Window treatments can make your home feel welcoming and add privacy. Before you select your drapes, you need to decide what kind of curtain rod you want to hang them on.
Curtain rods are functional, but they also act as a decorative accessory. When it comes to choosing the best curtain rods, design and quality are key considerations. These bars come in a variety of diameters, lengths, and styles. Decorative rods have end finials, often made of metal or acrylic, that add a finishing touch to your window treatments. The rods must be able to hold the weight of the curtain fabric and accommodate the number of curtain layers at each window.
Before you begin your search for the best curtain rod for you, measure the window you want to cover so the rod meets your needs. Installing curtain rods is fairly straightforward, and all you need is a level, cordless drill, step stool, pencil, and a measuring tape. Don’t want to fool with tools? Go with a tension rod instead.
The best curtain rod for you will depend on your curtain and window design and your situation. Consider the pros and cons of the top-rated rods, which work with most types of window treatments, from sheer panels to decorative valances.
- BEST OVERALL: Ivilon Drapery Treatment Window Curtain Rod
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Kamanina 1-Inch Telescoping Single Drapery Rod
- UPGRADE PICK: Ivilon Drapery Window Curtain Rod
- BEST WOW FACTOR: Kamanina 1-Inch Curtain Rods
- BEST ROOM DARKENING: Amazon Basics Room Darkening Curtain Rod
- BEST DOUBLE ROD: Umbra Twilight Double Curtain Rod Set
- BEST TENSION ROD: Ivilon Tension Curtain Rod
- BEST CONCEALED ROD: Rod Desyne Lockseam 2-Inch Clearance Curtain Rod Set
How We Chose the Best Curtain Rods
Our list of recommendations covers the wide range of styles, finishes, sizes, and types of curtain rods available in the market. We looked at several of the top brands to curate our top picks for both single cafe, double cafe, and tension rods.
Most of our recommendations offer a wide selection of sizes to suit most window widths, from 16 inches to as wide as 244 inches. Our research also put us in touch with a range of popular decor styles, from traditional wooden embellishments to sleek modern brushed metal. We even made sure to include an option for shoppers looking for a concealed rod.
Our Top Picks
The following rods are heavy-duty yet sleek, and they work with most types of window treatments, from sheer panels to decorative valances.
Ivilon’s curtain rod in satin nickel is a top pick for many reasons. With angular finials that complete but don’t overtake your curtains or decor, they look substantial and elegant. Ivilon’s telescoping rod comes in a range of sizes from 16 inches to 240 inches, so you can find one to fit most any window.
The metal pole is 1⅛-inch diameter and comes with all mounting hardware, including brackets, screws, anchors, and instructions (clip rings are sold separately). Use these rods to hang most any type of drapery in any room, whether it’s the den, bedroom, or home office.
- Type: Single cafe
- Size: Multiple options ranging from 16 to 240 inches
- Finish: Satin nickel
- Clean and modern look to complement any existing decor and fixtures
- Easy to install; comes with brackets, screws, anchors, and instructions
- Multiple sizes available; ranges from 16 to 240 inches to suit most window sizes
- May not be suitable for heavy curtains; not as durable as some comparable options
Get the Ivilon satin-nickel curtain rod at Amazon or Mercari.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Kamanina’s curtain rod is more expensive than it is. It’s substantial, thanks to 1-inch-diameter wood and resin (or metal) rods that bear up to 30 pounds of fabric and can accommodate grommet curtains. They have vintage-looking netted texture finials that go with most decor styles.
Kamanina’s telescoping rods come in three adjustable sizes ranging from 25 inches to 195 inches. The brackets are adjustable, too, so you can customize the space between a wall and a window treatment. This model comes in finishes including bronze, black, silver, champagne, and red wood grain.
- Type: Single cafe
- Size: 25 inches to 195 inches
- Finish: Black, antique bronze, antique silver, champagne gold, ivory white, red wood grain, warm gold
- With multiple finishes to choose from, this rod can suit most home decor styles
- Simple and elegant design adds a touch of sophistication with its decorative finials
- Brackets are adjustable; users can customize the placement of the rod easily
- May bend at longer lengths; not as durable as other curtain rods available
Get the Kamanina telescoping rod at Amazon.
Ivilon’s solid metal, end cap-style rods upgrade your window treatments with sleek, clean contemporary style. The minimalist lines work with contemporary or vintage decor style. Like most store-bought rods, they come with finials and all the mounting hardware you need. The single curtain rod is 1 inch in diameter and sturdy enough to support heavy drapes.
This rod is available in three telescoping lengths ranging from 16 inches to 240 inches and comes in a warm gold finish. Matching curtain clips are sold separately.
- Type: Single cafe
- Size: 16 inches to 240 inches
- Finish: Warm gold (other colorways listed on separate product pages on Amazon)
- Simple contemporary design can fit most decor styles and spaces
- Several sizes available; comes in 16- to 240-inch lengths to suit most any window size
- Easy installation; comes with all of the mounting hardware required
- May be less suited to shoppers who prefer a more traditional style
- No curtain rings included with purchase; must be purchased separately
Get the Ivilon gold-tone curtain rod at Amazon.
