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What is a Curtain Rail?

By Jenelle Sprague
Updated May 16, 2024
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A curtain rail, or cafe rod, is a long rod that is attached to a wall just above a window, and it is used to hang curtains on. There are many varieties and sizes of curtain rods, and it is best for someone to carefully select one that will add to a room’s decor rather than detract from it. A curtain rod can be the prefect accent to any room if it is chosen and placed correctly.

The curtain rail that a person chooses should be based on how the person wants the room to flow. If a person would like a room with a more modern climate, he or she should choose a curtail rail that reflects that theme and is made in a fashionable modern style. In addition to theme, a person must also consider the color scheme of the room when choosing a curtail rail. For example, if the main colors of the room are black and white, the curtain rod should be the offset color, or the color that is less present, in order to neutralize the flow of the room. The curtains that hang from the cafe rod are the main attraction, and the style and color of the rail should be neutral and less emphasized to reflect that.

Before installing or even purchasing a curtain rail to add to the decor of a room it is vital that the area above the window be measured to ensure that the cafe rod that is selected will not only be tasteful but functional. There are curtain rods available that are adjustable, however, if measuring the area is not possible. Cafe rods can be purchased at almost any home supply store, hardware store or large shopping center.

Installing curtain rods is a simple project that any do-it-yourself person can complete. The typical tools required to accomplish this installation are a level to ensure that the rail is straight, a tape measure, screws, fasteners and a screwdriver that has the appropriate head. Most curtain rails are sold with screws and fasteners and might include an instruction sheet. The cafe rod must be installed properly before the curtains are added, or there is a risk of damage.

After one chooses a curtain rail that adds to the flow of the room, the next step it to add curtains and to enjoy it and maintain it. Curtain rods do not require much maintenance, only a light dusting every now and then. The rule of thumb is if the curtains need to be changed or washed, it is time to dust the rod, too.

A curtain rail can also be a lovely place to put holiday or seasonal accents. For example, a rail is a wonderful place to wrap fake ivy vines during the summer and a lovely place to hang snowflakes in the window for the winter. A cafe rod is a simple but effective tool in enhancing the feel and flow of a room, if it is chosen and installed correctly.

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Discussion Comments
By Ocelot60 — On Jan 02, 2015

@spotiche5- I don't think that it matters if you use cheap curtain rails as long as you have pretty curtains to put over them. You can buy the least expensive metal rods and put lacy, brightly-colored curtains on them to make your room look great.

If you want curtain rails that are bit fancier than basic metal rails, you should be able to find several varieties in the home furnishings department at your favorite retails store. Though they will cost a bit more than basic rails, you should be able to find curtain rails with decorative end pieces that won't break your budget.

By Spotiche5 — On Jan 01, 2015

I am trying to decorate a spare bedroom on a budget. What are my options for inexpensive curtain rails without making the room look cheap?

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