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 October 27, 2023

Golden Glamour: How French Return Curtain Rods Transform Your Interior Space

What is French Return Curtain Rod:

Definition and Unique Features:

French return curtain rods are a popular window treatment known for their style and functionality. These rods feature a bend in the middle, forming a characteristic "French return" shape that allows curtains to be drawn when desired.

One of the unique features of these rods is that they provide full fabric closure on both ends of the drapery treatment, ensuring a clean and polished look.

Unlike standard curtain rods, French return curtain rods do not use finials and return to the wall, contributing to their simplicity and minimizing the light gap that usually appears where the drapery panel reaches the end of a standard drapery rod.

These rods are available in various finishes, including bronze, and are often bent out of a single piece of iron, eliminating the need for end brackets. This design allows drapes to stack back against the wall, contributing to the sleek appearance that French return curtain rods are known for.

French Return Curtain Rods
French Return Curtain Rods

Historical Significance:

The term "French return" has its roots in the French phrase "Poteau de draperie," which translates to drapery pole. The concept aims to present the fabric as the star of the show, emphasizing the aesthetics of the drapery over the hardware.

French return curtain rods have maintained their popularity due to their timeless design and the elegant simplicity they bring to window treatments. The modern appeal of these rods is in line with the trend of modern simplicity that has been prevalent for over a decade.

The enduring design of French return rods offers a durable and lasting drapery hardware installation, capable of withstanding the cyclical nature of home décor fashion.

Choosing the Right French Return Curtain Rods:

Size and Length:

Selecting the right size and length of French return curtain rods is crucial for achieving the desired look and functionality. Here's how you could approach it:

Window Measurement: Start by measuring the width of your window. It's essential to have accurate measurements to ensure a perfect fit.

Addition for Returns:
The unique design of French return curtain rods adds extra length to either side. For instance, the French return style could add about 6" to either side of the rod.
Common Sizes:

Standard Sizes:
Common standard lengths for curtain rods, which could apply to French return curtain rods, range from 24" to 144". Smaller rods range from 12" to 48", suitable for smaller windows or narrow openings.

Custom Sizes: Some manufacturers offer custom sizes to fit your windows perfectly, especially if you have non-standard window sizes.
Diameter and Clearance:

French return curtain rods are available in various diameters, typically ranging from 3/4" to 1 1/2". The diameter you choose should complement the size and style of your drapery.

Clearance: The clearance, or the distance from the rod to the wall, can vary. Some rods offer clearances of 3" to 4 1/2".

French Curtain Rod
double french return curtain rod

Material and Durability:

The material of your french return drapery rods plays a significant role in their durability and aesthetics. Here are the common materials used and their implications:

Strength: Metal, especially iron, is known for its strength and ability to support heavy drapes without sagging.
Aesthetics: Metal rods are often seen as sleek and modern, fitting well in contemporary or industrial interior styles.

Aesthetic Variability: Wood offers a more traditional or rustic look, with the natural grain adding a unique aesthetic.
Strength: While not as strong as metal, wood can be a durable choice depending on the thickness and quality of the rod.

Modern Look:
Acrylic or clear lucite rods provide a modern, sleek look, making them a good fit for contemporary interiors.
Durability: Acrylic is less durable compared to metal but can be a good choice for lighter drapery.

Customization and Coating:
Finish: The finish on the rod can enhance its look and protect it from wear and tear. Common finishes include bronze, black, or metallic tones.
Custom Made: Some manufacturers offer custom-made rods to fit your windows perfectly and match your aesthetic preferences.

Installation Ease and Flexibility:

Installation Process:

  • Preparation: Before installation, protect the wall by taping paper where the curtain rod mounts will go, which can be removed before tightening the mount screws.
  • Assembly: Slide the rings and both mounting brackets onto the rod, ensuring they're straight before using self-drilling screws to secure them to the rod.
  • Mounting: With assistance, hold the rod up, put one screw into one mount, and secure it to the wall without fully tightening it, then level the rod and install the rest of the screws.
  • Curtain Hanging: Once the rod is securely mounted, hook your curtains into the ring eyelets and admire the installation.

French curtain rods Customization:

Color and Finish:
Available color finishes include Wrought Iron, Black Satin, Gold Metallic, and Silver Metallic.
Other sources also mention various styles like Mitered Returns and Curved Returns, adding to the aesthetic appeal of the rods.

Diameter and Size:
You can choose from different diameters like 1 inch or 5/8 inch, depending on your preference and the size of your window.

Projection from Wall:
French return curtain rods offer flexibility in how far the rod projects from the wall, with options like 3 inches to the center of the rod (Standard),  1/2 inches to the center of the rod (Extended) or 

Material and Durability:
The rods are known for robust construction supporting the heaviest drapes, ensuring they remain a durable choice over time.

