Curtain and Drapery Hardware – What You Need To Know

freaking-out-over-your-paint-colors

 

Hi Laurel, While reading this informative article (several times in fact), I became entranced by the window treatments and especially the curtain rods. Would you please consider doing a blog post on curtain and drapery hardware and aspects to consider when purchasing? By the way, I especially love the simple curtain rod with the curved ends. Appreciate all you do Laurel.

Emilia

 

Emilia asked this question in a comment the other day. And, there is a lot of this information in an old post about window treatments. But, I would like to go into it more in depth and also share some sources.

And, of course, we will also go over some things to avoid doing. Some of these, I see all over the internet, showing many horrible ways to hang curtains and draperies.

 

Laurel, what is the difference between curtains and draperies? And, is there a difference between draperies and drapes.

 

Thanks, great questions. ;]

As far as I’m concerned, you can call a piece of fabric hanging over a window anything you like. Someone once chastised me for calling a drapery a drape. Gosh, I’m really sorry to have offended, but really?

I don’t care what it’s called. I care what it looks like. :]

So, between draperies and drapes, I’m fine either way.

 

The terms curtains and draperies are often used interchangeably.

 

However, generally speaking, a curtain is lighter in weight. ie: sheer or lace curtains. Velvet draperies. You got it.  But, if you say linen draperies or curtains, or drapes, all good. That is, in my world. If it’s not good in your world, I hope it’s your worst problem. ;]

 

 

First, let’s go and read the overview of window treatments, in the link below.

 

Just scroll down a little and you’ll see HARDWARE in CAPS.

I think it’s very helpful to get an overview before we dive into particulars. There will be some repetition, but if you’ve never heard any of this before, it bears repeating.

In the early years of my career, say before the year 2000, occasionally, I did wood drapery rods.

 

But, then I began seeing wrought iron rods being done by all of my favorite design idols, like Victoria Hagan, for example.

 

Designers who did wooden rods were doing a far more formal look. In addition, fine wooden drapery rods are hideously expensive. I once joked with a client that she had a choice of a grand piano or drapery rods. haha

Therefore, for the purposes of this post, I am only going to stick to metal curtain rods. And, I say metal, because most drapery rods that we refer to as “wrought iron” are actually made of steel.

Believe me, there is more than one way to do things, however, as interior designers, we find what works for us and usually stick with it. That is, unless it gets discontinued. :/

 

drapery hardware - curtain hardware - window treatment hardware

 

Above is pretty much all I’ve ever used in the way of drapery hardware.

 

This consists of a rod, a straight pipe made of metal and then painted either in a soft black or antique gold, usually.

 

  • Brackets to hold up the rod
  • Decorative finials for the ends
  • Rings (with hooks) to hold up the draperies or curtains.Let’s now go over each element, very carefully

So, Let’s go over every element

 

Drapery Hardware: Curtain Rods

 

The rods are either 1″, 3/4″ or 5/8″ in diameter. The rods for my clients are custom-made.

 

What about the telescoping rods? (adjustable rods) Some of you may already know that I am not a fan and here’s why:

 

Back in about 1999, I had a client on a strict budget. And, so, we did the adjustable rods. First of all, if you need to open up the rod, one end of the rod IS thicker than the other. Do you want to see that? No, you don’t. It IS noticeable. And, not in a good way.

Second of all, the drapes will not hang straight on the floor. We spent three full hours putting up  gorgeous Donghia linen (that’s where the money went) curtains on TWO windows. Both the installer and myself were pulling our hair out because no matter what, we could not get those curtains to hang straight. I believe, in this case, it was the rods that made this especially difficult and they really didn’t look that great.

 

However, an uneven hanging issue can occur even with custom rods. The reason for this is because:

 

  • The floor is uneven
  • The window is crooked
  • The ceiling is crooked
  • Everything is crooked and uneven.

 

I have a hard and fast rule in interior design.

 

 

 

Story-time about crooked drapery hardware

 

I had one installer that I enjoyed working with. Don. You can see him and my other favorite Mario working diligently, here.

I had only been working with Don a short time, and he was super-nice. He put the rod up and I said, “I’m sorry Don. It’s crooked. ”   I am absolutely anal about that. Because, the last thing one wants is to have a client call you up and say, “Laurel, the rod looks crooked to me.”

Don, takes out his tape measure and shows me that each bracket is exactly 6-7/8″ below the ceiling. Thanks Don. I’m sure. It still looks crooked.

 

Don, then whips out his 48″ level. He says, “it’s perfectly level, Laurel.”

 

I said, okay, please come back here and take a look and tell me what you think. I think that the right side looks about a half inch higher.

He gets off his ladder and stands where I’m standing, scratching his head and conceding that the rod, indeed looks crooked.

Therefore, I do recommend careful measuring. But measure from the ceiling and then the floor and see if you come up with the same location. And even then, put up one bracket and hold the rod up. This is why you need three people. The third person will then deem when the rod looks straight.

 

If there needs to be a center bracket, I recommend putting that one up last.

 

Hang the rod without the center bracket and then have the installer hold the center bracket until the rod is no longer sagging, but also not arching upwards. He will then put a pencil mark in the holes where the screws are going and that is where he’ll drill his holes.

 

Getting back to the rods. Yes, we are still only on the rods

 

The 3/4″ rods are hollow and the 5/8″ are solid. Both are very sturdy, but if the rod has an expanse of more than ten feet, it is probably better to do the thicker rod.

Or, if the drapery is a heavy velvet.

If the window is four feet or less, it shouldn’t matter, the thickness of the rod.

What matters is how the bracket gets attached to the wall.

In the 20 years that I was taking clients, I went to every window treatment installation. How many is that? Well, not every client did window treatments and some that did window treatments only did Roman Shades or wooden blinds. (you can read more about them, in those links)

But, I can safely say that I attended at least 100 jobs which included the installation of draperies and/or curtains. And, let me say, that every single time, when it was finished, it felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders.

 

I talk in this post from a few years ago, how difficult it is to hang draperies.

 

And, how only the installers with the most experience should be entrusted to put up your drapes.

Still, I know that some of you are not going to believe me. Maybe you’re super handy or even more than super-handy. It’s like this. I am a thoracic surgeon. I’ve been trained to operate on the vital organs in a human being’s torso. That doesn’t mean that I’m qualified to operate on their brain.

Actually, putting up drapery hardware is a three-person job– ideally. Although, I know of installers who do it all by themselves, that’s just a recipe for a bad job or else putting lots of holes in the walls.

Clients really hate it, when we come and put lots of holes in their walls. Even IF they are covered by the fabric. And, yes, some of them look.

 

If you’re a designer and you find an installer who does a great job, I would treat him (or her) like gold. They are not easy to find.

 

I’ve never gotten into anything fancy in terms of twists and other unusual shapes. Just a plain pipe.

However, about 20 years ago, I began to see a lot of rods that had a return back into the wall. In other words, the rods curve back on themselves and go straight into the wall. The most sleek ones look like they are growing straight out of the wall. But, of course, they are well anchored into the wall, just as the straight pipe is.

