Sunday, April 10, 2016

A Heliophobe's Guide to Hanging Curtains

Or How to Maximize the Room Darkening Effect of Curtains

I once read a scathing review of room darkening curtains. The reviewer complained that the "useless" curtains let light in along the top of the window. The reviewer's blame was misplaced. She should have focused not on the curtains, but on the way they were hung. If you hang curtains in the usual way on typical curtain rods, light will come in along the top. But you can hang curtains in a way that eliminates almost all light leakage.

First, hang a curtain panel on a tension rod inside the window frame. Place the tension rod as high as possible in the frame. The curtain header (the fabric above the rod pocket) should fold forward against the top of the window frame.

Pull the curtain fabric snug against the sides of the window frame. The rod should be completely covered.

Next, hang panels on a rod outside the window frame. Keep in mind that the further the rod extends out from the wall, the more light will come in. I like to use a cafe rod (the gold rod in the photo below) because it sits closer to the wall than a typical rod (such as the black rod in the photo).

To reduce light coming in along the sides, install the rod so that it's at least a few inches wider than the window opening.

With a cafe rod, you can usually pull the curtain fabric right over the bracket and the end of the rod, further blocking light.

With two layers of curtains hung in this way, you will have almost no light leaking in.

9 comments:

  1. That is great advice! I actually prefer roller blinds because they block light and cold but currently live in a flat with darkening plisse which works surprisingly well!

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    1. I like curtains in the bedroom but have blinds in other rooms. The door to the backyard has mini-blinds in between two glass panels, which is pretty cool. The usefulness of mini-blinds without having to dust the slats. :)

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  2. Useful tutorial! My boyfriend and I had a piece of cheap velvet hung over our bedroom window in our old house as the rental agency decided to put path lights RIGHT OUTSIDE where we sleep and the timer had them on all night long.

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    1. Ugh. My neighbor keeps a porch light on all night. It's pretty far away, but I swear it must have 30 bulbs, it's so bright. :P But the main issue is that my window faces east, so the sun blasts in first thing in the morning. Not pleasant for this night owl. :)

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  3. I don't need curtains anymore - not a neighbour in sight! And I actually enjoy the moonlight streaming in through the windows at night now ... makes it easier to find the bathroom without having to turn on a light. ;)

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    1. Moonlight streaming through windows is magical! :)

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  4. I love your curtains! Where did you get them?

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    1. Thanks! I think I got them at Target, but that was several years ago. I recently found similar curtains at Wal-Mart and on Amazon. If you're searching online, try searching for "crushed" curtains.

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  5. This was so useful! My curtains allow light leakage from the top and the sides and it's so annoying. I did not know that you could set up a cafe rod to eliminate the extra light. I will get a carpenter to install one immediately. That cafe rod is a lifesaver.

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