How to Hang Curtains in a Dorm Room

Attention all college students and dorm dwellers! As you settle into your new home away from home, one of the first things on your to-do list may be decorating your dorm room.

And let’s face it, adding some curtains can make a huge difference in brightening up those plain walls and creating a cozy space. But if you’re like most busy students, the thought of measuring, drilling, and hanging curtains may seem like an overwhelming task.

How to Hang Curtains in a Dorm Room

Fear not! In this blog post, we will walk you through step-by-step instructions on how to hang curtains in a dorm room without damaging the walls or spending too much money. So put down that textbook and get ready to transform your dull dorm into a chic sanctuary with these practical tips and tricks!

Curtain Selection Tips

Consideration of Fabric Type

The fabric of your curtains plays a significant role in how they function and change the aesthetics of your room. Lightweight fabrics such as linen or cotton provide a casual look, while heavier fabrics like velvet or brocade create a more formal and luxurious feel. Also, think about how the fabric might fade over time, especially if the room receives lots of sunlight.

Light Blocking Needs

If you need to block out light for privacy or to create a conducive sleep environment, consider blackout curtains. They’re often made with heavier fabrics and have a light-blocking layer to prevent light from passing through. These are perfect for light-sensitive sleepers, night-shift workers, or anyone who prefers to keep their room dark.

Color Scheme

Choose a color that complements the existing color scheme of your room. If you want your curtains to blend in, choose a color that’s similar to your walls or furniture. For a pop of color, select curtains in a contrasting color.


Curtains can range in price depending on the fabric, size, and design. Establish your budget before shopping and remember that while curtains are an important element in a room, they often don’t need to be the most expensive.

Selecting Curtain Lengths

The length of your curtains can have a huge impact on the look of your room. For a modern, casual feel, consider floor-grazing curtains that just barely touch the floor. If you prefer a more traditional, romantic look, opt for puddle length curtains that pool slightly on the floor.

Blackout Curtain Options

For those with light-sensitive sleep or who need to darken their space during the day, blackout curtains are an excellent option. These curtains are typically heavier and have a special lining to block out light. They come in a variety of colors and styles to match any room decor.

What Will You Need?

Before we dive into the step-by-step process of hanging curtains, let’s make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials:

  • Curtain rod: You can find an affordable tension rod at any home goods or hardware store. These rods are perfect for dorms as they require no drilling and won’t damage your walls.
  • Curtains: Choose curtains that match your style and the overall decor of your room. Remember that they should also be long enough to cover the length of your desired window area.
  • Curtain clips or rings: These are optional, but using them will make the process easier, especially if you have heavier curtains.
  • Measuring tape: Make sure to measure your window before purchasing a curtain rod to ensure a perfect fit.
  • A ladder or step stool: Depending on the height of your windows, you may need some additional height to reach and install the curtains.

Now that we have all our materials ready, let’s get started with hanging those curtains!

9 Easy Steps on How to Hang Curtains in a Dorm Room

Step 1: Measure the Window

The first step in hanging curtains in your dorm room is to measure your window. This is crucial to ensure the curtain rod and curtains fit perfectly. Using your measuring tape, measure the width of your window from edge to edge. If you plan to hang your curtains outside the window frame, include the extra space in your measurements. Note the measurements, as you’ll need them when purchasing your curtain rod and curtains.

Measure Your Window

Step 2: Purchase the Correct Curtain Rod

After obtaining the measurements, the next step is to purchase the correct size curtain rod. Be sure to buy a tension rod that fits your window’s width. If your curtains are heavier, consider a rod with a larger diameter for added strength. Keep the style and color of the rod in mind; it should complement the curtains and the overall decor of your dorm room.

Step 3: Attach Curtain Clips or Rings to Your Curtains

Now, it’s time to prepare your curtains. If you’re using curtain clips or rings, evenly distribute them along the top edge of your curtain. The standard practice is to attach one clip approximately every 4-6 inches, but this may vary depending on the width and weight of your curtain. If your curtains have a rod pocket, you can skip this step and proceed to the next one. Remember, curtain clips or rings are not just functional but can also add a decorative touch to your curtains.