 

The pipe can either be curved or it can be at a sharp right angle, but it’s most commonly just a curve. These are called either return rods or French return rods.

I’ve never used them before, but they are more popular than ever.

 

 drapery hardware - French rod - French return rod

If the rod is a straight rod, you usually need a finial, unless you are doing a rod with a self-cap.

You often barely see it, so I wouldn’t get too hung up about that detail.

 

Drapery Hardware: Brackets

 

Brackets, of course are the supports that hold up the rod. And, there are many, many kinds to choose from. Generally, the simpler the better. I am not discussing them in length here, because I believe I discussed them in the other post. There are so many to choose from, but the ones I generally did are in the graphic above.

 

Drapery Hardware: Rings

 

Okay, this is one that used to be rather difficult because there were not many sources for rings. A basic ring should have a loop on one end. Then, you will need a steel drapery pin that attaches to the drape and then loops into the loop.

The pin needs to be placed so that you cannot see the loop when the drapery is hanging.

Pottery barn silk dupioni curtains with bad rings
I love Pottery Barn. I like their ready-made curtains like this lovely silk dupioni. But, those rings! Unforgivable! And, here we can see a little of the telescoping rod. Imagine if it was pulled out all of the way. Horrible.

 

Do not use a ring with a clip. That is just bloody weird. Who wants to see an ugly clip?
The one above has a loop and a clip. I guess no one will see the clip, in this case since they are using a pin. Yes, the pin is correct.

 

Wayfair basic curtain rings - with clips - avoid these
See what I mean? It’s like, there are beetles holding up the curtains. So bad.

 

Above another exquisite room by Suzanne Kasler. See, you hardly even notice the bracket in the center of the rod. The draperies are so beautiful and covering up the loop at the bottom of the ring.

This image should go in the post about grown-up twin beds, right?

 

For more about rings and clips, please check out this post with lots of great information.

 

Frequently Asked Drapery Hardware questions and problems you didn’t know you didn’t know about until you made a boo boo

 

Well, why do you need rings at all, Laurel?

 

That is a very reasonable question.

 

cb2 - Banana Leaf curtain panel - drapes hung wrong

First of all, THIS looks bloody dumb, IMO.

It is very strange to have the drape covering a decorative rod. In addition, please note that they hung the drape below the window casing. They did it because of the ready-made length. They always make an 84″ length and then then the next length is 96″ Someone should get wise and make a 90″ length.

The solution is to get a curtain that’s too long and then hem it. And, then use rings to hold up the curtain. Then this fun banana leaf pattern from CB2 would be elegant for someone’s Florida home. haha

Alas, I think it got started when all of the ready-made curtains became popular.

Ready-mades are definitely a great solution when one can’t afford custom. But, rings are just one more expense. Perhaps, the likes of Pottery Barn and West Elm realize that they can sell more window treatments if they don’t also have to sell them the rings. Of course, they do have rings, just crappy ones.

 

But, have you ever tried to scoot fabric along a metal rod?

 

If you have, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s very similar to trying to get into your tightest jeans on January 2nd.

But worse.

Every time you try to open and close the drapes you will be met with the most resistance you’ve ever known since your kids were three and you said that it was too close to dinner-time to get ice cream.

 

And, that goes for tab-top curtains too.

 

Sooooo, if you know for a 100% fact that you are never going to open and close the curtains, then I guess you could go without rings. But, it is not a professional look. It is fine to disagree with me. But show me when Suzanne Kasler, Bunny Williams or Victoria Hagan does drapes that are gathered around the drapery rod.

 

They don’t ever do that.

 

Suzanne Kasler - perfect drapery treatment - drapery hardware

via Traditional Home

 

Another beauty from Suzanne Kasler. Absolutely exquisite. That looks to be either a 3/4 or one-inch rod. The draperies are full. The header is covering the loop on the ring and they are breaking about an inch or two on the floor.

Aren’t they worried about the draperies getting dirty?

No, they are worried about their kids getting into Princeton.

 

 

She’s also doing my favorite finial which we called a Pagoda finial. I did 100s of rods with this finial! The source of my wrought iron rods, brackets and finials is in the back of Laurel’s Rolodex as one of the sources I can’t live without.

However, if you really need/want to save money and have a working curtain without rings, then I very much do recommend a grommet curtain.

 

West Elm cotton-canvas-grommet-curtain-white-contemporary - casual-drapery hardware

This white canvas one from West Elm is inexpensive and nice looking for a more casual interior.

 

and, it’s 20% off, right now with code FRIENDS (free shipping, too).

I just added it to the hot sales widget.

 

Laurel, I still have a drapery hardware question. It’s about the funny looking ring that looks like someone took a bite out of it. What’s that all about?

 

C bypass curtain ring Lilly Max Decor - Etsy - drapery hardware

 

Ahhhh… that’s called a “C ring” for obvious reasons. The one above is from a boutique custom- drapery hardware company on Etsy called Lilly Max Decor

 

What’s it for?

 

Well, let’s say you have a long room with a bank of windows or doors spanning 20 feet or more! And, you need to be able to close these draperies. Well, you are going to need not two brackets, not three, but five brackets.

But, normal rings won’t be able to go past the two brackets on set several feet away from the end bracket and the middle bracket. Therefore, some of the rings will need to be able to pass by those two brackets.

Or, sometimes the curtains might need to open to one side or the other and there’s one center bracket to contend with. Same deal.

 

However, you will only need to use the C rings for the parts of the curtain that need to pass over the bracket. The rest of the rings can be regular rings.

 

There are companies that make regular rings and coordinating C rings.

Can you purchase rings and rods from different places?

Yes, you can. And what if the finish doesn’t match? If it’s already hand-painted, you can adjust the rod a little with some craft paint. But honestly, unless the match is really several shades off, it won’t be noticeable. Pinky-promise.

 

What if you can’t drill a hole because it is too close to the one already there? OR, the hole will show?

 

Ahhh… well, you DO have a problem. This is how I suggest you handle it.

 

First go to where they keep their booze and pour yourself a stiff shot of whiskey. I recommend going for the single malt scotch; Glenlivet, if they have it. And, then have one more, just to be on the safe side. ;]

Sure, go ahead and laugh. There is a very good reason that I prefer to sit until 2:15 AM making jokes about everything that can wrong instead of LIVING through one shitshow after another. However, believe me. Everything I’m writing about has happened to ME on more than one occasion.

Well, if you don’t want to or can’t make another hole, you can put a small piece of foam or something of that nature, between the rod and the bracket it’s sitting on. This will raise it up some and it won’t be noticeable. Nothing worse than a drapery rod that’s sagging in the middle. AND, supported by a bracket.

 

Okay, what IF there are holes in the wall that are showing, anyway.

 

Please try, try not to do that. I worked with one installer on several jobs and lickety split, he had put up the brackets before I had a chance to stand back and say, “Doug, the forking rod is crooked.”

Naturally, I got tired of this (and my clients complaining) and thus, replaced him.

 

However, even with the most careful installer, mistakes are very easy to make. This is why your clients must go for an extensive spa treatment while you’re putting up the window treatments.

