How to hang curtains in your rental like a total pro

Swerve damage and draining your deposit

Floral curtain over a window on a rainbow background
(Image credit: Future/Urban Outfitters)

Curtains can create a warm as well as inviting space and are a quick and inexpensive way to make your rental feel like home. Whether they're blackout shades or sheer, flowy curtains, these additions are an essential part of any home, especially in small rental apartments for a variety of reasons.

Now, if you're renting an apartment, it's important to choose curtains that are durable and easy to care for. You should also make sure they fit well in your windows and that they match your apartment’s style. With a little coordination, curtains can be a fantastic way to improve the look and feel of your small rental apartment.

With this in mind, professional organizer and Reset Your Nest’s regional manager for the DC/Virginia region Eve Mitchell provided us with a tutorial, tips, and alternative ways you can hang curtains in a small apartment.

Good to know

  • Time: 30–45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Intermediate. Hanging panels, shades, or curtains isn't too difficult, but it depends on the method you choose.
  • Helpful hints: Always measure twice before buying curtains so you don't end up with something too big or too small for your space!

Here's what you'll need

  • Tape measure — everyone needs a good one and this Stanley pick is Amazon's Choice
  • Pencil
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Microfiber cloths — our favorite is this 24-pack from Amazon; they're so handy
  • Command Forever Classic Large Metal Wall Hooks — you can buy these on Amazon
  • Extendable curtain rod — this highly-rated option on Amazon comes in plenty of colors 
  • Step stool or ladder (optional depending on window size)

How to hang curtains in a rental

Step 1: Choose adhesive wall hooks and an extendable rod

We recommend buying a set of Command Forever Classic Large Metal Wall Hooks (which are available on Amazon). They can hold up to five pounds, which is perfect for most window treatments. You'll also want to pick out an extendable curtain rod that can be sized up or down for different window lengths, too. This highly-rated pick from Amazon is a good choice and comes in several colors.

Step 2: Measure your windows and walls

First, you will need to decide if you want your curtains to fall just an inch or two above the floor or if you want them to pool at the bottom. The standard size for curtains is 84 inches but can go up from there if you like the longer look.

Step 3: Measure the length of the space above your window

For mounting curtains above a window frame, you will want to measure 4–6 inches from the window trim for placement of where the rod should extend. This can help make your small space appear larger. Use a measuring tape (like Stanley's FatMax from Amazon) and grab a pencil to mark out your measurements.

Step 4: Clean the wall

Now that you have your markings, it's time to install the adhesive hooks. Make sure to clean the surface with rubbing alcohol and a clean rag or microfiber cloth first. Don’t rub too hard or you could remove paint. All you want is the space to be free of dust. Once you’re done wiping it down, allow it to dry.

Step 5: Press and apply the hooks

Separate the strips and press the adhesive to the hook. Make sure to hold for 10 seconds. Then separate the strip from the hook and place it onto the wall and hold it securely for 30 seconds. Allow adhesive to cure for at least one hour or overnight.

Step 6: Add your curtains

Add your curtains to the rod, then carefully using a step stool or ladder, lay your curtain rod cross the window, placing them on your hooks. Ask a friend or roommate to help out if you have super tall windows.


What are alternative curtain and curtain hanging options?

There are a few other ways you can hang curtains in a rental that won't require drilling or cause damage:

Spring tension Rods or Twist-and-Fit Rods

Spring tension rods or twist-and-fit rods are affordable and easily adjustable options that can fit most windows. They come in different sizes and you can fit them inside the window frame.

Pleated Paper Blinds

If you need an extra light-filtering layer on your windows, try pleated paper blinds. You can trim them to fit your window. No need to pull out the tools…just peel and stick! You can add these to your windows and then add a rod to layer a set of curtains over them.

Should you get curtains for your rental?

There are many reasons why it's worth buying curtains or shades for your rental home.


Curtains can provide privacy. If you live in a small apartment, you may not have a lot of space to separate your living areas. They can help to create a sense of privacy by dividing up the space and blocking out views from the outside.

Control Light and Noise:

Curtains are helpful for controlling light and even noise. If your apartment gets a lot of natural light or your neighborhood is noisy, curtains can help to keep it from being too bright, too hot, or too loud. 

Color & Style:

If you’re seeking to add a pop of color to your apartment, then invest in some curtains! They're a great way to add color and style to your apartment and make your space feel cozier and inviting.

Energy Savers:

Curtains can also assist with saving energy, as they keep your apartment cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. The best part about having curtains in your apartment is that you can save money on your energy bills.

Aida M. Toro
Freelance Writer

About Me:

Hello! My name is Aida M. Toro and I am a freelance writer that loves cultivating stories about amazing people, fashion, interiors, art, and food. I currently write for Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam, The House Magazine, Hobnob Magazine, The C-Word, and Real Homes. I live in West New York, New Jersey, which is literally a 10-minute ferry ride or 20-minute bus ride away from New York City. Although I was born and raised in West New York, I consider NYC my home, as I believe it to be the place where all dreams come to fruition, and of course, spend most of my time in. When I’m not writing, I love perusing the city streets and taking snaps with my iPhone of street art along with random things, scoping out new restaurants as well as their spaces, shopping at some of my favorite stores, spending time with family and friends, walking my cockapoodle Benji, and working out at Lifetime or DOGPOUND, which are some of the top fitness spaces in Manhattan and overall the U.S.