Curtain Rods and Finials Curtain Rods and Finials

In our eternal pursuit to draw attention to the forgotten or scorned decorating accessories, we turn the spotlight onto one of the most neglected pieces of the home - the curtain rod! We hope that you won't have to cover your eyes when you draw back the curtains and behold a warped rod. Possibly, there's an absence of those ornamental extremities - called finials - at the end of the rods. Fear not, because there are many ways to improve upon these necessities of window treatments.

  • Tip: From this day forward, make the curtain rods and appropriate finials a necessary decorating accompaniment of your window treatments. Their value can be equal to that of the curtains.

While the rods are needed in order to support the drapes or curtains, sometimes the finials are (gasp) forgotten. But in recent years, finials have grown increasingly popular, and so more and more are sold attached to the end of the rod instead of screwing onto it.

First, let's look at how to improve upon an ordinary curtain rod. If you are not interested in replacing it, there are many alternatives. Along with being incredibly inexpensive, do-it-yourself rods allow for greater personalization of the space. Though it's easy to get wrapped up in the perfect aesthetics, in the end (and the beginning) it's the idiosyncratic taste of the client that the space should mirror.

There are many ways to create an individual style. Use a very basic rod with simple ball finials and paint the unit a color that contrasts with the curtains and matches the bedding or wallpaper. Alternatively, you could cover the rod with the same fabric as the curtains, which would simplify the window treatments by creating symmetry. Other ways to dress up curtain rods are by wrapping a vine of plastic flowers around it, or a feather boa for an over-the-top look.

Now, for those who are not so crafty, there are beautiful wooden, wrought-iron, and glass finials. Though they come in many different designs, most of them can be grouped into four types. There is the hook, the onion (or ball), the swirl, and the dagger. Metal or wrought-iron finials fit perfectly in a mature setting such as a master bedroom, a den, or a study. (Of course, we strongly recommend not placing the dagger style in a child's room, but that goes without saying.) The wooden pieces appeal to clients with more traditional tastes. Because there are a variety of finishes, they can be matched with other wood finishes in the room, whether it is that of a coffee table or entertainment console.

Glass finials come in wonderful floral, geometric, and painted designs. Often, they are sold separately from the rods. Though they generally cost more than the others do, they will invariably last a lifetime. Also, you're never stuck with a certain style, because you can always take them off and put new ones on. For an inexpensive alternative, take out the paintbrush and create your own design on a plain ball. Gloss finishes will help to create a professional look.

When choosing which finials will work best on a particular window, there are a few things to take into consideration. Match the size of the rod to that of the window. Simply, large windows should be accompanied by large rods. Imagine a small window with an enormous curtain rod over it that extends far beyond the window frame. That wouldn't look balanced. Also, the hangers that hold the rod should be nailed outside of and above the window frame.

Curtain rods and their finials can do more than add elegance and style to a drab set of curtains; they can bring harmony into a room. They can uplift the aesthetics of a bedroom. When that happens, the design of the entire living space benefits, all because of the "little things."

Reprinted with permission by the Sheffield School of Design

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