 

Really, unless they are the SUPER chill type, they should not be home. It is for the same reason that you can’t be in the operating room if your child is having surgery performed.

So, now you have holes in your client’s walls.

After you’ve poured your double single malt scotch, you need to pray. Pray very hard. Pray that somewhere, in the garage, basement, closet– SOMEWHERE lives a left-over can of paint to match the current wall color. Your installer should always carry spackle with him in his tool kit. Have him fill the hole ASAP. Go find a hair dryer. Stand there like a nerd blowing the spackle dry. Dab the paint on very carefully.

Do not get paint on the window treatment.

Do not knock the paint can over.

Carefully put the lid back on– tightly and put the can and hair dryer back where you found them.

End of story. hopefully

 

Laurel, you haven’t talked about tie backs.

 

You’re right. I haven’t. Nobody does them any more and I need to get some sleep. ;] Plus, they’re a bloody pain in the arse. I always did hold backs, instead of ties.

 

One last question, Laurel about the drapery hardware

 

Okay, fire away

 

How do you know how high to hang the rod? Or rather, how do you know how long the draperies should be?

 

Oh, this is such a great question. There is usually some wiggle room, especially if it’s okay with you or your client if the curtains can break on the floor. I said, break, not puddle. Nobody does that any longer. By break, I mean at most an inch or two hitting the floor.

But, this is where it is advisable to know what curtain hardware you’re using, before you order your curtains. Once you know that, all you need to do is figure out how high your rod should be and then allow the space for the rod and rings. It’s usually about the overall diameter of the ring.

So, if your rod is at 92″ off of the floor and you’d like a little break, your drapes should be about 91″ long. If you don’t want the break, then, about 90″ should be good. But, always double check!

 

However, if you are getting ready-made curtains and want to hem them or have them professionally hemmed, you can install the rods first and then pin the drapes and then mark where you’d like them to end.

 

Be sure to look at more than one window if there are multiples. Sometimes the floor can be quite uneven.

 

Has anyone ever used stitch witchery to either “sew” ready-made curtains or to make anything?

Okay, since this is the second longest post ever, time to wrap this baby up!

Below is a widget with some of the products we’ve discussed and a few others, we haven’t. Please click on any of the images for more info.

 

 

Of course, I am quite positive that I have not covered everything.

 

one) I don’t know everything

two) I’m sure I’ve forgotten something I already know

So, if you can think of something I’ve forgotten or have a question related to the topic of drapery hardware, let’s discuss it.

However, I still recommend a professional installation. They will know how to keep the rods up on the wall where they belong, even if your home is made out of cardboard. It’s frighteningly common these days.

You might also enjoy this post about different drapery styles as shown through 17th – 19th century art.

xo,

 

PS: Please check out the newly updated hot sales

 

5th edition rolodex-post-graphic - November 2018 - A unique shopping guide with hundreds of sources created by Laurel Bern

  • Paula - October 9, 2019 - 8:11 PM

    Maybe it’s just me…. guests complaining about curtains and getting adamant that the installation is the problem?? Yikes.ReplyCancel

  • Travis - October 9, 2019 - 3:38 PM

    Hi Laurel! Thanks for all the great information regarding getting your draperies installed correctly. I do have a few other questions that I am curious about. Is it acceptable for an expensive drapery install to have a small gap between the two panels of drapery where they meet up in the center with or without a center support bracket? Is this unavoidable? For heavy drapery with blackout lining have you ever used the tape that goes on the top of the rod to make the heavy drapery slide more easily? I had guests recently who were complaining that they couldn’t close the draperies completely and that the rings slid too sluggishly over the drapery rod. They were adamant that the installation was a problem. For the record, I picked the fabric, the lining, and the French return rod so a big part of the problem may have been my choices! The drapery wand is rather heavy and not infrequently comes off because you end up lifting up on the draperies slightly to get them to slide more easily. Those are my drapery issues and perhaps they are unavoidable? I am hesitant to contact the installer because open and closed the draperies look beautiful and I figure that perhaps this an issue with all heavy draperies and unavoidable?! You always have great advice and of course if this is off topic please don’t feel you have to even respond or post the question! Always greatly appreciate all your advice and wisdom from the world of design.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - October 9, 2019 - 7:03 PM

      The draperies should not only meet up, but actually overlap by a few inches. I have not heard of the tape you’re speaking of, however.ReplyCancel

  • Alisha - October 6, 2019 - 9:22 PM

    Laurel , I have read every curtain post and realize how foolish I was to think I was going to hang curtains in my home. My problem now is a window with a radiator directly below it. I have no idea how to dress it!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - October 1, 2019 - 4:27 PM

    Great post Laurel! Thankfully I was able to remove some finials from my online shopping cart before making some blah mistakes. What’s funny, is that before I buy anything online, I do a quick google search “laurel bern item-I’m-about-to-buy” before I check out. LOL. I’m not even kidding. Stitch witchery never works the way I intend! And for any desperately frugal readers out there like me, don’t walk, run away from Ikea’s version. No and no!ReplyCancel

  • Patti - September 29, 2019 - 9:16 AM

    First of all, I could never hate you! That being said, thank you for sharing the pictures; the rods look great in this application. I’m noticing that lucite rods look best when there is a very pretty paint or wallpaper showing through them — they have the ability to almost disappear.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 29, 2019 - 12:19 PM

      You’re welcome Patti! I can’t see what what said before because I’m in the answer comments area of my admin dashboard.ReplyCancel

  • Mary E - September 28, 2019 - 8:04 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    Well, now I’ve learned something new. I had never heard of a C ring before. I can certainly see how functional they could be.
    Does anyone ever use a traverse rod anymore? I remember when I was younger having one above some sliding glass doors. And I would pull a cord that was along the side of the window treatments to open & close them. It allowed you to open & close your draperies without needing to touch the fabric.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 29, 2019 - 2:35 AM

      Hi Mary,

      Yes, they make them, both the decorative kind and the kind that you don’t see. I used those once or twice if we did a valance.ReplyCancel

  • Catherine Cullen - September 27, 2019 - 2:29 PM

    I made and installed all of my own drapes (I swear they are nice, lined and interlined, euro pleats but they just kiss the floor because I am also the maid), and I actually ordered wood kirsch rods online partly so I could easily cut them to length (just need a hand saw). Our house is extremely crooked which will be charming in 75-100 years, and I actually installed the hardware first and then measured for the drapes. There is one window where the right panel is a full 1/2 inch longer. A good option maybe for DIY-ers. I am still totally stunned by how expensive the curtains in our house were considering I bought all the fabric from online discounters and I sewed and installed everything myself. I have convinced a few friends that their outrageous curtain quotes are not a rip off. Anyway your other curtain posts were extremely helpful for understanding pleat types and widths, thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 28, 2019 - 1:35 AM

      Hi Catherine,

      It’s true. Nobody is getting rich off of window treatments. At least, I don’t think so.ReplyCancel