Kamanina’s bronze single curtain rod is offset by acrylic crystal finials that have subtle sparkle. These rods come in two telescoping sizes, 36 inches to 72 inches and 72 inches to 144 inches. They’re 1 inch in diameter and sturdy enough to hold up to 30 pounds of drapes, so you can use them with deluxe fabrics like brocade and velvet.
The adjustable brackets offer different spatial options to distance curtains from the wall, which is helpful if you have thick crown molding at the top of your windows. The finials are glamorous but not pretentious, and these rods work well in a primary bedroom, guest bedroom, or living space.
- Type: Single cafe
- Size: 36 inches to 144 inches
- Finish: Bronze or champagne gold
- Crystal ends look elegant for bedrooms, offices, and living rooms
- Holds up to 30 pounds of weight; suitable for blackout or heavy curtains
- Solid construction should last for years to come, even under frequent use
- Included screws can be quite weak; shoppers may need to buy new screws separately
Get the Kamanina curtain rod at Amazon or Mercari.
If someone in your home is a light sleeper, blackout curtains are a must in the bedroom. The heavy-duty fabric is made with fibers that block light, help regulate room temperature, and seal out the sun’s UV rays. To get the most benefit from these special drapes, you need a curtain rod curved to allow the curtain to hug the wall on each side of the window.
The Amazon Basics room-darkening curtain rod curves at both ends to cover the entire window space. The ⅝-inch rod diameter has a weight capacity of up to 20 pounds of fabric, and it’s available in three finishes: black, bronze, and nickel. These rods come in three extendable sizes, ranging from 28 inches to 120 inches. The single curtain rod comes with all the mounting hardware you’ll need, including screws, anchors, and instructions.
- Type: Single or double cafe
- Size: 28 inches to 120 inches
- Finish: Nickel, black, or bronze
- Curtains can wrap around the corner of the rod for blackout capability
- Very simple installation process; comes with screws, anchors, and instructions
- Great for any thick or blackout curtains; suitable for use in bedrooms
- Max size limited to 120 inches; may not accommodate larger windows
Get the Amazon Basics curtain rod at Amazon.
For extra elegance and versatility in a bedroom or living room, shoppers may choose to layer sheer curtains with heavier drapes. To get this look, you may need double curtain rods, and Umbra has a set of particularly decent ones. The rods come in three sizes, adjusting to cover windows from 28 inches to 144 inches wide.
The total weight capacity for both rods is 22 pounds, which is enough to accommodate sheers and heavier curtain panels. The six decorative finishes are simple and will coordinate with almost any style of decor. Plus, the innovative wraparound design keeps all the light out for blackout capabilities.
- Type: Double cafe
- Size: 28 inches to 144 inches
- Finish: Brass, black, gold, bronze, nickel, and pewter
- Comes in 3 sizes to accommodate a range of windows
- Simple style suits any decor; comes in 6 different finishes
- Wraparound design keeps the curtain flush with the wall and/or window; suitable for use with blackout curtains
- Total weight capacity of 22 pounds for heavy-duty use
- No center support bracket included; additional hardware may need to be purchased
Get the Umbra double curtain rod set at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Overstock.
If you live in a rental property or want low-impact, easy-installation window treatments, consider a tension rod. Often used in bathrooms to hang shower curtains, a tension rod with the right heft and design can easily work in living spaces and offices, too. This Ivilon tension rod comes in six finishes: warm gold, satin nickel, brushed nickel, ivory, white, and black. Its rust-proof plating resists tarnish so this 1-inch-diameter rod can be used indoors and outdoors.
It comes in four adjustable lengths that can cover a space between 16 inches and 90 inches. The rod keeps curtains stable thanks to a heavy-duty internal spring that makes the rod fit snugly inside the window frame. No tools are needed to install this rod; just pop it in place. The rod’s ends are fitted with nonslip, non-scratch rubber, so walls and window frames won’t get marked up.
- Type: Tension rod
- Size: 16 inches to 90 inches
- Finish: Gold, black, brushed nickel, chrome, ivory, bronze, satin nickel, white
- Renter-friendly installation; tension rod does not require screws in the wall
- With multiple finishes available, this rod can easily fit in with existing fixtures
- Simple and modern design fits in well with any current decor
- Prone to scratches and marks with everyday wear and tear
- Limited installation options may not block all light from a window
Get the Ivilon tension curtain rod at Amazon.
Valances and rod-pocket curtains that slip over the entire rod require a thinner-than-standard rod. Enter Rod Desyne’s lock-seam curtain rod set. At a very affordable price, this set includes one heavy-duty ¾-inch lock-seam curtain rod, brackets, and mounting hardware. The rod itself is steel painted white so it recedes from view once installed and hung with curtains.
Mounted, this rod will extend 2 inches from the wall, and its length is adjustable. Choose from four adjustable sizes that fit windows from 18 inches to 120 inches. It’s good for door windows as well as sturdy window treatments for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and more.
