Curtain rods come in all kinds of styles and finishes and can make your window curtains and other window treatments look fantastic. For a selection of the best curtain rods on sale at the moment, see here or take a look at the great selection below, but if you are not sure what you need yet read on for help with choosing exactly the right ones for you.
So, what do you have to think about when choosing curtain rods? Here are all the factors to consider. The right curtain rod will fit all your criteria. If that sounds like a tall order, don’t worry, as there are multitudes of different rods available online and in stores, so the right one for you is out there.
The Right Length
Measure the length of rod that you need. You can either fit your curtains inside the window frame or (what would be more usual) place your rod just above the frame (generally about 4″ above). If you are fitting your rod inside the frame measure the width of the recess. If you are fitting outside, it would be normal to have your curtain rod extending about two inches each side of the window, so the total length of the rod itself (not counting finials) would be 4″ wider than the window. However if you want your curtains to be drawn right back to expose more of the window you could make it 4″ either side instead. This allows more light into the room and makes the window appear larger. Just make sure that the curtains still overlap the sides of the window by an inch or so when drawn back or the arrangement will look quite odd.
Rods come in standard sizes but it is not a problem if you don’t have standard windows as most of them are actually called extending curtain rods for a good reason – and they will give maximum and minimum measurements they can accommodate. On the packaging or in the instructions, you will see how you can make your rod the right size and fix it in place so it does not slide about when attached to the wall.
The Right Diameter
You can get curtain poles and rods in all kinds of diameters to suit various curtain types. In most cases where you are hanging curtains using hooks which attach to rings on your rod, all you need to make sure is that you have the right size of rings to suit your rod. Often you will find these are supplied with the rod anyway.
If you are using curtains with a casement type heading, however, you need to make such that the rod or pole is a small enough diameter for the casement. You will usually see this specified on casement curtain descriptions e.g. “Suitable for a curtain rod up to 1″ diameter”
In any case it is best to match the diameter of the rod to the style of curtains. Heavy velvet curtains, for example, would look silly with a dainty thin rod (and might bend it anyway) whereas sheer voile curtains would look out of place with a big chunky wooden curtain pole. If you have medium weight curtains, you can get away with anything in terms of diameter but check the section on style below.
The Right Materials and Style
We’ll consider these two together as the material in which the rod is made (as well as the finish) have a huge influence on the style and whether the curtains in a particular room look good or not. You can buy decorative curtain rods in wrought iron, brass, nickel, stainless steel, plastic and wood. The only one to avoid is the plastic curtain rod or track which is not going to do your decor any favors unless you are completely covering it out of sight with a valance. No exceptions! If you can see the drapery rod then make it look as good as your drapes, if not better!
If you have a country style decor go for wood curtain rods in a finish which fits in with your wooden furniture. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same wood but the same tone will work best. Alternatively, wrought iron or rustic curtain rods will work very well.
In a city apartment or for a contemporary style room, a nickel or stainless steel curtain rod looks good whereas wooden curtain rods work well for a traditional setting (same rules apply for matching up furniture as for country style rooms). Brass curtain rods would also work well here.
For a room with white furniture, choose a white curtain rod, which will normally be a wooden or metal pole painted white and sealed to avoid the paint rubbing off. You can also get these in all the ice cream colors, which are great for nurseries.
Double or Single?
If you want to hang more than one layer at your windows you need double curtain rods. See our Double Curtain Rod guide for more details on these.
The Right Fittings
Whatever you choose should come with curtain rod brackets which are the bits of hardware which are screwed to the wall and which hold the rod. If none are included (which would be unusual) then look for brackets to buy which match the style of your rod.
Your rod will normally come with finials too. These are the end caps which go on each end of the rod to stop the curtains slipping off the ends. If your rod has very plain finials (a ball shape is the most common) you can usually buy fancy finials separately to give your curtain rod a new look.
The final pieces, which your rod may or may not come with are curtain rings. If you want to use these and your rod does not come with them, you will not have to look far (at least online – try here) to find a huge selection of plain and decorative curtain rings to fit any diameter rod.
If you choose traverse curtain rods rather than standard rods you will not need rings however as these work on a kind of pulley system and you fit the curtains to the rod which already has small rings attached using curtain hooks. These have the advantage that you don’t have to touch the curtains to open and close them, which is great if you have chosen a pale colored fabric.
A Selection of Curtain Rods
Here are some great curtain rods, to show you a selection of what is available. If you want to see many more drapery rods click here.
This curtain rod set comes complete with finials and brackets. The rod itself is adjustable to fit different window sizes. Matching curtain rings available. Click here for details.
Antique brass curtain rods look great in a traditional environment. This adjustable curtain rod set includes rod, brackets and finials. Holdbacks and rings also available. Click here for more about this curtain rod.
Great contrast of light and dark in this extending curtain rod which comes complete with crackle glass ball finials and brackets. Click here for details.
This white curtain rod is in tough powder coated metal and it extends in length to suit large windows. Feather finials and 3 brackets are included. Would be great for rooms with pale decor or baby’s room. Click here for details
This satin nickel curtain rod and brackets set with scroll finials would be ideal for any contemporary home. The rod extends to fit medium and large windows. Click here for more information.
Black curtain rods also look great in many homes particularly if you match them up with other black metal hardware such as a chandelier light. This curtain rod is black finished metal and is adjustable to suit your windows. Brackets and matching holdbacks sold separately. Click here for details.