Step 4: Insert the Curtain Rod Through the Rings or Rod Pocket

Once you’ve attached all the curtain clips or rings, feed them onto the rod. If you’re using curtains with a rod pocket, this is the time to insert the rod through the pocket. Make sure the curtain is evenly distributed along the rod. If your curtain has a specific front and back, ensure the front faces outwards. Once your curtain is on the rod, you’re almost ready to hang it.

Step 5: Position the Curtain Rod

Now that your curtain is prepared, it’s time to position the curtain rod. Hold the rod up to the window at the desired height. Remember, where you place the rod can affect the look of your room. Placing it closer to the ceiling can create the illusion of a taller room. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, extend the tension rod until it fits snugly within the frame of your window. Ensure it’s secure and level. You can adjust the height later if needed.

Step 6: Adjust the Curtains

With the rod securely in place, it’s time to adjust your curtains. Make sure they’re evenly distributed across the rod. Depending on the style, you may want them gathered in the center or spread out to cover the window. If your curtains are longer than the window, you should create a puddling effect by allowing them to pool slightly on the floor. This can add a touch of elegance and drama to your dorm room.

They're Evenly 
Distributed Across the Rod

Step 7: Check the Length

Now, take a step back and check the length of your curtains. If they’re too long or short, you can adjust the height of the rod as needed. The ideal length is to let the curtain just touch the floor, but your preference may vary. You may have the curtains fall a bit longer for a more dramatic effect or slightly shorter to keep them clean and off the floor.

Step 8: Perform Final Adjustments

Once the curtains are hanging, do a final review. Check for any unevenness in the curtain’s fall or if any adjustments are needed in the curtain’s dispersal across the rod. Adjust the ring clips or rearrange the folds as necessary. The goal is to ensure the curtains hang straight and the fabric is distributed evenly across the rod. If you have more than one window in your dorm room, repeat the process for each. Remember to measure each window, as sizes may vary.

Step 9: Enjoy Your New Curtains

Congratulations! You’ve successfully hung curtains in your dorm room. Now, you can enjoy the new atmosphere they create. Whether they’re adding a splash of color, blocking out light for a good night’s sleep, or giving you more privacy, your new curtains will surely enhance your dorm living experience.

By following these 9 easy steps, you can hang curtains in your dorm room without any hassle. Remember to have fun with the process and choose curtains that reflect your style. With the addition of curtains, you can transform your dorm room into a cozy and personalized space.

Curtain Styling Techniques

Layering Curtains

Layering curtains can add an interesting visual depth and dimension to your dorm room. It involves using two or more curtain panels to create a multifaceted window treatment. For instance, you might layer a lightweight sheer curtain underneath a heavier blackout curtain. This combination allows for adjustable light control, privacy, and the added benefit of a stylish look. Another appealing option could be mixing patterned panels with solid colors to create dynamic visual interest. Imagine an arrangement of a floral patterned curtain layered over a solid pastel color for a soft, bohemian vibe, or a bold geometric pattern paired with a deep, solid color for a modern, striking statement.

Tiebacks and Holdbacks

Tiebacks and holdbacks are stylish and functional accessories that can dramatically alter the look of your curtains. These are perfect for creating open, gathered styles that allow more light into your room or showcase the view outside. You can choose simple, understated tiebacks that blend with your curtain fabric, or opt for decorative ones that serve as a focal point. For example, a beaded tieback or a wrought-iron holdback can add a touch of elegance and personality to your dorm room. Keep in mind that the style and material of your tieback or holdback should complement the overall decor and theme of your room. Whether you prefer a classic rope tieback or a chic metal holdback, these accessories provide endless opportunities to express your unique style.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

