This Renter-Friendly Curtain Hack Costs About $10 and Takes Just Five Minutes — No Drilling Necessary!

published Feb 28, 2023
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Jennelle Mendes New York City House Tour
Credit: Erin Derby

Hanging curtains in your home is a simple way to immediately make it cozier while adding some much-needed privacy, too. Window treatments are the ultimate functional-meets-stylish addition, but it’s admittedly easy to get a little lost on just how to execute the look, especially in a rental. Luckily, a handful of ways to safely hang curtains exists — without drilling into your walls — and one of the best ideas will cost you around $10.

Jennelle Mendes lives in a 350-square-foot apartment on the Upper East Side of New York City, and has maximized every inch to put her unique style on display. “I would describe myself as cultured, groovy, and chic,” Mendes says. “And I think my apartment embodies all that I am and strive to be.”

Mendes’ interior style skews toward the softer side, with pops of pale pink sprinkled throughout the space. “I would definitely say that the color palette illustrates my comfort in my femininity, and my decor leans into my cultured and curious approach to design,” she adds in her house tour.

When it comes to pulling things together in her apartment, Mendes has a self-proclaimed “anything goes” mentality that still manages to look flawless and put-together in the end — and her living room curtain situation is a perfect example of that polish. Instead of using nails to mount a curtain rod above her windows, she positioned a tension rod within the window frame to hang up curtains. That way, she gets a nice pop of color and texture in her place without having to use any tools or make a major investment in curtain hanging hardware that might not fit her home if she relocates one day.

Credit: Erin Derby

Whether you’re looking for a budget- and/or renter-friendly solution for hanging curtains or you aren’t quite ready to commit to nailing up a rod, this is a super-simple option. All you need is a plastic tension rod, which you can find on Amazon at $10 for a two-pack.

“One challenge I’ve faced in this apartment is that I get very little sunlight,” Mendes says. “And this is a big change from my last place.” So, to capitalize on natural light throughout the day, she paired the tension rods with sheer cotton curtains from IKEA for her mid-sized windows, then placed mirrors directly across from then to reflect the sun she does get.

You might see tension rods as a temporary solution, but in reality, choosing them over traditional curtain rods allows for a much more convenient yet still good-looking curtain mounting method, with minimal installation time and investment. Plus, they’re versatile enough to work across various spaces and window frame sizes, if you find yourself in a new space someday. “Using items that have a dual purpose and are aesthetically pleasing is one of my favorite decorating hacks,” adds Mendes, and I’d say these tension rods fit the bill.