Search Site

Wood or Metal Curtain Poles?

One of the important details that contribute to a beautiful overall look of your window treatment is the curtain pole. The million dollars question that bothers many homeowners who want to achieve the best possible result and have an aesthetically pleasing and functional room is whether it needs to be wood or metal. Truth be told, the right decorative curtain rod can turn up the wow factor of your window coverings and help get exactly the feel and look you want in every space. To get you out of this maze, let's start with the basics and take it from there, alright?

What you Need to Know About Wood Poles

The Basics

Wooden poles are usually made of oak or pine, although we have seen many mahogany and cherry wood poles becoming particularly fashionable lately. You will find them unfinished or in various stained finishes (a finish helps the grain of the wood to shine; pretty much like a varnish). They give you the freedom to paint them in a variety of colours while you may also opt for wood poles that have been specifically treated to appear distressed or antique (there are many different effects to choose from). Plus, the plethora of styles wood comes in (i.e. fluted wood) can help give a two-tone look.

Wood curtain rods blend seamlessly with a cottahe-style interior

Use Wood for…

Wood is a warmer, softer material that creates a cozy atmosphere. Likewise, a wood rod, especially a nice dark wood, such as mahogany, will bring a natural element in a space and infuse a feeling of grandeur.

We usually consider solid wood curtain rods for tall and wide windows as they support heavy curtains and drapes better than metal poles. This is because metal poles are hollow and the only way to make them hold the weight of a heavy drape or curtain without breaking is by adding support brackets. Use wood rods with ample brackets, and rest assured you can safely hang any curtain, no matter how heavy.

Wood poles usually come in 4 main diameters (1⅜ inches, 2 inches, 2¼ inches, and 3 inches). Prefer larger diameters for bigger windows to prevent the rod from “disappearing” over a large window.


If you have chosen to hang silk curtains, then a chunky wood curtain rod with a crackle finish will create a posh and luxurious look for your living space or dining room while warm-tone curtains look fab with wood curtain rods in a twist shape with a walnut finish. We have also seen tree branches play the role of a curtain pole in homes that bring the outdoors indoors.

Note: When you are about to purchase a wood pole, make sure you have the exact measures of your window. Unlike some metal poles, wood ones have to be in the exact size you need them. Otherwise, ask to have them cut to size.

What you Need to Know About Metal Poles

antique-style metal rod

The Basics

Metal curtain poles come in several finishes, with silver, chrome, wrought iron, and brass being the most common ones. They lend towards a crisper atmosphere and give a more modern feel to a room. Metal curtain poles can be matched with other metallic surfaces in the same room, such as the doorknobs or light fixtures and create a more uniform look. Unlike wood rods, you can find metal poles in adjustable lengths, so you really don't need to worry about taking the wrong measurements.

Use Metal for…

Small rooms can benefit from metal curtain poles as they reflect the light and help make the space feel brighter and roomier. We primarily use metal rods for contemporary homes due to their plethora of finishes and styles that allow us to play with many combinations.

The great thing about metal poles, though, is that they can blend in well with both contemporary industrial settings and country cottage styles. It all depends on the finial you choose to deliver the desired effect. Finials come in lots of different shapes while some even feature mirror and glass components.

It is not unlikely to see metal rods placed in rooms that already have lots of wood elements. It is a technique used to break up a room, offer an interesting contrast in it, and bring in a more modern element to the equation.

Now, from a technical standpoint, metal curtain poles are best to be used with lighter curtains. With heavy drapes or curtains with too much fabric, the pole will start to buckle, giving an aesthetically unpleasing look. Of all metal poles, the strongest are believed to be those made of wrought iron, although, with too much load, they tend to slightly bow too. That being said, it is important to mount the pole brackets to a strong wall as iron is a heavy material and installing a metal pole in architrave or plaster wall will probably end up with disaster somewhere along the line.


Metal rods with beautiful glass finials are great options for modern homes. On the flip side, chrome or polished nickel curtain poles add a sophisticated, luxurious feel to a room. Wide windows will look great with metal rods larger than 1 inch in diameter. Just make sure you get plenty of supportive brackets to avoid bowing of the metal rod. Now, porcelain finials pair beautifully with brass curtain poles and fit with traditional, transitional or Art Deco spaces so seamlessly! The only thing to note, in this case, is to make sure all attention is on the pole and finials so keep the curtain light and simple. All in all, metal poles can lend themselves well to any minimalistic room.

wood poles can support heavier curtains and drapes better than metal poles

Final Notes:

Curtain poles won't change the look of a room directly to the point a statement wall will. However, combined with the right finials and, of course, window treatment, they will help give the room the feel and appearance you want. What's most important is to have a solid idea of the style you want for a room and then choose your curtains. Once you are done with that, you will see that the curtain poles will choose themselves. Places like Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr are also great sources of inspiration so check them out!

This post was meant to deliver some basic guidelines that could help choose the right curtain pole for your space. And, since any aspect of design is subjective to each and every one of us, feel free to play with designs, elements, colours, and patterns to give your space your unique, personal style! Be creative.

And, don't forget to share your wisdom with the rest of us in the comments below! If you have an idea to “marry” the contemporary with traditional and wood with metal, by all means, do let us know!