How to Hang Curtains Without a Rod? [With & Without Drilling]

Let’s imagine that you’ve just moved into your new place. One of the first things you need is a way to stop the sun from waking you up at 5 am every morning, and to stop the neighbors from being able to see everything you do!

However, it turns out that hanging curtains is extremely bothersome. Drilling is difficult, getting everything level is tricky, and when you mess it up, it’s hard to recover from. So, you may be wondering, is there anything you can do to avoid that hassle and still get your curtains hung up?

There are quite a lot of ways you can hang curtains without drilling, or without even using a curtain rod! From hooks and staples to tension rods, you have a lot of options to consider. And it doesn’t stop there: you can even customize what you hang the curtains on. Our favorite idea is ditching the boring metal rod and using a pretty tree branch!

In the following sections, we’ll show you all the best alternatives to traditional curtain rods. We’ll cover fixed and movable options that you can achieve with no rod at all, and some amazing tips on how to install curtain rods without any drilling necessary!

how to hang a curtain without a rod

Can You Hang Curtains Without a Rod?

It might not be very common to see, but there are actually a lot of interesting ways to hang curtains without a traditional curtain rod. Whether you’re researching this topic because you want to avoid the drilling and heavy-duty DIY, or because you’re aesthetically unexcited by metal curtain rods, we have tips to share on both fronts! 

Things You Can Use Instead of a Curtain Rod

First, we’ll take a look at the options to hang curtains without any rod or rod-like object at all. 

A. Stationary Curtains

stationary curtains

‘Stationary’ refers to curtains that are held permanently in place and cannot be opened and closed by drawing them. Stationary curtains are mainly used for decorative rather than practical purposes. 

1. Upholstery tacks

  • Best used with: lightweight curtains
  • Window frame: not necessary
  • Amount of wall marks: minimal

Upholstery tacks are small pins used for securing fabric to other materials. You’ll often see them being used to attach cushioning to wooden furniture, such as a chair. They can also be used for decorating fabrics.

If you’re going for a minimalist look with your decor and like the idea of having curtains with no visible rod, tacking curtains to your wall could be the perfect solution for you. It’s much better suited to light, decorative curtains, as the upholstery tacks wouldn’t be able to hold thick drapes.

There are two ways you could approach hanging curtains with upholstery tacks. The first is to tack them into pleats at each end of your window, so the curtains are permanently open. The second is to tack them fully across your window so the curtains are technically permanently closed, but can be gathered to the edges and tied with curtain tiebacks to create a mostly open appearance. The upper corners of your windows would still be covered.

To make sure the curtains are level when you install them, use a pencil and a ruler with a spirit level to mark a straight, level line the length of your window. Draw the line exactly where you want the curtains to be, and make sure to push the tacks into the wall precisely on the marked line.

To make neat, even pleats, we recommend measuring the amount of space between each tack. You will need separate marks for both where the tacks will go into the curtain, and where they’ll go into the wall.

For the wall, you can measure and mark where you’d like the upholstery tacks to go with a pencil. On the curtains, you could make a small mark with a pen. Alternatively, you could measure as you go, using a ruler to determine where the next tack should go and pushing it through the curtain separately before pressing it into the wall.

If you want to keep your tacks fairly hidden, you can color match them with your curtains, or even find upholstery tacks made from clear plastic. But if you’d like them to stand out, you can buy them in many colors, patterns, and even with acrylic gems attached.

2. Staples and Furring Strips

  • Best used with: lightweight to normal curtains
  • Window frame: not necessary
  • Amount of wall marks: minimal

If you like the idea of minimal curtains without a rod, but would prefer not to stick so many tacks into your walls, you could try staples and furring strips instead.

Furring strips are simply long, thin, flat pieces of wood that can be installed above your window with just a couple of well-placed nails. You can then use the same pleating techniques as the above method but attach your curtains directly to the furring strip with staples instead.

We recommend applying the staples vertically so they don’t visibly affect the way the fabric hangs. The staples should be able to withstand a little more weight than upholstery tacks, so you can hang curtains that are a little thicker.

