Buying Guide

Types of Curtain Rods

Curtain Hardware Types
A curtain hanging on a curtain rod

Some curtain hardware pieces are well suited for contemporary designs, while others match more traditional designs.

  • Hardware can be hidden from view, or out in the open to serve as an accent.
  • Curtain rods are the largest piece of hardware and will determine the types of end caps, brackets, tiebacks and more that you can consider.
  • Functional hardware is often concealed by fabrics or fixtures.
  • Functional pieces include 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, finials, tiebacks and more.
Curtain Rods
A curtain hanging on a curtain rod

The curtain rod will serve as the main support for your drapes and as the central focus of your hardware.

  • You can consider using concealing rods, which hide the rod, or prominent decorative rods.
  • Thicker rods create a more dramatic visual effect, especially when hanging grommet curtains or pinch pleat curtains.
  • Rods that are wider than windows can be used to expand the appearance of the width of the window.
Types of Curtain Rods
A curtain hanging on a curtain rod

Decorative Curtain Rods


  • Available in an array of designs and diameters
  • Highly visible, affects the appearance of a window treatment and room

Points to Consider

  • 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 unfinished

Tip: Try different colors and finishes, like gold curtain rods or black curtain rods, to accent your room.

Concealed Curtain Rods


  • Often comes in the form of an adjustable, metal lock-seam rod
  • Designed to be covered by the curtains or drapes and remain unseen
  • Other types include sash, tension and wide-pocket rods

Points to Consider

  • Often white in color, with some metallic finishes available
  • Sash rods are used with sashes or hourglass curtains on French doors or casement windows
  • Wide-pocket rods are ideal for creating a shirred valance

Traverse Curtain Rods


  • 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 used type

Points to Consider

  • 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 direction
  • 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

Cafe Curtain Rods


  • Generally feature a narrow diameter and are round or fluted with subtle finials

Points to Consider

  • Often brass, but also available in a range of colored finishes
  • May or may not have rings
  • Ideal for use with tie-tab or hand-drawn curtains


Double Curtain Rods


  • Used to create a layered decorative treatment

Points to Consider

  • Double curtain rods and triple curtain rods can be used for layered treatments
  • They're great for adding depth and dimension to a room
  • They typically use two poles and a single bracket

Tension Curtain Rods


  • Tension rods use a spring mechanism to keep the ends in place


Points to Consider

  • These are best for use with lighter drapes and curtains
  • Installation is easy
  • Pair them with sheers and lightweight seasonal panels
Various curtain rod accessories

Common accessories include finials, end caps, brackets, sconces and rings

  • Finials and end caps cover the side openings or ends of the curtain rod and can be very elaborate.
  • Metal, wood, ceramic, glass, molded resin and rattan are materials used to make end caps and finials.
  • Common 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.
  • Tiebacks hold the drapes off to the sides of the window to allow more light in.
  • Rings, clips hooks and pulls connect drapes and curtains to the rod and can be hidden or visible.