How To Hang Draperies And Curtains Like A Designer

Good morning, friends!  I’m slowly chipping away at my “to do” list for my hallway, and I think I’ll actually have the final ta daaaaaa to show you next week.

I finally made a trip to Home Depot yesterday and actually remembered to purchase the items I needed to hang my striped painted curtains properly.  So last night as I was finishing those up, it dawned on me that many of you might not know the secret of the drapery return.  So for those of you who aren’t familiar with this simple trick used by the pros, and what a difference it can make in the appearance of your draperies and curtains, let me show you!  (I apologize in advance for the dark pictures.  It was quite late, and I clearly forgot to turn on the lights in the family room.)

First, let’s take a look at how most people hang their curtains and draperies.  Most just use clip rings all the way across.  The final result looks something like this…

The problem with that method is that from the side, you can see several inches of space between the curtains and the window (or closet, in my case).  When the purpose of my curtains is to hide my closet, this method of hanging the curtains kind of defeats the purpose.

Not only is this not an attractive look, but in some rooms, it might make your draperies less effective.  For example, if you’ve gone to the trouble of adding blackout lining to your bedroom draperies to keep the early morning sun out, these big gaps will still allow the sun to stream in.

And again…it’s just not attractive.  Nothing about this looks professional.

The good news is that you don’t have to hire a professional to correct the problem.  And in fact, the solution is very inexpensive and simple.  All that you’ll need is a drapery pin and an eye screw for each end.

First, screw an eye screw into the wall at the end of the rod (between the bracket and the finial) at the same height as the top of the curtains (minus about 1/8th of an inch).

Now remove the drapery ring…

…and insert a drapery pin so that the top of the hook is right at or just below the top of the curtains.

Now move the last drapery ring into the space between the bracket and the finial, and slip the drapery hook over the eye screw.

No more unsightly gap!  Wasn’t that easy?  And doesn’t that make such a huge difference?!  Now you know the secret of the pros.

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  1. Sue says

    In all the magazines and DIY postings I’ve read, I’ve never seen this before. Total genius and thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    Actually as a professional installer, I can say you are spot on with the “return trick.”

    However, most pros will remove the “gator clip” attached to the bottom of the ring and insert a drapery pin in each pleat and hook the pin into the small eyelet welded onto the bottom of the ring itself.

    This technique holds more weight and almost eliminates the possibility of the clip failing and the panel falling to the floor.

    I can’t tell for sure, but a large number of homeowners we encounter use the screws supplied with the rod. In most cases this is less than desirable as the screws tend to strip out or may not be long enough to secure the rod to the wall. Most installers I know use a 1-1/2″ or 2″ screw for almost all window treatment projects.

    But like I said, you are spot on with the “return trick.” Congrats.

  3. Jenny says

    YOU are a flipping genius!!!!! :) I hate it at night when light comes in the sides of my draperies…which is bad because I have a whole wall of sliding doors across one side of my bedroom. Now I know how to fix this problem! I always clothes-pin them together in the middle at night, but had no solution for the sides. Thanks, Kristi!

  4. SG says

    Well that is just brilliant! Can you merge a before and after picture so I can pin it to pinterest? :) Thanks Kristi!

  5. Shelly says

    When you are making your draperies be sure to add a total of 7 inches to the finished face width of your draperies. The return is 3 1/2 inches each side. If you don’t your drapery will not be wide enough.

    • says

      I’m aware of that, Josie. :) This was my first time to use them, and I did it because I it was quick and easy, and I didn’t want to sew. I would never use clip-ons for an actual window treatment for myself or especially for a client.

  6. says

    I have a dilemma. I have upholstery type drapes hanging in one of my cabin rentals. My crew took them down to be cleaned. No one seems to remember how to put them back up. They have 10 pleats each and of course, 2 ends. On my rods there is a little bitty hole underneath the end of the curtain rod on the bracket. I could swear that’s where I should hook the end that stays put, however, it’s totally uneven with the rest of the curtain. The other end, the one you pull on to close, isn’t connected to a sliding ring and it just hangs. I feel like I’m missing rings, but my crew swears they didn’t remove any from the rod. Not sure what to do….they look terrible and they’re nice drapes! Any suggestions? Thanks!

  7. Vicki says

    Great idea. I recently installed some Ikea curtain panels that I am hanging without rings. How would I do this with these panels?

  8. says

    OMG!! I’m redoing my curtains, and just googled returns for curtains because I don’t know what the heck they are and found your site!! First off, love it. Secondly, how come we aren’t taught in school that you needed that extra thingy for the curtains to make it look fab?!!

    Seng |

  9. Candie says

    I purchased beautiful silk Duponi drapes from Pottery Barn. When I hung them on the rod thru the rod pocket, I discovered I can’t open and close them without standing on a ladder. I’m 5’3″ and I have 10′ ceilings. These drapes don’t slide on the rod very well. My question is; can I hang them from rings if they are not pinch pleated and if so, what all hardware do I need to use this method?
    Thank you for your time and hopefully an answer to my question.

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