Decorating & Design
January 13, 2009
Choosing Drapery Hardware
Choose drapery hardware that complements your home’s decorating style. To hang most drapes, you should have the following hardware pieces:
- Curtain rod
- Tiebacks (optional)
- Rings with or without clips (optional)
- Drapery pins (optional)
Once you have decided which hardware pieces you’ll need for your type of window covering, the next step is to choose the hardware materials.
Wood and metal are the most popular hardware choices. Available in many different colours and finishes, they can be topped off with interesting finials made out of a range of materials.
Metal hardware is available in a variety of finishes, each offering a different look: wrought iron, cast iron, aluminum, chrome, brass and bronze are all possible candidates. Wood hardware is available in almost any finish, from natural blond to dark espresso.
Whether shopping for drapery rods, tiebacks, finials or brackets, choose a material best suited to the style of the room in which the window covering will be applied. While cast iron, brushed nickel or chrome hardware would be appropriate for a contemporary home, shiny brass or wood rods and tiebacks would suit a more traditional setting.
Rods are typically attached to the top of the window moulding or to the wall between the window moulding and ceiling. Drapes hung close to the ceiling can make a small window look taller. The weight and style of the drapery panels you hang will determine the diameter and type of rod you should purchase.
- Traverse rods are cord controlled and the top of the drapery skims the lower edge of the rod. A traverse rod can be used behind a decorative rod to hang sheers but can also work for heavy drapes.
- A combination rod uses one set of brackets to hold for two or three rods. Use this type for creating a layered look of draper panels in varying weights and textures.
- A decorative rod can work with any type of drapery and are typically available with interchangeable finials and hold backs.
- Other types of rods include swing-arm for a shutter-style window covering, steel cable rods for modern settings, tensions rods for hanging lightweight panels, and café rods for hanging mid-window height drapery, most often seen in kitchen settings.
Finials have been used for centuries on top of spires or gables and as finishing toppers for stair banisters and lampshades. Screwed onto the ends of curtain rods to add a decorative touch, finials are available to match any style of drapery rod, from modern to traditional in a range of materials such as glass, metal, wood, bamboo, rattan or resin. A drapery rod’s finials should line up with the outside edge of the window moulding.
Rings can be clipped or sewn onto drapery panels depending on the look you prefer. Make sure the rings you choose are large enough to accommodate the circumference of your drapery rod, leaving enough room around the rod for the rings to slide along easily. A good guideline is to have the rod fill between one half and two thirds of the inside of the ring. Rings are typically found in metal or wood and are available in a variety of finishes to coordinate with your drapery rod and finials.
Brackets are supportive hardware pieces that are used to mount the rod to the wall (or ceiling). The rod mounts onto the brackets at both ends and also in the middle if the length of the rod and the weight of the drapery requires it to avoid sagging.
Tiebacks are typically u-shaped or straight pegs with decorative finials, used to hold drapes open. While most often seen in traditional settings, a plethora of designs and finishes are available to suit any style. Tasseled cording or fabric banding can also be used as tiebacks which can add colour and interest to the existing drapery.
Consider hiring a professional installer if your drapery job is too big to complete yourself, if your windows are very large or high or if you are unfamiliar with installing the hardware.