of the time the doors and curtains will be left open. Does your stackback calculation apply? I purchased 54″ panels. Can I get away with 1 panel on each side? ,Also, do I need to hang matching curtains on a window located on the adjacent wall? Currently, the window only has mini blinds.

    • Hi there Freda. The stack back for the 72 inch wide French door would be 9 inches out on each side of the door. 72″ divided by 4 = 18 inches. Eighteen inches divided in half is 9 inches. The 54 inch panels might work if there is enough extra fabric for projection and center overlap. If the fabric just makes it, use the panels if you like. If it looks skimpy, extend the rod a bit further and add a second panel or a wider panel for fulness. As for putting curtains on the other windows, fabric helps to soften hard surfaces and interior decorating is all about moving fabrics and colors around a room. If you don’t add matching drapes, put at least valances over the other windows in the same fabric. If you leave them bare, get ready for friends to make comments like So what are you going to do with the other windows?, or What kind of drapes are you going to be putting up on those windows?. I hope this answered your question ;-]

      ****Hi there Everyone!***** Recently the San Francisco Chronicle used this post for the references of two articles pertaining to hanging curtains and drapes. If you have a minute take a look at their site. Here are the links and this one

  51. matt says:

    Thanks for sharing this article on the correct way to hang curtains and drapes. These tips are great for beginners as well as more experienced decoraters etc. Different curtain designs and lengths suit different styles of rooms and are a recognised curtain supplier. I have purchased the majority of my curtains and blinds from this company and I have never been dissapointed yet. I would also like to add, great article. Thanks

  52. Hi Fred,

    I’m going to hang drapes in the livingroom.
    Drapes and hardware from ikea.
    Picture window wall 160″ wide. Two side walls, call them 70″.
    Ceiling mount track with the curvatures in the corners.
    Drapes are your basic cotton hook weave, linen look – so not to heavy.
    Do you have a recommendation for how far drapes should be off the wall? Think you called it a return. I was thinking about 3″ to keep the drapes close to the windows to create a little more “heat barrier”….but is pleasant gathering then a problem?

    Your thoughts?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Rob. In my own living room I have a picture window with side casements that all together is about seventeen feet long. My rod is just mounted 3 inches out from the wall. The main thing is, that you are pulling back NOT thick fabric, which will bunch up too much. Mine are antique satin with lining from JC Pennys The first few time after I put them up, the fabric at the top of the drapes was stiff, and was hard to move a bit.. After a while the stiffness softened, and they pull back just fine. Make sure you screw into the studs so the rod is properly secured to the ceiling. Years ago my mother, who has a ceiling mounted rod, bought too thick drapes from a nationally known department stores. We could not even get them to move on her rod. They were nice looking, but did not move but a few inches, so they had to go back. Good luck with your project.

  53. Michelle says:

    Hi Fred,

    I have a window in a girl’s nursery that is 74″ wide from the outside left to the outside right of the window frame. The window is 30″ high. Based on your suggestions for stack back, I believe I need a 92″ rod. The problem is the curtains that I want at Pottery Barn are only 44″ wide so is this enough fabric for a window of this size? They are ruffled curtains – – so perhaps the fullness due to the ruffle will be ok? Is there anything else I need to think about for this project?

    Thanks very much!


    • Hi Michelle, The curtains will be skimpy if you use them, and try to stretch them out to close. I say, if you like the curtains, buy them, then mount two rods. The top one with the curtains you like and on the second sheers. Put two or three roller shade, next to each other, under the sheers for privacy and light control. That way your top curtains will look full, because you will never be closing them. You can stack them back as much as you want to control the look. Good Luck with the project.

      • Michelle says:

        Hi Fred – thanks so much! I’ll give this some further thought though I think I’m actually leaning more toward a flat roman shade now. Decisions, decisions! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and respond to my question.

  54. Brooke says:

    Hi Fred,
    How far should the curtain rod extend out after the brackets? My windows are 35.25 in wide, so I calculated about 4.4 inches out for each side. Is this where the bracket needs to go? My curtains are linen.

    • Hi there Brooke, 35.25 which easily is 36 inches, divided by 4 equals 9 inches, nine inches divided in half is 4.5 inches. Mount the rod 4 1/2 inches out from the window frame on each side. You figured just right ;-] Good luck with your project.

