How High Should I Hang a Curtain Rod?

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Please help :). How high should the rod be mounted over the window? 4


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Ok no more comments on mounting them high to ceiling height as my husband is currently putting putting up the rods to almost touching the floor which is above the molding. I don't want to think I made a mistake:(. If I were to get the 95 inch sheers the rods would need to be mounted just under the ceiling as my ceiling to fall is 96 inches. So we went with the 84 in. Thanks for all your help:)…See More



Most people know the rod should be at least the size of your window. 

However, if you want the curtain to look expensive, the window to feel larger, and allow more natural light into the room, make the rod wider than the window.

It’s recommended that the curtain rod brackets be placed at least 6″ from the window opening but not wider than 12″.

TIP: Place the brackets 12″ away for a more dramatic effect.

For example, if the window is 36″ wide and you want to place the brackets 12″ away, you would add 12″ + 12″ + 36″ for a total of 60″ plus 1″ to 2″ more for an overhang, resulting in a total of 62″.

SIDE NOTE: If you want to save money, make your rod and brackets using this DIY curtain rod tutorial. It will cut the cost in half. The rod and brackets in the image were made using this tutorial.

Step 1: Determine how high to hang curtain rods

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

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


Now that you know how tall and wide the curtain rods will be, let’s talk about how to hang the curtain rod.

The easiest way to hang a curtain rod is to create a template for where the curtain rod brackets should be placed.

You can create one by using a cardstock paper or cardboard. Use one corner of the paper at where the end of the window is. Then, measure the extra width from this corner (in our example, it’s 12″).

TIP: If your window has trim, use it to your benefit by having the template wrap around it, like the example picture below.

Then, measure how tall the curtain will hang (from the window opening or ceiling).

Where the two measurements intercept is where the top of the bracket will be. 

Now, take the actual bracket you will be using and place it at this interception, top of the bracket at the tallest measurement and side at width measurement.

Once the bracket is aligned to your template, mark the top screw hole of the bracket onto the template. Cut out the marking hole, if you can, with a hole punch.

Place the template onto the wall with the corner at the correct location. Mark the hole on the wall with a pencil.

Then, flip the template and mark the other side of the window.

SIDE NOTE: If you have a window opening wider than 48″, I would recommend placing a middle curtain rod bracket.

You are now ready to hang the curtain rod brackets.

How Much Wider Than Window Should Curtain Rod Be?

Generally, the ends of the curtain rod will extend

Generally, the ends of the curtain rod will extend 3-4 inches past the window frame, but you can bring it as far as 10 inches past each side of the frame. This will make the window appear wider and more extravagant, which is an excellent trick for narrow windows. This trick can be paired with long curtains to make the window appear both taller and wider.

Should Curtains Touch The Floor or Window Sill?

You can hang curtains at different lengths to match the look you desire for the room. Curtains that touch the floor or hang just above it create a classy, elegant look, suitable for formal settings like the dining room.

For a cozier, more homey look, curtains should hang to the windowsill. This is a good look for kitchens. Either option is perfectly acceptable and contributes its atmosphere to the space.

Width Considerations

Use these tricks to make the drapes a standard width and to create the illusion of wider windows:

  • The standard distance from the window casing to the end of the curtain rod (excluding finials) on each side of the window should be four to 10 inches.
  • As a general rule, drapes will be open during the day, so make sure the curtain rod extends at least four inches on each side of the window’s inside frame.
  • To create the illusion of a wider window, extend the rod up to 10 inches beyond the window's frame.

Illustration: The Spruce / Emily Mendoza

How High to Hang Curtains

A rule of thumb (from Architectural Digest) is that curtains should be hung between four to six inches above the window frame, so install your curtain rod accordingly. When you hang the curtain rod high, it will make the window appear taller.

Low Curtain Rods

Hanging curtain rods lower–generally just a couple of inches above the window frame–is more traditional, and works best when the window frames and ceiling molding are close together. Lower curtain rods also help keep the proportions balanced in wider windows, according to

How to Calculate the Right Measurements for Hanging Curtains

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

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

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

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

Related: 19 Impactful Ways to Dress Multiple Windows in a Row

low table and patterned curtains Credit: Nicholas Johnson

Final Hardware Installation

If you don’t like the look of your curtain rod, there are more appealing hardware options. Decorative curtain rods are an easy and inexpensive way to upgrade your window hardware. You can also hide the curtain rod with a DIY window cornice.


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