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How To Install Drapery Rods

There are two basic styles of drapery rods: Traverse rods and one-piece rods. Traverse rods hold two panels of drapes. You open and close drapes hung from traverse rods by pulling on a cord that operates two master sliders in the rod, thus opening and closing the panels. With one-piece rods, the drapes usually hang from the rods with tabs or rings. You pull the drape itself to open and close it.

Installing one-piece drapery rods

You can install drapes like a professional

Avoid problems when installing drapes with these simple guidelines

  1. One-piece rods consist of the rod, two or more brackets, rings (optional), and finials. The finials are the trim pieces attached to the ends of the rods.
  2. Measure the width of your drapes at the top. This is the pleated width.
  3. The rod should be four inches longer than the pleated width.
  4. Measure the length of the drapes. Hang the rod the same distance from the floor.
  5. Install your rod brackets in the window frame, the window casing, or in the wall above the window.
  6. Locate the position of the rod brackets. Drive the bracket screws into the wood window frame or casing. If you mount your brackets on the sheetrock wall, locate them such that you can drive the screws in the wood header over the window frame or in the header studs. If that is not possible, drill holes in the sheetrock and insert dry wall anchors.
  7. Place the rod in the first installed bracket, level the rod, and locate the second bracket. If the rod is longer than 48″, use a third bracket in the middle of the rod.
  8. Slide the drapery rings or the drapery tabs over the rod.
  9. Place the rod in the brackets and tighten the rod screws to hold the rod in place.
  10. Attach the finials.

Installing traverse rods

  1. Traverse rods come in two pieces. They overlap at least four inches and have a four inch return to the wall at each end.
  2. The installation of traverse rods is similar to that for one-piece rods.
  3. Measure the pleated width.
  4. Subtract twelve inches for the drape overlap and the four-inch returns from the pleated width. This is the rod face length.
  5. Measure the length of the pleats and hang the rod at that same height from the floor.
  6. Place the rod brackets just outside of the window frame but inside the rod face length.
  7. Level the rod.
  8. Attach the drapery cord pulley to the wall close to the floor.
  9. Pull the drapery cord to fully open and close the master slides. This will center them on the rod.
  10. Install the pins in the drapes two inches down from the top and hang them on the rod.


Grasp the drapery fabric (known as the buckram) between the pleats at the top, pull it toward you, and crease it with your fingers. This will present a professional installation.

If the master slides do not center after fully opening and closing them with the cord, you will have to do it manually by adjusting the cord where it travels through the slides.

Leave one carrier in place at the end of the rod and remove all the extras.

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