  • Donna Oliphint - September 27, 2019 - 12:31 PM

    Thank you for all of the really great info in one post! I tend to call short draperies “curtains,” but I can see the light vs. heavy. Or maybe lined vs. unlined. I love the French return rod! When I have used the cheap expanding rod, I buy 2 of them and use the two large ends with one skinny in the middle. That way you only have a small amount of the skinny rod in play and can easily adjust the center support to hold it. But the majority of the drapery panels will be on the same diameter rod. Thanks again for this great post!ReplyCancel

  • Donna Oliphint - September 27, 2019 - 12:18 PM

    Yes! Thanks for giving that info on the return. It makes such a difference.ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - September 27, 2019 - 9:36 AM

    Such an informative post! How do you recommend choosing the hardware finish/color? Should you consider the color of the room or the style of the room?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 28, 2019 - 1:31 AM

      Hi Maureen,

      Good question. It’s too many factors, but most of the time, I did a soft black. But, sometimes if I wanted a lighter or more formal look, we did antique gold.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - September 27, 2019 - 8:06 AM

    Amazing topic and research, in my list of your hits! My favorite blog post is designers you would like to hire. And anything about decorators from hell or clients from hell. I’d love to read fresh versions of them. I know that is not safe topics for the writer, but I injoy reading them as a reader and find them so educational, fun and just great! Personally, I’m interested in a topic such as why A-list decorators think they’re so unique and charge $$$, what do they bring to the table? They all shop at the same sources all the time. And why decorators never have the list of services on their websites? I guess when they come to nail salon, they would demand it. Or at a restaurant too. It immediately make them look a bit dishonest. Like they’re hiding something. And they ask what is your budget immediately… like come to nail salon and depending of what clothes you wear we charge you accordingly. The same time MRI in a hospital costs… you know how much and no one is complaining that it’s a rip off. lolReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 28, 2019 - 1:29 AM

      Hi Lisa,

      There are fresh versions of the decorator/clients from hell posts and they are all next to each other. Definitely within the last year.ReplyCancel

  • Val - September 27, 2019 - 7:06 AM

    OMG, what a comment I posted. I just read it;] Laurel, please forgive me. But your answer is great anyway!ReplyCancel

  • Gail Petrie - September 26, 2019 - 8:48 PM

    In high school and college I worked for a lady who had a drapery workroom. She went bonkers if someone said “drapes” instead of “draperies”. She explained that “draperies” is a noun, and “drapes” is a verb. Lest her ghost should reprimand me some 40 years later, I use them correctly to this day!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 11:07 PM

      Oh, too funny Gail. Well, in this day and age where every verb has turned into a noun anyway. (And vice versa) I mean if you GOOGLE it, I think that we can ARCHITECT a solution before the big REVEAL.

      And, there ARE words that are both nouns and verbs. EScort, esCORT IMpact, imPACT INcrease, inCREASE INsult, inSULT – I looked that up. I’m not that clever.

      Therefore, I wouldn’t GUILT yourself too much over the use of drapes instead of draperies.ReplyCancel

  • Val - September 26, 2019 - 6:00 PM

    This is the best and the most in-depth post about drapery hardware I’ve ever seen! Laurel, I’m wondering if you doing your own interior design and want some help…say from another famous designer (for example, Suzanne Kasler), would it be acceptable for another designer to work with you? Do designers work that way or they prefer a regular client? In terms of fees, how would you ask someone like her?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:50 PM

      Hi Val,

      I’m not sure I’m understanding the question. Really, there should only be one head chef. Of course, I’ve consulted with designer friends on occasion. But, it’s a reciprocal thing. Or, we share sources. I have a friend that I met in design school back in 1988 and we used to do that all of the time. And, sometimes even send each other clients that were better suited (maybe) to the other. We had very different styles.

      Some designers who are well connected might get the work and then hand it over to another designer and take a cut of the profit. How does that work? Well, of course, they are honest about it. It can only work if the two designers have the same aesthetic. That is different than hiring designers under your own umbrella.

      I don’t know if that answered your question or not.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - September 26, 2019 - 1:42 PM

    Hi, Laurel,
    I have a question regarding grommet-topped curtains covering a long span with a rod requiring support brackets. What’s a girl to do? I have ready-made Pottery Barn Payton drapes spanning the entire length of my wall, which are driving me nuts because, predictably, they get hung up on the support brackets required by the length of the rod span. What would be the correct method of hanging a grommet-top drape over a long span? Should I surgically remove part of the grommets and drape so that they form a c-ring as required? Or, is this type of ready-made drape just not appropriate to a long span. 🙁 Hind-sight is 20/20, but I’m not planning a do-over. They look great when closed!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:44 PM

      Hi Susan,

      Well, I can’t see what your sitch is. I don’t think you could turn the grommet into a C-ring because it’s part of the fabric. With a C ring, the fabric is underneath the ring. The only other solution is to divide up the panels, so that none of them are required to cross over any of the brackets. But, again, I don’t know if that’s possible with your configuration.ReplyCancel

  • Dee-Dee Davidson - September 26, 2019 - 11:11 AM

    Hi Laurel, I LOVE your blog, it is quite literally the best source for me on just about everything I come up against as a designer. Some stuff I learned the hard way, but so much better to learn from your experience!! One question I have: do you ever find that measuring length sometimes isn’t enough? I have found that, depending on fabric and length, ready-mades fabric can pull down a bit and screw up all your length measurements (most of my client’s kids go to community college). So I always have my installer hold up the drapes on the rod and bracket before marking the holes for the bracket screws (poor guy!) since I prefer hanging between 1/2 to 1 inch above the floor. Any better ideas rather than ruining my installer’s arms and good opinion of me? Amen on the extending rods!! Hate them, measuring is impossible, straight is impossible, can’t pull a ring over them, arrrggghhh!!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:32 PM

      Hi Dee-Dee,

      Well, when we are on site, we take one panel and lay it on the floor and then one of us takes one end of a front and the other takes the other end and we make sure it’s nice and taught, not pulling, just perfectly straight and then take our measurement. But, yes, sometimes, the brackets still didn’t end up in the right spot. And sometimes, it was in one of those “cardboard” houses. The sheetrock just crumbles away. No wood. No wood anywhere to be found!

      But, we always got them up and secure. As far as I know, no rod ever came down unexpectedly. knock wood!ReplyCancel

  • Relentless - September 26, 2019 - 10:41 AM

    Any thoughts about hanging curtains from the ceiling? I know that Bobby McAlpine and his crowd do it all the time. I have a bedroom situation where we would like curtains but pockets for automated sun shades prevent us from hanging them on the wall.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:27 PM

      Hi Annie,

      I did it once with a rod. That one was difficult for the guys to install, but they did it. We used the bracket that has a loop and the rod was in two pieces which screwed together. It was quite dramatic because the ceiling was also quite high. I know that there are some posts here that show drapes hanging from a hospital track on the ceiling. So, to answer your question, yes, it’s possible.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - September 26, 2019 - 9:10 AM

    This post illustrates exactly why I find even thinking about window treatments so difficult. They are sooooo complicated.

    We rented a rustic house here in the mountains that had no window coverings. It mostly didn’t matter because neighbors were far away.

    However, I tried to put up curtains in the living room and they looked awful with the strong rustic architecture in that room. The curtains actually muted the architecture! The minute we took them down, the room looked right again.