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  56. Beryl says:

    I don’t know how I didn’t find your article sooner, but I’m glad I do now! My living room wall is 191-in wide and 130-in tall with 3 tall curved windows. There’s probably about 15-in of wall space on the left and right side. I want to put up one long curtain rod (wall to wall) with only 3 brackets (1 on each side and 1 in the middle), so I can draw the curtains open and close to the sides. My husband put up 3 regular brackets from Lowe’s and the L-brackets bend right away because of the weight. I’m using 4 linen curtain panels total (i know 6 will look better but i don’t have enough wall space) with blackout liner, so they’re pretty heavy, and the rod we are using is the 1” metal conduit from Home Depot (we couldn’t find rod long enough, so we made it ourselves). Also, only the right bracket is on the stud, and we use heavy duty drywall anchors for the other 2. I read that you have 17 feet window to cover. How many brackets did you put up, and what is the size of the rod? How can we achieve hanging the curtains on one single rod with 3 brackets for a window that’s 16 feet wide? Looking forward to your advice. Thank you!

    • Hi There Beryl, I looked at my rod, and I have 5 supports. One on each end, One exactly in the middle, a two in-between the middle and ends. All are screwed right into the studs. My Kirsch rod is 22 years old. At that time they said the big rod I have would be eventually eliminated, and if mine broke, I would then have to put up two one side pull rods (right and left) like you have on a sliding glass door. My mother has her original rod put up in 1972 that runs across a 5 casement bow window that has stack back. It is a ceiling mounted rod. Her rod was restrung by a professional drapery/rod service a few years ago, and is working fine. My rod and my mothers are those plain white ones, nothing with rings or fancy. My rod is kind of behind crown molding that runs around the room.

      • Beryl says:

        Thanks Fred! 5 brackets will not allow me to pull the curtains to the sides. Do you know if there’s any way I can only use 3 brackets? Like using a bigger rod and strong brackets? Any suggestions?

      • Beryl, even though I wrote a couple articles about drapes, and I’ve hung up many, I’m not an expert when it comes to constructing drapery hardware. I’ve always bought and used commercially made pieces. My suggestion to you is go to a place like JC Pennys or some other place that sells drapery hardware, or possibly Home Depot and ask them what they would suggest.

  57. Lisa says:

    Dear Fred, I have 8ft ceilings. A wall with a window in the middle. On each side of the window I have large mirrors that are 3 1/2 ” under the crown moulding above console tables (for symmetry). My question is, can I mount my curtain rod parallel to the top of the mirrors? That way my drapes will fit perfectly to the floor. Don’t want to purchase new ones, or does it have to be mounted higher to the crown moulding (higher than the mirrors?) Thank you

    • Hi there Lisa, hand the drapes 3 1/2 inch down from the crown molding. That way the eye will travel from the top of the first mirror, to the top of the drapes, and then to the top of the second mirror in one continuous straight movement without going upwards or dropping downwards. Mounting your drapes at 3 1/2 inches down from the crown molding is still high up on the wall. Your doing fine ;-}

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  59. Robin says:

    Dear Fred, Can’t wait to read all your posts on various topics. Really like your illustrations and clear instructions. Today I need help in 2 areas:
    (1) How to plan/measure for center overlap of drapes using rings instead of a traverse rod.
    (2) I want my drapes to make the windows look wider. For example to extend about 8″ wider on each side of the window when pulled close. I understand all instructions regarding measuring (stack backs, etc.). But when I attempt to add in this extra width, my brain boggles. In calculating my measurements wouldn’t I just add the extra 16″ to the width (71″ + 16″ = 87″) and start from there as if the windows are actually 87″ wide. Or am I missing something?
    Thank you,

  60. Georgina says:

    Hello Fred
    I came upon your blog on pintrest. LOVE it. While I was out my husband put up our new drapes. To be honest I don’t know how he got the rod in the wall brackets it it so close to the ceiling. It will look nice once I clean off the dirt on the ceiling from his hands. Wish we had of found your blog sooner. Thanks georgina

  61. Michele says:

    Hi Fred,
    Need your opinion. My ceilings are 10 ft high but the windows only are 82 inches high – from the floor to the top of the window. For the most part, I am okay with the width of the curtain rod, but how high above the window should I go? I am thinking using 96 inch curtains. What do you think?

