how to: hanging drapery panels

Today we're talking all about our take on hanging drapery panels - just one of the many window treatments we use on a regular basis. Hanging these guys correctly is something that makes a dramatic impact on the space. Do it right.. and your room feels warm, comfortable, large and complete. Do it wrong.. and your room can feel dark, small, unfinished, and a little bit awkward. I think this is one of the reasons it is such a common how-to in the Pinterest world. 

When Griffin and I moved into our first apartment we had little to no furniture and it felt e m p t y. The very first thing we purchased and installed was drapery.. well after the mattress of course. Window treatments in general have the ability to take a space from empty and cold to warm and inviting. Our goal for this post is to empower you to make the right decisions for your space as far as scale, height, width, fullness and length. We will share with you some of our favorite designer tricks so that you can get the look for less. There are so many other decisions and details that go into a successful window treatment, but hopefully this will get you off on the right foot!

All you need to know about hanging drapery panels | Akin Design Studio Blog

The image above is the classic "DO" and "DON'T" for drapery. I think this is a powerful image because you can see side-by-side the impact of correctly hung drapery and unfortunately hung drapery. On the left, the window seems so much larger and you get so much more natural light. This will, in turn, make you entire space feel bigger. On the right, you can see how hanging panels incorrectly will make the same size of window feel smaller and more insignificant. This also blocks a good amount of natural day light you could be taking advantage of. 

So listen up if you don't want your home to feel like a dark bear cave or the claustrophobic 1970's basement with (what seems like) 5' ceilings. We have our tips and tricks broken down into five separate categories: height, width, fullness, length and balance.


With regards to interior design, a primary goal is often to make a space feel larger than it actually is. An easy way to do this is (contrary to what you might think) is by using larger scale items. Drapery is not exempt from this. Hang your panels close to the ceiling rather than right above the window itself. This draws your eye up and makes the window feel more expansive as well. A tip that is rarely mentioned when hanging your window hardware at the right height is the rule of thirds or 2/3 rule. If the space between your window and ceiling is large this is a good rule to follow. Divide the space into thirds and mount the hardware 2/3 from the top of the window. This proportion is easy on the human eye and makes everything seem right in the world.


Mount your drapery panels off of the window rather than on top of your window. Think about it - do you see what is underneath the stacked panel? Not really. So why would you choose to cover up that gorgeous light coming in from the window rather than a plainly painted wall? Hanging your panels off of the window has the greatest impact on making your windows feel larger. When doing this make sure you just cover the side trim of the window. If you don't, all your friends will know exactly what you're up to. :)

The secret formula? Measure the width of your window, take 1/3 of that distance and divide it in half. The resulting number is how far off of your window to mount the end of the hardware. You are welcome.

How to hang drapery panels | Akin Design Studio Blog


Purchasing the right size of panel is more than just measuring the width of your window. One of the most common mistakes that is made when choosing panels, is not creating enough fullness. If they just cover your window width, they might look OK open, but when they are closed... you have two flat pieces of fabric mounted to your wall. Designers typically multiply the width of the window by 2.5-3 to get the proper amount of fullness. This allows the panels enough ummmph (yes that's a word) when they are both open and closed. Believe me, this one is worth the investment!

Check out how full the panels are below!

How to hang Drapery Panels | Drapery Panel Fullness | Akin Design Studio Blog


Imagine with me your very first kiss... chances are that experience was just how you want your panels to feel when they are brushing the floor. A little flirty.. but a little shy... so you just go in for a quick peck, not leaving too much behind? Ok, maybe that was just my first kiss, but hopefully you can relate. You want your panels to just lightly kiss the floor, not too much puddling, and definitely no floods allowed. If anything, you've got to remember the awkward feeling of growing out of your pants so quickly that your mom couldn't keep up, so you had to wear those floods to school for a few days... You got me? Not good.. The image below? That's good. 

How to hang curtains | Drapery panel length | Akin Design Studio
How to hang drapery panels | Akin Design Studio Blog


This one is a bit all-encompassing. In design, we come up with rules and suggestions to go by just to break them every once in a while. Balance is a case by case type of concept. Use your best logic to balance your space with the window treatments you are installing. A common scenario is pictured in the sketch above: flanking the fireplace or a central focal point with treatments on both sides. In this particular case, it is much more effective to use one panel on each outer side while using the fireplace to balance the height on the inside. This can also happen when you have two windows side by side, you may only need two panels on the outer edges. Take all elements of your space into consideration and create a complete story with the type of window treatments you choose.

If I was to sum up all of the key points to consider.. I would say: the bigger the better, do your math, balance in all things, and trick your friends into thinking you have larger windows than you do. If you do all of those things, your drapery panels are going to look on point. Although there is a lot that goes into making window treatment decisions, I promise it is worth the trouble!

Apartment 34  |  My Domaine