What Curtains To Use With A Traverse Rod?

If you have to replace curtains for a traverse rod system nowadays, you may be finding it to be an impossible project. No matter where you look, there are lots of options for a standard rod. But what curtains can you use with a traverse rod? We've looked into it to bring you the answer. 
Traverse curtains are uniquely made (typically pinch pleat) curtains with curtain (or drapery) pins. Some excellent curtains for a traverse rod include:
  • Iyuego Solid Thermal Insulated 95% Blackout Curtains
  • ChadMade Custom Polyester Linen Curtain
  • Twopages Solid Thermal Blackout Drape
  • Prim Linen Pinch Pleat Curtain
  • The Curtain Shop Braddock Jacobean Damask Drape
  • Cololeaf Pinch Pleated Lined Drapery Panel
  • Macochico Velvet Curtains

So how do you find, and select, traverse curtains? When should you use them? If they're so hard to find, does that mean they're going out of style? Keep reading to learn all about this beautiful, stand-out drapery.

Elegant and comfortable designed living room with big corner sofa, wooden floor and big windows, what curtains to use with traverse rods

When To Use Traverse Curtains

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Home interior of modern living room with sofa and armchairs

Traverse curtains are ideal for:

Large Windows

Traditional rods that go over windows larger than 36 inches need a support bracket in the middle. Drapes can't move past this bracket, which means you can't fully close the drapes. With a traverse rod, curtains easily slide the entire length of the rod.


Traverse curtains are the best of both worlds when a covering is desired, but you still want to be able to open and close the door easily.

Complicated, Layered Window Treatments

Rather than hanging multiple rods or having to stagger where drapes are hung, a double traverse rod easily allows you to mix window dressings without looking bulky. 

Frequent Usage

Traverse rods are great for when curtains are opened and closed frequently (it's more convenient than pulling curtains by hand 10 times a day).

How To Select A Curtain

There are 2 important things to keep in mind when selecting the best traverse curtain for your home. Once you find the correct style of curtains, you'll also want to:

  • Ensure that the curtain comes with adjustable curtain pins (or buy your own).
  • Read the manufacturer's advice carefully. Because of the full, pleated look of the curtains, it's not uncommon for curtain makers to suggest buying a curtain that is 2 or 3 times your actual rod size. This ensures that, when the pleats are folded together, the drapes "rest" as designed. It is, however, not always needed - it depends on how the curtains are manufactured, so check the designer's notes.

IYUEGO Solid Thermal Insulated 95% Blackout Curtains

These curtain panels cover all the bases in a simple way. The insulation helps block outside noise and retains heat, the blackout liner makes them perfect for a bedroom (or any room), and they come in 10 colors. Seriously, what else could you ask for? 

Click here to see these curtains on Amazon.

ChadMade Custom Polyester Linen Curtain

This curtain, with its simplistic pinch pleat and polyester linen, gives any room a more natural and rustic touch. It comes with a thermal blackout lining, so it's functional and attractive.

Click here to see this curtain panel on Amazon.

TWOPAGES Solid Thermal Blackout Drape

Made from a heavyweight material and triple-weave construction, this curtain is one of the best choices for insulation and noise reduction.

Click here to see these curtains on Amazon.

Prim Linen Pinch Pleat Curtain

For a smoother and more luxurious drape, consider these Prim Linen curtains. Made from a heavy, but machine-washable, polyester/linen blend, they have a certain grounding element as a window dressing. Available in 28 colors.

Click here to see this curtain panel on Amazon.

The Curtain Shop Braddock Jacobean Damask Drape

In a fun and unique pattern, the only flaw with these curtains is that they don't come with curtain pins already installed (you'll have to get your own).

Click here to see these curtains on Amazon.

Cololeaf Pinch Pleated Lined Drapery Panel

This curtain is available in more than 30 bright and bold colors, perfect for complementing your festive home decor.

Click here to see this curtain panel on Amazon.

Macochico Velvet Curtains

For a warm elegance, consider these luxurious velvet curtains. Available in your choice of 40 colors.

Click here to see this curtain panel on Amazon.

Are Traverse Rods Out Of Style?

Traverse curtains can be difficult to find in stores, but that's because of demand, not lack of style. This style of curtain has a timeless and sophisticated look that never really goes out of style.

However, they are more expensive. There are cheaper alternatives that don't require the installation of a special rod. Since most consumers are looking for something to fit their existing standard curtain rod, stores save room by carrying few (if any) traverse curtains in stock. Special-orders are the best way to accommodate those with traverse rods.

If you're redecorating, or lucky enough to already have a traverse rod, there's no need to worry about traverse rods being dated. Decorative rods have been updated with a modern style, and even the classic style is, well, classic.

How Does A Traverse Rod Work?

Traverse curtain rods are made with a slot that runs the length of the rod. Embedded in the slot is a track with multiple clips spaced along the track. To hang traverse curtains, you'll need curtain pins. The pins hook the curtains into the clips. Then, pulling a rod or other decorative hardware, the clips slide smoothly along the track to open and shut the curtain.

How Do You Hang Curtains On A Traverse Rod? 

Transverse curtains look elegant and intricate, but they're actually pretty easy to install. Even better, they look uniform and neat once properly hung (unlike most other curtains which need constant adjusting and fluffing every time they are moved). Dressing the window can take a little time, but it's a one-time job.

Most traverse curtains come with pins already installed. Fold the curtain between each pleat, to begin with, making something like an accordion fold. This makes each panel more manageable. Now you're ready to hang!

  • Working from left to right, start with the master carrier on the rod. Hook the first pin into the first hole in the carrier. The second pin hooks into the final hole on the carrier. Then, hook the subsequent pins into each clip, moving down the length of the curtain. Do not hook the final 2 pins.
  • Then crease the pleats at the top of the curtain (above the seam, where it is covering the rod). Simply pull and crease between each pleat so that the folds look neat and even.
  • Lastly, attach the last 2 pins to the holes at the end of the rod (one in the front of the rod, one on the side). Because these pins attach to the rod directly and not the clips, the front of the drapery may look uneven. As a result, you may need to pull out these pins and reinsert them (about 1/4 inch higher) to make the drapes hang evenly.

Check out this video to see the whole process:

Can You Put Regular Curtains On A Traverse Rod?

Regular curtains found at any big-box store cannot be used on a traverse rod. Except, sometimes, when they can. Clear as mud, right? No, really, stick with it and you'll understand.

Curtains for traverse rods are most often a style of curtain called "pinch pleat." Regular curtains won't hang right - but you can turn a regular curtain into a pinch pleat curtain, and further, into a traverse curtain. You have to be willing to do a little sewing, and you'll need drapery pins such as these:

Click here to see these drapery pins on Amazon.

You need extra wide curtains, in addition to the pins. You won't be able to use a curtain you already have that fits the window - once you pleat it, it will be too small. Select a curtain that's 3x wider than you actually need (for example, a 20-inch rod will use a 60-inch curtain). For project instructions, see this video:

In Closing

Curtains for a traverse rod are referred to as pinch pleat curtains. They require the use of special curtain pins to hang (pins are often included with drapes, but not always). The best way to find traverse curtains is to consult a drapery professional, as they are often a special-order item. Traverse curtains are worth the extra effort, due to their unique and elegant polished look!

To read more about curtains, check out these insightful articles:

How Much Do Curtains Cost?

How To Choose Curtains For Your Living Room

Share with a friend -

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *