Condo Utility Closet & Hallway DIY Basics window treatments

How To Hang Draperies And Curtains Like A Designer

Last Updated on February 26, 2013 by Kristi Linauer

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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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    brooke adkins
    March 28, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Awesome! I really did wonder how they always looked like that .. Great post <3 – brooke

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kristie Barnett, TheDecorologist
    March 28, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Genius!!! Love this tip – thanks for sharing:)

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Danielle Shkreli
      December 16, 2019 at 12:03 am

      Thank you so much! I was desperately trying to figure out how to get that nicely finished look without the terrible gap.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 28, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I will take the end rings and slip them onto the support brackets to create the same “return”.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      christine kellogg
      March 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

      That is smart too!!! 🙂

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      April 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      that’s what I do… then I don’t have to worry about the hassel of the eye hook installation… yeah, okay I’m lazy but I do have my limits…lol!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    christine kellogg
    March 28, 2012 at 8:48 am

    Thanks for the tip…what a great idea!!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Whitney @ The Rooster and The Hen
    March 28, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Brilliant! Awesome tip, thank you!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    How To Hang Draperies and Curtains Like A Designer « twistedewe
    March 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    […] Addicted2Decorating’s full post and photo-tuto here. Share this:TwitterFacebookStumbleUponPinterestTumblrRedditLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Olive and Love
    March 28, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Wow. Super easy. Great idea!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 28, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Wow – wonderful tip!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Teri Spurgeon (Decor8N with Teri)
    March 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    After all these years of hanging drapes!! Thank you so much!! That really looks finished!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Darcy Spurgeon
    March 28, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Thanks for the tip!! Love it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 28, 2012 at 11:55 pm

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

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Kristi, you are some kinda FABULOUS! Thanks for all you wonderful posts, especially this one!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Sophia Stone
    March 29, 2012 at 9:01 am

    This is a great tip and it definately gives draperies & curtains a more custom look PLUS that is what we, interior designers, love!! Merci 😉

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 29, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing this tip!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 29, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 31, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing the professional’s tip!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    That is unbelievably simple, but so genius! Thanks for sharing! Pinning this for my next drapery project!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 31, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you! I’ve always wondered how to close that awful gap so I could use the decorative rods.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

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

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    DIY: Pinch-Pleated, Lined Draperies With Three Coordinating Fabrics
    September 25, 2012 at 10:47 am

    […] The very outside pin on each panel does not hook to a drapery ring.  That part is called the “return”, and it hooks to an eye hook that you will place either in the wall or attach to the drapery bracket.  I’ve described that process more in detail here. […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 2, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Thanks! That’s so awesome! 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 4, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Love your idea! Will definitely use it when I hang my drapery/curtains. Thanks

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 17, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    As mentioned, a pro would never use clip-on rings. Never.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      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.

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      December 15, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      … uh…

      People on the internet never cease to amaze me with their rudeness and lack of tact.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    You show it so simply and clearly…thank you so much!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Nuwave Pic Induction Cooktop Reviews
    September 18, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Normally I really don’t read through submit with blogs and forums, but I prefer to express that this specific write-up really compelled myself to check out in addition to do it! Ones writing flavour has been stunned me personally. Cheers, really fantastic post.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    December 26, 2013 at 8:41 pm

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

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June 20, 2014 at 8:01 am

    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 |

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 12, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you! What a huge difference!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 14, 2015 at 6:10 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 28, 2015 at 9:17 am

    I love this tip!!! Thank you for sharing!!!

    Seng |

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Ann Heatherton
      July 22, 2020 at 12:06 am

      Great tip and so easy. And I have those items already. I hate looking at the patio slider and seeing the thermal liner but it cannot be helped. I cannot eye hook the curtain to the wall there because I need to pull that drape open several times a day to access the patio. But I can use this trick on my other drapes. Thanks

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Letty Klar
    July 9, 2015 at 12:01 am

    this was really helpful, thanks for sharing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    January 10, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    How do I work with the drapery so that the gap in the middle is completely closed. When the two ends meet, i can never make it close so that there is no gap and it lets in a little bit of light. Do you have a solution to fix this?

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      February 15, 2016 at 9:55 pm

      You just need to move the ring clip or drapery pin over so that it’s about 1 or 1.5 inches from the edge of the drapery panel. When you close them, that should allow the edges to overlap.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    February 15, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Wow! That is brilliant! Thank you for the tip!