Hanging Curtains Right to Make Your Windows Look Bigger

Hanging Curtains Right to Make Your Windows Look Bigger

Alternate post titles: “Why I’ve Moved My Curtains More Times Than I Can Remember,” “Hanging Curtains Right: What Not to Do,” “My Biggest Design Mistake In My House,” or “How to Learn From My Mistakes and Hang Your Curtains Right The First Time.”

Hanging curtains right the first time

I know that hanging curtains might not seem like the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s one that made a big difference when I finally got it right. I really honestly can’t remember how many times I moved these curtains before FINALLY getting them to a place I’m happy with. Want to learn from my mistakes?

When we first moved into our house, we were in a hurry to get curtains up so that the whole neighborhood wouldn’t see our business, and the bright sun wouldn’t wake us up. So we threw some curtains up either using existing curtain rods, or new curtain rods and existing holes from old curtain rods. As new homeowners, it was our first time living in a place where we could hang curtains wherever we wanted, yay! But we totally didn’t know what we were doing.
Hanging curtains right the first time
I’ve since realized that pretty much all of them were in the wrong place. Wrong as in not what design experts would recommend, but also wrong in that the design experts are right, they didn’t look as good as they could. Most of them were attached on the top corners of the window moldings/casings, and I’ve since moved most of them up and out. It only took me two tries with the others to get the right solution, but this window in my closet had me stymied for some reason. I think it’s partly because the ceilings are pretty low in there, and I was like, “This is a closet, what the heck are the rules for that?” The same as other rooms, it turns out.

Here’s one of the many solutions I tried, from my closet makeover reveal:

Originally I think I put this white curtain rod up just above the window, and then I raised it once or twice, until it was up near the ceiling. At first it was because I didn’t want to hem the curtains, and then I realized that they would look better higher. But I hadn’t yet learned the other important lesson, that the rod needed to go wider, too. The window looks “pinched in,” and much smaller than necessary. I did like how the white curtain rod blended in to the wall, but it wasn’t long enough. So I ditched it.

The next solution I tried was using a sturdier nickel-colored curtain rod, hung wider and higher. I don’t have pictures of it, but it was almost there, design-wise. It was actually a curtain rod I took from one of the other windows in the house when I replaced the rods with longer ones. Aside from the color not being ideal for this room, the other problem was that when I opened and closed the curtains, they caught on the join between the two halves of the rod. I open these curtains every morning and close them every night, and it annoyed me every time. If you’ve ever watched Twin Peaks, I felt kind of like Nadine, the woman who’s obsessed with silent curtain runners (here’s a reminder if you need one).

Hanging curtains right the first time

So after finally realizing that I needed to go as high and wide as possible, I discovered this solution, a ceiling-mounted curtain track from Ikea. I love it! It slides the curtains super smoothly, blends in well, and makes the window look bigger. These curtain tracks are easy to install, unless you make it more difficult for yourself by installing them too close to walls on either end. Otherwise they would be very easy. They’re relatively inexpensive, but they look higher-end because you can customize them to fit your space by cutting the track or splicing multiple together. Ikea even sells a cheap miter box specifically for cutting these tracks. If ceiling-mounting won’t work for you, you can also mount them to the wall.

Hanging curtains right the first time

I’m never touching these curtains again. Literally, I bought draw rods to open and close them. “Drawing the curtains” sounds like such an old-fashioned phrase, do people in your part of the world use it? “Have the servants draw the curtains!” is what I’ll be saying every morning (as I draw them myself.)

Ok, so the takeaway lessons for hanging curtains right are:

Mount your curtain rods as high and wide as possible.

For curtains that you open and close regularly, make sure the curtains can slide smoothly.

If you don’t want to/can’t match the curtain rods to the other metals in the room, try to blend them in with the wall instead.

For a small space with low ceilings, a small, unobtrusive curtain-hanging solution that blends in is ideal.


Curtains – I have these in several rooms in my house, they’re great!
Blackout curtain liners – The light from this east-facing window is bright in the morning, but these blackout liners solve the problem.
Track – I used 2.
Gliders – These are little wheels that go into the track, and attach to the curtains.
Curtain hooks – Technically you can clip the gliders directly to the curtains, but these make it easier.
Ceiling hanger brackets – These hold the tracks to the ceiling. I used 3.
Draw rod – I used 2.

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