Plants in small pots hanging in a window

Photo: red mango (Shutterstock)

Summer is waning, which means it’s probably time to bring your hanging outdoor plants indoors. A little extra foliage inside can do a lot to brighten your interior—but indoor plants also take up a fair amount of space. Luckily, installing a reinforced double curtain rod will allow you to hang your plants and upgrade your window treatments at the same time. All you’ll need is a double curtain rod, a drill, a tape measure, and a pencil (and your plants, obviously).

Choosing your hardware

First, you’ll need the right brackets and rods. Most home improvement stores carry these items in a variety of types and finishes. There are many kinds of hardware out there, but you’ll want to find a set that includes a bracket that holds the rod from underneath and attaches to your window frame or wall with screws. You’ll want to choose one double set and one single set of brackets, which will allow you to add extra reinforcement to your plant rod.

If your window is wider than four feet, you may need two single sets of brackets, as you’ll want to place one at least every two feet or so along the plant-bearing rod to spread out the weight. Choose a type of rod that is relatively sturdy and made for heavy drapes, as it will likely be carrying a lot more weight than your average curtain.

Measuring and marking

For a project like this one, begin by measuring and marking for hardware installation. This will ensure that your final product is level and evenly spaced.

First, measure your window frame from the top to the height at which you plan to attach your brackets. If your windows are frameless on the inside, mark out spots for your brackets within an inch and a half of the top of your window to make sure that you’ll be attaching them to the sturdiest part of the wall. Next, measure the total width between your two double brackets (the ones with spots for two rods). Then, measure and mark for your two single brackets, placing them evenly between the two outer corners of the window. For example, if you have a window frame that’s 30 inches wide, you’ll want to measure 10 inches from each corner to place your single brackets so that all the hardware is 10 inches apart.

If you have a multiple frame window, you might choose to place your brackets at the corners of each frame instead of evenly spacing them along the top of the frame. Either way, you’ll need to space out your brackets so they’re no more than two feet apart to ensure your curtain rod will be able to support the weight of the pots and dirt.

Gather your materials

Once you’ve made your marks, you’re almost ready to attach the brackets. For this step, you’ll need a drill and a pilot or pre-drill bit as well as a driver bit of the same type as your screws. If you don’t already have a pair of safety glasses, you’ll definitely want to pick those up as well. (Make sure to protect your eyes any time you’re working with power tools to avoid injury.) Most screws that come with a bracket set will be philips head, but it’s a good idea to double check you have the right kind of driver before getting started.

Attach your brackets

Now you’re ready to make your pilot holes, which will help you avoid splitting and cracking in your window frame. Making sure that they are oriented straight up and down, hold the brackets up to where you measured and, with a pencil, mark through the holes your screws will fit through. Using these marks as a guide, use the pre-drill bit to drill pilot holes for your screws. For best results, your drill should be at a 90 degree angle to your surface, which will ensure your screws go in straight and are as snug as possible to your hardware. The pilot holes don’t have to be very deep—just enough to get the screws started. Finally, use your driver bit to screw in your brackets. Make sure that the screws are snug, but not overtight. If you continue to tighten a screw past where it is snug, you can crack the wood or strip out the threads in your screw,resulting in loosely hung hardware that won’t support the weight of the rods.

Hang your curtains and plants

Now you’re ready to hang your curtains and plants. Use the rod closest to the window for hanging plants and the outside one for the curtains. The inner rod should have lots of support from the extra brackets, but make sure not to overload it with too much weight. Now your plants will get the full benefit of the light from the window whether the curtains are open or closed, and you can enjoy your plants without giving up any legroom or cluttering up your surfaces.