Choosing Victorian Curtain Poles

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Choosing Victorian Curtain Poles

To keep the heat in or the sun out on hot days, Victorians would use both blinds and curtains combined on the same windows. Curtains would be changed according to the seasons with heavy fabrics with good insulation properties used for Winter curtains and lighter ones used in Spring and Summer. On Winter curtains, a thermal type of thick lining would be used to keep out drafts.

Victorian curtain poles are available in many different price ranges from basic wood or brass poles that are cut to fit the window, to hand made bespoke finished curtain poles. All of these come with matching finials which go from the basic ball finial to ornate hand carved wood finials hand painted to your colour specification to complement your décor and curtain material.

Victorian Curtain Pole in solid wood hand decorated fluted ball finial with highlights

The Victorian Emporium's solid wood hand decorated fluted ball finial with highlights 

Where can you save money and where is it worth spending a bit more?

Poles tend to go up in price according to their width and depending on whether they are solid or hollow. Hollow poles can be cut to size at home and are usually supplied in standard widths.

Choose the best curtain pole you can afford for your “public” rooms ie reception rooms, kitchen, guest bedrooms, bathroom as this is something you should never have to replace and will be a good investment. Cheap poles will look cheap if they are in a location where you will be looking down on them such as on landings. Cheap poles and rings don’t glide well and a cheap looking bright brass pole is best avoided in period properties.

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Wooden curtain poles can be purchased as plain wood with a stain, or enhanced with details picked out in a metallic or coloured paint. They can be entirely hand painted with finials and hold backs painted to match. This will really make a statement. An antique gold and cream pole is a particular favourite for an understated but luxurious finish.

Solid brass curtain poles would be cut to your specification and are available with some beautiful ornate finials. The poles themselves can be purchased as plain, reeded or spiral poles with matching fixings, brackets and curtain rings. These can be adapted to fit around a bay window.

Black wrought iron and beeswax poles look great in Tudor properties with low ceilings and dark coloured beams. There are a lot of medieval looking finials and accessories available and this range has a handcrafted/blacksmith feel to it. 

The Victorian Emporium's solid brass twisted pole with Coronet Finial

The Victorian Emporium's solid brass twisted pole with Coronet Finial 

How do you determine where to fix a curtain pole in place?

The position of a curtain pole above the window architrave is generally around 5cm but this is best located by eye – get someone to hold the curtain pole in your suggested location and stand back to see if it looks “right” for the window. Good access to the window is needed to ensure that you can fit the pole safely. Use drill guards to stop the dust from making a mess and make sure you vacuum thoroughly before hanging your new curtains. Generally the finials should sit outside the window architrave with the pole extending to around 2cm either side of the architrave. Again this is something best determined by eye and there is no hard and fast rule.

In period houses where walls and lines are not exactly horizontal or vertical, you may find that it is not necessarily the best solution to have the poles positioned exactly horizontally but should match the contours of the window and the room generally.

Fixings that are strong and fit for purpose are very important for curtains as not only do the curtain poles and brackets have to bear the weight of the curtains, but they also have to stay securely in place when pulled around twice a day when the curtains are opened and closed. Curtain rings need to be in place on the curtain pole before it is fitted onto the brackets. Generally the curtain pole will sit on top of the curtain brackets so it is the brackets that are being fixed in place rather than the pole.

Beautiful curtain poles deserve the best accompaniments so also consider decorative tie backs and hold backs. Hold backs tend to be made from brass or wood and are screwed into the wall beside the window to hold the open curtains in place. Tie backs are looped around the open curtain. Tie backs are available in many different designs and colours.


The Victorian Emporium sells the full range of beautiful Victorian curtain poles and finials for every room in your house.


Categories: Décor