How to Hang Curtains

With last week’s two posts on the curtain updates in my living room and foyer, I thought I’d give you the behind the scenes tour of how I get those long panels up and into our walls. I’ve done a tutorial before on how I hang up items in plaster walls, take a look here. I use that technique on all of the curtains I hang in the house. I’ve got it down pat.  Today I’ll show you my tips and tricks for how I measure to put up brackets and where I put them around the window frames and how to hang curtains.

How to Hang Curtains

The windows in our house are quite tall, with 7 foot ceilings, the frames are about 90 inches from the floor.  Which means the longer curtains they sell in stores don’t even fit, so I customize them myself.  But it gives me plenty of flexibility to hang the rods where I’d like them to get everything to fit just right.

How to make curtains longer

Here is how to hang curtains.

To start, what you can do is actually put the curtains on the rod, climb up onto the ladder and estimate where you need to put the brackets. It’s a bit tricky to balance, so you could always measure. Try to do it and take a picture!

There’s a bracket to the wall in my left hand there too.

Hanging Curtains

I usually mark at the wall where the curtains will just graze the floor. If you want the pooled look and have curtains long it doesn’t matter.

This is probably much easier to do with two people, but hey, I do what I can.

Hanging Curtains

Then I get a little scientific. To set the curtain rod to hang consistently across our three windows, I made a template. I simply trace the curtain bracket that goes into the wall onto a piece of cardboard. Paper would work, but something heavier is better.

Hanging Curtains

Then I poked out the holes where the screws go into your wall.

Hanging Curtains

Since I know where I want my bracket to go into the wall, I measure that distance on the wall and then draw the lines onto the cardboard and cut the cardboard to that length so it sits on my window trim easily. Line up the edge of the frame with the line on the paper if you want them right at the end of the frame.

Hanging Curtains

In my house this distance is usually about 7 inches or so. I usually then mark the distance out from the side of the window trim the same distance and that’s where my bracket goes in the wall. Up and out, that’s where you measure and mark the wall.I know some of the standards say 4 inches, but that just doesn’t cut it here. The top of my window trim alone is 8 inches! In this place more = better.

This pic is in my office where I hung curtains on a bay window. But you can see how high up the brackets are.

Hanging Curtains

Then you just mark your holes and drill away. Don’t forget your painter’s tape dust shelf 🙂

How to hang items on plaster walls

Now here are some pictures of just where I hang the brackets. Sorry for the bad lighting, I still have to master the take a photo of a window thing.

This is the foyer, you can see where I put the brackets in relation to the window frame. This way, with an expanding curtain rod, you can almost have all of the panel on the outside of the window frame, which makes your windows look nice and large.

Hanging curtains

Hanging curtains

Here is the top of the panels in the foyer, warning boob light {what to replace it with suggestions welcome!}.


To expand the curtains and the look, I simply put some of the clips on the outside of the bracket. See? This is the window in the living room.

And notice I fold the panels where I clip them on, so I can pretty much customize the length too.

Curtain clips

This is in the living room also. Here you can see how close the ends of the rods are to my walls. This width is about 150 inches. I was lucky to find a rod that long, thank you Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Hanging curtains

Here is a terrible {and blurry} photo of the brackets in the wall. Now this is not a great example because the screw on the bottom of this one just did not get totally into the wall, the bracket is supposed to be flush, but it’s in 113 year old wood, believe me, it’s secure.

Curtain bracket

Curtina in Foyer

And that is pretty much how I get my curtains up! Thanks to all of you who voted in my very official Facebook poll on whether to use ring clips or put the curtains on the rod in the pocket. Ring clips won!

Do you have any tips for hanging curtains?


  1. First, great tutorial. I’ll be off to check out your tips for hanging curtains in plaster walls. Plaster walls, how I love you and curse you. Second, your stained glass window is dreamy. How beautiful. And, third and finally, Your white chair, I have that same chair, though, when I bought mine, it was in sad shape. I found mine at Goodwill for $3.99 and gave it a good makeover. If you’re interested in taking a peek:

  2. Hi Jessica,
    I was perusing the interwebs in an attempt to find the best way to hang a curtain rod into plaster walls when I found this. Thanks for the info, but I was curious…in the bottom picture you have a white chair that looks reupholstered and I have two chairs that are almost identical to that one. Did you purchase it that way or did you redo it yourself?


  1. […] You can do this with a piece of cardboard. I wrote previously about how to hang curtains and where to put the brackets here. Simply mark on the wall where the bracket should go. I used my how to hang items on plaster walls […]

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