Additional Customization:
Other customization options include different types of drapery rings, and the choice of having additional center brackets for extra-long rods.
Additionally, the style of finials can also be customized to fit personal aesthetic preferences, like opting for wrought iron style finials.

Aesthetic Appeal and Functional Benefits:

Elegant Design:

French return curtain rods are lauded for their elegant and durable design which effortlessly complements a variety of interior styles:

Full Fabric Closure:
The bent returns on these rods ensure full fabric closure on both ends of your drapery treatment, making them ideal for grommet, tab-top, and rod-pocket style treatments, and also functional for draperies with rings when using optional bypass brackets.

Variety of Styles:
There are various styles of returns including Mitered Returns and Curved Returns, which are available in materials like Round Steel and Stainless Steel, adding a touch of sophistication to any decor.

Inward Curved Ends:
The inwardly curved ends allow your drapery panels to wrap all the way to the wall, creating a seamless look that adds to the aesthetic appeal of the room.

Single Piece Construction:
Being bent out of a single piece of iron, these french return drapery rods provide a clean, polished look as they don’t require end brackets, allowing your drapes to stack back against the wall.

Sleek Appearance:
The sleek, elegant, and understated design of these rods is the perfect complement to any decor, supporting the heaviest drapes and ensuring robust construction.

Light Control and Privacy:

French return curtain rods enhance light control and privacy due to their unique design:

Blocking Sidelight:
The U-shaped design helps in blocking sidelight that can peek through with a traditional rod, making them a superior choice for better light control.

Edge-to-Edge Coverage:
Specifically designed to sit outside of the window frame, these rods provide edge-to-edge coverage reducing light, noise, and drafts, making them ideal for blackout or room darkening curtains.

Snug Fit:
By wrapping back towards the wall, they create a snug fit enhancing the effectiveness of light control and privacy while adding elegance and sophistication to the overall window treatment.

French Curtain Rods

Technical Mastery Behind the Perfect Bends:

Engineering Precision:

Single Piece Formation:
French return rods are crafted from a single piece of iron, which is bent to form the distinctive return, eliminating the need for end brackets and providing a clean, polished look.

Heating and Bending Process:
The rods are heated and then bent to form the return, making them a one-piece construction. This process ensures that the return ends are robust and can be securely attached to the wall through pinned bases.

Custom Bends:
There are also custom bend options available, allowing for a continuous structure through custom bend returns, made from strong 2mm thick steel rods which are scratch-resistant due to a powder-coated finish.

Range of Clearances:

Separate Mounting Brackets:
French return rods come with separate mounting brackets known as "Post" brackets, which are always separate from the rod. This design facilitates easier installation and maintenance while being strong enough to support heavy weight even with large clearances.

Extended French Return Brackets:
For those seeking more clearance, extended French return brackets are available, offering a return of 5 3/4" for a 3/4" curtain rod. These brackets allow for more space between the rod and the wall.

Inwardly Curved Ends:
The design of the rods with inwardly curved ends allows the drapery panels to wrap all the way to the wall, providing a seamless look and blocking sidelight that may peek through with traditional rods. This feature highlights the functional advantage of having a range of clearances and dedicated mounting brackets.

Projection Brackets:
There are also large projection brackets available, offering a clearance of 4", which can be chosen based on the user's preference for how far they want the rod to project from the wall.

This technical expertise and range of clearance options demonstrate the fine balance between aesthetics, functionality, and engineering precision that goes into designing French return curtain rods. They not only offer a visually pleasing appearance but also provide practical benefits like blocking sidelight and supporting heavy drapery.

Versatility in Drapery Styles:

Compatibility with Different Drapery Styles:

Grommet, Tab-Top, and Rod-Pocket Style Treatments:
French return curtain rods are hailed for their versatility, being well-suited for grommet, tab-top, and rod-pocket style treatments. This compatibility is attributed to their design, which seamlessly complements these drapery styles, enhancing the overall aesthetic and functional appeal of the window treatments.

Additional Compatibility:
Additionally, these rods can be utilized with back tab curtains, extending their compatibility to a variety of drapery styles. Their design facilitates easy installation and a sturdy setup, especially beneficial for handling light to heavy weight curtains.

French Return Curtain Rods

Transitioning Between Styles:

Ease of Transition:
Transitioning between different drapery styles using French return curtain rods is relatively straightforward due to their design. Their compatibility with a range of drapery styles allows for easy switching between grommet, tab-top, rod-pocket, and back tab curtains without the need for additional hardware or extensive adjustments.

