Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mission: Hanging Curtains in family housing in Germany

This is my tutorial on how to hang curtains in your Army housing in Germany. This was something that I was really confused about when I moved here and I know many others have expressed the same questions. Hopefully if you are PCSing to Germany or have just moved here this will make it easier for you. 

The apartments come with a track attached to the ceiling around each window. You could install rods but it would be difficult because:

  • the windows open inward so a rod would make it very difficult to open your window
  • the walls are cement which make attaching the rod more difficult
Since the tracks are on the ceiling your curtains will be hanging higher than they normally would if you were to hang them from a rod in the states. If you are ordering curtains and want them to just graze the floor order the 95" curtains. The 84" curtains will hang about a foot off the floor. Most people try to cover the ugly heaters that are located under each window and opt for the longest curtains. The heaters don't seem to cause a problem with the curtains so I wouldn't worry about causing a fire, ect. If you want counter height curtains for the kitchen or just want them to graze the window sill the 63" are perfect. The windows are wide so you will need 2 curtains for each window. (Some people use shower curtains and they are a perfect width.) Each ceiling piece has 2 tracks so that you could hang sheers on closest to the window and solid panels on the outer track, or you can hang you panels on the inner track and a valance on the outer track. That of course is all up to you and your decorative style but if does increase the number of curtains you will need.

The PX sells plastic hooks that fit into the tracks in the ceiling. There are different kinds. What you get will depend on what type of curtains you have and how easy you want the install to be. If you have curtains with small loops on the back, or hooks on the back the cheaper ones (with the loop pictured below) will work great and it will be fairly simple. If you have rod pocket, grommet style  or tab top curtains you can still use these but it will be a little more time consuming. You can either sew a piece of fabric or ribbon on the back of the curtain and then attack the white hooks to the ribbon or fabric. What I did was to hook the curtain hooks through a small safety pin and then pin the safety pin to the backside- top of the curtains. Then the curtain hooks go into the track. You can't see any of it if you do it well enough.

The other type of hooks have a clip that opens similar to a clothes pin and then the other end goes into the track. These are sold about 10 to a pack and you will need about 10 per curtain to get it to hang right. That means 1 package per curtain. Now if you have 7 windows like I do and want sheers and solid panels that's  curtains in your apartment you can see why I went with the cheaper method for some of the rooms. That's 28 panels! I don't remember what the package of clip style hooks cost but I think it was around $4.00 per package. That's $112 just for curtain hooks!!! ($4 x 28 packages = $112) The cheaper way cost I think about $2-3 per package and comes with 50 hooks. That's closer to $20. Also pay attention to what it says on the package. Notice in the picture one package says "rollers" and the other says easy to press into inner track. I highly recommend the roller type but the others work as well. They just tend to get caught easier and pull off. The other downside to these clips is you can see them where they are clipped on the curtains. 

Once you have your curtains up there are plugs or stoppers you can buy to fit in the ends so you curtains don't come of of the tracks. This is a VERY good idea. 


Here is a website I came across when I was trying to figure out how to do this. Hopefully you will find it helpful. She has an article about how to sew the clips on. I didn't have my sewing machine yet so I opted for the ghetto safety pins on about half of my windows. (That's the other kicker, the run out of the clips quite often with so many people moving in all the time. If you have a neighbor moving out ask if you can have their curtain clips. You may save a lot of money!) ***Disclaimer - Each base you go to is different. There will be different options for cable, phone, internet. The housing will be different. The base housing she shows at the above website is MUCH nicer than what we have in Baumholder. Each base will be different. Her housing info is geared mainly toward the KMC area (Ramstein AB, Landstuhl, Vogelweh, Sambach, Kapaun and ROB) The only options in Baumholder currently are stairwell apartments (most are 16- 24 apartments per building) or if you are high ranking enough you can live off post. You may have to commute a bit if you can't find something close by. Baumholder also does not always follow the 1 child per bedroom rule she talks about. If you children are close enough in age or of the same sex they may require more than one child per bedroom if they are running short on housing. It will vary so please only use this as an example and don't count too much on getting something in particular. She also has some good information about how to work your windows.  I found the windows really confusing for some reason when we were staying at the hotel.

Please don't allow me to overwhelm you. Just bookmark this page and come back to it when you get here so you have a reference when it comes time to hang your curtains. :)


  1. thank you thank you so much for posting this I have been in germany for 2 weeks now and i have done nothing but fight with curtains this help out SO MUCH thanks a bunch *ASHLEY *

  2. You're welcome! One of my friends that is getting ready to PCS back to the states recently gave me a huge bag of the "easy" kind so we replaced ALL of our safety pin clips :) I also found out that clips I used with the safety pins can be obtained for free at the self-help store. If you don't mind putting holes in your curtains you can skip the safety pin, but I plan to use the curtains again with a rod when we move back and didn't want to do too much damage. Good luck in Germany!