Tab-top drapes come in many lengths and fabrics.

How to Hang Tab Top Drapes

by S.R. Becker

Traditional drapes require you to slide a curtain rod through a folded tube of fabric on the upper back of each panel. For a different look and ease of hanging, try tab-top drapes. Instead of a folded hem, the top of a tab-top drape features individual loops of cloth through which you insert the curtain rod. You'll find the tab-top style in many weights, lengths and fabrics, from thermal blackout drapes to sheer white panels.

Iron the tab-top drapes on an ironing board, making sure to iron each tab flat. Check the care label on the drapes for instructions on the correct iron settings.

Lay one of the tab-top drapes flat on a clean floor. Measure from the top of the tabs to the bottom of the curtain with a tape measure. Tabs can add several inches to curtain length, so knowing the full length of the panel allows you to place the curtain rod at the correct height.

Make a small pencil mark on the wall at the point where you want your drapes to end. This might be just below the windowsill, or it might be just above the floor. Measure the length of the curtain from the pencil mark by running the tape measure up the wall. For example, if your drapes are 54 inches long, including the tabs, and you want the curtains to stop 1 inch from the floor, your second pencil mark should be 55 inches up the wall. Make a second mark at the same height to indicate where the other end of the curtain rod should go.

Hang the curtain rod brackets according to the package directions. In the case of the 55-inch marks, the top edge of the curtain rod should be in line with the mark, not the bottom edge. Most curtain rods require you to drill a small pilot hole with a drill bit slightly smaller than the screws you plan to use. Screw the brackets into the wall by inserting the screws through the holes in the brackets and into the pilot holes in the wall.

Insert the curtain rod through each of the tabs on the first drape from right to left, making sure the correct side of the curtain is facing out. Slide the second panel onto the curtain rod one tab at a time, placing the tabs on the rod from left to right.

Hang the curtain rod on the brackets and space the tabs on the drapes as you like. The tabs will be pushed together when the curtains are open and spaced evenly along the rod when the curtains are closed.

Items you will need

  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill
  • Drill bit one to two sizes smaller than the curtain rod screws
  • Screwdriver or screwdriver drill bit


  • Use a low-heat, no-steam setting on your iron if you are unsure of the fabric content of your drapes. If you have any doubts about ironing them yourself, take them to a dry cleaner and have them pressed by professionals.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images