In this post, we’ll go over 6 super easy methods for how to hang curtains in a dorm room.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you. Learn more: Affiliate Disclaimer.
When you’re moving into a dorm room for the very first time, you quickly find out that you have to decorate without damaging the walls. This gets tricky, especially when it comes to hanging curtains.
Fortunately, there are a few easy and affordable ways to hang curtains in your dorm without causing any damage. Much like the rest of college, you’ll have the chance to figure out what works for you.
6 Ways To Hang Curtains In A Dorm Room
1. Over-The-Door Hangers
Over-the-door hangers are the first of our 6 options for hanging curtains in your dorms.
You usually need 2 (one for each corner of your window), but if you have a large window, central support hangers may be necessary.
Over-the-door hangers are great if your dorm windows have a blind box or hefty wooden trim at the top. In that case, the only other supplies you need are a curtain rod and curtains. Then, you can follow these easy steps to install:
- Place one hanger on each side of the blind box (where the blinds hang down from). If your wooden trim has enough of a lip on it, you can hang the hook from the wooden trim instead.
- Slide your curtains onto your curtain rod.
- Rest the curtain rod on the hangers.
Again, this method is the most convenient if your dorm window has a blind box large enough to hook the hangers on.
There’s no damage, the hooks are affordable, and the hangers themselves aren’t big enough to draw attention away from your curtains.
Over-the door hangers can typically hold up to 35 pounds, depending on which brand you buy. This limits the kind of curtains you can use in your dorm.
Heavy or blackout curtains may not hold up, but lighter or sheer curtains will.
2. Command Hooks With A Curtain Rod
If you’re new to college and just moving into your dorm, command hooks are your new best friend.
With easy application and adhesive sides that don’t require drilling or hammering, command hooks are the way to go.
Once you have your Command hooks of choice in hand, it’s time to follow a few simple steps to install them (taken straight from the Command brand website):
- Wipe down the part of the wall that you’re planning to stick the Command hooks to with rubbing alcohol.
- Separate the strips by tearing them apart along the perforated line. Remove the red plastic liner and press the adhesive side to the actual hook.
- Remove the black plastic liner and press to the wall for at least 30 seconds.
- If you can see the tab of the strip, you’ve successfully attached it. Wait 1 hour before hanging your curtains.
- If you cannot see the tab of the strip, remove the hook from the wall by sliding it up and off the base.
- Press against the base for another 30 seconds.
- Slide the hook back down onto the base. Wait 1 hour for the adhesive to set before hanging curtains.
Command hooks are one of the most popular options for hanging curtains, but they aren’t the most aesthetically appealing.
If you’re worried about the chunky plastic hook, you might want to try the wire version of Command hooks. The installation instructions are the same, but you’ll see thin wire hooks on your wall rather than white plastic hooks.
3. Tension Rod
The tension rod route for hanging your curtains is another great option because they are affordable and can be mounted within your window frame.
As you can tell from the name, the tension rod uses tension to hold itself within the window frame between the flat surfaces of the trim.
You can purchase a tension rod online or from your local hardware store for a really affordable price. The installation process only takes a few easy steps:
- Find a rod that has the same or slightly longer measurements than your window frame.
- Tension rods are adjustable, so twist the rod counterclockwise to make it longer and have more tension within the window frame.
- Take the rod down and attach your curtains to it.
- Place the rod back in the window frame.
The only downsides of tension rods are that they tend to lose tension over time, they can’t hold the weight of heavier curtains, and they may not come in the right length for your window frame.
If you’re planning on having blackout curtains in your dorm room, tension rods may not be the best idea. But if you only want light, decorative curtains, the tension rod will hold up just fine.
4. Kwik Hang Curtain Rod Brackets
Once again, the Kwik Hang curtain rod brackets are an affordable way to hang curtains in your dorm without drilling or damaging your new room. However there are a few things you should keep in mind before buying them.
First of all, according to the Kwik Hang brand, the curtain rod brackets are best fit for windows with a wooden trim that’s at least ½ inch wide.
This ensures that the bracket has enough support to be able to rest above the window and hold your curtains.
Also, while the Kwik Hang curtain rod brackets don’t require nails, drilling, or damage, you will need a hammer to install them.
To install these curtain rod brackets, you’ll need to follow a three-step process:
- Place the bracket on the corner of the wooden trim. (A corner window setup will also require 2 center support brackets along with the corner brackets).