    • Hi there Michele, I think you can start your drapes at ceiling height if you like, or you could start 19 inches down from the ceiling, which would be half of the 38 inches of spaced from the top of your windows to the ceiling line. I say take a bed sheet, have someone get up on a ladder and hold the sheet at ceiling high, then slowly keep lowering it down until you see a spot where it looks right to you. Remember the top of wherever you start the drape will be where the eye thinks the height of the ceiling is. I don’t know what color your drapes will be, but if they match the color of the walls, it will not be that important, as the color of the drapes and walls will all run together, and the drapes will just add softness around your windows. It is hard giving advice when not really seeing the room, but my blog is just to get people thinking about things, and making their own decisions in the end. Good luck with your project ;-}

  62. Michele says:

    Thanks so much, the sheet idea is a good one!

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  64. Fiona says:

    Awesome Post and You are awesome for replying to everyone! I have 3 windows totaling roughly 100″ wide. I’ve got 4 floor length panels that work great, sit open so panel at each end and one at each separation, but i want to add a double drape rod and sheer curtains behind, that will probably be closed most of the time. My question is A, do I also go floor length with those? and B, do i need 4 panels? If i do 2 the seam would be down the middle. If i do 3, works best when closed but if they are open, one of the panels does not have a corresponding drape. Do 4? Or Restoration Hardware has a 100″ wide option. Do 1? Thanks.

    • Hi there Fiora, I think you gave me awesome credit too quickly. I try to type back to every commenter because I get soo few. For the 427,000something articles I’ve had read since starting this blog (that’s where I am today) I probably got 300something comments. The comments are pertaining to something I did not cover in the post.

      As you your question, my guess is that you could have the other curtains the same length as the ones you have, and it will be more of a formal look, or you could have the other curtains a length to just cover the bottom of the molding below your windows. If there is a heating element below your window do that. If you have baseboard heating below your windows have the curtains float one or two inches above the heating element.

      As for the sheer panels do the 4. When the panels are together the edges will fall into the folds and you will not see where one panel ends and the next begins. OR could you do 6, two on each window, so each window has two for fullness covering it. Sheers hung thickly on the rod will let in light, but at night, even with the lights on, no one from outside will be able to see through them into your house. Don’t to the Restoration Hardware thing, work with what you have and save your money for some other decorating thing you will just have to have down the line.

      Awesome, no, just a guy with some design ideas trying to inspire the world one reader and post at a time. Fiona Happy Holidays to you and best of everything in 2014.

  65. Amy says:

    Fred, you’re so kind to answer our design questions free of charge! I hope pinning some of your blog posts on Pinterest will serve as some sort of compensation for answer to my question. 🙂

    My living room window is a picture window, 105″ wide (inside the casement). There are 22″ between the left-hand side of the window and the inside corner of the adjoining wall; there are 28″ between the right-hand side of the window and my front door moulding. Using your math formula, I came up with a stack back measurement of 26″.

    I’m considering Ikea’s AINA linen, pinch-pleated drapery panels that are 57″ wide – four to six of them for a full, rich look. I haven’t decided on stationary stack backs or curtains I can pull shut to cover the window completely at night. I might line them if I go the latter route or if the added weight would make them hang / stack / look better.

    What would you recommend to achieve a balanced, expensive look with these cheapy drapery panels? I’m okay with covering some of the window. The light is needed but the view isn’t anything to write home about. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read my post and address my question.

    • Hi there Amy, the 26 inch stack back is right, but then you divide the 26 in half and you have 13 inches of stack back on each side of the window. As for making the drapes more luxurious how about sewing a strip of grosgrain ribbon or fringe, or tasseled fringe along the inside edge of the drapes to give them a more dressmaker look. If you do something like that pick a color from your living room furniture so the ribbon, tassels, fringe etc matches what you already have. As for lining drapes, hand them first and see what they look like. If you line them, they might be hard moving across your rod. Good luck with your project and Happy New Year.

      • Amy says:

        Thank you very much for the quick reply, Fred. I love the idea to add ribbon or some sort of fringe along the leading edge. Happy New Year.

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  67. Amanda says:

    Awesome blog!

  68. Hello Fred,
    I’ve read this article and did a small project for my small house. During this process I realised that i’ve missed out something regarding curtain rod length. Say if my window frame is 70in wide, then I did calculate 30% of 70=21in/2=10.5in each side stack back and for curtain brackets to be fixed. Assuming curtain rod length to be 70+21=91 inches. If this is right, then how much should the curtain rods extend/project out beyond Curtain brackets? My FINIALS allow the curtain rod to be inserted into it by 1 inch, so should I buy a rod length of 95-96 inches, as that would give some room 2.5 inches each side for the rod to extend out beyond curtain brackets? In light of the above your advice would be greatly appreciated regarding buying curtain rods as I need to customise them.

