how to hang curtains in an apartment

How to Hang Curtains in an Apartment

Do you need to know how to hang curtains in an apartment without damaging the walls or upsetting your landlord? One of the best parts of moving into a new apartment is getting to decorate it in your style. That said, you don’t want to cause damage that can result in a lost security deposit.

If you want to hang curtains without causing damage to the walls, the best solution is to use temporary command hooks, twist and fit curtain rods, tension rods, or suspend curtain rods from the ceiling.

Before you do anything, you should always look at your lease agreement first to see what it says about hanging curtains, if anything. Also, you should speak with your landlord to make sure it’s okay.

We’ll go over your options in this guide so you can hang curtains without worrying about losing your security deposit.

Temporary Command Hooks

Command hooks are a great solution for hanging lightweight curtains, such as window sheers. While they don’t provide much privacy, sheer curtains help soften up a room and can add color and texture. This style is ideal for apartments on higher floors where privacy is less of a concern.

Adhesive hooks are easy to apply and come in different sizes and styles. You simply have to remove the backing, attach the hook, and stick the product against the wall. It only takes seconds to apply them, and they remove cleanly when you pull the tab.

You should use command hooks if:

  • You’re not allowed to create holes in the walls
  • You’re using lightweight curtains
  • You don’t need a lot of privacy
  • You only want the curtains up temporarily

Check the command hook packaging to find the weight limit. For example, the Command curtain rod hooks by 3M hold 5 lbs (2.2 kg).

Make sure to follow the instructions on the packaging closely. Failure to attach or remove the command hook in the way specified can result in damage.

If you’re not sure how much weight the product can hold, and you don’t want to damage the wall, check the customer reviews. Often you can find pictures and answers to similar questions. You can also try contacting the company to ask whether the product would work and support your curtains.

Heavier types, such as blackout curtains, aren’t suited for adhesive hooks. If you want to hang these types of curtains in your apartment, you’ll have to use another method.

Tension Rods

When hanging curtains in an apartment, it’s best not to leave any trace behind. You’re more likely to get your security deposit back if you leave the apartment in the same condition it was when you moved in.

Tension rods provide a quick and convenient way to hang curtains. They’re adjustable to fit between spaces, and you can hang them almost anywhere. Tension rods have rubber tips to prevent damage, so you won’t have to worry about scraping the paint or scratching the wood.

It’s the best way to hang curtains if you’re on a budget since tension rods are relatively cheap.

However, tension rods only hold lightweight curtains, and they might not fit in every window. For instance, large or oddly shaped windows might not work with tension rods.

You should use tension rods if:

  • You need a quick temporary solution
  • You have lightweight curtains
  • They’ll fit in your windows
  • You want to remove them without causing damage
  • You need a cheap way to hang curtains

Tension rods can be limited in their use since they’re only designed to hold lightweight fabrics. Some styles can also look cheap, although there are options on the market now designed to mimic metal finishes such as brushed nickel and brass.

Twist and Fit Rods

This style is similar to tension rods, except that it attaches to the window frame or a flat surface. If you want to hang curtains without drilling, this is a good choice.

Twist and fit rods also have a more refined look. They come in black, white, brushed nickel, bronze, and more, so you can find a style to fit your apartment decor.

These tension rods can hold more weight, meaning you can use them with a wider variety of curtains. Generally, they can hold 10-20 pounds (4.5 kg – 9 kg) or so. Check the product specifications to make sure it can hold the weight of your curtain.

Twist and fit rods come in a variety of sizes to fit in different windows, from 28 inches up to 84 inches (71-213 cm) usually.

You should use twist and fit rods if:

  • You have lightweight, medium-weight, or heavy curtains
  • You want to mimic the look of a traditional curtain rod
  • You want a specific color or style
  • You have a flat window frame or surface
  • You don’t want to damage your walls or window frame

It’s easy to install this type of curtain rod as all you need to do is twist the finials and adjust it to fit your window. They cost about the same as traditional curtain rods, so consider your budget if you have many windows in the apartment.

