Best Curtains - How to Choose Guide
Family room with best curtain panels | Ballard DesignsFamily room with best curtain panels | Ballard Designs

Best Curtains & Drapery -
How to Choose What You Need

Not only do curtains provide privacy and filter the light, they can transform a room and add another layer of warmth and personality. The best curtains to choose for your room, when hung properly, lend a sense of grandeur.

There are a few things to consider before you select, buy, and hang your curtains, so take a look at our tips below.

Lined curtain panels by Suzanne Kasler | Ballard Designs

What's the Best Style Curtain for Your Room?

You have to ask yourself what you want to accomplish with your drapery.

  • If you're looking for privacy and the ability to block light, you need lined curtain panels.
  • If you simply want to filter the light, a pair of unlined sheers is a beautiful choice.
  • Our blog post here has lots of creative ways to make use of the light you have or need.

You also have to consider the mood of the room.

  • For a more formal setting, you may want a dressier texture, such as dupioni silk or velvet.
  • Cotton or linen panels, on the other hand, impart a more casual feel.
Use tiebacks to create a dramatic drape to your curtain panels | Ballard Designs

Where to Hang Your Curtain Hardware?

Generally, you want to mount curtain your rod at least 4 to 6 inches above the window frame or halfway between the top of the window and the ceiling.

If your ceilings are less than 9 feet, we'd even recommend hanging your hardware right underneath your crown molding to give your room more height.

Guide to where to hang drapery hardware | Ballard Designs

What's Your Best Curtain Panel Length?

First, you'll need to determine how high you want to hang your drapes using the tips above. Once you know where to mount your rod, all you have to do is measure from the floor up to that point to arrive at the correct length of panel.

Keep in mind, ready-made drapery panels typically come in 84-, 96- and 108-inch lengths, so you may have to round up to the closest panel size or move your rod an inch or two to accommodate the length.

Ideally, you want your drapery to make contact with the floor or float down past the floor slightly. You may need to have your panels buckle over or let them puddle slightly.

Best curtains for your space and how many panels you need | Ballard Designs

How Many Curtain panels should you get?

That depends on whether you plan on closing your drapery. If you do want to have the option to close them, you need a combined width of drapery that is two to two-and-a-half times the total width of your window.

Ready-made curtain panels are generally 50 to 54 inches wide, so you may need to buy multiple panels for more fullness.

However, if you only want to frame the window with your drapery and won't be closing them, you can round down to one-and-a-half times the width of your window. Therefore, one panel on each side may be sufficient.

Best curtain hardware hanging halfway between window and crown moulding | Ballard Designs

Additional Tips

-When you're ready to hang your curtains, remember to hang them outside the window molding to accentuate your window. Extend your rod anywhere from 6 to 12 inches beyond the window frame on each side.

-Just like jewelry, you can use decorative rods with finials, brackets and tiebacks to change the look of your drapery and to match the mood of your decor.

-If you use a wall mount tieback to tuck your drapery behind, install it on the wall two-thirds of the way down the window.

-If you have more unique curtains to work with, such as historic tapestries or fabric art panels, find museum-worthy hanging details in this "Hanging Textiles" resource article from the George Washington University Textile Museum.

Best curtain panels and how to choose | Ballard Designs

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