Measuring Tips: Bow Rods

Bow rods are used on curved walls, such as found in Bow Windows, Rounded Bays, and Turrets.


Bow rods can also be a good choice with Bay Windows having 7+ sides and shallow angles (please let us know if this is your case).

Please note that we can only make bow rods which are perfectly round - meaning part of a circle as opposed to being part of an oval/ellipse. The vast majority of curved walls are part of a circle (i.e., a constant radius) but there are exceptions. If you are unsure whether your wall is part of a circle, then we can advise on an easy check once we have your measurements and have calculated the radius.


Also note that at this time we are making bow rods of 1" round steel tubing only.


Important: These measuring instructions only apply to rods that are up to half a circle. If your rod will be greater than half a circle, then please divide the space in half and measure each half independently.


Please provide us with your measurements and we will calculate the actual size of the rod based on your desired clearance.


First, determine exactly where you'd like the ends of your rod (not including finials). Be sure to give yourself ample Overhang (this is the amount the rod extends beyond the trim, typically 4-12" on each side) so as to have room to stack your drapery panels, but without being so long that the finials stick out into the main room (if applicable). These rod end points are designated by the dashed lines in the bow rod drawing above.


Make pencil marks on the wall to indicate these exact end points, and be sure that these endpoints are level with one another (same distance from the floor). Next, measure straight across (in a direct, straight line) from one end point to the other. This measurement is the Width, shown in the bow rod drawing above.

Sides A/B:

Next, make your best approximation as to the exact center of your desired rod and mark this on the wall, we'll call it the Center Point. Measure from the end point on the left to the Center Point in a straight line (straight - NOT curved along the wall), this is Side A. Now repeat this on the right side for the Side B measurement. (You should be measuring the equal length sides of an isosceles triangle.) Confirm that you get the same measurement on each side. If the two measurements are off then adjust your Center Point to the left or right as needed until Side A equals Side B. You will likely need to go back and forth a few times until you dial-in your exact Center Point location.


As a check measurement (this helps validate your Width and Side A/B measurements) you will now measure the Height (which you can also think of as the Depth). Start by determining the exact middle point of your line of Width by dividing your Width measurement in half. You may want to mark this on the floor with pencil or tape, etc. Do a visual assessment to confirm that this middle point is in line with your Center Point that you marked on the wall when finding Side A/B.


If all looks good then measure from your middle point (half the Width) to your Center Point. Be sure to measure in a straight and level line, parallel with the floor. Height is shown in the bow rod drawing above.

Clearance and Returns

So that we can properly size your bow rod based on your wall measurements, we'll need to know your desired clearance. Clearance is the distance from the wall to the back of the rod. The most common clearance for a single rod is 3" but we can make any clearance needed. If you choose returns for your rod, please click here for more info.

If using finials:

Remember, these measurements are for the rod itself, not including the finials. Be sure to consider the length of your desired finials when determining your Overhang if there are any obstructions at the ends.

Optional Verification:

If you're confident with your calculator skills, then you can verify that your measurements are valid. Keep in mind this step is completely optional as we will validate your measurements when we quote your rod.

1) First, make sure Side A = Side B. If not, then go back and adjust your Center Point then remeasure your Height.


2) Next, confirm that the following is true (or very close):
    (Side A)^2 = (Width/2)^2 + (Height)^2.


If your measurements are valid then pat yourself on the back for taking good measurements and using the Pythagorean Theorem!