- Type: Conceal single cafe
- Size: 18 inches to 120 inches
- Finish: White
- Provides a minimalist and contemporary look; suitable for those who need a simple rod
- Versatile use; length is adjustable to accommodate multiple window sizes
- Colorway recedes from view once installed for a discreet look
- Thin metal can bend easily; may not be suitable for heavy or blackout curtains
Get the Rod Desyne curtain rod at Amazon, The Home Depot, Houzz, or Desyne Store.
What to Consider When Choosing a Curtain Rod
Curtain rods should keep your window treatments off the floor. But they also need to work with the surrounding space, complementing your curtains, furnishings, and fixtures in general. Color, finish, length, and material are all important factors to consider when picking the best curtain rods.
Types of Curtain Rods
Curtain rods have one primary purpose: to keep your curtains up. They can also add an aesthetic touch to your room’s decor. There are three main types of curtain rod: single, double, and tension.
- Single cafe rods feature one long pole with a finial at either end. These rods are attached via brackets to the top of a window, outside the frame, on or above the molding. The finials (ends) are decorative and come in a range of sizes and styles, from simple metal balls to ornate crystal or metal fixtures. Most single rods telescope between a minimum and maximum length. Dimensions should be listed on the package.
- Double cafe rods are designed to hang two curtains, one on top of the other. Typically, a sheer curtain goes underneath an opaque top curtain. Some double rods are welded together, others are connected via wall-mounted brackets. They telescope between a minimum and maximum length. Double rods are usually more expensive than single rods, provide a more luxe look, and give greater privacy, sound-dampening, and light control since they can accommodate thicker curtains. They’re a good choice for living rooms and bedrooms.
- Tension rods are the easiest to install. The adjustable central pole is designed to fit inside the window casing via internal springs, instead of being mounted outside the frame in a bracket. Tension rods are typically made of metal or plastic, and they are most often used to hang shower curtains, but they can also be used in windows in bedrooms, kitchens, and living spaces.
Color and Finish
There are a few popular, widely available choices when it comes to curtain rod color and finish. Brushed nickel, which has a soft, silvery metallic finish, is often the go-to for curtain rods that look good in almost any setting. You can also find gold, bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, shiny silver, white, and black. Choose a finish that will work with the other fixtures in a room, like doorknobs, faucets, and appliances. Consider what finishes will work with your curtains and furnishings, too. You want a curtain rod that is sturdy enough to support the drapery and won’t call too much attention to itself.
Size and Material
In general, it’s a good idea to buy adjustable, telescoping rods, which come in a range of standard sizes: 28 inches to 48 inches, 48 inches to 84 inches, 66 inches to 120 inches, and 120 inches to 170 inches. Unless you have an oddly shaped window, one of these options should work.
Always purchase a rod that is longer than your window dimensions. A good rule of thumb for cafe rods is to add 6 inches of length to both sides of your window frame or casing. For tension rods, you’ll want a rod that gives a snug fit within the frame. Many curtain rods are made of metal, which is often the best choice where quality and appearance are concerned. Other options include hard plastic and wooden rods.
It’s also important the rod fits not only the weight of the light, blackout, or thermal curtains but also the grommets, curtain rings, or top pocket opening of the drapes you’ve chosen.
As long as you buy quality rods, they should last for years—even decades. Be sure to measure accurately before installing brackets.
Q. Where should curtain rod brackets be placed?
Brackets for a curtain rod should be placed above the window, either on or above the molding. Position each bracket 4 to 6 inches away from the window frame on either side to allow room to pull the curtain away from the window. If it is too close, this can impede the curtain from moving smoothly back and forth.
Q. Do you need a drill to put up curtain rods?
Yes, most rods are held up by a metal bracket mounted on the wall above the window frame. You may need to drill holes into the wall so you can screw the bracket firmly into place. The exception: a tension rod, which mounts inside the window casing via the power of a spring embedded in the rod. You won’t need any tools other than your hands to install a tension rod.
Q. How do you install curtain rods?
You’ll need a pencil, stepladder, Phillips-head screwdriver, measuring tape, level, and cordless drill, along with our step-by-step instructions. But the gist of it is this:
- Measure your window’s width and height to ensure your chosen rod is the right size and durable enough to accommodate the length of curtain you need. Also, decide whether you want your rod to be mounted on the trim or on the wall above the window.
- Hold the bracket up to the wall (ensuring that it is level) and leave placeholder markings with a pencil to indicate where the bracket will be installed and where the nails will be placed.
- Predrill the nail holes and insert any wall anchors required.
- Align the bracket with the wall anchors, insert the screws, and tighten until the bracket is secured to the wall.
- Repeat if there is another bracket.
- Attach the curtains to the rod.
However, for models that use tension, simply twist or extend the rod until it is compressed to either wall, placing the curtains on first.
Q. How long do curtain rods last?
Curtain rods should last as long as you live in your current home. Some folks leave curtain rods up when they move away, but rods can also be taken down and reinstalled elsewhere. However, some rods may be more durable than others and could require replacements every few years.
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