Different Kinds of Curtain Rods


Designed as much for function as form, curtain rods come in a variety of styles. Not all curtain rods are appropriate for all windows, curtain types or decorative styles, so understanding the different types of curtain rods is key to selecting the one most appropriate to your space. Those looking to install curtains should consider the curtain rod's style, design, decorative elements, function and weight before purchasing.

Hidden Rods

  • Hidden curtain rods are track-run rods that hang discreetly on brackets. These rods come in single or double rod styles and are meant to hang curtains while remaining unseen. Long and straight with two shallow, curving ends, these rods are adjustable, come in a variety of sizes and are relatively inexpensive. Concealed curtain rods include tension rods, sash rods and wide-pocket rods. Tension rods hang inside window sills, are adjusted for tension and require no brackets. Sash rods are straight rods with bracketed ends, and wide-pocket rods are wide, straight rods meant for curtains with deep rod pockets.

Traverse Rods

  • Traverse curtain rods are meant to hang rod-drawn curtains, which are drawn open on an internal pulley. Traverse rods are a durable, long-lived curtain rod design. Look for two-way traverse rods that allow curtains to open in two directions, one-way traverse rods that pull all curtains to one side and decorative traverse rods that have rings or sconces that can be seen whether the curtains are open or closed.

Decorative Rods

  • Decorative curtain rods are largely concerned with design, rather than function. These rods are long and straight with elaborate sconce, bracket or finial ends. While these rods come in heavy gauges for weighty curtains, the long, straight nature of the rod often is not ideal for more intricate curtain designs. These rods are available in metal and wood styles, with or without rings, and are ideal for shallow pocket curtains of all types.

Cafe Rods

  • Cafe rods are lightweight, decorative curtain rods made of brass or wood. These rods often include small finial ends and are used to hang light curtains, such as tab-tied or cafe curtains. Installation in kitchens and bathrooms is common, but these rods might also be found in dining rooms, family rooms and spaces where light curtain installations are found.

Specialty Rods

  • Specialty rods are less commonly used but serve unique purposes. Mechanized rods are one type of specialty rod, an ultra modern alternative to the traverse rod that opens and closes with the flip of an electrical switch. Magnetic rods are adjustable rods that adhere to metal doors and window frames and are ideal for metal doors with windows in them. Hinged rods are on a hinged arm that opens out and are ideal for French doors.

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