    On the other hand, when I put curtains up in my bedroom, they improved the room amazingly.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:24 PM

      Hi Lorri,

      That’s interesting. For some jobs, there was a question whether window treatments were necessary. So, I would say, let’s do everything else and see how it is. It was about 50/50. One thing I tried to avoid is putting in window treatments before the other furniture came. Rooms tend to look funny with window coverings and nothing else in them.ReplyCancel

  • Lorri - September 26, 2019 - 8:55 AM

    The window treatment industry may have different terms for different window coverings which is understandable.

    But the funny thing about someone chastising you for calling them drapes or insisting on calling them draperies, is that the upper class only calls them “curtains”.

    Apparently, the upper class uses more simple words for things, considering anything else an affectation. Not that any of this matters.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:22 PM

      Hi Lorri,

      A couple of things about “upper class” folks. And, I guess we’re talking about “old money.” But, they’re usually not so into impressing folks because they don’t have to. Of course, that’s a sweeping generalization. And, I’m sure that there are plenty of wealthy readers who were born into their wealth. And, do care a lot about design. But, the two don’t always go hand-in-hand.

      The other thing that I just happened to read yesterday is an article that says that a single person family is considered “upper class” if they make more than $79,000 a year. Huh? Ummm… not in New York! I mean, a person can live on that amount, but certainly not lavishly in any way.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - September 26, 2019 - 2:00 AM

    I’ve used stitch witchery to hem ready made panels when we moved in. I needed something fast to create privacy and my sewing machine was buried somewhere in the garage. 3 years later I finally bought fabric to make something better. But the stitch witchery has not held up well over that time. It’s basically glue dots you steam, heat and use to seal your hem like an envelop. Well, every time you wash and dry the item you’re basically reheating and steaming the seal. If it goes through your drier it’s moving around while the glue is soft so your seam fails. I’m not sure how it will hold up to dry cleaning. It’s good for fast and dirty like kids Halloween costumes or things that don’t get washed like lavender sachets. You can use it in place of pins for long straight seams like curtain hems so you can run them straight through your machine without stopping to remove pins. But don’t use it in place of sewing on anything that needs regular washing.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:15 PM

      Ahhh… I would imagine that it doesn’t do well with washing. But, thanks for the info Jennifer.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - September 25, 2019 - 10:52 PM

    Reading my mind again! I’ve been looking at drapery hardware this week. I just found the coolest company tonight with both Canadian and US online outlets. Order your rod longer than needed and cut to length. The finials slip onto the ends of the rod. presto – instant custom rod at a great price. draperycurtainrods(dot)ca or (dot)com. Nice rings too.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:42 AM

      Hi Gail,

      You can sometimes cut rods, but if they are heavy duty steel, it means a hack saw and a lot of elbow grease. My guy had to do that a couple of times and believe me, it’s not easy. I would avoid that, if possible. And, if these rods are easy to cut, it means that they might be too flimsy. I don’t know for sure, since I haven’t seen them.ReplyCancel

  • Frances - September 25, 2019 - 10:50 PM

    Ususally one pin goes behind each pleat and also a pin on each end about a 3/4″ in. If you don’t want the “loop” of the ring to show above the drapes, I call it the “eye”, put the pin in so the top of the pin finishes about 1/2″ from the top when inserted. Adjust if necessary. The pins on the outer ends of each panel gets hooked, not on a ring, but a hook or screw eye mounted (properly!) in wall. This holds the drapery return (the flat section after the last pleat) perpendicular to the rod and wall and gives the draperies a nice custom finish as well as blocking light at the outer edges of your drapes. My business makes and installs custom drapes which gives me some cred!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:40 AM

      Thanks so much Frances. I have put the pins in, but forgot how far they need to go down. And yes, there’s usually a little wiggle room. Maybe 1/4″-1/2″ Once or twice, we covered up a little more of the ring than I prefer, but the clients did not want the drapes dragging on the floor. (boo hoo) and I did not want to have to take six pairs of lined and interlined silk drapes back to the workroom and then back to Long Island where the job was. But, the client was very happy, in the end.ReplyCancel

  • Sandy - September 25, 2019 - 10:22 PM

    Hi Laurel! Thank you for another fabulous post! I have a question about the distance between the crown molding and the rod. We have 10 foot ceilings in our Victorian house. The bottom of our crown molding is only 2 inches above the top of our window trim. Is it still possible to hang curtains hanging from rods using rings?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:36 AM

      Hi Sandy,

      Yes, absolutely. The thing you need to watch out for are the brackets. Sometimes, they have a long vertical tail. So, I would avoid those. Even the ones with a disk might be problematic with only two inches to work with. The solution in either case, if this is possible is to do a rod at least 4 inches wider (in total) than the window. The brackets will go to the left and right of the upper window casing.

      Of course, you can make your rod 12″ wider, if you’d like less glass showing. If the windows are very long and your rod is 48″ or more (not including a finial), I would probably make the panels one and a half widths. The exception would be if you’re using a very heavy fabric like a velvet.ReplyCancel

  • Suzanne Selvitella - September 25, 2019 - 9:29 PM

    Hi Laurel,

    Yes, I just used that stitch witchery tape to “hem” some PB linen drapes in my son’s home. We bought the house together and are “flipping” it. These draperies replace vertical vinyl panels/blinds that were horrid. I literally just cut the drapery and ironed the tape to hem the linen which I had meticulously pinned as the floor is uneven. They look great.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:30 AM

      Hi Suzanne,

      Love it! I did see a tutorial somewhere, where the woman had made a curtain completely using stitch witchery.ReplyCancel

  • Emilia - September 25, 2019 - 8:52 PM

    “How do I “thank you” Let me count the ways.” Well I would be writing for a long time. So just let me say thank you for answering my question about the rod but for also covering all the other drapery questions swimming in my mind. I was especially pleased to read that you also liked drapes that skim the floor (not puddled). I dislike the look of drapes standing at attention like Praetorian Guards on either side of my sliding glass door so I was worried about how I was going to respond to the eventual criticisms that I was going to get when I installed drapes that skimmed the floor. I will move forward more confidently now. Thanks a million Laurel.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 26, 2019 - 10:29 AM

      Hi Emilia,

      I imagine when the A-listers have their clients sign their contracts, there’s a line in there about drapes being allowed to skim the floor. ;] They all do it. But, when one has hired the best, is there any arguing?ReplyCancel

  • Paula - September 25, 2019 - 8:22 PM

    Thanks Laurel! Very helpful reply and link.ReplyCancel

  • Heidi Eve-Cahoon - September 25, 2019 - 5:38 PM

    Dear Laurel,
    I am remodeling my bathrooms. I was planning to do dark blue walls and gold mirror, sconces, knobs in the powder room. I spent hours looking at them online. The trouble is that there are a bunch of golds! French gold, champagne, satin brass, brushed brass, antique gold! I found a gold mirror that I really like and I am exchanging brushed brass sconces for polished nickel. I think the mirror will be the only gold, everything else is polished nickel. Is that acceptable? I am still liking at mirrors and I could put this one in my bedroom. Perhaps you already have done a post on gold colors and how to match or mix metals in a bathroom. If you haven’t, it might make for a good one.
    Thanks for all of your posts. I always look for them on Wednesday and Sunday. They are like gifts from a friend!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:42 PM

