3 Steps for Hanging Luxury Curtains and Drapes

2019 Design Trends, Window Treatments

I used to stare at my computer studying images of perfectly styled homes on social media. I’d glance around my living room, noting the furnishings and décor, and look back at the screen and ask myself, how did they do that? I had all the same items — a good rug, plush sofa, pleated curtains — but the similarities ended there. The spaces in the pictures looked elegant and high-end. My room fell short by comparison.

I’ve told you before that I built my own home, and before that I decorated a few others from scratch. I put my heart and soul into making each a lovely place to live, and I learned a ton each time I did it. I refused to settle for lackluster design. Instead, I took the time to learn design basics, source good-yet-affordable materials and ask for help if I got stuck.

I built my own home

Without doubt, the most important lesson I learned was how to hang curtains and drapes so they look luxurious, not like big-box store disasters. Some things I learned along the way:

  • There is no such thing as a standard window size.
  •  All homes are different; each requires a unique window treatment solution.
  •  Correctly hung curtains look more expensive, no matter how much they cost.

Through my passion for decorating and my work as a window treatments specialist, I have uncovered the formula for hanging elegant curtains and draperies. It couldn’t be simpler. Just follow my three-step method.


Always hang draperies as high as possible

Hang curtains and draperies at the ceiling or, if you have it, just below the crown molding. Placing drapes at the same level as the window visually shortens the space; but, placing the tops of your curtains as high as you can makes the room feel taller and larger. It also compensates for a lack of architectural details, making any space feel instantly grander.

Hang curtains and draperies at the ceiling

Photo credit: Courtney Bishop


Always hang draperies so they cover the entire window

The curtains in your home should be wide enough to cover the entire window when pulled closed without looking taut. To achieve this, multiply the width of the window by a minimum of 1.5 to find the finished width of the draperies. For a richer, fuller look, multiply by as much as 2.5 or 3. In general, draperies in modern interiors are less full, draperies for transitional or traditional decor are moderately full, and luxe rooms feature drapes at their fullest. I like to mix fullness with fabric weight to get the perfect balance for every aesthetic.

If space allows, choose curtain rods long enough to extend 6 ­to 10 inches beyond the sides of the window frame. This gives you the maximum amount of light possible and grants full access to your view. Tip: pair your draperies with a privacy shade and you’ll only need to raise and lower the shade each morning, leaving the curtains untouched and perfectly arranged.

Curtain rods should extend beyond the window frame

Photo credit: Courtney Bishop


Don’t overlook the hem of your curtains

This is one of the hardest aspects of drapery hanging to get right, but there is a big payoff if you do. The three generally accepted options for drapery length are:

The slight float. The curtains or draperies end an inch or less above the floor. The hem is still technically above the floor, but the space between the two is almost visually imperceptible. This curtain length is the most tailored style option.

Curtain rods should extend beyond the window frame


The kiss. This length barely touches the floor and features a slight break of about 2 to 4 inches in the curtain hem. It’s best to get a professional to help with this one, because the measurement from the rod to the floor must be precise.

The kiss curtain hem length

Photo credit: Marcia Todd

The puddle. Easily the most feminine and romantic curtain hem length, this style allows several extra inches of fabric to billow onto the floor. The effect is even better when you choose a luxe, high-end fabric such as velvet, linen or silk.

The slight float curtain hem length



I told you it was simple. Creating a room that looks professionally designed is all about applying the right techniques. If you’re ready to take your decor to the next level, contact us here and we’ll bring our showroom to you.

See you next time,


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