Types of Curtain Rods – Complete List and Guide 2024

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Are you in the phase of redecorating your home?

One of the things you need to do is choose the best draperies to match your interiors perfectly.

Choosing a curtain rod is also essential for whatever types of curtains you may already have.

You will have to align your preferences with the various principles interior designers use for a well-thought-out aesthetic.

Besides choosing for design compatibility, you should also select the correct curtain rod to provide the exact function you need.

What is a curtain rod?

A curtain rod is a piece of curtain hardware material that holds and suspends curtains or drapes.

It can be made of metal, wood, plastic, or any combination of the three.

While typical curtain rods are long, simple pieces of material, some curtain or drapery holders can be automated contraptions.

You can find curtain rods wherever curtains or drapes can be put to good use.

Windows, shower stalls, and doorways are prime examples of places where a curtain rod could serve its function.

A curtain rod’s primary function is to suspend drapery panels to allow more privacy, block the entrance of light, or hinder the movement of air and water between spaces.

How many types of curtains are there?

Interior design is continuously evolving, which means more and more varieties of curtains come into play.

Today, curtains can be categorized by material, attachment style, overall appearance, and primary function.

They can also have different panel quantities, sizes, and opacities.

When it comes to the choice of materials, curtains can be made out of almost any type of fabric.

The only consideration with fabric type is that the curtain rods and accessories should support the material’s weight without bending or buckling.

While panel quantity, overall appearance, and attachment style are purely aesthetic, curtain size and opacity relate to function.

Different Types of Curtain Rods

Curtain rods have been in use since the late 1800s.

Since then, the most significant leap taken by designers includes mechanization and automation.

Even so, the original concept of a curtain rod is still widely used today.

The following section outlines the most common rod types available in home centers and DIY stores.

Conventional Curtain Rod

Conventional curtain rods can be any pole made out of wood or metal.

Wooden and metallic curtain rods come in varying diameters, so choose the correct diameter for your curtains’ attachment style.

While most wooden curtain rods come in standard dimensions, some metallic curtain rods are made of hollow telescoping pipes you can adjust to fit an area’s span.

Most conventional curtain rod kits come with ceiling or wall mounting brackets, finials, and curtain rings.

Some kits allow the rings to be removed for rod pocket curtains and curtains with grommets.

Conventional curtain rods can either come in single poles or a pair of parallel bars.

Single Curtain Rod

The most common type of conventional curtain rod is the single rod.

As the name suggests, a single rod comprises a lone pole holding a single layer of curtains.

The lone rod can carry curtains with rings and grommets, and it can go through rod pocket curtains.

Aside from serving the full function of suspending curtains, single curtain rods can be decorative curtain rods.

A single rod is enough to hold a valance curtain or a window scarf.

Double Curtain Rod

Simply put, a double curtain rod doubles the functionality of a single rod.

It is a combination of two poles fixed parallel against each other, which means it can hold two layers of curtains.

Like the single rod, double rods have wall brackets for mounting.

The double curtain rod has been invented to make curtains more functional and versatile.

You can hang sheer (semi-transparent) fabrics on one pole and blackout panels on the other.

The double rod functionality allows adjustment of passive interior lighting without sacrificing privacy.

Swing Arm Curtain Rod

Instead of having fixed mounting brackets on both ends, a swing arm curtain rod attaches to a pivot on a wall.

Swing arm curtain rods may come in singles or pairs, with the pivots mounted somewhere by the top corners of windows.

Like conventional curtain rods, swing arm curtain rods allow rings, grommets, or rod pocket attachments.

However, the finials are typically positioned at the end of the rod that is not attached to the pivot.

Swing arm curtain rods allow a curtain to be opened and closed by swinging the rod about the pivot. This variety can also come in single or double poles.

Tension Curtain Rod

Tension rods can also be used with rod pocket curtains, rings, and grommets as long as they fit the pole.

The takeaway here is that tension rods do not use wall mounting brackets.

Instead, the rods can be adjustable, so both ends press against the interior face of window frames or jambs.

Traverse Curtain Rod

When thinking about traverse rods, imagine single or double curtain rods with tracks instead of poles.

If you have wide-span sliding glass doors or windows in your living room, a traverse curtain rod can greatly simplify functionality.

The tracks have mechanized carriers that hold curtains and move them in one or two directions using a pull of a cord or a press of a remote.

Traverse rods are excellent for pinch pleat curtains. The same concept is also used for vertical window blinds.

Continental Curtain Rod

Continental curtain rods, also called dauphine rods, are flat-faced bars used for heavier pleated draperies and valance curtains with rod pockets.

They come in widths between two and a half to four and a half inches, and some variations can be curved to fit bay windows.

The continental curtain rod emphasizes the drapes or curtains’ design because they are concealed under the fabric.

What is the difference between a curtain rod and a drapery rod?

The main difference between a curtain rod and a drapery rod is the amount of weight each can support.

Curtains are typically made of lighter fabrics than drapery panels.

For this reason, drapery rods should be made of denser or sturdier materials.


If you have pre-purchased your window treatment fabrics beforehand, be sure to get the correct type of curtain hardware.

Not all types of curtains can be used with the different variations of curtain rods.

Once you choose your curtain rods, you will still have to select among available colors, shades, and finishes.

The metallic rod types also come in varying finishes, such as brushed nickel, chrome, polished copper, or antique brass.

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