      Hi Heidi,

      I think what you’re doing sounds lovely. Since I can’t see the entire space, I can’t say for sure if something could/should be gold or not. But a gold framed mirror goes with everything.ReplyCancel

  • Marcille Hamlen - September 25, 2019 - 5:19 PM

    Thank you for your informative and finely illustrated articles over the many years. Is mid century modern furniture a topic you would address; it hearkens back to my childhood😃.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:36 PM

      Hi Marcille,

      Within some posts there is some mid-century furniture, I’m sure. I like a lot of it and like mixing it with contemporary styles. But, I probably won’t do a post specifically on that one style.ReplyCancel

  • Parnassus - September 25, 2019 - 5:14 PM

    Hello Laurel, I have some beautiful antique curtain tiebacks that are worth collecting, but I don’t think that I would ever use them as I prefer the simplest window treatments.

    That photo of the return rod with the blue strapwork curtain struck me as odd. The screw securing the flange of the rod was both crooked and protruding. The hole in the flange should have been counter-sunk to receive the head of the screw, as clearly seen in the return rod from Maison Lane that you also illustrate. Furthermore, real bronze screws are still available, and are not that expensive. Also, people with an eye for quality and tradition would not tolerate an exposed Phillips-head screw–I would certainly specify slotted ones. Perhaps this crude installation was just for a showroom and not in an actual house, but either way if I were paying thousands for window treatments I would not be too impressed with the level of workmanship. My eye would be riveted to that crooked, cheap screw. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details!

    –JimReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:34 PM

      Hi Jim,

      It’s true. That isn’t the best example. But many of them have the fabric covering up the rod. And, I just wanted to convey the basic configuration of the rod. I’m also not a fan of the disk and prefer a stem that’s hidden. But, those are in the links in the widget.

      In addition, the fabric on the curtain should also return to the wall.ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Kemp - September 25, 2019 - 4:55 PM

    Laurel,
    This is a winner. Never thought of measuring from the ceiling and then from the floor. Putting that in the archives.

    I, like Cindy above, have made most of my draperies. Some have been a success and others not so much. When I see beautiful draperies, custom of course, I smile. There is nothing like custom work and the skilled hands that make them.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:30 PM

      That’s very true Barbara. Plus, they have the equipment and extra-long tables that most of us don’t have.ReplyCancel

  • KathyO - September 25, 2019 - 3:21 PM

    Three winters ago I made family room drapes out of striped Pottery Barn linen duvet covers. The backs of the duvet covers are plain cotton, serving as the already-in-place drapery lining. I wanted the fabric to just skim the floor, so I pinned the hems in place and then hand sewed them. Well…the length is perfect while the heat is on and the air in the house is dry, but in summer the humidity causes them to lengthen and break a little. It’s not a problem, but I thought I’d mention that it’s a good idea to be aware of humidity when working with loosely woven fabrics. I’m just glad I made the drapes in the winter, or I’d be looking at high-water window treatments half the year and grinding my teeth to nubbins.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:29 PM

      Hi Kathy,

      Yeah, we call that yo-yo-ing. Linen is notorious for doing that. And sometimes I’ve seen it where it raised up and got stuck in the 4″ off the floor length. Really bad. Lining should help keep the fabric stable, unless the face fabric and lining are both yo-yo-ing together.ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Protzel - September 25, 2019 - 2:05 PM

    Wonderful post and perfectly timed as I have been avoiding buying drapery rods because it just felt too intimidating. I just have one follow up question. Is there a general rule about the length of the rod as compared to the window? How much further past the end of the window should the rod extend?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:26 PM

      Hi Rachel,

      That’s a very good question. I think I covered it in one of the other posts I linked to. But, maybe not. The minimum that a rod should go past the window frame (casing) is one inch, not including the finial. If there’s no finial, but a flat cap, then I would do a minimum of 3 inches.

      But, what’s also important to take into consideration is that the shorter the rod, the more glass will be covered when the curtains are open. That’s called the stack back. How much room does that take up? Well, it depends on how heavy the fabric is and how many inches wide is the curtain.

      For instance, some windows are very long. Or, they might be French doors and your panel might be three widths or about 150″ of fabric that’s also usually pleated at the top.

      The other thing is that you don’t want the rod to be too long so that some of the casing is showing behind the curtain/drape. That’s a big no/no. If your drapes are meant to close, that shouldn’t be a problem.

      Sometimes, I made the rods longer, intentionally to make the window appear to be larger than it is. But, some windows are wider than they should be, so I made the rod only an inch or two wider than the window on each side.

      One other trick is if a window is off- center. Sometimes, the rod can be placed off-center to make the window appear to be where it should’ve been. Difficult to explain without showing. This works best with blackout lining as the effect would be ruined if light were shining through some parts and not others asymmetrically.

      But, under the most common circumstances, let’s say that the window with the casing is 40″, I would probably make the rod 48″ wide.

      There’s more information in this post.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - September 25, 2019 - 2:01 PM

    Amazing post! I learn so much from it! Just one question regarding English language I’m learning too. This phrase “They don’t do ever do that.” But “They don’t do that”… is same meaning? “Do ever do” is very symmetrical and looking great! I’m taking notes and will use this line.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:15 PM

      Hi Alice,

      No, it’s a mistake which I just fixed. I try to catch them, but sometimes difficult. It should be “They don’t do that.”ReplyCancel

  • Paula - September 25, 2019 - 1:33 PM

    Okay, incoming dumb question. I am guilty of using rings with clips and you’re right, they look bonkers. So I should use the pins. But what, on the curtain, do you stick the pins into? If you have ready-made curtains, do you need to sew some kind of tape on them into which you stick the pins? I’m completely lost here….ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:12 PM

      Hi Paula,

      That’s not an absurd question. No, you don’t need to sew anything into them. If you look back at the header of the curtain, there is always a hem, just like on the bottom. If the curtains are lined, then you get an extra layer. You carefully put the pin there so that it catches one or two layers of fabric (if lined), but not all the way through, as of course, then the pin will show. Some fabrics are easier to pin than others. If you have a lot of pins to put in, your fingers will be screaming at you.

      There are some tutorials and more information here.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Violanti - September 25, 2019 - 11:50 AM

    Thank you for your expertise on Curtain and Drapery window hardware. Do you recall ever living in a place where you could not put up drapes, and were stuck with those plastic roller blinds which had a stick at the base to use to pull down the blind? They originally came with a plastic handle that was always gone so there was dirty smudges from people pulling the blind down. Oh the fun of renting:/ Those days are past now and I have lived in many homes since, I love having a home which allows me to put up, take down, blinds, no blinds whatever I wish :)So much enjoy reading your posts!ReplyCancel

  • Aurora V - September 25, 2019 - 11:40 AM

    Now THAT is a very sneaky, very ingenious way to locate an installer!!! Aren’t you the clever one—I’ll have to give that a try!

