Hanging up on you: how to hang curtains with hooks and rings

A curtain’s not much use if you can’t get it over the window. Learn how to hang curtains with rings.


How to hang curtains with hooks and rings: curtain on a rail

Key steps

If you want to know how to hang curtains with hooks and rings:

  1. Tie off the cords at one side of the curtain tape.
  2. Bunch up the tape evenly by pulling the cords at the other end, then tie those up as well.
  3. Place hooks in the pockets of the tape at even intervals.
  4. Put rings over the curtain rod.
  5. Attach the curtain by slipping each hook through the small ring at the bottom of the corresponding curtain ring.

The hook-and-ring method is one of the most common ways of hanging curtains, but curtains aren’t typically sold with rings attached, and if you’ve made your own curtains you’ll need a way to hang them to show off your sewing skills. If you’ve got a curtain rod and you’re not sure where to go from there, here’s how to hang curtains with hooks and rings.

A simple tip for how to hang curtains with rings: putting one ring between the bracket and the end of the curtain rod (so it can’t slide along the length of the pole) will keep the outer edge of the curtain secured and make it easier to draw. This only works if you're hanging two curtains, though.

How to use curtain hooks

Before getting hung up on learning how to hang curtains with hooks and rings, let’s start by learning how to add them to curtains!

You’ll need curtain tape on the inside top of the curtain to slot the hooks into.

If you’ve bought curtains, they’ll probably already have curtain tape attached. If you’re making curtains yourself, read our advice in how to make your own curtains, under the section titled ‘For the heading tape’. It will explain how to fit the tape.

Measure the length of the curtain rod, so you know what length the curtain tape needs to be after pleating.

If you’re hanging two curtains, the pleated curtain tape should be about half the length of the curtain rod, as you want the curtain to cover half of the window. If you’re just hanging one curtain, it’ll need to be almost the full length of the rod.

Gather the curtain chords to pleat your curtain.

There should be cords running through the curtain tape and poking out of each end, usually three. Gather together the ends of the cords at one side and knot them together, so the cord won’t slip straight through the tape when you pull it at the other end. Gather the cords at the other end of the tape together in your hand, and pull gently to pleat up the curtain. The curtain tape will gather into a series of bumps. Push or pull the tape along the cords with your free hand to make sure it bumps up evenly. Stop when you’ve reached the correct length, measuring the tape rather than the bottom of the curtain.

When you’ve finished pleating, tie off the cords you’ve been pulling.

Do this close to the tape and then tuck the excess behind the curtain tape to get it out of the way. Don’t cut the cords, as you might one day want to move the curtain to a larger window and loosen it a bit.

Add your hooks at regular intervals on your curtain.

You should find little pockets on each of the tape’s bumps, usually at three different heights. Choose a height – the higher the pocket, the lower the curtain will hang below the curtain pole – and tuck a hook into each of those pockets at even intervals, usually about four bumps apart. Make sure you’re putting the hook through the pocket rather than the cord. The end of the hook should be facing downwards; if you put the hook in upside down, the ring will slip straight off it!

How to attach curtain rings

First things first: don’t get rings that fit too snugly around the curtain rod. They should be large enough to move along the rod without too much tugging.

You have two options for how to hang curtains with rings. They are:

  • Thread the rings first. Slide the rings over the rod, then attach the hooks (with curtain attached) to the rings. This is probably the simpler option.
  • Attach the hooks first. Attach the hooks to the rings, then slide the rings (with curtain attached) over the rod. This can be fiddly, because you’ll need to move the curtain rod while also wrestling with the curtain, and it’s easy for some of the rings to slide off the hooks in the process.

Whatever your chosen option, all you have to do to attach the hooks is slide them through the miniature rings on the bottom of each curtain ring.

When you’re hanging the curtain, drape it over your arm to support its weight, and make sure you’re standing on something safe and sturdy. Getting someone to help hold the curtain will make it easier.

That’s just about everything you need to know when you’re hanging curtains with hooks and rings. One last thing to remember: it may sound obvious, but make sure you’re hanging the curtain the right way around!

Originally published