How to Measure up for a Curtain Pole and Choose a Style to Suit

A good curtain pole will transform the way your curtains hang, enhancing the whole look of your room. Buying a curtain pole may not be as simple as you first thought; they can range between straight plastic poles with rings to a curtain track with automatic opening and closing on a light sensor.

Curtain poles can be both manually operated and cord-operated, poles with rings or gliders, or even electronically operated for home protection and convenience. Curtain rails are available in different materials and colours to complement a room; either coloured plastic, or wood or metal with a different finish (paint or varnish). Whichever material you use for your track or pole, it is important that it will support the weight of the curtains which will hang from them; it might be better to splash out on a top quality pole which will last for years.

Corded tracks work differently to simple poles with rings as they allow the opening or closing of the curtains by pulling a nylon cord which works on a system of gliders and pulleys. This avoids you needing to handle the curtain, which will protect delicate fabrics from damage. Pull-cord openings are also useful if the curtains are particularly tall and difficult to manage. Buying a spray-lubricant will guarantee that the tracks work as efficiently as poles with rings.

Electronically operated curtains are an alternative to manually operated poles with rings or cord-operated curtains, but are more expensive. They offer similar advantages as corded tracks, but can be remotely operated by a controller, light sensor or timer. The latter two enable the opening and closing of the curtains when nobody is in the property, adding to home security.

Whichever style of curtain pole you choose it is important to ensure that the size and shape are right. Curtain rails come in different sizes, so measuring the window is essential. Measure the recess width of the window with a metal tape measure, and note the number down. Also decide on the number of centimetres you will need either side of the window for when your curtains are open, you will need this so the curtains do not restrict daylight once open. The number is usually around 15cm to 20cm on each side, but might need to be more for wider or thicker curtains. Add twice this width (once for each side) to the width of the actual window to get a total. This will give you the minimum length required for your new curtain rail. Extra wide windows will need multiple rails connected together by a joiner or good curtain rail retailer. Bay windows are all different shapes and sizes, meaning that measuring is more difficult. You will need to add the depth of your bay to the total length of the rail, but it is most likely that the rail will need to be adapted to measure by the retailer, or, if you are handy, bent and cut at home.

You can give poles with rings a number of unique features to add to the look of the room. Finials and midials can be purchased in different materials and effects to finish the look of your window, as can curtain ties or hold-backs.

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