Hardware for Window Curtains: Rods, Poles, Finials, and More - dummies

Hardware for Window Curtains: Rods, Poles, Finials, and More

By Mark Montano, Carly Sommerstein

New window curtains or drapes can change the look of a room, but remember to consider new mounting hardware (the things that curtains hang from), as well. Curtain rods, poles, finials, brackets, and rings are available in both modern and traditional styles to complement your decor.. 

Drapery hardware isn’t an afterthought of window design, but rather an integral part of your window treatment and another decorative element with which you can create your final look. For example, if you have your heart set on tab curtains, you need to plan for the right kind of rod to use at the same time you’re thinking of your treatment, because the rod will show and become part of the overall look. For a swag-style treatment, much of your pole will show as well.

You also need to consider whether your window treatment has to move or not. Are you treating a wide bank of windows that you want fully exposed by day? You can consider a metal pole with metal rings for easy movement. For a small window where one-panel fabric treatment can be easily pushed back, try a swag holder mounted on one side.

Have a look at some of the most common components of mounting hardware for window treatments:

  • Rods or poles: You use either a rod or a pole to hang most window treatments.

Rods are made of plastic or metal and usually are adjustable, and they come in many different finishes including brass, gold tone, brushed metal, wrought iron, and polished metal. They come in many shapes: fluted, twisted, rounded, square, and many more.

Poles, on the other hand, are usually made of wood, bamboo, plastic, or metal, but aren’t adjustable. Wooden poles come in many types. Pine and birch are the most common types, and you can usually paint or stain them if they’re untreated.

  • Brackets: Brackets are the supportive holders that keep rods and all poles in place. They can mount onto walls, window frames, or even ceilings. Some brackets are purely functional, while others have a decorative life all their own. Most inside-mount rods (rods that mount inside the window frame, such as tension rods) don’t need brackets, so this piece of hardware isn’t always necessary.
  • Finials: Finials are the end accessories that you add after the rod or pole has slid into the two brackets and is in its proper place. Finials are both decorative and functional; they’re attractive and keep curtain rings from sliding off the rod or pole. (Again, inside-mount rods don’t use finials.)
    If you’re working with an outside-mount rod and you decide on ornate brackets, let your finials match their style exactly, or else let the bracket shine. You don’t want too many clashing styles to distract from your window treatment.
  • Rings or clips: The last element to add is rings or clips that attach to the fabric at the top of your treatment and go over your rod or pole.

Curtain rings have smaller rings at the bottom (where you can sew your curtain ring to your fabric or add a small hook) or tiny internal clips (for grabbing onto the fabric). They come in many finishes to complement your other hardware elements.

Cafe clips, sometimes called rings with clips, have tiny clips at the bottom that are often disguised by a pretty decorative motif, such as leaves, stars, or other shapes.

Many housewares stores that sell hardware also carry rods, brackets, and finials in sets, but you can still mix and match if you want. Buying the sets takes most of the guesswork out of hardware, but doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity. If you choose to mix and match, be sure everything works together and complements each other.

Test your rings to ensure they fit over your pole or rod and check that your finials fit your pole or rod. Also check to see if your choice of mounting hardware complements a dominant motif of your room or window treatment. For example, if your damask fabric features a scroll design, see if you can find a wood or iron bracket that has a similar scroll design. Just remember: Your hardware elements need to look great and fit great together.