Fitting Curtain RailsCurtains are essential for creating privacy conserving heat and blocking out noise. They are also great decorative features. Read our essential DIY guide below to make a good job of fixing curtain rails around your home.

Types of Curtain Rails

There are various types of rails or tracks to choose from, from flat brass rails, traditional I shaped rails, flat profile rails, nylon, aluminium and plastic rails plus various types of curtain poles, including wooden and metal poles.

Whichever rail you choose you need to find out if it is long enough and strong enough for your curtains. Also consider the type of window you are fitting your rails to. A bay window will require rails that can be bent around the shape of the bay.

The most popular types are the plastic, aluminium and nylon rails which are strong, light and very flexible. These varieties are good because they can be cut easily, are very flexible and can be bent around corners making them ideal for bay windows. Wooden poles are also very popular. They are very easy to fit with just a bracket at either end and easy to cut. The extra good news is that both the plastic/aluminium rails and the poles are inexpensive to buy.

Fixing Curtain Rails to Walls

  • Once you have decided on your curtain rail you need to make sure you have enough brackets, screws and plugs. In many cases these will come with your rails.
  • Curtain rails can be fitted to the window itself but there may not be enough space to adequately cover the window so in many cases they need to go on the wall above the window.
  • Drill the wall and insert plugs straight into the wall at regular intervals.
  • If there is a concrete lintel and the wall is too hard to drill you need to attach a batten above the window. You may find you prefer to do this anyway. Fix the batten either side of the window with screws and glue the central part. Paint if required.
  • Fit the brackets for your rail by drilling holes at regular intervals along the batten.
  • Use a spirit level to ensure everything is perfectly straight.

Fixing Curtain Rails to Ceilings

  • If the top of the window is too close to the ceiling it may be easier to fix the brackets to the ceiling.
  • You may also need to do this if you have a bay window.
  • You may also find a net curtain fixes easily onto the window frame but the main curtain needs to be attached to the ceiling.
  • It’s a good idea to find the positions of the joists above to fix the brackets or batten to the ceiling. On lower floors you can lift the floorboards in the room above and take a peak. For the top floor you will have to look in the loft.

Top Tips

Ensure your choice of curtains rails or poles are long enough. They can easily be cut to size if they are too long. But if they are too small it is not advisable to join pieces together.

If you use a batten to support curtain rail brackets ensure you fix it to the wall securely using screws, plugs or a very strong adhesive.

For ceiling mounted rails use screws that are long enough to penetrate the plaster and go into the joists. Always use a spirit level to check that curtain rails and fixings are horizontal. You can easily fit cords for drawing your curtains if you wish. Using large curtain hooks is a good tip if you want to make sure the curtain conceals the rail.

Remember to consider what your curtains look like from the outside as well as the inside of your property. You may wish to be consistent in your choice of colours and materials, at least for each side of your home.

A good style tip is to think of matching the colour of your curtains with an element of your room but not the overriding colour of your room. E.g. if you have white walls and a blue carpet a blue curtain would work well.