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What Is a Traverse Rod?

What Is a Traverse Rod?

Are you confused by all the terms associated with drapery hardware?  Read on to learn more about traverse rods and how they can work for you.

Very wide windows and patio doors can be tricky when it comes to window treatments.  Wide windows and doors are perfect candidates for full draperies – that is, drapes that actually move across your window/door and out of the way.  Unless you plan to use drapery panels solely as a decorative design element – and stationary drapery panels are a great way to add fabric window treatments in an affordable way – you need to find a way to move all that fabric off of the windows when you don’t need it.

Regular wood or wrought iron rods, while they are beautiful, are not the right hardware for a full drapery situation in most cases.  A window more than 36″ wide typically requires the use of extra support brackets in the center of the rod, as you can see in the photo below from The Shade Store.  Often times, these support brackets keep the drapery rings from moving across the window, making the drapery impossible to move.  While this may work in some situations, it certainly isn’t the best solution for ever home.

Drapery with Wood Rod

A better type of hardware for this design dilemma is the traverse rod.  A traverse rod makes it simple to “traverse” or move your drapery panels across the window or door.  Instead of pulling on the fabric with your hands, you can pull on the cord to smoothly slide the drapery out of the way.  This will keep your fabric looking new longer, as you rarely need to actually touch the fabric to move the drapery.

Pleated draperies are most often the type you will see installed on traverse rods.  When the drapery panels are made, a specialized pin is installed behind the pleat, and that pin slips into the carriers on the traverse rod, allowing it to be drawn open and closed with a tug on the cord.

white traverse rod

While you may remember the old style of traverse rods, which were white and utilitarian (like those in the photo above), there are many other (and more decorative) options on the market today.  The old standard white traverse rods are actually still available and are the most affordable type.  And, you can always install a cornice or valance above the drapery to conceal the rod.  But, also take a look at some of the other traverse rods available now, such as this modern version from The Shade Store:

modern traverse rod


Or this wood option from Kirsch:

wood traverse rod

When choosing a traverse rod for your home, you have several choices beyond the style of the hardware.  First, decide whether you would like the drapery to open from the center (with half the drapery moving to the left, and half moving to the right) or if you want the entire drapery to move to the left or to the right.  Next, you will need to decide on which side you wish to have the control cord located – it can be installed either on the left or the right.  Place it on the side that is easiest for you to reach, and conceal it behind the panel when possible.

Traverse rods have gotten a bad reputation, often evoking an image of “grandma’s house” for many folks.  They’ve come a long way from those simple white rods!  Check them out for your next drapery project.  With both traditional and modern options, they are the perfect blend of style and function.

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One Response to What Is a Traverse Rod?

  1. […] drapery is a traditional pinch-pleat style on a decorative traverse rod.  The look will never go out of […]

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