- Tap the bracket into the wooden trim with a hammer. A set of pins will secure the bracket in place, so there’s no need for nails.
- Hang the curtains.
Depending on how large your dorm window is, you’ll need 2-4 curtain rod brackets total. Larger windows require 1-2 support brackets in the center.
Unlike the tension rod option that can only handle light curtains, you can purchase thicker or skinnier rods for the brackets.
This will allow you to drape lighter or heavier curtains, depending on what you want for your dorm.
5. Twist And Fit Curtain Rods
If you like the idea of the tension rod but want something sturdier, twist and fit curtain rods are the way to go. Like the tension rod, the twist and fit curtain rod can be adjusted according to your window size.
The main difference between the twist and fit curtain rods and the classic tension rods is that twist and fit rods have their own brackets on each end.
These brackets secure the rod to the window trim, providing more support than tension alone can.
You can install your twist and fit curtain rods in a few simple steps:
- Measure the distance inside the window opening, not including the trim. This is where the rod will actually rest.
- Slide the rubber ring about 2 inches from the thick portion of the rod.
- Twist the rod either counterclockwise or clockwise to shorten or lengthen it until the tabs on either end match the window measurement you already took.
- Place the rod inside the top of the window. Adjust the tabs until there is proper tension in the rod.
- Attach your curtains to the rod.
- Twist the rod until the tabs maintain enough tension to hold up the curtains.
- Slide the rubber rings from the skinny portion to the thicker portion of the rod. These rings help hold the tabs in place and maintain tension.
Thanks to those tabs or brackets on each end, the twist and fit curtain rods can hold heavier curtains. They are also affordable, usually between $20 and $25.
If you have curtains for your dorm that aren’t sheer but also aren’t heavy, this might be the option for you.
6. Ceiling Hooks
Ceiling hooks are designed for windows that reach the ceiling, though technically you can still hang your curtains from the ceiling if the window doesn’t reach.
For this option, you’ll need ceiling hooks and a curtain rod. To apply Command ceiling hooks and then the curtain hardware, use the following steps:
- Wipe dust from the ceiling with rubbing alcohol or other cleaning supplies. Let dry.
- Take off the red plastic liner to expose the adhesive. Press the adhesive to the hook.
- Remove the black plastic liner. Press the hook to the desired spot on the ceiling for 30 seconds.
- Tuck the tab into the slot to hide it. Wait one hour for the adhesive to build.
- Attach curtains to the curtain rod. Make sure the rod is long enough to span the entire window.
- Place the curtain rod on the ceiling hooks.
If your curtain rod doesn’t fit in the hooks, you can hang loops of string from the hooks and hang the curtain rod from them.
Ceiling hooks are also a great way to create privacy within your dorm room. You could hang curtains from the ceiling to divide your dorm if you’re sharing with one or more roommates.
What Type Of Curtain Works Best For Dorm Rooms?
When it comes to curtains for dorm rooms, the “best” option is up to you. Popular choices for dorms tend to be blackout curtains, linen sheer curtains, and light- to medium-sized decorative curtains.
Blackout curtains are a great choice for dorm rooms because it helps college students get what they usually can’t get enough of—sleep. If you need total darkness to get quality sleep (which most college students do), then they’re a great option.
However, blackout curtains aren’t for everyone. Your curtain hanging method may not even be able to hold the weight of blackout curtains.
In that case, light, decorative curtains will be best for your dorm. They are small enough not to further cramp the room, and you can match them with the rest of your dorm room decor.
What Size Curtains Do You Need For Dorm Rooms?
The size of your dorm room window will determine the size of your curtains. Curtains marketed for dorm rooms can be anywhere from 42” x 63” to 60” x 84”.
You’ll need to research the window measurements for your particular dorm.
As far as type, sheer or light curtains are acceptable for all curtain installation methods. Blackout or heavy curtains will require heftier rods and hooks, which may cause damage to the walls.
Final Thoughts On How To Hang Curtains In A Dorm Room
There are 6 methods to install curtains in your dorm that are easy and affordable while causing no damage.
At most, you’ll need a hammer for installation. All materials for hanging your curtains can be found online or at a local hardware store.
To recap, the 6 best way to hang curtains in a dorm room are:
- Over-the-door hangers
- Command hooks with a curtain rod
- Tension rod
- Kwik hang curtain rod brackets
- Twist and fit curtain rods
- Ceiling hooks
Remember, decorating your dorm should be an exciting part of college—these easy methods of hanging curtains will make decorating stress-free!