Are curtain rods the same thing as curtain poles?

Who would have thought that there was so much terminology involved in simply choosing and fitting curtains and curtain poles? As with most professionals, we know and understand our trade well after years of hands-on experience and practice, but fully appreciate that some of that terminology is as alien to our customers as plumbing or building terms may be to us. So here’s one more of those terms explained. A curtain rod and a curtain pole could quite easily be one and the same thing, in as much as both a rod and a pole could be defined as a long, thin, tubular or cylindrical object and can be either solid or hollow.

Hanging Curtains

In years gone by and before the advent of tubular steel curtain poles and other modern metallic finishes, solid wrought iron bars forged by a blacksmith, with shepherds crook curls at the ends; often made effective structures from which to hang curtains and could probably more accurately have been described as a rod than a pole. However, when we talk about curtain rods these days, it is more likely that the term is referring to the small, usually hollow and lightweight rods that we now use for very lightweight, unlined voiles, sheer fabrics, nets and cafe curtains. So let’s take alook....

What is a tension rod?

A tension rod is a narrow, hollow and lightweight rod which works in a similar way to an extendable pole in as much as it is in two pieces, with one rod fitting snugly inside the other to give a variable length option. Extending or shortening the rod is achieved by a twisting/unscrewing action.

The rod is designed to fit under tension inside a window recess without the need for screw fixings or brackets and the tension is achieved by springs which are loaded into the capped ends of the rods. Tension rods are extremely easy to fit and very effective for their intended purpose if they are not overloaded or abused and are designed to carry voile panels or sheer fabrics that have a slot-top or rod-pocket heading.

Black Curtain Pole

This is basically a simple hem turned at the top of the sheer curtain panel and stitched to create a channel that the rod can be threaded through. The curtain treatment is added to the rod first before it is fitted into place and is designed to stay in a constant closed position to provide privacy and light diffusion, rather than being opened and closed. Tension rods a very easy to remove and re-install for cleaning and maintenance purposes. Tension rods are available in a white or in the same finish as brass curtain poles.

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What is a net rod?

A net rod is a very thin hollow rod which is again adjustable in length with two slightly different thicknesses of rods that slide together. Net rods are cylindrical, oval or almost flat and are again designed to take lightweight voile panels, sheer curtains or decorative nets which stay still rather than being opened or closed frequently.

White Curtain Pole

They are normally fitted inside a window recess in a similar way to tension rods, but net rods have a drilled hole at either end which are slotted onto small angle screws which are fixed into the inside recess of the window or directly into the window frame. As with the tension rods, net rods are designed to carry window treatments with a slot-top or rod-pocket heading to provide privacy and light diffusion. Net rods are available in white only.

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What is a cafe rod?

A cafe rod is a bit like a curtain pole but in miniature. A cafe rod is a slim, hollow, rod approximately 10 - 12mm in diameter which can very easily be cut to size and customized. Cafe rods can be fitted on the inside or outside a window recess, but the norm is usually on the inside; and can be top fixed (into the top of the window recess) or face fixed (into the wall).

Cafe rods have small, neat and very discreet little brackets, simple cap finials and are designed to take very short, but often decorative, voile or fabric panels with a slot top or tab-top (fabric loops) heading, which are usually approximately 25 to 35 cms in length. And designed to sit in the bottom section of a window recess to give privacy and detail and are more decorative than they are functional. We carry cafe rods in stock in white, gold and silver finishes at Terry’s and you will also find a selection of cafe curtains in our ready-made curtains section.

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