To hang curtains on an arched window, begin by measuring your window dimensions so that you can order the proper curtains and rods. Then, pick your curtains and plan your window look. Next, hang a straight curtain rod just below the arched portion of the window. You can open and close these curtains to control light coming in through most of the window. For the arched portion of the window, install a flexible curtain rod by pre-drilling pilot holes for the curtain rod hardware. Then, adjust the flexible curtain rod, secure it, and install a curtain designed to block the arched window.
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Should You Cover an Arched Window with Curtains?
In most cases, the best way to install curtains on an arched window is to hang straight curtains just below the arched portion of the window. This allows you to close off the main part of the window, while still allowing light to enter through the upper, arched portion. However, if the arched window is lighting in unwanted light or glare, it’s a great idea to cover your arched window using a flexible curtain rod and custom curtains.
- Most window dressings for arched windows do not cover the arched portion of the window.
- Consider hanging curtains on a straight rod, just below the arched part of the window.
- If you still want to cover the arched window, use our 7-step process to install curtains in the arch.
Consider hanging a standard curtain rod across the lower area of the windows for a classic look, before you block off your arched window. You may decide you like the look of the exposed arched window and don’t want to cover it. If you still want the arch covered with curtains, follow our steps for covering arched windows.
7 Steps to Hang Curtain on an Arched Window
Conventional window treatments won’t cover arched windows. If an arched window is letting too much light into a bedroom or other space, you can install a curtain over your arched window for better light control. Here’s how:
Measure Your Window
Begin by measuring your window to decide exactly what you need. To start, measure the portion of the window below the arch. Most arched windows are positioned above rectangular windows. So, begin by measuring the length and width of the rectangular window portion. Then, measure the distance between the bottom of the window and the floor.
- Your window is divided into two sections—arched and rectangular. They should be measured separately.
- Starting with the rectangular window section, measure the height, width, and distance from the floor.
- Measure the maximum height and width of the arched portion of the window.
- You may need a stepladder to reach the arched window and make accurate measurements.
After you have measurements for the rectangular window portion, move on to the arched window. Measure the width of the arch at the bottom, where it is flat. Then, measure from the top of the arch to the bottom of the arch. Do not include the rectangular portion of the window in these measurements. The two portions of the window will be covered with two different curtains.
Plan Your Curtains
Before moving forward, take the time to plan the look and layout of your curtains. Keep in mind that hanging curtains on an arched window will require you two install two curtain rods: one for the rectangular portion of the window and another for the arched portion. You can decide whether you want to use the same fabric for both sections, or whether you want to use different patterns and thicknesses for your curtains.
- Draw different design ideas for your window dressing.
- Remember, the curtains that cover the rectangular, lower portion of the window will be separate from the curtain covering the arched window.
- Consider different materials and thicknesses depending on how much natural light you want to allow in the space.
Once you’ve made your decision, work with a custom curtain maker in your area to create a custom curtain that fits your arched window. It is almost impossible to find a pre-made curtain that fits semi-circular windows, so there will have to be some custom work done. The benefit of custom curtains is that you can use any material you want to filter light coming in through your arched window.
Install Curtains Below the Arch
Begin by installing curtains on a straight rod to cover the rectangular portion of the window. The rod should run across the top of the rectangular window, just below the arched window. This curtain will not cover the arched area. That will be taken care of in the following steps.
- Install a straight curtain rod just below the arched portion of the window.
- Mark a location on either side of the window where the curtain rod holder will be installed.
- Use a tape measure and level to make sure the curtain rod will be level once it is installed.
- Pre-drill pilot holes, then install the curtain rod holder hardware.
- Install the curtain rod holder hardware on either side of the window.
- Hang your curtain rod and curtains.
- The rectangular portion of the window will be curtained, but the arched portion will be uncovered at the end of this step.
Mark the location of the curtain rod holders on either side of the window. Make sure the curtain rod will be level once the hardware is installed. Then, install the curtain rod holders and curtain rod. After this step, the largest portion of the window will be covered, but the arched area will still be completely unblocked.
Consider Using a Pre-Made Arched Shade
In order to quickly cover an arched window, you can use a pre-made shade that can be quickly cut to size. This is fast and inexpensive. It eliminates the work of installing a flexible curtain rod and a custom curtain. A pre-made curtain is cut to size, then put into place in minutes.
