How to hang curtains beautifully – whether in a tricky bay window or a simple setting

Create the perfect window treatment in just five easy steps

The right fitting for your curtains should work well and look smart. Take time choosing which pole or track you need to hang your curtains from. Whether you need a practical solution for a bay window or a style statement to finish off your scheme, follow our five-step plan for how to hang curtains beautifully.

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1. Decide on your curtain look

living room with white wall and wooden floor and pink sofa with multicolour cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Wreford)

Do you want sleek and modern, or more traditional? This will help you work out whether you need a pole or a track.

For a modern look

Choose eyelet or tab-top curtains and a simple chunky or chrome pole.

For a traditional look

Choose pinch or pencil-pleat curtains hung from wooden rings on a pole if the fabric's heavy, or on a track if your fabric is light to medium weight.

2. Choose between lined or unlined curtains

If your fabric choice is medium to heavyweight or you have a blackout blind, you can get away without lining your curtains, although they will hang better if you do.

If your curtain fabric is sheer or very lightweight and lining would make them look too heavy, don't be tempted to scrimp on the width - they should look full and billowing, not limp.

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3. Get the size of curtain pole or track right

Standard poles come in three lengths - 120cm, 150cm and 180cm - but these can often be cut to size.

If you need a longer pole, you can buy kits up to 360cm long where poles come in two halves joined with a connector at the central bracket.

If using curtain rings, you'll need one ring for each 10cm of pole. Tracks come in 125cm, 150cm and 175cm lengths.

4. Deal with awkward windows and bays

living room with white wall and wooden floor with white bay window and arm chairs with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC/Davide Lovatti)

Tracks work well when dressing a bay window, but if you want poles try Walcot House and The Bradley Collection, which offer a pole-bending service. On the high street, Next and B&Q sell good-value poles with adjustable bendy corners.

5. Measure right

When measuring how high to put the pole or track, think about how the curtains will hang. For example, curtains hung from tab tops, rings and clips will be suspended just below the pole, whereas curtains hung from a track will have fabric protruding above the track itself.