How to Hang Curtains: Lengths, FAQs & Mistakes to Avoid

Posh Pennies
by Posh Pennies

Learning how to hang curtains for the first time may sound easy, but did you know that there are actually right and wrong ways to hang curtains in your home? Besides just making sure that they’re straight and will stay up on the wall, making a mistake during curtain hanging can alter the look of your entire room.

I’m here to show you all the ways to hang curtains correctly the first time. Plus, I’ll be sharing my best tips on how to fix the five common mistakes people often make when they hang curtains, so you can remedy any of your past curtain-hanging blunders.

Curtains with rods that are too low

1. Rods hung too low

First, let's talk about curtain rods. Are you hanging your curtain rod too low? The height and width that you hang your curtain rod are going to make all the difference in the final look of your drapes.

Raising your curtain rod will draw the eye up naturally, it will make your windows look taller, and will even give the illusion that you have higher ceilings. The general rule is about halfway to two-thirds up between the top of your window frame and your ceiling.

Curtains with rods that are too narrow

2. Rods that are too narrow

Mistake number two is having a rod that is too narrow. Your rod should be about four to six inches wider than the outer frame of your window. Ideally, when your curtains are open, they're gonna be gathered in front of the wall that is on either side of your window. And then just the edges of your drapes are gonna overlap the edges of your window.

If your rod is too narrow and your drapes hang in front of your window, it's going to block the light, and the window is actually going to look much much smaller.

Curtain panels are not wide enough

3. Curtain panels that are not wide enough

Mistake number three is buying curtain panels that are not wide enough for your windows. The way you can fix this is by purchasing panels that are one and a half times to two times the width of your windows.

Curtain panels are too short

4. Curtain panels that are too short

Mistake number four is purchasing curtain panels that are too short. Don't do this. Short curtains don't look good.

Excessive curtain puddling

5. Excessive curtain puddling

Mistake number five is excessive puddling. If you find excessive dust bunnies in your curtain pile or if people are tripping over your curtains, chances are your curtains are probably a little too long, and your puddling situation has gone a bit overboard.

Curtain lengths

There are typically four curtain lengths that interior designers refer to. They are called the following: the kiss, the puddle, the break puddle, and the float.

Curtains that kiss the floor

1. The kiss

To have your curtains kiss the floor looks the most tailored and custom, but you need to be incredibly accurate in your measurements in order to get this right. If your curtains kiss the floor, they're literally hovering perfectly on the surface of the floor.

To accomplish this, you need to measure the exact distance from the top of the curtains to the floor. A tip to do this accurately is to hang the curtains on the rod and mark or pin them while they're already hanging.

Curtains that puddle

2. The puddle

The puddle length is by far the most dramatic of all the ways to hang curtains. To achieve the puddling effect, add an extra two to four inches beyond the floor to your panels.

Curtains with a break puddle

3. The break puddle

The break puddle length is kind of in between kissing the floor length and the puddle length. The panel doesn't hang straight like it does with the kissing the floor or the floating method, and the break adds a little bit of interest. The idea is that you add an extra half inch to one inch to the curtain length so the panel breaks as it hits the floor.

Floating curtains

4. Floating

If you don't like the idea of your curtains touching the ground at all, then opt for hanging them just half an inch above the floor. This gives an extremely clean look, although it is slightly less formal. Your curtains should hang perfectly straight with this method.

Try not to go any higher than half an inch off the ground though, or it will start to look like you're mistaking your measurements. They're not super easy to pull off. You've got to be precise with your measurements, but it makes your room look so much more polished.

If you can hang your curtains in one of these four ways, I highly recommend it.

FAQs about hanging curtains

How can I hem curtains without sewing?

You can easily hem your curtains without sewing by using iron-on hemming tape. Just fold and pin the curtains to the length you want, then bring your ironing board over to the window and iron the hem. Remove the pins, use the iron-on hemming tape, and you're done.

How do I hang curtains without drilling?

Use command hooks! It may not be the most elegant solution, but it can work really well if you're not able to drill holes in your wall. Just make sure you buy the larger command hooks that will actually take a heavy load. You can also use a tension rod.

How do I hang curtains from the ceiling?

There are three ways you can hang your curtains from the ceiling. You can mount your rod brackets directly to the ceiling instead of on the wall, you can use a curtain track, or you can try the curtain wire system from IKEA. Any of these methods should work great.

How do I hang curtains if I have baseboard heaters?

In a nutshell, the only heating system you really need to be careful with is electric baseboards. And if you have any doubts whatsoever, talk to a professional.

How to hang curtains

When it comes to figuring out things like where to hang curtain rods or how close to the window to mount them, I have some pretty useful tips and tricks for you that will come in handy.

Reviewing these curtain-hanging ideas is an excellent place to start before you begin your next home improvement project. You’ll save so much time and energy if you do. Share your thoughts about these curtain-hanging tips below.

Join the conversation
4 of 24 comments
  • Bev5371132 Bev5371132 on Sep 11, 2023
    We have electric heat with the baseboard units along the walls under all the windows. Im worried about the curtains burning if they are covering/touching these heating units. I have the curtains kissisng the tops. It seem like that is my only option.
    • See 1 previous
    • Paulette Paulette on Jan 03, 2024
      I have heaters like that too. My curtains are about one halve inch from the floor. I use the metal inserts that hook up under the inside of the heater. I have them for several years. They make your curtains not touch the heaters. You don’t even know their there. Not expensive either!
  • Mcv29080463 Mcv29080463 on Jun 08, 2024
    This article was interesting but it would be helpful if, when talking about "puddling", in the accompanying picture you would show the bottom of the curtains/drapes. In not one picture that addressed puddling could I see the bottom of the drapes. All the pictures cut off about/maybe 6 to 12 inches above the floor. It was especially annoying when you were the variations of puddling.