Understanding Different Curtain Rod Styles


A rod is key to hanging most types of standard curtains and drapery. Depending which style you choose, curtains typically attach by way of rings, carriers, loops or pockets. Curtain rods run the gamut of styles and prices, from inexpensive expansion rods to custom length decorative poles. With the wide variety of options available, there is certainly a rod style perfectly suited to your curtains.

Conventional
The category of conventional curtain rods consists of wood or metal poles in varying diameters. Retailers offer conventional wooden poles in standard lengths as well as adjustable length metal rods. Ready-made conventional rods often come as part of a set with matching wall brackets, finials and rings. Specialty manufacturers make custom curtain rods based on a client’s exact specifications. Custom curtain rods cost considerably more than ready-made, but afford a homeowner the ability to create the perfect design, finish and configuration.

Traverse
Your grandmother’s style of curtain rod may be the modern solution for covering large window openings. The versatile traverse rod can be ceiling or wall mounted and spans vast expanses of window with ease. Commonly used with pinch-pleated curtains or sheers outfitted with drapery pins, traverse rods consist of a metal track with carriers. The drapery hooks insert into a small hole at the bottom of each carrier. Traverse rods feature either one-way or two-way open and close with the pull of a cord or the click of a remote.

Swing Arm
Swing arm rods work in certain applications where other styles of curtain rods will not. They are easily identifiable in that they attach to only one side of a window and operate on a hinge. The rod or arm slides into a bracket mounted to the wall. The arm swings over the window opening like a fabric door. A set of swing arm curtain rods dressed with sheers creates a stylish cover for French doors. Consider swing arm rods for door sidelights and narrow windows, as well.

Continental
Continental curtain rods are the unsung heroes of the curtain world. Use these expandable rods to hang rod pocket curtains and valances. Made from enamel-coated metal, the flat profile of the continental rod remains completely concealed beneath gathered and shirred curtain headers. Continental rods range in width from 2 1/2 to 4 inches to accommodate a variety of rod pocket depths. Choose this rod style when looking for an economical method for curtain installation.

Tension
Tension rods provide a quick and easy curtain hanging option. These rods remain in place thanks to a spring and screw mechanism that creates pressure between the rod ends and wall. Tension rods adjust in length giving them the ability to fit most average size window openings. Tension rods have no screws or mounting hardware, leaving walls and window frames undamaged. The rubber tipped ends of the rod fit snugly inside a window frame or doorway.

Important Considerations
  • It’s usually best to choose your curtain before your curtain rod. Depending on the length, color, and weight of the curtains, you might go with a thick rod, a thin rod, or a rod in a particular color or finish.
  • For stationary curtain panels, sheers, or valances, use standard curtain rods, sash rods, cafe rods, or tension rods.
  •  For curtains that draw back and forth across a wide expanse of window, use traverse rods.
  •  For a layered treatment, you can install both standard curtain rods and traverse rods or a double rod configuration.
 IMAGES & SOURCES
Quinn Dombroski via flickr
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