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How to Hang Curtains

Sometimes in life, the simplest things feel so simple, until they’re not. That’s how I feel about curtains. It’s like yeah, just hang them up right? Then you meet a funny window or an odd space or see a picture in a magazine and think, wait a minute here. What exactly am I doing? Well, I’m a big fan of using general guidelines to make styling easy. Not to say what’s right or wrong but just to make it easy. So today, I’m sharing some tips on how to hang curtains to help take the guess work out of it all.

living room with neutral furniture and curtain window treatment

Hang Curtains ABOVE Window Frame

Alright, let’s just start off by saying that the idea of how to hang curtains is a little controversial. Why is this a hotly debated home decor topic?

I think because so many of us have hung them right at the window trim for so long, it seems impossible to think there’s another way.

Like, have I been doing it wrong this whole time??

That said, a solid general rule to keep in your back pocket is to install curtain rods a good 4-6 inches above the actual window frame.

Some window have less space so you might just go with a couple of inches -but basically, hang curtains so the rod is not on or right above the window.

Why this works

Hanging curtains above the trim is a visual trick. It automatically adds height – something most spaces really need as we have a tendency to put all home decor really low.

This can make the windows and the room itself feel taller and more open.

how to hang curtains

Curtain Length

When I hang curtains, I choose panels that just barely skim the floor.

Too short curtains– feels a bit like cropped pants, works for some but not many.

Too long curtains – not functional

(I know some folks out there love curtains puddling at the floor but since I am a functional designer – I know that’s just not, well, functional -try sweeping or vacuuming!)

I firmly believe our brains resist something as not inherently functional.

small bedroom decor ideas with black accent wall and window treatments w

Curtain Pro Tip

Have a hard time finding curtains just the right length? If I can’t find the curtain length just what I need (measure from the curtain rod placement!), I buy the next size up.

Then, I use Heat & Bond no sew hem tape to get the exact length I need.


My Favorite Curtains

Now, which curtains to use? Well, I have a personal favorite that seem to work well in almost any space. 👆

They’re light but substantial (get blackout if you need to block sun) and they often go on sale.


I hope this helps as you determine how to hang curtains in your home. If you like having general guidelines, you might also like my post on Interior Design Rules for Simple Styling.