The Complete Guide to Stylish and Functional Curtains for Double Hung Windows

Warm afternoon light pours through a set of stately double hung windows, illuminating the elegant curtains that frame the glass panes. Choosing the perfect window treatments can elevate any room while providing privacy and light control. Follow this complete guide to find the ideal curtains to enhance your double hung windows.

Double hung windows hold a timeless appeal. Comprised of an upper and lower sash that slide vertically past each other, these classic windows invite natural daylight into a home. However, the expansive glass panes pose unique challenges when it comes to dressing them with curtains. Take the right approach and you can fully enjoy the benefits of double hung windows while creating a beautiful backdrop in your space.

What are Double Hung Windows?

Double hung windows feature two sashes, or panels, that move independently of each other on vertical tracks. The lower sash typically slides up while the upper sash slides down, allowing both the top and bottom halves of the window to open. Some key traits of double hung windows include:

  • Both sashes can slide up or down to control ventilation and light
  • Offer a traditional look with exposed sash and frame
  • Efficient design provides excellent natural airflow
  • Easy to operate using sash locks and cords

These versatile windows bring classic style to any room. The movable upper and lower sashes make double hung windows ideal for controlling temperature and airflow as needed. However, their functionality also presents unique challenges when selecting window treatments.

Challenges of Double Hung Windows

The exposed sashes and expansive glass of double hung windows pose a few issues to consider when planning window treatments:


With two large panes of glass, double hung windows offer minimal privacy. Curtains or other window treatments are necessary to block views into the home.

Light Control

The sizable glass surface lets in ample daylight which is beneficial, but possibly too much at times. Window coverings help regulate light levels.

curtains for double hung windows


The vertical sashes and rails when bare may seem unappealing. Dressing them with curtains enhances the aesthetic.

Fortunately, there are many excellent options for window treatments that solve these issues while elevating the look of double hung windows.

Types of Window Treatments for Double Hungs

A variety of window treatment styles work well with double hung windows. Consider which option best fits your needs and decor.


Interior shutters are a top choice for double hungs. Popular styles include:

  • Cafe shutters: Only cover the lower half of the window for partial privacy.
  • Plantation shutters: Offer a classic look with adjustable louvers.
  • Composite shutters: Made with synthetic materials like vinyl for durability.
  • Wood shutters: Provide a timeless, elegant appearance.


Roller, solar, or blackout shades effectively control light and views.

  • Solar shades: Reduce glare while still allowing some light through.
  • Blackout shades: Completely block external light sources.


Sleek aluminum or faux wood blinds complement double hung windows nicely.


A variety of curtain styles work with double hungs. Some top options include:

  • Tab-top curtains: Feature tabs at the top to hang from a rod.
  • Rod pocket curtains: With a pocket sewn into the top to insert the rod.
  • Back tab curtains: Have tabs placed at the back for a clean look.
  • Pleated curtains: Offer a decorative billowy effect.

Considerations for Double Hung Window Curtains

When choosing curtains for your double hungs, keep these factors in mind:

Inside vs Outside Mount

Inside mounts fit within the window frame while outside mounts extend beyond it. Outside mounts provide better light control.

Allowing Windows to Function

Ensure curtains don’t obstruct the windows’ movement. Inside mounts work best for this.

Room Aesthetics

Factor in your room’s decor style, colors, and ambiance when selecting curtain style and fabric.

Privacy Needs

Assess your privacy requirements. Thicker, blackout, or layered curtains provide more seclusion.


Curtain costs vary significantly. Compare materials, styles, and vendors to find the best curtains for your budget.

How to Measure for Double Hung Curtains

Proper measuring ensures your curtains will fit correctly. Follow these steps:

Inside Mount Measurement

For inside mounts:

  1. Measure each window’s height and width from inside the frame.
  2. Note the depth of the frame to ensure sufficient stacking room.
  3. Add overlapping allowance to the measurements (2-3 inches per side is common).

Outside Mount Measurement

For outside mounts:

  1. Measure overall window height and width including frames.
  2. Decide how far beyond the frame you want the curtains to extend.
  3. Add this overlap to the window measurements.

Consult with a curtain specialist to find the optimal sizes and fabrics for your double hung windows.

Curtain Styles for Double Hung Windows

Double hung windows pair nicely with a variety of curtain materials and opacities:

Lightweight Curtains

Sheer, breezy curtains allow sunlight to filter through while adding softness.

Heavyweight Curtains

Thick, opaque fabrics like velvet or brocade provide increased privacy.

Blackout Curtains

Special linings block all external light for rooms needing total darkness.

Noise Reducing Curtains

Curtains with sound dampening properties absorb noise.

Hanging Curtains on Double Hung Windows

Properly hanging curtains complements your windows’ appearance and function.

Inside Mount Techniques

For inside mounts:

  • Mount curtain hardware directly into window framing.
  • Ensure cords or wands don’t impede window movement.
  • Check draw location to optimize window clearance.

Outside Mount Techniques

For outside mounts:

  • Install supporting brackets and rods above frames.
  • Extend hardware beyond window edges by desired overlap distance.
  • Consider using a cornice for a decorative accent.

Use sufficiently sturdy brackets, rods, rings, and other hardware. Follow any specific mounting guidelines for your curtain type.

Decorating Tips for Double Hung Window Curtains

Use these tricks to make your curtains stand out:

Coordinate Styles and Colors

Match your curtains to your room’s decor for a cohesive look.

Layer Window Treatments

Combine curtains with existing shades or blinds for greater customization.

Add Toppers and Valances

Top treatments give curtains a finished, polished appearance.

Adjust Curtain Length and Fullness

Tailor aspects like length and fullness to your room’s proportions.

The right curtains can take drab double hung windows from dull to fabulous. Assess your room’s needs, style, and architecture when selecting treatments. Follow accurate measuring and hanging techniques for optimal performance and visual appeal. With the proper approach, it’s easy to adorn double hung windows with beautiful, functional curtains that elevate your space.

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