How to Determine How Many Curtain Rings Are Needed

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Rod pocket and grommet headers slide directly onto curtain rods, but other drapery styles use drapery or curtain rings for display. Before you can hang your curtains or drapes, you need to determine how many curtain rings are needed. There's some flexibility, but using basic calculations and guidelines helps you decide how many rings you need.

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Purpose of Curtain Rings

Curtain rings and hooks are a way to display your curtains on a curtain rod. They have pins, hooks, or clips that attach to the drapery and rings that slide onto the curtain rod. Rings are often used on pinch-pleat curtains that don't have a built-in rod pocket, tabs, or grommets for hanging. You can use them with flat curtains as well, attaching the hooks or clips to back tabs on the curtains.

Choosing Curtain Rings

Finding the right curtain rings for your drapery is just as important as the number of rings you use. Choose rings with a style, color, and design that work with the curtain rod, curtains, and room decor to tie everything together. Think of the rings as another design element in your window treatments and choose a design that enhances the overall look.

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The rings need to look proportionate both in diameter and thickness. As a general guideline, choose rings that have a diameter that's 1/2 inch larger than the curtain rod you're using. For a 3/4-inch curtain rod, for example, you'll want rings that are about 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Rings that are too small make it difficult to open and close the curtains, while larger rings are clumsy and don't look right.

Calculating Curtain Ring Needs

The type of curtain panel often affects the number of rings needed. For a pinch-pleat window treatment, you generally need the same number of rings as there are pleats. One ring goes at each pleat to hang the panels securely.

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For flat panels, you usually need one ring for every 4 to 8 inches of curtain rod length. Heavier drapes need more rings that are closer together, while lightweight fabrics are usually fine with rings every 7 or 8 inches. To calculate how many you need, divide the length of the curtain rod in inches by the spacing you want. If you want rings every 5 inches on a 10-foot curtain rod, you'll divide 120 by 5 to get 24, which means you'll need about 24 rings total.

Personal preference is also a factor. When you're working with flat panels, spacing the rings close together gives the window coverings a flatter look, while more distance creates a more full look. Test the panel with the number of rings you think will work and see if it drapes in a way you like. If not, add or subtract rings, spacing them evenly each time to get a look you love.

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Curtain Rod Placement Considerations

When installing curtain rods for use with rings, mount them high enough to account for the rings. If you mount the rod at or just above the window frame, the top edge of the curtain might hang below the top of the window, creating a gap that isn't covered. Check for proper placement by attaching the rings to a curtain panel and sliding it on the rod. Then, hold the rod above the window to find the ideal placement with the drop from the rings.

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Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.