B. Moveable Curtains

movable curtains

This refers to curtains that can be easily changed from an open position to a closed one and are not permanently fixed to any one spot. 

1. Door Knobs

  • Best used with: lightweight, normal, or heavy curtains
  • Window frame: not necessary
  • Amount of wall marks: high

A great way to avoid curtain rods and have moveable, stylish curtains is to hang them on door knobs. Simply screw as many door knobs as your curtains have loops/rings to your wall and hang your curtains on them. You can use the same spirit level ruler and pencil method to mark where the door knobs need to go.

To open and close these curtains, you’ll need to remove and re-hang each curtain loop until it looks the way you want, so it’s not quite as effortless as a curtain rod—but it looks amazing, so it’s definitely worth it.

You can visit any hardware store and find whole walls lined with different door knobs, from antique wood to shiny metal or even glass.

For even more choices, you can shop online, and you can also use drawer pulls for this technique. You’ll be able to find drawer pulls of all shapes and sizes, and even designs like a cute heart or animal shaped drawer pull as well!

2. Tension Cable

  • Best used with: normal to heavy curtains
  • Window frame: not necessary
  • Amount of wall marks: moderate

Tension cables are metal ropes attached to a fixed point at both ends and pulled very tightly to create strength via tension. Above a window, they can hold even heavy curtains, but they can also be used to hang curtains like light sheer curtains across greater distances. This makes them perfect for creating room separators that span from wall to wall.

Setting up a tension cable requires the cable itself and two fixed points to attach the wire to. Many tension cable kits use a hook and eye system: the wire is attached to a component with a hook on the end, and the eye screw is screwed into the wall.

The cable is tied tight and any excess wire is cut away. The hook can then be hooked onto the eye screw to create a sturdy but easily removable tension cable, allowing you to hang curtains without traditional curtain holders.

3 Best Curtain Rods That Doesn’t Require Drilling 

If it’s not the rod you want to avoid but the drilling, then take a look at these next ideas on ways to hang curtains. You’ll be able to install a curtain rod and hang your curtains with no drill needed, and no holes in your walls!

1. Kwikhang

Kwik-Hang Single Curtain Rod Brackets – No Drill, No Damage – Perfect Curtains Every Time – 1” Bronze
  • Best used with: normal to heavy curtains
  • Window frame: necessary
  • Amount of wall marks: none

Kwikhang is a company that invented a quick and easy bracket for holding curtain rods that requires only a window frame and a hammer to install. Instead of attaching to the wall, this bracket sits on top of your window frame and includes its own built-in nails, so all you need to do is tap it into place with a hammer.

Corner brackets and middle brackets are available to help hang curtains on corner windows and larger windows that need extra support. 

Of course, if your windows are frameless, you won’t be able to make use of this product to hang curtains—but you will be able to use the next one!

2. Command Curtain Rod Hooks

Command Curtain Rod Hooks for 1/2' or 5/8' Diameter Rods, Total 4 Hooks with 4 Command Strips, 2 Pack of 2 Hooks, Decorate Damage-Free
  • Best used with: light to normal curtains
  • Window frame: not necessary
  • Amount of wall marks: none

You may have heard of the “Command Hooks” brand before, for their small, easy to remove adhesive hooks designed to hang picture frames and other small decorations. Aside from those products, they also make large, heavy-duty self-adhesive curtain hooks that can hold 5 lbs each. 

Two or three Command hooks attached to the wall above your window will be able to hold a curtain rail and a pair of light curtains without causing any wall damage. This is a perfect solution when you need a stick on curtain rod or temporary curtain rods and don’t have time for expensive window treatments.

Other temporary curtain rods include tension rods and tension cables. Alternatively, you could leave the rod and hang curtains directly on the Command hooks, similar to the door knobs method. 

3. Tension Curtain Rods

Amazon Basics Tension Curtain Rod, Adjustable 36-54' Width - Black, Classic Finial
  • Best used with: normal to heavy curtains
  • Window frame: frameless is best
  • Amount of wall marks: none

Tension rods are adjustable metal rods with soft rubber or plastic caps at the ends. They are installed between two flat sections of parallel wall, and stay in place through tension.

