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What curtain headings can be used with a curtain pole?

If you have decided to hang your curtains from a curtain pole, then it will pretty much be the focal piece of the window treatment. A curtain poles and tracks aren’t something that you’ll be replacing very often, so it’s important to find one that not only suits your window but your choice of curtain heading too. When it comes to choosing your curtain pole, you’ll be really spoilt for choice. Already having your curtains or a clear idea of what kind of curtain heading you want, is one of the best ways to start narrowing down your choice, as the decision will largely depend on what works with your chosen curtain heading.

Eyelet Pole Left Side Of Window

We’ve got all the information you need about what style of curtain pole to buy for your chosen heading style below, so you’ll be able to start narrowing down your choices and choose your perfect curtain pole with confidence.

Gathered headings

Gathered headings are created with pre-manufactured tape which is stitched to the top edge of the curtain. A series of threaded cords running through the tape are used to gather the heading into small pleats. The tape also has three rows of pockets into which curtain hooks are inserted to hang the curtains with.

Gathered headings like this can then easily be hung on wooden or metal curtain poles as the curtain hooks are inserted into the eye hooks beneath the curtain pole rings. Any thickness of metal or wooden curtain pole can therefore be used, so long as the pole is sturdy enough to take the weight of the curtains that you are hanging, but the thickness of the pole is otherwise not an issue that needs to be considered with this type of curtain heading.

Pinch-pleat & goblet headings

These headings are normally hand tailored but it is possible to get pre-manufactured tapes that create pinch and goblet style pleats. In either instance the curtains are again hung using either curtain hooks or stab hooks. Stab hooks have a sharp point at one end which pushes securely into the stiffened heading of this style of curtain.

Curtains And Eyelet Curtain Pole

The curtain hooks or stab hooks can then be inserted into the eye hooks underneath the curtain pole rings. Pinch pleat and goblet pleat curtains need to hang freely with no obstruction behind them, as this prevents the spaces between the pleats from folding and stacking back properly and for this reason we always recommend to our customers that pinch and goblet pleat headings are fitted on a curtain pole and not on curtain tracks. Pinch pleat or goblet headings can be hung on either metal or wooden curtain poles and as with the gathered headings above, can be any diameter in thickness as long as the pole is suitable for the weight of curtain being hung.

Tab-top and eyelet headings

Simply by the very nature of their design, both eyelet and tab-top headings have to be hung on a curtain pole and cannot be used with a curtain track.


Tab-Tops are loops of fabric attached to the top of the curtain, which slide directly onto a curtain pole without the need for curtain pole rings or curtain hooks. Tab-Tops can be hung on either a metal or wooden curtain pole. The style and colour of the pole is down to personal taste or surrounding decor and the only limitation is the diameter or thickness of the curtain pole. For the tab-Tops to slide on to the curtain pole easily and to work efficiently, we recommend a 35mm curtain pole as a maximum diameter.

Note: Tab-top curtains have fabric loops at the top and each loop is approximately 15cms long from the top to where it meets the curtain. If the wooden curtain pole that you wish to purchase, or already have, is a very thick wooden pole with say for example a 50mm or 65mm diameter pole, then it would be too thick and chunky for the fabric loops to side onto to.

Eyelet heading

Eyelet headings, also sometimes known as grommet or ring-top heading, have a series of metal eyelet holes evenly spaced across the top edge of the curtain heading and again slide directly onto a curtain pole without the need for additional pole rings or curtain hooks. If you are hanging eyelet headed curtains then you will preferably need a metal curtain pole rather than a wooden one, unless your curtains are going to be static dress curtains which permanently sit at the outer edges of the curtain pole and are not intended to be drawn. The metal eyelet rings have a tendency to scratch the finish on wooden curtain poles creating wear and tear on the pole and affecting how well the curtains operate.

Size Advice: Eyelet rings have an internal diameter of approximately 40mm and the ideal size for a curtain pole for eyelet heading is 28mm. If your pole is a little narrower in diameter than that then you’ll still be fine with eyelet curtains. But if your pole is any thicker then it would not be advisable or possible to fit eyelet rings to such a thick pole. You can at a push put eyelet curtains on a 35mm curtain pole but there will not be much clearance for the eyelets to operate properly and the curtains would be best used as dress curtains in this instance.

Metal Curtain Pole


Note: If you have a 28mm wooden curtain pole then, you may think that it’s fine to put an eyelet heading on it, but we would strongly advise against it. Whereas eyelet curtains would work on a 28mm chrome curtain pole, on a wooden pole there is a good possibility that the metal eyelet rings will scratch the wood, leaving you with a less than lack lustre curtain pole to look at. However, if you simply want to add eyelet curtains to your existing wooden curtain pole as dress curtains only (curtains that are not closed) to spruce up the window and change the look a little, then there is no reason why you can’t use your existing wooden curtain poles for eyelet curtains.

The colour of the metal curtain pole is again down to personal preference or surrounding decor but is is also usually the norm to match the colour of the curtain pole to the colour of the eyelet rings in the top of your curtains. For eyelet heading to fit well and work efficiently we recommend a metal pole thickness of 28mm. This is the perfect diameter of metal curtain pole for eyelet, but you will also need to think about the curtain pole having the correct type off finials.

There is no one particular style of finial recommended for eyelet heading, the finials just need to be big enough to prevent the eyelet rings at the outer edges of the curtain from passing over them as the finials act as the end stops that keep these outer rings from sliding off the end of the pole. At Terry’s we have a tailor made selection of 28mm chrome curtain poles specifically designed for eyelet headings.

To help make your selection easy and to ensure that you get the ideal pole and finials for your eyelet heading, our eyelet curtain poles are available in three different colour finishes and are packed as a complete pole kit with everything you need to hang your eyelet curtains. All you need to do is select your colour preference, finial type and pole length. For more advice on eyelet curtain poles or how to measure for a curtain pole, see our handy guides: Eyelet poles or How to measure for a curtain pole > 

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