    • Hi there Rocky Stallone,I read your question about the rod lengths, and really don’t know how to answer that question. I would say, go to the store where you are thinking about buying the rods from, and ask them the same question you just asked me. If you are going to buy the rods online, still go to a drapery store first, pretend you are interested in their product, ask all the questions you want so they educate you on the product, tell them you will go home and think about it a bit before buying their product, and then go home and order what you want online. In the world of shopping, go to a few places and ask the same questions, and see if there is a commonality to the answers given. Good luck with your project, and I hope you get the rods for a price that you can easily pay ;-}

  69. Ken says:

    How does one paint the outer edges of a traverse rod in order to match the color of the wall it is attached to? Ken at Thank you.

    • Hi there Ken, The drape should come around the side of the traverse rod and the first drapery hook should go into the hole closest to the wall. Start hanging you drape from that hole first, then the second hook should go into one of the holes on the front of the drapery bracket, then you will put your next hook into one of the tabs that hang on the rod, and your last two hooks, on your drapery panel will be on the traverse opening and closing device itself.

  70. Emily says:

    I purchased window panels that have decorative grommets for the curtain rod to pass through. The panels are 84 inches long. The window length from the top of the window facing to the floor is 83 inches. I haven’t hung them yet, because it appears that the window facing is going to be able to be seen through the grommet openings. Is this okay? If I raise the curtain rod so that this doesn’t happen then the curtains will be too short. Also how far away from the sides of the window facing should the curtain rod be installed? Thank you very much for your help.

    • Hi there Emily, sorry to say, but just because I wrote an article about hanging curtains and drapes, and have hung them on my own windows, I never had the opportunity to hang grommeted ones. My windows are all large, the window in the living room is seventeen feet long. Grommetted drapes are for houses with double hung windows, or windows that you don’t need yards and yards of fabric to cover them. Go to a place like JC Penny and pretend to be interested in buying their curtains and ask them questions about the installation. Then tell them you will think about it and go home, and then do what you need to do. Sorry for not being of help, I hate when people pre-thank me, and I can’t answer their questions.

  71. Ann says:

    Hi Fred, I just hung identical curtains over my 80″ wide patio slider and 76″ wide adjacent kitchen window. Since both windows have matt brown metal casings, which I like, I chose matt brown metal rods, rings and clips for a beach-like, casual look. I hung Rachel Ashwell’s 84″ 100% thin cotton panels, 3 to a window, and they look breezy and just brush the floor. (I have bamboo shades inside the window). Here’s my dilemma. The curtains have lots of droop between each clip-ring even though I used 7 per panel (fewer rings = lower droop). I like the casual droop, but it allows the matt brown window casings to show (but no window glass). All those rings and clips are somewhat distracting (21 on each window). And I wonder if I placed my rods too low. If I raise the rods, the curtains won’t touch the floor. (I already bought ten 84″ panels and washed them all as I still need to do the nearby living room window.) There are so many patched holes in the drywall now, I don’t want to remove them and reinstall (I keep drilling into metal or breaking drywall off in huge chunks, etc.). Is there some rule that says my window casings absolutely must not show, at any time whatsoever, no matter whose house it is? 🙂 If YOU say it’s o.k., I might get used to seeing all those rings.

  72. Beth says:

    Hi Fred,
    I recentley ordered custom window coverings. They include a valance and pinch pleated sheers for my bedroom. There are two windows 34 inches wide located 10 feet apart and 6.5 inches on the opposite side of the windows to the corner of the wall. The valances are 40 inches wide and are attached to 3/4 x 6 in wide board. The design of the valance includes 4 2 inch pinch pleats There is a pleat on each end of the valance with the other two spaced evenly on the board. The pleats causes the valance edge to flow in and out ~ 3.5-4 inches. The pleated sheers are hung on a one way traverse rod. The valance edge rest on the pleated sheers and it makesa slight indentation on the sheer. When I discussed my concerns with the designer she it was the way they were designed and nothing could be done. My question for you is how much clearance should be between the valance and pleated sheer. I always thought there should be ~ 1 inch between the two and feel the valance was not put on a wide enough board for the valance that was made. Any suggestions!

