As we move into the winter months, it’s a great time to think about changing up your interior design a little. It’s natural, as the nights draw in, to crave warmth and cosiness. And what better way to achieve that than with some gorgeously heavy and luxurious new curtains?
Curtains aren’t just for decoration and shutting out the night; they also play a huge role in keeping out the cold. So it’s important to choose the right ones for your home.
Heavier materials can certainly help to keep drafts out much more than lighter-weight ones, so it’s no surprise that they’re a popular choice at this time of year.
Many people choose to put heavy curtains over their doors as well as their windows, particularly in older properties where drafts can sneak in through all sorts of nooks and crannies.
However, if you don’t take the proper precautions, over time the weight of heavy curtains can cause damage to poles, plasterwork and walls. They can also pose a risk to children and pets if they fall, as the heavy material could cause suffocation. So, here’s our guide to hanging heavy curtains safely.
What are heavy curtains made from?
This might seem a silly question, but heavy curtains can be made from a whole host of different fabrics, so you need to consider what kind of look you’re going for your room. Velvet is perfect for dramatic, opulent looks, particularly when it’s in a darker colour.
The same goes for damask and brocade fabrics – ideal for creating a stately-home kind of look. Wool is another good choice as it’s an excellent insulator; it’s fire retardant and it’s fantastic for a more homely, cosy look.
Which curtain pole should I use for heavy curtains?
If you’re planning on installing heavy curtains, you’ll need a heavy-weight pole to support them. If your pole or rod is not strong enough, then you risk it bowing in the middle, or even falling off the wall and causing damage.
To make sure your curtain pole or rod is strong enough, weigh your curtains. Divide the weight by the width of the pole or rod you need. Then do some research to find a pole that provides the right level of support. The product info on our curtain poles will tell you which weight of curtains they will hold. As a rule, solid steel and iron poles are a good bet, rather than aluminium for example. You should avoid expandable rods, as these are not solid.
Read the product information thoroughly, as this will tell you how many brackets you need to purchase to support the pole and fabric (usually one every 30-36 inches (76-91cm)).
Hanging heavy curtains
As with any window treatment, the first step when hanging heavy curtains is to measure the width and height of your window. You should also think about how high you want to hang the pole – higher up and you’ll add height to your room as the windows will look taller. Do you want your curtains to hang to the floor? This can give a more luxurious look to your space if so. So it’s not just necessarily the dimensions of the window itself you need to take into account.
Width-wise, remember the fabric will need to pleat, and heavier-weight fabrics will naturally take up more space when folded, so you will need to factor this in. If you don’t have much space, perhaps a lighter fabric is a better choice. Generally speaking, go for twice the width of your window.
Remember that if you’re using a curtain pole, with rings or tab-top curtains, the fabric will sit beneath the pole, whereas eyelet curtains or those hung from a track will sit slightly above it. So you will need to take the type of curtain into account as well, when measuring.
Attaching the curtain pole to the wall
Sturdy curtain poles and heavy curtains need a strong anchor, so you may need to fix your brackets to the studs of your wall.
Run a stud detector over the wall to find these. If it’s not a stud wall, then you’ll need to use wall anchors as screws alone will not support the weight.
Next, measure the length of the drop to find the correct height for your brackets. Mark the locations using a pencil, ensuring that they are level on both sides of the window.
Hold your brackets in place, and mark the spots where you’ll need to insert the screws with a pencil. Remove the brackets and pierce the wall at each spot with a nail or drill.
Do not go too deep; you just need to start off the hole for the screw. Screw your wall anchors (if using) into the wall at these spots. Line up your bracket with the holes and then affix to the wall with the screws. Repeat for each bracket.
Hang your curtains on the rod according to their instructions.
Carefully lift the rod into place on the brackets. This is a two (or more)-person job, so make sure you’ve got plenty of help on hand.
Once the rod and curtains are in place, wait a few minutes to make sure they don’t fall. Be ready to catch them just in case (again, probably a two-person job).
If they look OK, and the rod is not bowing at any point, test them to make sure they are firmly fixed to the wall. Open and close the curtains a few times, and give them a few (gentle) tugs. Voilà, you’ve hung your curtains! Enjoy your stylish and cosy home!