How to Hang Drapes


Learning how to hang drapes takes a little more skill than hanging curtains.

Difference Between Drapes and Curtains

Today many people use the terms drapes and curtains interchangeably, but it doesn't hurt to understand the difference when it comes time to buy your window treatments. Drapes are considered more formal than curtains and usually hang to the floor. The are pleated at the top and are made of rich fabrics which are often ornate. While both curtains and drapes add a decorative touch to any room, drapes are also used to provide a measure of privacy by helping to block out sound, and with the right fabric choice are used to manipulate the effect of direct sunlight in the room.

Drapery Fabric

When you buy drapes, fabric choice is important because it will affect how your drapes hang and their overall appeal as part of the décor. Drapes come in a wide variety of fabrics. When making your choice it's important to know that sunlight damages some fabrics. If you choose to use these fabrics for your drapes, then they will need to be lined if you want them to last. While the following fabrics are excellent for drapes, they also have their drawbacks:

  • Silk - Silk is a popular drapery fabric but should not be used in windows exposed to full sunlight.
  • Cotton - Wrinkles fairly easily and may shrink
  • Rayon - Wrinkles fairly easily and may shrink
  • Brocade - Works great for drapes used to keep the light out but this heavy fabric is not suitable for rooms that need a light, airy touch.

How to Hang Drapes

When drapes are properly hung they provide a "complete" window treatment. In some instances, drapes are hung in combination with blinds. What you install will depend on the style of window as well as the function of the drapes. In general these steps will help give you a professional-looking installation:

Before You Hang Drapes

  1. Before hanging drapes be sure they are pressed and wrinkle free
  2. Give yourself plenty of room to work so you can lay the drapes out to pin

Installing the Rod

Installing the drapery rod is probably the most time consuming part of learning how to hang drapes. The kind of rod you install will depend on the function the drapes. For example, if you want to be able to draw the drapes opened and closed, you'll want to install a traverse rod. When choosing your drapery rod:

  1. Determine the rod face and finished length measurements
  2. Rod should be centered on the window - To accomplish this, measure the window width from frame to frame. Subtract this measurement from the total rod measurement and divide the answer by two. The result is the amount in inches that your brackets will be installed to the left and right of the window frame.
  3. Top of rod should be same height from the floor as the finished drape length.
Drapery Hook Pin

Hang Drapes with Pin Hooks

Once your rod is installed, you're ready to pin the drapes. Set the top of the hook pin 2 inches from the top of the drapery so that the drape sets 1/2 inch above the rod and 1/2 inch off the floor when hung. With that in mind, follow these steps:

  1. Start at the center of the rod
  2. Attach a pin hook to the master carriers (one pin per carrier)
  3. Leave one carrier unused at the end of the rod in case an extra is needed later.

Take your time to hang drapes properly as it makes a big difference in overall presentation.

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How to Hang Drapes