  73. sisilalala says:

    What you shared is really useful and if you can add more pics, it will be better to understand!

  74. Luke Yancey says:

    Thank you for not only describing in detail of where to hang the curtains but also providing visual aids. I have been trying to hang a few curtains in my house, but every time I end up putting them off center. I know that some people can just eyeball it, but I personally need a step by step method of where to place them. I will try your stack back method and see if I have any success.

    • Hi there Luke, I hope my post helps you get the hanging of your curtains done right, once and for all, and you can then go on to other decorating projects, better yet, something probably more fun to do ;-}

  75. therese hall says:

    I have a continuous corner window (50s style house) with no molding. I would like traverse rods to stack the drapes , one to the left and the other to the right so that when the curtains are open there is NO drapery obstructing the view in the corner of the window. I am guessing that I get one way traverse rods (2 of them) and mount them to meet in the corner. Each drape should pull away from the corner and stack to the outside. Can you explain the way to mount the rods so that the drapes close to completely cover the corner?

    • Hi there Theresa, First of all sorry to have taken so long with my response. I too have a 50’s style home with casement windows that form the corner of my dining room. The traverse rod for the window on the right, runs from where the stack-back should start and the end of the rod goes right up to the wall in the corner of the room and the end of the rod touches the wall. The Left side traverse rod starts at where the stack-back should start and extends to the right, and ends one inch before touching the traverse rod on the right. The end of the drapes come together when the two right and left patio pull drapes are closed. To cover up the hardware of the traverse rod, a pair of valance rods are hung, above them, closer to the ceiling. The valance rods come together, at the same height and almost touch each other, as they work themselves into the corner of the room where the windows come together. When I bought my, off the shelf, valances they had too much fabric, so I had to cut them, at the place where the two valances meet each other in the corner of the room, the perfectly finished ends are on the outside edges of the valances. I hope that this comment is helpful, good luck with hanging your drapes ;-}

  76. Diane Mitchell says:

    Hello Fred, I love all your suggestions from garden to drapes. I have a problem window that I just don’t know how to handle. I have a small bedroom that because of medical reasons has to have a king size bed and it also had to have a window air unit installed. How do you cover two double hung windows with that air unit sticking out of only 1/3 of one window? I am totally stumped because of the smallness of the room being wall to wall bed and quirky windows, I really need your help.

    • Hi there Diane, I would say mount a pair of Roman Shade over each window, and lower them the best you can to cover the window for privacy and light control. Another possible option would be to hang a pair of drapery panels on each side of the window to frame it, if you can, and mount a pair of “honey comb shades” over each of the windows to provide privacy and light control. Get the “bottom up, top down” ones, so you will have multiple options for providing privacy. Hope my ideas are in some way helpful.

  77. Brenda Simpson says:

    Thank you!! You just saved me from making multiple design disasters in my dining room. I have these beautiful Ralph Lauren valences and was ready to hang at the windows top. Now I mounted the rod 2″ from ceiling and it opened up the whole room. We are at the top of a mountain and you’ve helped maximize the view!! I found you by doing a web search of “hanging valences.” Thanks again, Brenda

    • Hi there Brenda, Thank your for your comment. I’ve had almost Three Million articles on Interior Decorating and Gardening read, and hardly anyone ever writes back with a testimony telling of their successes. You’re comment is most appreciated. If you have a moment look on the right side of my blog articles for the word Categories. Under that you will see titles of different general topics that I’ve written about. Click on the different titles and all the posts that I’ve written on that specific subject will be there for you to look at.

  78. Pam says:

    Do you need a sturdier curtain Ron on a sliding glass door?? Also, we have oak framing around our intire slider and we don’t want to put a bracket in the oak, plus it sticks out farther than the side brackets, so any suggestions??

  79. Jack McFadin says:

    Hello, Fred. I need help. I am trying to figure out where to mount a center draw traverse rod to a bedroom wall in my house. We do not have draperies ordered yet. The window opening is 95 inches wide, and the glass is inset three inches from that on all sides. We are going to install blackout drapes as this window is right behind the bed. Should I allow 25 percent larger for the stack, to space the traverse rod, and hang the traverse rod at 118 – 119 inches? And then, measuring for drapes, should I add 4″ for center overlap and 8″ for return, resulting in 131″, or 65.5″ for each panel? I’m new at this and my wife is in a hurry…

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