There's a huge choice of window treatment hardware available today. Because of this, most of us don't know what to go for when we try to decide between all the competing products.
So what should you do?
Ask yourself a few simple questions and you can easily narrow down your options.
Narrow down your options
Here are some pointers to help you decide.
The style of your room
What's your room like?
If your room is traditional in character, then you could go for wood or metal poles, or standard tracks. Poles have the advantage that they become part of the decorating features and are attractive in their own right.
If you go for tracks, they need to be unobtrusive. Good quality tracks in white are often the best choice here. If you need them to carry a some weight - such as heavy curtains - then they probably need to be metal. The problem here is that heavy duty tracks are usually quite ugly, so they need to be covered by a cornice box or other top treatment.
For a modern or contemporary room, you can still use poles or tracks. You just need to make sure the poles are modern ones, or the cornice boxes you use have a modern look to them. Straight cornice boxes are a very useful solution.
(For more details on tracks and poles go the the curtain track page.)
The state of your walls
How are your walls? Really solid? Or just thin plasterboard?
Most people don't consider this, but some modern walls are not very solid, and may not be strong enough to support heavy features. Poles in particular usually only have a maximum of three brackets. Each of these needs to be securely fixed.
You can often overcome any problems by finding out where the structural supports are behind your wall.
If you have any doubts about your walls you'd be advised to obtain professional advice.
Where to fit your hardware
The position of your window treatment hardware depends on the finished look you want to achieve.
Where exactly do you want your curtains to hang when they are drawn back to the sides? And how far up should they be?
If you were to make your track the width of the window, then even when drawn back the curtains would cover a large portion of the window.
So extend the track past the window.
The amount you add depends on how much room the curtains will take up. This can vary between 6" and 1' 6" depending on the number of widths of fabric used, thickness of fabric, and if they are interlined or not.
Height of track above window
As indicated in the above sketch, your curtains will need to hang from above the window. An approximate position is about one third up towards the ceiling. But this is a very approximate guide, and if your ceiling is high then ignore it.
For most situations you don't want to place the track more than 5" or 6" up, but it depends on the exact requirements of your window treatments.
For example, you may have about 2' 0" above your window, but you want wall to wall drapes. In this case put your track or pole just beneath the ceiling.
Corded track or not?
Often you'll want to use corded tracks or poles so you don't have to keep handling the curtains. You can get tracks which are perfectly presentable, and will do the job well.
But if you have heavy curtains, a suitable track may look a bit ugly, and needs to be covered by a cornice box or valance.
In some instances with your window treatment hardware you may just want a plain track or pole, with no embellishments. This is often the case where curtains are in a child's rooms, and you don't want them swinging from the cords or forgetting to use the cords in the first place!
Remember, there are certain safely features which are necessary in childrens' rooms.
If you're not using a corded track but still want to prevent the curtains being handled, use 'wands' or 'control rods'. These are just lengths of plastic or wood which are hooked onto the back of the curtains and hang down behind. You then use them to move the top of the curtains along the track.