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6 Renter-Friendly Ways To Hang Curtains Without Drilling Into Walls

updated Sep 6, 2022
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(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

If you’re looking for easy, inexpensive ways to hang curtains without drilling holes into your wall, there are lots of options. While most of the time, I’m okay with skirting around a landlord’s rules and will happily drill holes to hang art and curtains, every now and then you meet a landlord who’s such a stickler, you wouldn’t even dare bring a drill into the apartment. If you find yourself in such a situation, these damage-free ideas for hanging curtains will help you keep your privacy—and your security deposit.

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Use Temporary Command Hooks

If you love the look of a real curtain rod—or have a penchant for decorative finials—then a simple tension rod probably won’t work for you. Instead, use a trick we often employ on photo shoots when we don’t want to drill holes in our studio walls: pick up some Command hooks. They attach everything from picture frames to small shelves to the wall, yet one tug on the strip’s tab instantly releases the hold. Command sells metal hooks designed specifically to hold curtain rods, and the brushed nickel finish works with a wide variety of curtains. If you have a different style hook in mind, you can try MacGyvering your own by gluing two Command strips together and using them to hang up any decorative hook you like.

Hang Curtains With Tension Rods

If you have traditional paned windows with frames, tension rods that stretch from one side of the frame to the other are a subtle and sophisticated way to hang curtains. When hanging sheer, lightweight curtains pair them with a thin curtain rod (no bigger than 7/16 inch) for a delicate style. Depending on the look you’re going for (and how much privacy you need), position the rod at the top of the window for maximum coverage, or place it lower for a country-curtain style.

Order Custom Compression Shades

If you plan to stay in your rental for several years and don’t mind spending a little more to get custom-cut blinds, there are several companies that offer blinds with a compression system (i.e. a drill-free installation). Check out RediShade’s selection of Artisan Custom Shades These fabric pull-down shades come in 7 different degrees of light filtering, from translucent to blackout, to make both sunlight-lovers and vampires happy. Be sure to choose an option that uses a “Simple Fit” compression system, rather than an adhesive strip, which can harm the paint at the top of the window frame. Or, check out their accordion shades.

Make a Faux Roman Shade

By sewing a custom-sized curtain panel with pockets at the top and bottom for tension rods, you can create faux Roman shades. If you know how to sew a straight line, making this shade is a breeze, and DIY-ing it lets you customize the color and pattern of the window treatment. When it’s time to move out, you can pack up the rods and curtain and take them along to your next place.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Buy Twist & Fit Curtain Rods

Using the same concept as an ordinary tension rod, twist and fit curtain rods are secured across the window. Their design gives the impression of a hook and a separate rod, when in fact, it’s all one piece. I like the Maytex option above, in the dark oil-rubbed bronze finish, but metallic options are also available.

(Image credit: Katy Cartland)

Suspend Curtain Rods from the Ceiling

If it’s dry, crumbly plaster or a cinderblock wall that’s preventing you from drilling holes, consider hanging your curtain rod from the ceiling instead. If you have high-set windows, like those in the home above from Elle Decoration featured on My Domaine, suspending curtains from the ceiling will look natural. If you have particularly low windows, a tension rod may still be your best bet (see above). Take a look at Umbra’s ceiling-mount bracket, which comes in nickel or dark espresso finishes.

Lastly, if you’re stuck on what curtains to buy, check out these stylish curtains and window treatments!

Okay, renters, now that your curtains are hung, what about your art? Check out these smart ideas for hanging art without putting holes in the wall.

Re-edited from a post originally published 2.6.17 – DF

5 Ways To Use Tension Rods