    (One of the two nibbles I had was actually from a design firm who gave me the name of someone who USED to work for them, but had gone out on his own. And I REALLY liked him—he seemed to Know His Stuff. Unfortunately, I paid him $80–I paid more than what he asked, as this usually helps—for a quote…but despite having come out twice in three years, and numerous follow up calls from me—I’ve never gotten the quote I paid for. :/. I did, however, get a photo of his measurements—so I have *something*, anyway. ;))

    As you said—first world problems, for sure! :). Thanks for the new approach, though—I’m all over it! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 6:05 PM

      Hi Aurora,

      And that was before coffee! One thing being a designer taught me and it began in design school, is to problem solve and quickly. Flaky/disappearing workmen of any kind go into the useless pile.ReplyCancel

  • Cindy - September 25, 2019 - 11:06 AM

    Great post Laurel! I’m not a decorator, but I have always done a lot of home dec sewing. I have made many window treatments over the years, including pinch-pleated, lined draperies back in the 70’s in order to get a custom look. Fortunately, ready mades have come a long way. I agree with most of what you say in this post. The only thing I don’t like is the grommets – just too much like a shower curtain. Thanks for all the information!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 12:04 PM

      Hi Cindy,

      My apartment came with cheap grommet curtains and I’ve never bothered to change them. It really is a case of the shoemaker. And I find that running this website/blog + taking care of myself, leaves me running on empty. I really don’t mind them, but it’s fine if you do.ReplyCancel

  • Linda - September 25, 2019 - 10:19 AM

    Love this blog post and thank you so much for writing it! There is one thing I have a question about, however.

    We are starting to plan for new furniture and draperies in our living room. The current draperies (came with the house when we bought it) were not terribly objectionable at the time, but now it’s time to replace them! They are actually traverse rods and draperies (I hope that is the correct term) …. no rings but there are drapery hooks and cords. there is a cord to the side of each window that attaches to the drapery hooks…..and you open and close the drapes by pulling on the cord.
    Anyway, my husband grew up in a very traditional home and LOVES this style. I never see them anymore but I know I could have them made professionally for big $$$. But do we want that kind of drapery for our casual ranch style home in the Pacific Northwest?? Are these kinds of drapes hopelessly out of style or does that not matter anymore? Is there a reason I don’t see them that I should know about? Can you comment please? Thank you so very much!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 12:01 PM

      Hi Linda,

      If you have a large expanse of window and a situation where you need/want to open and close the drapes a lot, then for many the traverse rods are a good solution. And as a said a few comments below, the decorative traverse rods these days aren’t bad. Well, some of them aren’t. Like all things, some are not my cup of tea.

      However, I’ve always done the decorative rods. Something I forgot to mention is that when they are installed, the hand-painted ones can be a little sticky; meaning the rings don’t move over them quickly and smoothly. We used to use spray silicone which works beautifully. But, but, but… do not just spray in the house. Best to do it outside. But, in any case spray on a paper towel and wipe on the rod. The silicone IS slippery.

      One time we didn’t have any silicone and I discovered that a bar of soap rubbed on top of the rod works just as well. So, now that the rings slide super easily, one can open and close their curtains even faster than with a traverse rod. Some people don’t like having to touch the fabric on a daily basis. In that case, you can purchase a wand that gets attached to the first ring on the front of the curtain. You may have seen them in hotels.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly Pyeatt - September 25, 2019 - 10:10 AM

    Fabulous, informative, super helpful post, Laurel! Drapes/curtains/rods and hanging can be so tricky (and expensive!). I’m so fortunate to have an engineer/math guru/perfectionist for a husband (I can’t read a ruler haha) and a seamstress for a mom. My husband has hung all my drapes (which my mom has made), including inside bay windows. Not an easy task. Thank you for all this great info! You da best!ReplyCancel

  • Helen Avalon - September 25, 2019 - 9:50 AM

    After I posted my last comment, it dawned on me to do a search for curtain rods for bay windows and sure enough found an answer! So sorry to have bothered you but I’m actually glad to have written the post because until I wrote it, I never thought of that wall as being like a bay window and so didn’t know how to search.

    This happy solution can be chalked up as another benefit to reading your posts! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Helen Avalon - September 25, 2019 - 9:40 AM

    Hi Laurel, I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and look forward to new posts!

    This one on drapery is very timely as I am redoing our house (after 16 years) and have a tricky window situation in the bedroom where the wall juts out like a bay window such that the two side windows are at slight angles to the center window.

    I originally hung curtains by putting up a narrow, telescoping rod which I bent (or maybe I broke it and duct-taped it together – I don’t remember). Anyway, I hung curtains from this and then hid the whole ugly contraption behind a fabric covered piece of wood… I think this would be called a pelmet.

    The good thing is that we never need to close these curtains so everything is just decorative.

    Now I’d like to hang lightweight white linen from as close to the ceiling as possible and I don’t want a pelmet. Do you know of any curtain rods that come bent at odd angles? 🙂 Or maybe a bracket that accommodates rods at two different angles?

    I can send a picture if it would help. The last treatment was quite elaborate with a busy patterned fabric and beads hanging from the wooden pelmet. I’m hoping to go light and breezy this time and think that the curtain rod will need to be exposed. Again, it’s just decorative as the curtains won’t need to close.

    Whether or not you answer this, thanks again for your enjoyable posts!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:50 AM

      Yes, there are rods that you can get that are made for bay windows. Very clever, they are. Or, you can have custom rods made. There are several ways to do it, including having three separate rods made that appear to connect, but don’t. It’s a little tricky. I found a company that makes them and tells you how to measure, but not sure where it is right now.ReplyCancel

  • Karan - September 25, 2019 - 9:35 AM

    Wish I had read this yesterday before I hung three sets of panels for a client because installer not available and she was having friends over for drinks at 5! I would have done the scotch😃ReplyCancel

  • Mariah - September 25, 2019 - 9:32 AM

    Thank you so much for the information Laurel! I do have a question. How many rings/hooks per panel, usually? I’m changing out some lightweight bedroom curtain, this post is certainly timely.ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:46 AM

      Hi Mariah,

      For the average 50″ panel it’s usually seven rings. Excellent question.ReplyCancel

  • Jerry Ballard - September 25, 2019 - 9:31 AM

    Laurel, I always find your blogs informative and witty and fun, as well!

    About 10 years ago we did a room addition and when considering window treatments, I realized that no one was selling traverse rods anymore. Luckily the company that made my drapes, said I could order them! Puzzled at why they went “poof”! All I have to do to open and close them is to pull the cord and both sides close evenly. No need for shades or blinds, no running around to the other side. They don’t look like the old fashion white ones ..they are dark oiled bronze with artichoke finials ..rings, draperies sit just under rod. They make my life easier. Sun shining in..I pull the cord. I even have a 60 in dining table that traverses…meaning to extend it, I only pull one side the other side opens as well! Would love to see a comment about traverse rods!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:45 AM

      Hi Jerry,

      Yes, you have the decorative traverse rods.

      Here is a link that shows some examples.
      Some are quite nice. Kirsch is reliable well-known brand, but there are others.

