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Tips on Hanging Drapes

    • Drapes alter the look of a room.decorative curtain image by araraadt from Fotolia.com

      Although draperies function to block out light, sound, heat and cold, they are also used to dramatically transform a room's decor. Drapes can make small windows appear larger and can be a distraction for rooms with a wall of windows. This type of window treatment is not difficult to hang, and with a few tips on fabrics, lengths and sizing, you can easily change your room from ordinary to elegant.


    • The drapery fabric influences where you choose to hang your drapes. Drapes made with silk fabric should not hang in windows that receive a lot of light as they are easily damaged by the sun. Hang drapes with brocade for a formal look in a living or dining room; these drapes are good for blocking out the light. Light and airy fabrics are good to hang in a kitchen setting. Another consideration is that drapes made with rayon or cotton wrinkle and shrink easily.

    Fabric Weight

    • Hang drapes made with heavyweight fabrics when hanging them at full length, which allows them to flow and gracefully fall to the floor for an elegant look. Use lighter weight fabrics when hanging apron drapes or drapes that are designed to hang halfway between the windowsill and the floor.

    Window Size Considerations

    • Properly hung drapes can alter the look of different window sizes. For example, a narrow window can appear to look wider when drapes hang even with and extend out to the side of the window's frame, which allows as much glass exposure as possible. Drapes that are hung from ceiling to floor distract the eye and make short windows appear longer. Hang several panels of drapes on unusually wide windows. Tie the panels in pairs to break up the wide look of the window.

    Panel Measurements

    • Choosing the correct panel width to hang drapes depends on the effect you are looking for. To determine the width for a simple look, measure the width of the window frame and add 6 inches to each side. For a fuller or gathered look, multiply the window's width by two or three.

    Hardware Considerations

    • You must install the correct length rod when hanging drapes. To calculate the length, add 6 inches to the width of the window frame. The ends of the rod, excluding any decorative finials, should extend 3 inches beyond the window's frame. For windows that measure 48 to 86 inches in width, use a center support bracket to support the weight of the drapes.

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