When adding new drapes or curtains to your home, you’ll want to be sure and take some time to consider what type of hardware will be used to display them. Thanks to a wide range of available options, you can choose anywhere from simple, functional items to more elaborate, detailed pieces designed to complement and enhance your window treatments. You’ll find rods, finials, brackets, rings and more in a number of different styles, ranging from contemporary to traditional. Drapery hardware can be constructed from a diverse range of materials, including wood, plastics and metal, and are available in a variety of colors. As you shop for the right drapery hardware for your installation, consider the following questions and find your ideal balance between functionality and flair:
• Which hardware items are primarily functional?
• Which items are used for decorative purposes?
• What type of rod is best suited to your installation?
• What materials can different types of hardware be made from?
• Are there any special features that are important to you?
Function, Style and Accessories
The vast array of available drapery hardware can be a little overwhelming, so it’s important to narrow your search. Determine beforehand what kind of theme or overall look you’re trying to achieve. Some drapery hardware is well suited for contemporary designs while other types will be more at home amongst traditional or rustic décor. Hardware can be hidden from view to provide a greater focus on curtains or placed ostentatiously out in the open to serve as a counterpoint. Curtain rods are the single largest piece of hardware and the rod you choose will help determine subsequent purchases of end caps, brackets, rings, tiebacks and more.
Functional vs. Decorative: While some drapery components provide an equal mix of practicality and style, there are several pieces of hardware that primarily exhibit one quality or the other. Functional hardware is comprised of necessary, no-frills pieces needed for hanging and operating window treatments. Decorative pieces, on the other hand, are designed to be seen and appreciated. They can be used as subtle accents or as a dominate element in the rooms overall décor. Regardless of whether they are solely functional or serve a decorative purpose as well, all window treatments will require a rod, brackets and some sort of end caps or finials.
• Functional hardware is often concealed by fabrics and fixtures
• Functional pieces include white metal curtain rods, curtain hooks, traverse rods and more
• Decorative pieces dress up and add style to basic window treatment elements
• Decorative hardware examples include tassels, sconces, tiebacks, finials and more
Curtain Rods: Rods, also called poles, are the largest piece of hardware you’ll need to install and the central piece around which other hardware components are selected. They serve as the main support for your window treatment. Curtains may be attached to rings or sliders that allow them to move back and forth along the rod or shirred in place on windows where you don’t want the curtains to open. There are many different styles available, ranging from slender concealed rods to thicker, more prominent decorative rods. Thicker rods tend to create more of a visual effect. If you have a tall wall and a comparatively short window, hang the rod closer to the ceiling to create the illusion of taller windows. Rods that are wider than windows can be used in a similar manner to expand the appearance of width. Consult the chart below to learn more about some of the more commonly used rods.
Points to Consider
|Decorative||• Available in an array of designs and
• Highly visible, affects the appearance
of a window treatment and room
|• May be made from brass, wrought iron, verdigris,
brushed nickel, pewter, wood and more
• May be adjustable or fixed in length
• Wood may be plain or fluted and stained, painted or
|Concealed||• Often comes in the form of an
adjustable, metal lock-seam
• Designed to be covered by the
curtains or drapes and remain
• Other types include sash, tension
and wide-pocket rods
|• Often white in color, with some metallic finishes
• Double and triple rods can be used for layered
• Sash rods are used with sashes or hourglass
curtains on French doors or casement windows
• Tension rods use a spring mechanism to keep the
ends in place and are best for use with lighter drapes
• Wide-pocket rods are ideal for creating a shirred
|Traverse||• Used with draperies that are opened
and closed with a wand or cord
• Drapery hooks are inserted into
sliding holders, or carriers
• Rod is visible when drapes are open
unless a top treatment is installed
• Two-way rods are the most commonly
|• Two-way traverse rods allow drapes to move away
from the middle to each end
• One-way rods allow panels to move in only one
• One-way rods are often used on sliding patio
doors or in corners
• Decorative traverse rods are used with rings and
can be seen even when drapes are closed
|Café||• Generally feature a narrow diameter
and are round or fluted with subtle
|• Often brass, but also available in a range of colored
• May or may not have rings
• Ideal for use with tie-tab or hand-drawn curtains
Finials, Brackets and Sconces: Once you’ve selected your curtains and your rod, it’s time to fill out the rest of the picture. Finials and end caps offer a tremendous array of styles for maximum decorative versatility. Finials are designed to provide an elegant flourish for all types of treatments. They may be made from various metals, wood, ceramic, glass, molded resin, rattan and more. Brackets are used to support the rod. Some utilitarian brackets are simple pieces designed solely to secure the rod to the wall while other, more elaborate brackets feature ornate designs. Sconces are decorative brackets through which fabric may be threaded. Choose finials and brackets made from different materials as the curtain rod to create visual contrast.
• Finials and end caps are usually the most visible type of drapery hardware
• End caps offer a simple look and don’t call attention to themselves
• Finial shapes include spears, arrows, balls, leaves, stars, flowers, scrolls and more
• Brackets made from the same materials as finials complement each other
• Sconce designs include animals, grape clusters, flowers, leaves and more
Rings and Accessories: Many hardware accessories are designed to provide stylish accents that complete the look of your window treatments. Tiebacks are used to hold draperies off to the sides of a window and can be simple fabric strips or elaborate bows. Holdbacks offer the same functionality as tiebacks, but consist of rigid, decorative materials that are secured to a wall and provide a holder for keeping drapes and curtains in an open position. Rings, clips, hooks and pulls connect drapes and curtains to the rod and may be either hidden or visible. Styles range from simple, unadorned wrought iron rings to clips with decorative leaves, stars and more. Drapery jewelry can take a number of different forms, such as covered buttons.
• Holdbacks come in a wide range of styles that can be matched to your environment
• Decorative cords and tassels are often used to spruce up standard pull cords
• Hidden rings are simple, functional elements that do not serve a decorative purpose
Hinged Rods: For a completely different look, install a hinged rod. These units allow you to swing curtains back and forth, covering the window when you want it covered and keeping the curtain in another spot when you don’t. Make sure you install it in an area where the curtain provides some decorative value when not covering the window.
Pole Sets: For one-stop shopping, look for a pole set. These kits contain all the pieces you’ll need for your assembly, including an adjustable-length pole, finials and decorative brackets.
Motorized Rods: If you’re looking for a truly modern window treatment, install a motorized rod, which will allow you to open and close the curtains at the flip of a switch or the touch of a button.