Curtains! {Do’s & Dont’s} -

I often see homes with beautiful curtains but they are hung incorrectly. As a committer of this crime myself I have done lots of reading on the proper way to hang curtains. Both pre-made and custom ordered.

Here’s what you don’t do…

Don’t buy short curtains!

(Where’s the flood?)
Buying short(er) curtains gives your window a disorganized look. What I mean is, it looks as though you bought the curtains then the windows, which is just silly :P

Don’t skimp on ironing before hanging!

Assuming that over time your curtains will de-wrinkle is a terrible idea! I too made this mistake with a shower curtain thinking “Surely the steam will smooth it out after a week or so” – nope! Those wrinkles held strong for a few months before I snapped and took it down to iron.

Most importantly —

Don’t do BOTH of the previously mentioned!

All I have to say about this is… Seriously?

Don’t block transoms!  

They provide additional lighting and character to your windows!  
If there is a matter of privacy, consider using a window film to blur the glass but not block the light.

Gila window film is inexpensive, available at most major hardware stores, and is easy to apply. You can even get creative with it and cut out stripes or use an exact-o knife to cut out a stencil. Or there are many different styles and designs which provide for different uses. Privacy, Decorative, Energy Efficient and so on.

Custom window treatments can be beautiful but you have to do it right! Research what types of treatments are appropriate for your style of window before you make your order.
Measure twice cut once! Don’t make a costly mistake that can’t be returned!

When hanging curtains the main goal is to make your window appear larger and longer. So keep this diagram in mind when you are debating about 84″ curtains vs. 95″ curtains.

Notice how much larger and more grand the window on the right looks? Same window different rod height and curtain length. This is the key! The big secret. It is important to assess your ceiling height and window size before purchasing a rod. You might be able to squeak out a large set of curtains on a 24-48″ rod however it will most likely sag in the middle from the weight. So don’t cheat on the rod!

(Hint: You can install a small hook in the middle to prevent this from happening if your rod doesn’t come with a 3rd set of hardware. It is barely visible and will keep your rod nice and straight.)

Next, you must be sure to purchase (or make) the correct number of panels for a window.
This photo the 2 white panels are nice, but not nearly enough for a window of this size.

The general rule of thumb is that you want enough panels to fill 2x your window size.

Curtains may be hung anywhere from 4-12″ outwards on either side and typically 3-4″ from the ceiling for added height and drama.

Now time for some curtain Do’s.

Do  not be afraid to go bold!

Both of these sets of panels make a huge statement, but it doesn’t mean tacky. They are bold yet sophisticated and compliment the room appropriately without being too gaudy.

Do go high and wide!

Make those windows pop!

 High and wide will give you added height and width without altering your physical windows.

Do not be afraid to pool on the floor!

This can add an extra amount of drama and give your fabric a richer look. Just don’t forget to pick them up when you vacuum ;)And lastly…Do iron your curtains!

Follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts and you wont be sorry. Window treatments can completely transform a room for typically around $50-$100 or less if you make them yourself. Prefabricated curtain panels can always be returned and most fabric stores will take returns if the fabric hasn’t been cut from the size you purchased.I will be sure you make a tutorial on no-sew curtains soon. I’m thinking maybe burlap in the living room?
Stay tuned!

Have a terrific Tuesday!



  1. Suzy Lovell says:

    Hi Rachel,

    I have a question. Help!!! I am needing curtains for 3 rooms that run together. The house is a 1933 Craftsman Architecture build and beautiful but…there are 14 windows in these 3 rooms so they all need to have the same curtains. The house has 33 windows total. I’m just exhausted trying to figure out how to do this right. Any thoughts?

    Many thanks,

  2. Hey Suzy, I guess my first and most important question would be…. Can you sew??

  3. Gihane Kaddoum says:

    Thanks for all the helpful tips, one more question to cover it all: is hanging curtains from ceiling to floor covering not only window but the whole wall as well is a do or not in the bedroom???


  4. Many thanks. Exactly what I was looking for. Short and sweet with pictures!

  5. Hi. Is it wrong to have two different color curtains in my kitchen? I foun ae great green and yellow fabric!

  6. Megan Smit says:

    I have two windows in the same room, one is narrow and goes from the chair molding up to a foot from the ceiling. The other is a large wide window, but it sits lower…like side table height and the top of that window stops maybe two-thirds up the wall.

    The shorter, wide window could definitely benefit from high hanging curtains, but if I hang them so they are the same height as the top of the tall, narrow window – I’m afraid they will look awkwardly high on my short, wide window.

    How would you handle this? Would you consider a roman shade for the tall narrow window and panels for the other? Help!

  7. Kelly Keegan says:

    I have a large bay window that has custom curtains from years ago. The material is a really pretty print and the curtains were very expensive. I will never be able to get the same material for a new window I just had installed in the living room on another wall. The windows are both in the living room. Can I put a different curtain on the new window that accents the custom curtain already hanging on the bay window? Maybe a solid color?

  8. I savor, cause I found exactly what I was having a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you
    man. Have a nice day. Bye

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