      They aren’t quite the same as the decorative rods I’m talking about, but not the ones we had in the sixties. And, in our house in Indiana we had two walls of windows. I remember when those drapes went up. I thought it was so cool but I was probably about four.ReplyCancel

  • Madonna - September 25, 2019 - 9:09 AM

    OMG, it’s not just me? I can sleep better tonight knowing I’m not particularly incompetent, just incompetent in a general way that is not unlike other people. Being a little autistic, this means a lot.

    You’re not just whistling Dixie, sister. I hate those ruddy telescoping rods. I’ve always just had the drape on that side hemmed a bit to match the other, but no more. I’m ordering custom from now on.

    Every year before tax season I read two books on taxes. And every year I pick up a trick or two that saves me five hundred here, a couple thousand there. Today, your blog was like a good tax tip. It never occurred to me to wait to install the middle bracket. That’s brilliant, Laurel, thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:27 AM

      Hi Madonna,

      Thanks so much. I only know about waiting to install the middle bracket from the times the installer came and did it first and then when he had all three brackets up, the middle one was not in the right place and either bowing or sagging.ReplyCancel

  • Patti Rucker - September 25, 2019 - 8:55 AM

    Once again a fabulous post filled with insight, experience and humor! (I really love your sense of humor!) This is fantastic timing for me because it’s time for window treatments in our new (to us) home and I’ve spent the week so far poring over all your previous posts about curtains/draperies. I’ve been noticing the lucite rods lately too and really can’t decide if I like them or not…do you think they will turn out to be just a fad? The one above does look beautiful but I think you’re right that it’s the wallpaper that makes it look so good in this room!ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:25 AM

      Hi Patti,

      Yes, they’re a fad, most likely. But, I don’t think a thoroughly obnoxious one.

      I think that for a girl’s room, or a bathroom, they could be terrific. I had a photo of a fabulous girl’s bathroom, but didn’t post it because I just couldn’t. And, at 2:15 AM, I was having website issues which I need my developer to look at. But, the designer had done a beautiful real custom curtain in front of the shower with one of those rods. Oh hold on. you’ll hate me otherwise.

      Here’s a link to the house done by designer Ashley Gilbreath. I saw that bathroom somewhere else and tracked it down. But, I see now that she also did do those lucite rods in the girl’s bedroom. Lucky girl! I just noticed that they put the wallpaper on the ceiling in the bathroom. How clever is that!

      It also depends where the house is and what kind of house. And, the style of decor. But, the vendor also sells a lot of other beautiful lucite products, so it’s worth checking out.ReplyCancel

  • Aurora V - September 25, 2019 - 8:54 AM

    What a *marvelous* post—thank you so much for putting it together!!! (I was particularly interested in learning about the C-rings—and that more than one bracket was required for rooms of 20’ in length!)

    Since you asked for discussion of things you might not have mentioned, however…I have two questions.

    First—what should you do if your windows (in your 14’ high room) go almost all the way up to your ceiling? So that there is…say, maybe 3”—possibly 4”—of wall between the 4” molding around the window, and the ceiling?

    I had assumed that ceiling track was the only option—double track, if you’re doing both sheers and drapes—but would be interested in your opinion…

    Also—and here’s the REALLY tough question—what on EARTH do you do if you’re unable to find a professional installer for love or money? (Because you couldn’t afford to spend $20K on having custom made double lined dupioni silk pinch pleated drapes…and made them yourself—and with two 20’ expanses of windows, and drapes which MUST be working—walk along, rather than traverse, due to the very odd placement of the windows, and the need for versatility in drapery location—this is both my home, and a working photography studio.)

    Are there terms you can search for that will help find someone to do an installation? I’ve spent THREE YEARS trying to find someone—with only two nibbles, that entire time. (I’m in Pittsburgh, PA—nothing like Boston or NY, but not a small town, either.)

    Er—sorry, got off on a bit of a rant there…but my two questions remain: with very little space between the two of your window and your high ceiling—should you choose a rod installation or architectural track on the ceiling…and are there specific terms you can use to *find* someone to do a more challenging installation, when you’ve already made your curtains, and no longer have the option of going through a drapery maker, for instance?ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:16 AM

      Hi Aurora,

      Well, talk about your first world problems. If you want to find an installer, go to a place that sells window treatments. Order roller shades for your bathroom, or something like that. They will most likely send an installer over, to first measure. They need to do that to cover their arse should the shades not fit.

      You could then cancel the order, but karma might get you. Not sure. But, at least you’ll have found your installer. I also suggest wearing red lipstick. Offer him a glass of water. Ask him if he needs a check? He’ll be yours, sweetie.

      Then, just pray that he’s a good one.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Granger - September 25, 2019 - 8:46 AM

    Marvelous information! We are running into more out of square houses than ever before. “If it looks straight it is straight “ YES !ReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:06 AM

      Hi Tammy,

      I see that window treatments is your business. Bless you. World’s toughest job.

      I forgot to mention the word “fudge.” And I’m not talking candy, either. It’s when nothing is straight. Everything is crooked and it’s just a matter of making it as straight as possible. I’ve always felt that the top (rod) is more important to appear straight than the bottom, so that has always been my focus.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - September 25, 2019 - 7:29 AM

    Hi Laurel,
    This is a great post! When installing return rods, how much wall space should there be between the window frame and the rod?
    Also, in older homes where just about every window, floor, and ceiling is uneven, are there more practical options than curtains?
    Many thanks,
    MaryReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 11:02 AM

      Hi Mary, That’s a very good question. I’ve never done them, but with traditional rods, there is usually a minimum of an inch, I prefer two inches, of rod until the finial begins. So, the question is, where do you want your drapery to end? But, that has to do with the size of the window, how much glass you’re going to cover and how much wall space there is. If a window is only 3 or 4 inches or less from a wall, I would just install the rod to the wall with no finial. You can still use a traditional bracket. There are brackets that go into the walls, but as long as the rod is a hair shorter than the space between the two walls, this isn’t necessary.ReplyCancel

  • MJ Lamb - September 25, 2019 - 7:20 AM

    Hi Laurel, Love your blog. You are hysterically funny!
    Our home is in the Adirondacks where ,as you know, it’s quite chilly.
    We have radiant heat, and my husband freaks every time I put down a rug (which is often, because I love the way they look and I’m not afraid of him).
    I know area rugs are supposed to extend under the legs of the furniture, but is it ever acceptable to have a smaller area rug – maybe 5 x 8 – in the center of a room for some color and interest?
    Your opinion is valued!! MJReplyCancel

    • Laurel Bern - September 25, 2019 - 10:58 AM

      Hi MJ,

      I don’t know, and the subject is related to window treatments and hardware. Thanks for understanding. Yesterday was like running a marathon for me.ReplyCancel

  • Amy, Home Glow Design - September 25, 2019 - 6:08 AM

    Fabulous post, Laurel, and one that will go in your canon of “bests” that has made you a go-to authority!

    And yes, can’t say enough how professional installation is everything!ReplyCancel

  • Francesca - September 25, 2019 - 4:07 AM

    So glad and grateful for this post. Thank you!ReplyCancel

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