Curtains 101 – Bay Window Curtain Poles

When we started to arrange our new curtains, I had assumed that we could use our existing wood curtain rail and life would be simple (silly me!).  Cathy suggested that we would need to make sure it was super sturdy as the new wool, thermally lined curtains would be significantly heavier than what we had up previously. A bit of a jiggle revealed that they wouldn’t likely be up to the task without some additional support brackets.

But as we all know, nothing is ever simple! Its been a long journey to find a suitable curtain rail, but I will summarise what I learnt in a series of helpful bullet points to avoid this post turning into a (rather dull) novella…

  • So that a heavy curtain can go around the corner bend in a Bay window, you need what are called ‘passing brackets‘  (a bottom supported bracket) and ‘passing hooks‘ (‘C’ shaped hooks with a cut out that can slide over the bracket). So far so good – very clever.
  • You cannot, however, simply buy passing brackets and add them to your existing wood curtain rail (my initial ‘easy fix’ thought). Every passing bracket has a slightly different projection from the wall, and you need all brackets to be the same.
  • Unfortunately (according to John Lewis) they don’t make wood curtain rails with passing bracket systems as they just aren’t strong enough – they only make metal ones.
  • A custom made metal bay window curtain rail will set you back about £900. This is because they come out to measure and install, and also bend the metal corners to suit your bay window exactly.
  • A bay window kit on the other hand, costs about £100-£150 depending on what features you go for. The corners aren’t as nice (there are various styles as shown above), but given they are usually covered with a curtain, it’s probably not such a big deal.
  • You cannot mix and match passing brackets with passing hooks from a different manufacturer (or any component for that matter). The cut out in the hook, and the position of the ring on this hook which holds the curtain is designed to work precisely with that bracket design.
  • You must check the weight of your curtains to ensure the rod is strong enough as curtain rod systems are rated to take a certain weight. (The system I liked the look of best, just wasn’t strong enough unfortunately, so in the end the decision was made for me).  Luckily the company I bought the fabric from (Kvadrat) had the weight available as 840 g/lin.m. Cathy  had calculated that I needed 11.4 m, so it was easy to calculate
  • Don’t forget to add the weight of the lining!  Turns out that the thermal lining Cathy was using was about 800g/lin.m.  As the information was not available from the supplier or on line, we figured that out by first weighing the A5 sized sample of Kvadrat fabric on a kitchen scale.  We then weighed the same sized A5 rectangle of lining. Turns out they weighted the same number of grams, so the maths was easy.
  • Just because you order a thick 35mm diameter rod doesn’t automatically mean that the weight all 35mm rod curtain rails can take is the same. This is also related to the brackets.

After a lot of searching, we ended up going with the Swish Design Studio Bay Window kit from Poles & Blinds (available in brass, polished chrome, anthracite, and stainless steel). We opted for the anthracite so it would match our gunmetal grey radiators in the hallway near by.


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