Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Extra Long (and cheap!) Curtain Rod

Weren't those curtains last week exactly what was needed to finish off the living room?

Did you stop to wonder how in the heck we managed to get a 20' curtain rod?

Ordering the curtains was easy.  The problems started when we tried to hang them.  That wall with the sliding doors is 20 feet wide, so not just any curtains rods would do.

First we tried two 10' rods.  The problem with regular curtain rods is that they require a center support.  If you use the center support, the curtains have to be on both sides of it, meaning that in our living room, we'd have a lot of curtain mass bunched between the doors in the center, which I didn't want at the time, even though we're doing it now.

We tried hanging them without the center support, but the rods were wimpy and sagged under the weight of the curtains panels.  FAIL.  So we returned them.  Did I mention they're like $150 for two?

Next we researched curtain tracks.  These are not only ugly, but they're also expensive ($300) and get poor reviews.  We thought it was our only option, so we ordered them.  In the end, it turns out I didn't ever click "order" (don't drink and shop online?), so they never came!  I was really excited about this instance of serendipity, because in the meantime I thought up an even better idea!

Back when my Mom had a women's clothing store, she used electrical conduit poles to hang stock in the warehouse.  I'm talking hundreds to thousands of pounds of clothing hung on each pole.  Turns out a 10' conduit pole is not only strong, but is also only $7!!!

The strength of the pole allowed me to have a 10' span of rod, uninterrupted by a support.  I bought two 10' conduit poles, 1" in diameter.

Now I just had to figure out how to attach it to the wall!

I bought every single thing sold at Home Depot that might possibly work (L brackets, shelf brackes, curtain rod brackets, wood pieces used for stairs, etc.), and brought it all home.  In the end, what worked best and looked best was a shelf bracket.

We attached it to the wall with super-duper triple-action drywall anchors.  We attached the conduit with conduit straps.  The center bracket acts as the support for both poles.

they didn't need to be exactly 10' each, so Tommy cut off a little with a hacksaw

Shopping List (they're not paying me, I just wanted to show you what we bought):

Let's play "where's Waldo?" with the bracket...
there it is!
pretty simple, just a shelf bracket, conduit strap, and conduit piping
We left conduit past the ends so we could use the curtains to cover the brackets

I'll admit that these are not the most-beautiful-ever-in-life curtain rods.  However, they cost less than $25, span 10 feet without a center brace, and with the pattern on the curtains, you don't really notice them anyways.

I'll take it!

If you're not crazy about the look of conduit, I used some hammered spray paint recently that would give these a beautiful finish.  I didn't bother for this project, but maybe in the future I'll decide to spruce them up.  Something to think about.  In other homes, I bet gold or wrought iron black would look amazing.

So for a few hours of labor (mostly trial and error to see what would work) and $25, we were finally able to hang up those curtains!  Sure beats the $150 ones that sagged or the $300 ones that were ugly and probably wouldn't even work all that well.

On future projects, even if I don't need a 10' span, I'll definitely be going with conduit.  The economics are just too good!

This project was really easy, and one I would definitely recommend!  Be sure to have a friend on hand - this was sooo much easier with two people.


  1. I just found your blog from Refashionista! I'm glad this is the first post I saw- I'm moving into a new apartment with a huge wall of windows next week! Thanks for the tips, I'll have to try it out!

    Amanda @ Running In Heels

  2. Also, I just read our About Me page- I'm moving from SC to just outside DC too! It's a great city : )

    Amanda @ Running In Heels

  3. Great idea! Wish I had known this several years ago. We put together two curtain rods to span across our living room windows. I'm sure the conduit piping is cheaper than our two Target brand rods. Next time! I love the way you and a lot of DIYers think outside the box! Helps out simple minded people like me! :)

  4. How novel! Exactly what I needed to know. My only question is that it seems like your conduit runs from wall to wall, and is bolted to the brackets, so how do you remove your curtains (to wash, or replace) without having to unscrew the strapping?

    1. You do have to unscrew the c-shaped pieces that attach the conduit to the brackets, but it's about the same amount of work as with a normal curtain rod. Best of luck with your project!


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