So how do I manage to spare the rod without spoiling the curtain? Simply by nailing the curtain into the window frame. If you are a homeowner, decide if this is the right path for you, but as a renter it's pretty much expected that you will ruin things. I've learned this from many landlords over the years who have been convinced that leaking ceilings, bug infestations, and heatless radiators were part of a plague that I as a renter brought with me to their CHARMING VINTAGE SORRY NO PET GREAT LOCATOIN APT. that previous tenants have called "quite a good place."
I wasn't born knowing how to not hang curtains though. I learned from my former roommate and current best friend, Julia, who taught me about life, love, and other mysteries (nailing curtains into a window frame). It was through her that I learned techniques for window dressing that involved not measuring, not drilling, and not crying.
Here are some examples of curtain hanging techniques that I employ in my own apartment:
The draper.To create this effect, I used two valences and starting nailing from the ends of the window frame and working my way in for a perfectly valenced effect.
The com-pleated window.To create pleats in a curtain, nail both ends of the curtain/ piece of fabric to the window frame and fold over about 2 inches at any interval. This is a modern look, so make sure you've watched an episode of Mad Men from seasons 5 or 6 to determine if this is right for you.
The Rachel.You just need a couple of face-framing pieces to really make the window pop. To achieve this look take two equally sized pieces of long fabric, bunch them up and then nail into the window frame until they stay in place. The resulting look will last for multiple seasons and be referenced for years to come.
Happy hanging, and remember that there's no wrong way to hang a curtain.