11 June 2012

hanging any curtains on a track

I've been getting some questions about how we did the wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling curtains in our yellow guest bedroom, so today I'll tell you all about it.

The look of the room was directly inspired by this gorgeous room by Vanessa De Vargas of Turquoise Interiors:

Designed by Vanessa De Vargas of Turquoise, photo via

I love how in Vanessa's room, and -- thankfully! -- in the finished room we put together, the curtains lend both softness and drama to tiny rooms, and they help small, off-center windows look much better.

But I won't lie. Getting the curtains to look like this was kind of a headache. But now that we figured it all out, it won't be nearly as tough if you decide to do something similar.

We started with the Kvartal curtain track system from Ikea. First we drilled little mounting brackets into the ceiling, then set up a track that ran the width of the room minus an inch on each side, so that we've had room to insert the curtain runners. Getting the track to the correct length required a little hacksawing, but that's not so bad. The mounting hardware attaching the track to the ceiling was not centered or equally spaced across the ceiling, because we had to use one partial rod, but I knew that the hardware would be hidden by the finished curtains, and didn't worry about that.

With the track hung, we slid in all of the curtain runners.

The set came with some interlocking pieces that would hook to the curtain and then hook to the runners, letting the curtain slide easily on the track. 

So far so good.

We bought two packs of the Ritva curtains that were a basic linen color and heft, to have four panels total, and a full, drapy look. The signs on the Ikea display swore UP AND DOWN that these curtains would work with the Kvartal track system.

Cue the WOP WOP trombones.

I opened up the first package and found this: no way for the hooks to attach, only pockets for a curtain rod.

Ikea has a strict return policy that disallows any opened packages from being returned, even if the product inside is defective or not as described, and even if the person who is trying to return said object cries (don't ask me how I know this). Needless to say, I knew that we had to make these curtain panels work. Time to get sewing.

I got out my trusty seam ruler, and set it for two and a half inches, the distance between the ceiling and the bottom of the hook that would hang on the track (minus a little, to account for sagging).

Then I pinned a tape measure to the curtain and, starting at inch one, marked dots at regular intervals (five inches) so that they'd be equally spaced all the way across.

The finished dots.

I bought some nylon cord that was the right thickness to hang on the hooks without popping out.

This is super low-tech, but it works! I sewed the cord to the panel on each dot, doubling back to make sure that it was sewed on strongly...

Then made a little loop with the nylon cord, and sewed it again so that the loop would let the hook attach...

The thread was barely visible from the front, and definitely not visible once it hung all the way up at the ceiling. 

And I worked my way across all four panels, just sewing loop after loop after loop. 

After I had sewed the loops onto one panel, I tested it out, to be sure that it worked. You know what they say about measuring twice and cutting once. Well my adage is test as many times as you need to, so you only do all of the work once.

Fortunately, it worked!

So back to measuring and sewing it was, until I had all four panels complete. With two panels hung...

And three panels hung...

Then I hemmed all the curtain panels using the iron-on hem tape that came with the curtains, and followed that with a good steaming to get all the wrinkles out. A little bit of tweaking later, and the room looked like the finished product that it is today.

Several months and a few visitors later, the curtains are still going strong, so I can confidently assert that this approach will stand the test of time.

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  1. Way to make those curtains work! Great timing too, we are headed to IKEA this weekend to pick up some kitchen/bathroom odds and ends I want to see if they have a curtain hanging system long enough for our bedroom - it needs to extend over French doors plus windows on either side. Looks like the system you bought could work! And now I know noto to by those curtains, no matter what they tell me in the store :)

    1. I think the track system itself is great. Though if it's for curtains you will use regularly (opening and closing, unlike in our guest room), get nicer rollers for the traack if you have a choice. Also, a few of them stick, so buy an extra pack or two.

      I would definitely recommend opening the packages for the curtains while you're in the store to see if they have little tiny loops for hooks every 4-6", but worst case, now you know how to retrofit any curtains you happen to like. :-)

  2. I have seen this look on Pinterest and I loved it! Really great instructions- thanks for sharing! Looks really nice.

  3. I did the exact same thing you did. I even checked the online product descriptions while in the store to make sure they really said they'd work together. I like your solution a lot better than any of the ones I was toying around with. Will make my life a lot easier!

    1. Glad it's helpful! Thanks for stopping by. :-)

  4. Thanks for taking the time to post the instructions. I will certainly try it because It's beautiful!
    curtain tracks


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