- Consider using this pre-made shade for arched windows.
- A shade can be cut to the right size and installed without much work.
- The shade will not allow for a custom look, but it will filter light coming through the arched window.
A pre-made shade is great for experimenting with your arched window look. It is quickly installed and removed, in case you decide to leave the arched window open. However, shades come in simple colors and patterns, so you won’t be able to get a custom look with this solution.
Prepare to Hang an Arched Curtain Rod
In order to install an arched curtain rod, begin by ordering a flexible curtain rod that is long enough to fit your arch. Then, review the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the curtain rod. The rod will be held in place along the arch with included hardware. Hold the curtain rod in place and mark where each piece of hardware will go. Use a pencil to mark the screw holes in the hardware, so you know where each screw must go.
- Use this flexible curtain rod to install curtains on an arched window.
- Use a stepladder to reach the top of the arched window.
- Position the curtain rod and mark where each screw must go to hold the curtain rod in place.
- Pre-drill a pilot hole where each screw must go.
- Have an assistant help to steady the ladder and hand tools to you, to make the job safer.
Drill a pilot hole at each point where a screw will go. A pilot hole allows you to insert wall anchors that can help hold the curtain rod in place. They also prevent damage to wood in case you’re driving screws directly into the window frame. Use an electric drill to make these pilot holes. Select a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of the screws you will use to hold the hardware in place.
Install the Curtain Rod Hardware
With your pilot holes drilled, install any wall anchors you need. Then, drive the screws into place to install the hardware that holds the flexible curtain rod in your arched window. Different flexible curtain rods have slightly different hardware and hanging methods. So, it’s best to consult the manual that comes with your curtain rod for a smooth installation.
- Attach the flexible curtain rod hardware to your arched window frame by driving screws into the pilot holes you drilled.
- If your installation requires wall anchors, use a hammer to gently tap these into place before driving the screws in.
- Use an electric drill and a steady ladder to make this job safe and quick.
Flexible curtain rods use special hardware that is different from that of straight curtains. The curtain rod must be attached at several points along the arch to make sure the arched curtain looks good and filters light without gaps. Work slowly and carefully, since you will probably have to use a ladder while installing this hardware.
Hang the Curtain
You need a curtain that fits your arched window and the flexible curtain rod. The curtain should cover the arched portion of the window only, without overlapping the rectangular portion that was installed in previous steps. In most cases, this means you must have a custom single-piece curtain made to fit your arched window.
- Have a custom curtain made for the dimensions of your arched window, or sew a custom curtain yourself.
- Slide the curtain onto the flexible curtain rod.
- Attach the curtain rod to the mounting hardware, according to manufacturer instructions.
Once your custom curtain is ready, slide it onto the flexible curtain rod and snap it into place in the window, by attaching it to the curtain rod hardware. You won’t be able to open and close the curtain over the arched portion. It will be permanently shaded instead. But, this installation still allows you to open and close the curtain on the lower, rectangular portion of the window.
How Do You Black Out an Arched Window?
You can black out an arched window by making a custom curtain from blackout drapes. If you follow our steps above, you can completely black out arched windows. Begin by hanging blackout drapes to cover the rectangular portion of the window. Then, use blackout material for the custom, arched curtain you install in the final step. This way, you can completely control the light entering a space.
How Do You Hang Curtains on a Curved Bay Window?
If you would like to hang curtains that filter light through a curved or arched window, just follow these steps:
- Measure the lower, rectangular portion of your window and the arched portion of the window separately. Save these measurements.
- Select a fabric for your curtains and work with a local custom curtain maker to have a curtain made for the arched portion of the window.
- Hang a straight curtain rod across the window, just below the arch, Hang standard curtains on this rod.
- Consider using a simple, customizable shade to cover the arched portion of the window.
- Order a flexible curtain rod and mark where screws must be driven for installation—drill a pilot hole at each of these marks.
- Install the flexible curtain rod hardware by driving screws into the pilot holes you drilled.
- Slide your custom curtain onto the flexible curtain rod, then attach the rod to the hardware installed on the window arch.
Arched windows represent a challenge if you’re looking to control light in a space. However, you can experiment with leaving the arched portion open, adding a shade, or installing a curtain. Each of these looks is classic and contributes to a beautiful home that fits your vision.