We freeze when it comes to a few everyday details around our homes, such as hanging art and draperies. The thought of peppering the wall with nails from feeble attempts is a downer.
As for securing heavier objects, we often don't do it ourselves because we're afraid they'll be crooked or come crashing down. So we called on the pros to help us conquer these trip-up tasks. They showed us the correct way to measure and how high to hang the hardware. With practical steps in hand, you'll be armed with ways to save time, money and the aggravation of patching holes before repainting the walls — again.
• Mirror glass can weigh eight times more than picture-framing glass, so ask for "idiot hooks," says Philip Graham, manager at Westport Glass & Mirror in Kansas City, Kan. "They're foolproof . . . adjustable and easier to hang than D-ring hardware."
• Employ the buddy system. Two people are better than one because of the heft.
• If a mirror is especially large and heavy, ask for Z-bar hardware: One piece attaches to the wall, another to the back of the mirror. It anchors the mirror to the wall and prevents it from tilting forward.
Nothing stops an eye like curtains hung too low, which make a room seem shorter. Shawna Hampton of Modern Haven Interiors in Olathe, Kan., says:
• In a room with average ceiling height, install hardware 3 to 4 inches above the top window trim.
• Hang hardware 5 inches or higher above the window if you have high ceilings.
• Floor-length store-bought drapery starts at 84 inches and can go up to 108 inches or more. Take into account where you want the foot of your drapery to land — either gracefully "knuckling" at the floor for a traditional look or stopping at the floor for a modern feel.
• If you're using clip rings, consider the extra length they might add.
Measuring for window treatments
For ready-made treatments:
• Measure the height and width of your window in three separate places: top, middle and bottom for width and at each third for height. If any of the measurements is different, use the smallest one for width and the largest for height to make sure the treatment fits appropriately. This is vital for inside mount treatments, such as blinds and shades.
• If you have multiple windows that appear to be the same size, you should still measure them individually.
For custom draperies:
• Measure the width of the entire window, including any trim (in three places).
• Measure the height from the top of the window trim to the bottom of the apron under the sill (in three places). Measure the height from floor to top of window trim for floor-length draperies.
• Measure outside of the window trim to side obstructions (walls, doors, light switches) to determine how much stack back — amount of drapery that overlaps the wall on each side of the window — to allow.
Drapery hardware: a newer way to hang
A cable system — rather than rods — for draperies is gaining popularity for its minimalist look and space-saving ability. Find them online from West Elm or Ikea, or make them from parts found at a hardware store or home warehouse. You'll need sturdy steel cable, two heavy-duty screw-in hooks, two turnbuckles, wire cutters and wall anchors (the cable can be cut to length in the store or with a small cable cutter). The system is good not just for windows but also for dividing a large room into a smaller niche — for example, curtaining off a bedroom in a studio apartment.