The various styles of returns, including Mitered Returns and Curved Returns, along with different rod diameters, offer a level of adaptability when transitioning between different drapery styles. This adaptability is further enhanced by the availability of different rod diameters ranging from 3/4" to 1 1/2", which can accommodate varying drapery styles and fabric weights.

Customization Options:
The availability of many configuration options, including different bracket types and rod diameters, allows for further ease in transitioning between different drapery styles. For instance, the inwardly curved ends of these rods enable the drapery panels to wrap all the way to the wall, ensuring a seamless look and blocking sidelight, which can be a functional advantage when transitioning between different drapery styles.

Case Studies/Real-life Applications:

Real-life Application: Enhancing Modern Simplicity

Project Overview:

A project carried out in Jacksonville, FL, showcased how French return curtain rods elegantly complemented the modern simplicity of the interior design.

Menagerie double french return curtain rods were utilized, exhibiting their highest quality and effectiveness in this particular setting.

Key Features of French Return Rods Implemented:

  • The rods were appreciated for their distinct characteristics where they returned to the wall, eliminating the use of finials and minimizing the light gap at the ends of the drapery panel.

  • The continuous curve in the return portion ensured that the curtain panels could open and close without getting hung-up, providing smooth operation especially when closing a grommet panel.

  • The wall thickness of the rods proved to be substantial, ensuring they could withstand heavier drapery panels without bowing or bending under excessive traversing conditions.

  • The powder coating on the rods facilitated the easy movement of metal drapery rings or grommet panels across them, without worrying about abrasion or scratching. This feature also provided corrosion protection, allowing for installation in windows that may perspire condensation or in outdoor conditions like a gazebo or veranda.

Customization and Innovation:

The rods were customized to precise requirements using TMS-Menagerie’s French Rod Smart Wizard, ensuring a perfect fit for the project.
An innovative passing bracket was developed, allowing baton pull panels to pass over a French Rod center support bracket at multiple angles. This bracket extended the length of the French Return Rod and enabled wand pull for a one-way drapery panel that could stack on either side of the rod.


Recap of Core Points:

  • Understanding French Return Curtain Rods: These specialized rods are known for their unique design where they return to the wall, offering a clean and elegant finish.
  • Choosing the Right French Return Curtain Rods: Factors like size, length, material, and durability are crucial when selecting the perfect rod for your window treatments.
  • Installation Ease and Flexibility: The installation process is straightforward, and the rods offer a level of customization in terms of mounting options.
  • Aesthetic Appeal and Functional Benefits: The elegant design complements various interior styles while the U-shaped return helps in eliminating light seepage and enhancing privacy.
  • Technical Mastery Behind the Perfect Bends: Engineering precision is involved in achieving flawless bends, with a range of clearances and dedicated mounting brackets adding to the functionality.
  • Versatility in Drapery Styles: French return curtain rods are compatible with different drapery styles, making transitioning between styles relatively easy.
  • Case Studies/Real-life Applications: Real-life applications in Jacksonville, FL, showcased the transformative impact these rods can have on interior spaces.

Exploring the Elegance and Functionality:

French return curtain rods blend elegance with functionality, promising a timeless appeal that elevates the aesthetic of any interior space.
Their unique design, coupled with a range of customization options, makes them a desirable choice for those looking to enhance their window treatments.

As seen in real-life applications, the transformative impact they bring to different interior spaces is significant. Whether you are inclined towards a modern, simplistic style or a more traditional ambiance, French return curtain rods offer a versatile solution.

We encourage readers to explore the elegance and functionality of French return curtain rods, and envision how they can redefine the look and feel of their own interior spaces. With the right choice of French return curtain rods, you can effortlessly blend style with practicality, ensuring a lasting impression.

Frequently asked questions about french return rod

How to hang curtains and valance on one rod?

To hang both a valance and curtains on one rod, begin by threading your curtains onto the rod, followed by the valance. You may need curtain clips or rings to secure the valance in place. Once both are on the rod, hang it onto the brackets and adjust the curtains and valance until you achieve the desired look.

What is the longest curtain rod?

The longest curtain rods available typically extend up to 15 feet, although some specialized rods can extend from 120 to 170 inches (10 to 14.17 feet). Ensure you choose a sturdy material to prevent sagging over such long spans.

How to hang double curtains without a double rod?

To hang double curtains without a double rod, use curtain clips or rings to attach a sheer curtain to the main curtain, or employ S-hooks to hang the second curtain from the first. Alternatively, install coat hooks at the top of your window frame to hang one curtain, with the other on the rod. Velcro strips offer a non-permanent solution, adhering one side to the curtain and the other to the window frame, enabling easy curtain hanging without a rod.

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