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How to Choose the Right Curtain Rod for your Window Treatments

One of the most overlooked tasks when selecting window treatments is choosing the right curtain rods, which have their own impact on the décor of the home and serve decorative purposes themselves. Most people tend to select the fabric for their curtains or drapes quite easily, but when it comes to selecting the rod, there are some things you need to consider. For example, do you want to give a modern or more traditional feel to the room? Do you have black-out drapes or do they allow some natural light to enter? Below, are some considerations that will help you pick the best drapery rod for your window treatments.

Collage of curtains and trimmings in various interiors

1. Weight of Drapes or Curtains

The weight of your window treatments plays a vital role when deciding the thickness of the rod. If yours are heavy, black-out drapes or curtains, selecting a curtain rod with around 2-3 inches in diameter is best. If you are hanging more lightweight window treatments (i.e. sheers or lace), a half-an-inch diameter rod will do. To display sheer draped valances or grommet-top curtains, you may also use tension curtain rods and hang them in the bedroom and living room respectively.

The whole point of picking a rod, in this case, is to provide the necessary support to hold up the window treatment. So, for heavy drapes, a wrought-iron rod, which is much sturdier than a plastic one, won't bow under their weight; hence provide better support. In some cases, extra support is required (i.e. with extra thick curtains). If this is your case, you may need to mount additional brackets beneath the rod.

Now, if you want to have a thin rod and your drapes or curtains are heavy, some extra support brackets will help you achieve your goal! Finally, if you are planning to layer window treatments (see below: Style section), such as linen curtains and sheer panels, then a double rod is all you need.

2. Material of your Window Treatment

The material of your curtain rod is relevant to the material of your drapes or curtains. There are plastic, wood, and metal rods. With lightweight, delicate fabrics, such as tulle and silk, interior designers usually prefer metal or plastic rods and leave wood for windows with less sunlight or heavier, black-out window treatments. This is because the sunlight coming through a window may splinter and split wood over time.

curtains hanging near the window, creating a comfort

Note: White walls, plastic Roman shades, and light fabric let the sun reflect off them, causing damage to any curtain rod. The most susceptible to sun damage are cafe rods, though. However, damage can be made over long period of time and not in just a few months or a couple of years.

3. Color of the Drapery

The color of your curtain rod should match either some selected items in the room or your window treatment itself, although professionals do prefer to match the rods with accents in a room. For instance, have you noticed that most kitchen rods are usually stainless steel? It's because they match the stainless steel appliances in the room. Similarly, with light, shear white window treatments, you can pick a white plastic curtain rod or match the rod with your curtains. Or, you can match the rod with the furnishings. It's all up to you and your personal style.

4. Style

What style do you want to give to the room? Do you prefer to do a layering effect and go for two curtains over a window and choose a heavy covering or light shade or something simpler (one curtain on one rod) for the room? In the first case, a combination rod will work miracles as it will allow you to hang two sets of curtains over the same window.

That said...

Do you know your design style? Is it traditional, contemporary or transitional? Look around the room to determine that. Traditional curtain rods usually slide on the curtain to fit the curtain on the rod and are round. Also, besides the wall attachments all rods have, traditional ones have additional brackets, too. Modern rods come in many different shapes and designs and may attach the curtain with hooks. Opt for those with elegant spirals that will give a more polished look to the home or curtain rods with carved flowers or leaves for a more whimsical vibe. In short, select the rod that will best complement your personal tastes and style of the room.

wrought edge of curtain rod

Other things to consider regarding style is whether you have enough room for a standard rod with beautiful decorative finials. If you don't, then a cafe rod is your best option as it fits inside the windowsill. It is a much-loved choice for kitchens and, most of the times, it's paired with a valance cover as the rod itself doesn't cover neither the sides nor the top of the window. To select the material and color of your cafe rod, follow the same steps as with the other rods.

5. Room to be Placed

Depending on the room you want to hang curtains in, you'll need to choose the right rod for it. For example, the moisture and humidity in the bathroom (and assuming you want valances or curtains hung there) will damage wooden rods. A plastic or stainless steel one, on the other hand, will work well. Just make sure you buy an adjustable one so that it fits for sure. To divide a large room, a swing-arm rod will help achieve the visual appeal you want. Swing-arm rods are also great options when you wish to hide an open closet. Finally, for a small corner window (mostly found in bedrooms), there are amazing corner rods to use.

Final Note:

Make sure you measure your space correctly. An adjustable curtain rod won't cause any trouble, but any other type of rod won't be as forgiving. Measure the width from casing to casing and write it down. Then, add 2-5 inches, depending on how much of the wall you want to cover with your window treatment. This is particularly essential when planning to use tension rods as they will use the tension of the window walls to manage to stay up.