  1. Measure Twice, Cut Once: Before purchasing your curtains, measure your dorm room window accurately. Remember the adage, “Measure twice, cut once.”
  2. Consider Tension Rods: Since most dorms prohibit any kind of permanent changes, consider using tension rods for hanging curtains. They’re easy to install and remove without damaging the window frame.
  3. Light Filtering Curtains: Consider light filtering curtains if your dorm room receives intense sunlight. They can help reduce glare on your laptop screen and protect your room from heating up too much during the summer.
  4. Coordinating with Room Decor: Choose curtains that complement your dorm room decor. This will make your space feel more like home and give it a more cohesive look.
  5. Easy Care Fabric: Always opt for curtains made of easy-care fabric. As a student, you’ll appreciate machine washable and wrinkle-resistant curtains, saving you time and effort.

With these additional tips and tricks, you can easily transform your dorm room into a more comfortable and inviting space.

Consider Using Tension Rods

5 Things You Should Avoid

  1. Avoid Dark Colors: Dark curtains may make your small dorm room feel even smaller and absorb heat, making the room warmer. Opt for lighter colors that reflect light and make the space feel bigger and brighter.
  2. Steer Clear of Permanent Hardware: Avoid curtain rods or hardware that requires drilling or making permanent wall holes. This could damage the dorm room and result in fines.
  3. Don’t Overlook Privacy: While sheer curtains may look nice and let in natural light, they may need to provide more privacy. Consider layering sheer curtains with more opaque ones.
  4. Beware of Long Curtains: Floor-length curtains can be a tripping hazard and collect dust. Aim for curtains that hang just below the window sill or slightly touch the floor.
  5. Avoid High-Maintenance Fabrics: Curtains made of delicate fabrics that require special care or dry cleaning are not ideal for a dorm setting. Choose materials that are sturdy and easy to clean.

Troubleshooting Common Curtain Issues

Uneven Curtain Hanging

If you find your curtains are hanging unevenly, it’s important to address the issue promptly. A common solution is to adjust the rod brackets. If one side is lower than the other, you’ll need to reinstall the bracket on that side at a higher position. Be sure to use a level during the installation process to ensure everything is even. Another solution might be to add weight to one side of the curtain. You can do this by attaching a curtain weight or a small washer to the bottom hem of the lighter side. To prevent uneven hanging in the future, always utilize a level during bracket installation, and ensure that your curtains are of even weight on both sides before hanging.

Gaps Between Curtains and Window

Gaps between the curtains and the window can let in unwanted light and compromise your privacy. To address this, consider using blackout curtain clips, which can help pull the curtain closer to the wall and fill in any gaps. Alternatively, you can use foam adhesive strips along the edges of the window frame. These strips help seal the gaps and can also add a layer of insulation, blocking out noise and drafts.

Curtain Damage

Minor curtain damages like small tears or snags do not mean you need to replace the entire curtain. For quick fixes, consider using fabric glue or a sewing kit. If you’re using fabric glue, apply a small amount on the tear and press the fabric together. If you’re sewing, make sure to use a thread that matches your curtain fabric. But remember, prevention is better than cure. Handle your curtains with care during installation and cleaning, and consider having them professionally cleaned if they’re delicate or antique. Regular gentle cleaning helps to maintain fabric integrity and extend the lifespan of your curtains.

Opt for Lighter Colors 
That Reflect Light

With these tips, you can confidently hang curtains in your dorm room without any hassle or damage.


In conclusion, when decorating a dorm room with curtains, it’s important to consider the fabric, length, color palette, design, and any special features, such as blackout lining. With thoughtful consideration for these items, you can find curtains that work with your space and look great, too!

Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different styles. Even if things don’t turn out exactly how you envisioned them in the beginning, you can always customize and adjust until they work for your needs!

Hopefully, the article on how to hang curtains in a dorm room has provided you with helpful tips and tricks for creating a cozy and functional space. Good luck with sprucing up your dorm room!

You can check it out to Hang Curtains on Windows With Crown Molding

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