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What To Know When Buying & Hanging Curtains

Well guys, the curtains have finally arrived after being MIA! Now that they are here, I am really happy with the selection I made, and how they look in person and with the rest of the room. This is the second pair of curtains we’ve hung in the house, first our bedroom and now the office, so I wanted to share some things to think about when buying and then hanging them.

What To Think About When Buying So when it comes to buying them (or just window treatments in general), high quality ones are not cheap. This can be really frustrating because they aren’t a piece of furniture per se, but when window treatments (and lighting) are done well, they can really elevate your space. While I’ve known this, earlier this year I went ahead and ordered more cost-friendly curtains for our bedroom because I didn’t want to pay $2K+ for curtains. That being said, now that we have these curtains in our office to compare, in hindsight, I probably would just have waited to order other curtains for our bedroom. We have these from Overstock and while I do think they are great for the price, they weren’t the exact fabric and color I had in mind so I probably should have held off for what I really wanted. I just feel like these in the office really look and feel higher end and more luxe which translates to the entire vibe of the room.

Point being, if the option is buying some less expensive ones now, or getting a high quality pair (or a design/style/fabric that you prefer) in 6 months, just be patient and save for what you actually want (IMO). But, if you’re not in a position to spend $$$ on curtains in general, I would 100% suggest to look at options on websites like Overstock because having window treatments really adds to the space overall. I’ll put it this way, I would rather have the curtains in our bedroom that we have now then nothing at all because the space does feel more complete and I like the vibe that they add. But since they weren’t what I was originally wanting, I think it would have made more sense to just hold off the 6 months.

The other thing to consider is if you need custom curtains to begin with. Our bedroom windows are a more standard height, so curtains are pre-made in that length. In our office though, I had to get custom because the windows/ceiling aren’t standard.

Once you decide on what curtains you want regarding fabric and color, you’ll have to decide on the top style, number of panels, lining, and length. For the style, you may be able to choose from variations like a soft top (what we have), pleated, grommets, etc. It just depends on your preference. When it comes to how many panels, it is typically recommended to get panels that are double the width of your window. So for example, if your window is around 100 inches wide, you’d order 200 inches worth of curtains, or approximately four 50″ panels. While this is a standard rule of thumb, you may actually prefer how a window look with less panels (which will also save on cost)! So in my office, per the recommendation, I should have ordered four panels but instead I only ordered two. They typically say to order double the width for proper “fullness.” But aesthetically in this case, I felt like two panels worked and didn’t feel like additional ones were necessary. However, if there was a third window pane (like in our bedroom), I would have ordered four because then I do think it would have looked sparse. But since the office is just two window panes and I’m going to have the curtains open the majority of the time, I felt like two was fine. I figured I can always order two more in the future if I want. And if you’re unsure, you can always add more but you can’t always return especially if they are custom made.

As far as lining and length go, these are more up to your personal preference. With lining, you’ll have to think mostly about the purpose/what you’ll be using the curtains for and this will help determine if you want unlined, privacy, blackout or interlining. In my office I chose privacy because if I’m working in my office at night I want some privacy (hence why I didn’t get unlined) but blackout wasn’t necessary. Where as if you’re getting them for your bedroom you may prefer blackout. In general, the more lining you get, the more expensive they will be. It’s not a huge difference in cost but just something to be aware of.

Regarding the length, take into account that you’ll want to hang the curtains at least four to six inches above the window frame. Doing this gives the illusion of a bigger window. That being said, make sure you take into account these additional inches when purchasing. Also think about how you want them to lay on the floor. I prefer ours to just break slightly at the floor, so I order them one inch longer then the distance from the floor to where I’m hanging the rod. Alternatively, if you want them to puddle, you’ll want to add on several additional inches.

To recap:
– Determine if your window needs custom curtains based on the height.
– Consider waiting and saving up for higher quality ones or the style you really want.
– You’ll typically need to buy enough panels to cover double the width of your window. But assess your space.
– Decide what lining you want/need.
– Make sure to order extra length in your curtains to account for hanging the curtain rod at least 4-6 inches above the window, and for where you want them to hit on the floor.

What To Think About When Hanging This brings us to other things to think about when hanging. So we covered that you’ll want to hang the curtains at least four to six inches above the window frame (the higher the better, but if you have lower ceilings, you may only be able to do 4 inches above the window). The other thing is to hang them at least four to six inches outside of the window frame. Again, this helps create the illusion of a larger window. So when ordering your curtain rod, make sure you get one that extends past the width of the window. For example, the rod I ordered for the office extends up to 88 inches. The width of my window is 72″ wide from one side of the molding to the other, plus 5” on each side to account for where the rod will be hung equals 82″. So the 88″ inch rod will accommodate. Also, I like to get a rod that has a few extra inches left after you tally up the length you actually need. You don’t want to order a rod that is the exact length of what you need (it won’t be as sturdy).

Lastly, if you decide to add rings (like we have) you’ll need to also take into account when choosing where to hang the rod because the rings will cause the curtains to naturally hang about an inch longer than the length you ordered. So if you’re using rings (vs. putting the rod right through the curtain pocket) and you want the curtains to break as soon as they hit the floor, you’ll want hang the rod about an inch higher than originally planned.

To recap:
– Hang the rod at least 4-6 inches above the window. Our rod is about 9 inches above the window molding to give you some perspective.
– Buy a rod that is slightly longer than the width of your window plus the additional 4-6 inches on either side of the window. Ours are hung about 5 inches outside of the window molding.
– Decide whether you want the curtains to break at the floor, puddle, etc. and take that into consideration when choosing rod height.
– If you’re using rings to hang your curtains (like we did) take the additional length the rings will add to the curtains when choosing rod height.

These exact curtains are from Barn & Willow and are their belgian flax linen drapery in the color optic white with the privacy lining and a soft top. The metal hooks came with the order (see photo below) but I purchased the rings and curtain rod separately. Also for whatever it’s worth, I think the buying process on Barn & Willow is super easy/straight forward and I love the curtains now that they have arrived, but I was not happy with my customer service experience. From the date that I ordered, I emailed and called over 10 times over the course of 2 months before someone got back to me with an order update. So as long as you don’t mind waiting in silence until they arrive lol, I’d recommend ordering as they are priced fairly reasonably for custom curtains and I am really happy with the actual product. I just share this to be transparent if you’re planning on ordering 🙂

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  1. Kiara Ruth says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this I love reading about it and your desk is everything. We ended up getting out curtains from CB2 and we love them. Your curtains are so nice.

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