How To Adjust a Curtain Rod

Sam Bresson

Any home improvement project that involves tools and measurements can seem daunting, and working on something as important to the overall look of a room as curtains can be doubly intimidating. However, you don’t need to be an expert carpenter to properly install and adjust the rods.

Planning and knowing exactly what you’re doing will ensure success. The entire process is fairly simple and can be performed in less than 15 minutes.

  1. Determine the type of curtain rod that you’ll be working with. There are generally two different types of curtain rod. The first type—and the most common—is a rod that is physically mounted to the wall around the window with metal brackets. The second type is a spring-loaded rod used frequently with casement windows and in situations where the surrounding wall is made of something other than drywall, such as brick, that is too hard to drill or hammer into. Spring-loaded curtain rods are adjusted by twisting the two ends in opposite directions, thus “unscrewing” the two components and making the rod longer or shorter as needed to fit inside the window frame. Adjusting a bracket-mounted curtain rod, however, requires more labor and a few more steps.

  2. Put the curtains to be used on the rod before installing it or making any adjustments. This is the most effective way to accurately ascertain the measurements that you’ll need to take into account when adjusting the curtain rod.

  3. Determine the wall bracket attachment points; this will decide how high up on the wall the brackets will be placed as well as how far apart they will be. Hold the rod up to the desired height on the wall and lightly mark the spot on each side of the window with a pencil. You shouldn’t attach the brackets at the immediate edge of the window because the curtains won’t cover all of the window. Instead, make each bracket mark at least an 1-1/2 inches from the window’s edge.

  4. Attach the brackets to the wall. Curtain rods can be attached to the brackets with either screws or nails, although most bracket kits come with hardware meant to adequately attach the rod. Once the brackets are installed, slide the two sections of the curtain rod together and adjust the length so that each end can be snapped into its respective wall bracket.

  5. Tip

    Even though many bracket kits come with nails, you might want to consider installing the curtain rod with screws instead. The nails will certainly do the job, but screws will add an extra degree of strength and security. Use a tape measure when marking the wall bracket attachment points in order to make sure that each side is in exactly the same spot. This is the only way to ensure that the curtain rod will be level.


    While you shouldn’t mount the wall brackets too close to the edge of the wall, you shouldn’t go too far away from the window’s edge, either. Mounting each of the curtain rod’s two brackets too far apart will weaken the rod and hinder its overall ability to hold the weight of the curtains.