top of page
  • Writer's pictureGwen Canfield

How to Hang Curtains & Shades Like a Pro

Portions of article content by Jenna Sue Design and DIY Tips

Besides painting your walls, window treatments make the biggest impact on the look of a room. Here are a few tips for getting a designer look with your window treatments and make your room appear larger.

Want to achieve a designer look and make your windows and room appear taller? We've got just the trick! In the photo above, the windows are actually shorter than they appear. Because of the shades and drapes are hung higher - the windows appear taller. This trick is also excellent for small, off-center or awkwardly shaped windows.

STEP 1: Roman Shade

The photo below shows a low awkwardly shaped window. The best way to make a low window appear taller is simple: outside-mount a blackout shade. This trick also works well for normally sized windows. Mounting the window treatments higher makes the windows and room feel taller.
Photo Credit: Jenna Sue Design Co

What size shade do I need?

To achieve the illusion shown above, you’ll want the height to match the distance from the bottom of your window to within a foot from your ceiling. The shade should be mounted slightly below the location of your curtain rod, which is typically a max of 5-8″ from your ceiling (unless they are very tall ceilings).

For reference, the window shown above measured 51″w x 62″h, and the Designer ordered a 61″w x 100″h shade. The ceilings are 9’4″, and she mounted the shade 7″ below the ceiling.

To determine the width of your shade, add 5″ to each side of the window for sufficient overlap, so the shade should be 10″ wider than your window. (See the measuring guide below.)

You can never go wrong with roman shades made of natural woven materials. They are super neutral and go with everything.

What type of shade do I need?

When hanging the roman shade higher than the window, (to make the window appear larger), the key is to use a shade that has a blackout liner sewn in to block the light so you don’t see anything underneath. Other customization options (like cordless vs corded, fabric vs woven, color and pattern) are a matter of personal preference. I find cordless cleaner and easier to use, and you can never go wrong with natural woven materials.

You can never go wrong with roman shades made of natural woven materials. They are super neutral and go with everything!

STEP 2: Curtains

Purchase drapery panels that are nice and full - wider than your window. Be sure to purchase rods that are wider than your window as well. (See the guide below - "How to Measure Curtain Size.") Then hang them several inches outside the width of your window. Adding a blackout or privacy liner will help disguise the sides of the window by blocking the light and making it appear wider.
Hang rod and curtains several inches outside the width of your window. Use a blackout liner to disguise the sides of the window. (Photo credit for green drapery photo: Jenna Sue Design Co)

What size curtains do I need?

This is the most important to get right (and the most common mistake!) A general rule of thumb is to mount the curtain rod within several inches from the ceiling, and have the curtains "kiss" the floor. This provides the most polished and tailored look, while making your window appear larger.

The diagram below is a general guide and may need to be modified based on your specific room’s configuration/layout, but it’s a good place to start:

For example: if your window is 40″ wide and the rod extends 20″ past it on each side, each panel should be 80″ wide for a full pleated look when closed.

Note: This rule does not apply to pinch pleat curtains—for those, you can order the exact width you need since the curtains have built-in pleats when fully extended.

What type of curtains do I need?

When it comes to material and style of curtains, there are a lot of options out there. Here are some common curtain header styles:

For a designer look, choose a pinch pleat header style. Pinch pleat headers provide the most polished look, and are most often used by designers. That said, they are the most expensive option. If they don’t fit the budget, use clip rings on the back of inexpensive curtain panels.

Curtain Material

This is largely personal preference. If you want that high-end designer look, choose a linen or linen-blend fabric. Pure linen is one of the most expensive fabric options, but there are some great affordable faux linen options out there today!

A designer favorite budget source is Two Pages on Amazon. Their Isabella line is made from a high quality linen-cotton blend, with a ton of different color and header styles, and the size is completely customizable.

Adding a blackout or privacy liner will help disguise the sides of the window by blocking the light and making it appear wider. In the photo below, Designer & Blogger Jenna Sue Design Co chose a Hunter Green fabric with a blackout liner to disguise the small, low window. (Hanging drapery this way creates a luxurious hotel vibe!)

Jenna Sue Design Co

Installing shades and curtains close to the ceiling is an easy fix to make your window feel taller. If your window is off center, placing furniture against the longer wall will help visually fill the excess space and balance out the room.


Where to Buy Window Shades

There are many great sources online for custom window shades. Here are a few go-tos:

Tap to shop some Designer favorites on Amazon:


Where to Buy Curtains

When shopping for curtains, keep in mind the key features to look out for:
Size: Choose panels at least 50″ wide and close to your ceiling height
Header style: I opt for pinch pleat when possible
Fabric: You can’t go wrong with linen/faux linen, textured cotton blends, or velvet

Here are links to a few good sources:

Tap to shop some Designer favorites in the Two Pages shop on Amazon:


Where to Buy Curtain Hardware

Once again, Amazon is my go-to here—you just can’t beat the price or selection. Here are a few other budget-friendly places to shop for curtain hardware:

Tap to shop some Designer favorites:

Need some interior design help for a room in your home or office?

Book a free discovery call with Gwen Canfield today, at

39 views0 comments


bottom of page