If you have large or oddly shaped windows, this style might not be the right choice.

Hang Curtains From the Ceiling

Many people may not realize this, but you can hang curtains from the ceiling as well. If you have a weak plaster wall, a brick wall, or a cinderblock wall, this is the perfect solution to add curtains.

If there isn’t a lot of space between the top of the window and the ceiling, you can hang curtains from the ceiling without damaging or altering the frame.

Hanging curtains from the ceiling is also ideal for large, strangely shaped, or tall windows. It allows you to hang curtains without covering decorative trim, perfect for historic apartments.

The standard ceiling height in newer builds is around 8 feet (2.4 meters), suitable for most types of curtain rods. If you have a vaulted ceiling or a cathedral ceiling, you might not want to hang them from the ceiling unless the windows stretch to the top.

There are many benefits to hanging curtains from the ceiling versus the traditional method. For one, it can help balance the room and make the walls look taller. It’s also the perfect solution for apartments with large or bay windows.

You should use ceiling mount curtain rods if:

  • You have tall or large windows
  • You have oddly shaped windows
  • You want to add height to your walls
  • You want a high-end look
  • You want a more permanent solution

You can find a variety of ceiling curtain rods from stores like IKEA for a good price. Look for ceiling mounts or curtain track sets.

Talk to your landlord first to see if they allow ceiling mounts. 

The Traditional Method

If you’re allowed to hang curtains the traditional way, this is a great way to add character to your apartment. You’ll have to repair the wall when you vacate, but you have more options with this method.

One common mistake renters make when putting up curtain rods is neglecting to measure the windows or taking the wrong measurements. You want to measure a few inches below the ceiling, down to the floor. You’ll also want to measure the width of your window and multiply it by two to provide the right draping look.

For example, if your window measures 28 inches (71 cm), you’ll want to look at curtains at least 56 inches (142 cm) wide.

When measuring for your curtains, you’ll want to measure from the top of the track or the bottom of the rings. If you have a radiator in your apartment, make sure the curtains are at least an inch or 2-3 cm above it.

You should use the traditional method of hanging curtains if:

  • You’re allowed to hang curtains
  • You can’t use adhesive strips
  • You want to hang heavy curtains
  • You want a classy and permanent solution
  • You want to hang sheers and a curtain together

Again, make sure to read your lease agreement to see if there are any rules against damaging the walls. You’ll also need tools to hang this type of curtain rod.

One of our top tips for hanging curtains in apartments that use vertical blinds is to use brackets designed to clip onto your blinds. You won’t have to worry about damaging the walls at all.

How to Hang Curtains in an Apartment by Room

Once you have the method picked out, you can start shopping for curtains. However, you might want to choose different styles for different rooms in your apartment.

The Living Room

Most smaller living rooms are 16 x 20 ft (6 x 5 m). In an apartment, they can be even smaller, meaning you might want to focus on window treatments that enlarge the room.

You can make the room look bigger by hanging curtain rods past the sides of your windows or from the ceiling. Darker colors make the room seem smaller, while light colors make it look bigger than it is.

The Bedroom

In many apartments, the master bedroom is quite spacious. The average size is around 200 to 250 sq ft (18.6 to 23 sq m). Again, it may be smaller in your apartment, especially in older buildings.

You can make the room look bigger and brighter with light-colored curtains, but you also want to consider how well you’ll sleep. Some people need blackout curtains and for the room to be completely dark. You might want to invest in a double curtain rod to hang both sheers and heavier curtains.

Transform the Look of Your Windows

If you want to know how to hang curtains in an apartment without damaging the walls, you have plenty of options. Use these tips for hanging curtains to get started.

Adhesive strips and command hooks or tension rods allow you to hang curtains almost anywhere. If you can’t use command strips, talk to your landlord about traditional curtain rods or ceiling rods.

For more tips on how to transform your apartment, take a look at our article on changing the locks.

Related articles