All About Hardware for Hanging Curtains, Stair Rail and Picture Framing

Find out about the common household hardware, including those used for curtain rods, banisters and hanging pictures.

Once the main decoration of a room is complete, there is normally a need to "finish" the room by adding window dressings, pictures, mirrors and other accessories. It is therefore essential to choose the correct attachments for particular wall surfaces and to be aware of the various brackets, clips and hardware that are available.

Finishing Hardware

Wall dressing such as curtains and blinds make up an important part of the final look of a room. For this reason, it is important to choose the right materials, and to hang them in the appropriate way.

Curtain Tracks

Most modern curtain tracks are plastic, though the traditional metal variety is still available. Light and flexible, plastic tracks are easy to install, and they can be shaped to bend around curves and corners.

Parts of a Curtain Track
Plastic curtain tracks are designed to be unobtrusive and to allow the curtain to hang close to the wall or window surface.

Choosing a Curtain Track
Plastic curtain tracks have little decorative appeal and so are usually covered when the curtains are closed.



Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Curtain Rods

Curtain rods are secured by brackets that hold the rod away from the wall surface. Rods and brackets are normally made of wood or metal, although other materials are available. For small windows, just two end supports should be sufficient to support the rod. For large windows, or when heavy curtains are being hung, a center support may be needed. Rods can be joined using dowel screws.

Parts of a Curtain Rod 
This decorative element should be chosen with some regard to the overall look of the room.

Choosing a Curtain Rod 
Part or all of the curtain rod is visible when the curtain is hung, so the design of the rod needs to fit with the rest of your decor.



Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Rail Hardware

Other hardware to finish a room include the various racks and rails used for hanging clothes and towels. There are various types of brackets, and the type you use will depend on how you want to position them. The brackets themselves come in a range of materials; chrome is shown here.

Chrome Rail 
This is a popular material because it resists tarnishing and is easily cleaned. This makes it ideal for use in the bathroom.

Mirror Fixings

Mirrors can be hung in a variety of ways. The most important consideration is whether or not an attachment is strong enough to support the weight of a particular item. When fitting a mirror flush against a wall surface, make sure that the wall has no undulations. If it does, be careful not to over tighten the screws, otherwise the mirror may crack.

Mirror Screws (Image 1)
These are ideal for holding mirrors in place, if they have predrilled holes. If this is not the case, use adhesive or other specially designed brackets.

Mirror Corner Brackets (Image 2)
Four brackets are secured to the wall surface; each of these supports a corner of the mirror. Use small screws or nails to fix to wall.

Mirror Pads (self-adhesive) (Image 3)
These should only be used for small, lightweight mirrors. They are double-sided adhesive pads; one side attaches to the wall surface, the other adheres to the back of the mirror. Peel off protective layer and stick to one surface first.

Mirror Brackets (sliding) 
Sliding brackets are normally combined with fixed brackets, both lipping over the front of the mirror surface to hold it securely in place. The back of the bracket is attached to the wall, and the front lips over the mirror surface.

Picture Frame Attachments

Picture hooks can only be used for relatively lightweight items. For heavier frames, insert the attachments at a slight downward angle. Greater strength can be achieved by using resin and heavy-duty attachments. In many instances, particularly when hanging extremely heavy frames, screw attachments (with the appropriate wall plug) or nails can offer the most secure hanging mechanism. Always take care to avoid drilling into pipes or wires inside the wall surface.

Flush Frame (Image 1)
These attachments are attached to the outside edge of a frame. Depending on the frame's size and weight, several may be needed. They allow the frame to sit flush against the wall surface.

Eyelet Screws (Image 2)

These screws have a looped head and are inserted into the back of the frame. For small frames, these eyelets can be used as a direct hanging point. Alternatively, one eyelet is attached to each side of the frame and picture wire is tied between the two and looped over a wall attachment.

Hardwall Picture Hook (Image 3)
Modern design of hook that relies on a number of small, tightly packed "nails" to penetrate the wall and provide strength. Use a hammer to drive nails through.

Picture Wire (Image 4)
Metallic wire suspended between eyelet screws on the back of a picture frame.

Picture Hooks 
Traditional type of hanging mechanisms designed to penetrate the wall at a slight downward angle to increase attachment strength. Some hooks have two nails for increased strength (image 1). A more traditional design is provided by picture rail hooks (image 2). These are attached to picture rails, and pictures are hung either directly from the hooks or from wires looped between them. An advantage is that they leave no marks on the wall.

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