A tension rod is often used in shower cubicles to hold shower curtains, but they will work just as well for normal curtains on windows and make a great easily removable curtain rod. 

To make sure your tension rod is level when you install it, it’s best to choose the height and make a pencil mark on one side of the wall. You can then measure from the base of the window to this mark, and use that measurement to make a second mark on the opposite section of the wall. Then you just need to make sure both ends of the tension rod are covering these marks when you install it.

When installing tension rods, make sure to put the curtain onto the rod before you install it, unless you have tie-top curtains.

Making a DIY Curtain Rod at Home

If you’re bored with the traditional curtain rod and want to find a new way to hang curtains, then you’re in luck. The only two things a curtain rod really needs to be to work is long and thin, and there are plenty of long, thin objects around to experiment with. Below is a list of popular alternatives, and a few things we thought up ourselves!

Tree Branches

A particularly popular curtain rod replacement, tree branches are both beautiful, unique, and personal. From procuring to pruning and cutting, you decide exactly what you want and no one else will ever have another quite the same.

Using a tree branch to hang curtains is great for rustic-style homes, cottage kitchens, or even a fairy-themed children’s bedroom. Wood is, of course, quite strong so a healthy branch should be able to hold curtains of most weights.

You can go the completely natural route, or you can get creative and attach fabric flowers and leaves to give your tree branch a new lease of life. If you have a conveniently placed power outlet nearby, some fairy lights spiraled around the branch can also look amazing.

Rope

Another natural-style curtain rod replacement is thick rope. This is also a great match for rustic cottage decor, or if you have a sailing fanatic in the family it would look great in a maritime themed bedroom!

Rope will need to be tied to fixed points to secure it, so tie one end, thread the curtain onto the rope and then secure the other end. Big knots with frayed ends suit the overall look, so don’t be afraid to go bold!

Wire

If you have an awkwardly sized window or just want something far more subtle and subdued than a large, obvious curtain rod, then wire could be the solution for you. Like rope, you’ll need to tie this to your curtain rod brackets, and make sure to thread the curtains before securing the second end.

Fabric Rope

If you’d like something a little more decorative than standard rope, try making your own out of patterned fabric from the fabric store. Simply braid strips of fabric together to make a rope as thick or thin as you like. Braiding can be done in lots of different patterns, and plenty of video tutorials can be found online.

Sports Equipment

For a young sports fan, you may be able to find an aptly sized piece of sports equipment that can function as a curtain rail. Golf sticks, hockey sticks, lacrosse sticks, and such can do the job perfectly. Golf balls, baseballs, tennis balls, and other small-sized sports balls could also be attached to the ends of traditional curtain rods to liven them up.

Copper Pipes

If you like the steam-punk aesthetic or have other copper highlights in your house, copper pipes can be creative alternatives to normal curtain rods. PVC pipes can also be used in the same manner.

Measuring Tape/yardstick

If you’re a creative type and have a workroom or crafting space, yardsticks or measuring tapes can make cute themed curtain rods and replace your traditional curtain rod. Hanging curtains on a yardstick would be just like using a curtain rail, but measuring tape is another flexible option that would need to be tied.

Fairy Lights

Fairly lights can be wrapped around just about any of the options we’ve discussed already if you would like to add some light and sparkle. You can buy battery powered fairy lights if you don’t have or don’t want to use a nearby power outlet.

You could also hang a curtain directly onto fairy lights. Simply wrap the lights round and round the two curtain rail brackets and secure them. You can then slide the lights off at one end, hang the curtains on it and replace it.

Verdict

Whether you are aesthetically bored of curtain rods or sick of drilling holes in your walls, there are many possible solutions to the problem of how to hang curtains without a rod.

Hanging curtains is one of the first tasks that need to be completed when moving into a new home, and sometimes you may need a quick fix that doesn’t involve getting the drill out. Other times, you might just want your curtains to fit thematically with the rest of the room, and a traditional curtain rod just won’t do the trick.

We hope this post has given you some good ideas, and we wish you luck with your home decor journey!

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