My mom (@lot670) hasn’t had curtains on her front picture window for a very long time. The window has been in various situations for the 16 years lived with it. At one point I think it had blinds and nothing else. In the winter, maybe some plastic covered it to keep cold out. Then I remember a gold rod with acorn finials, and gold/yellow curtains we got front Kmart. Then it went to nothing on the window, and continued that way even after she got a new picture window. It has been that way for several years while my mom took her time thinking about what she really wanted on that window.
So my mom did a lot of research. A year ago we went to IKEA, a two hour drive, to purchase this curtain system called the KVARTAL. It was still pretty confusing knowing what we needed and how this thing worked or was installed, so we bought what we assumed we needed and maybe a little extra. We even talked with other people buying the same thing and they had no idea either.
My mom had already found her inspiration as to what she wanted. She had bought her fabric at our local fabric store (score!), which looks almost exactly like curtains in this photo. We were worried she wouldn’t be able to get the amount of fabric she needed. The store manager had to do a little tracking. My mom was going to take a class to learn how to make these in pinch pleat drapes.
Photo in Elle Decor Magazine
She completed the drapes mid-2012, then had some work done on her house. Having the hardwood floors sanded and refinished meant everything to be moved out of the house and a blank slate. After my mom painted, had some more remodeling done, us moving stuff back in, and some more thinking, it’s now time to decorate!
The KVARTAL system was much dreaded, but it had to be done. It was time to get the drapes up so the rest of the decorations could be placed. So my mom hired me to figure out the details and to do most of the work with her help. We thought a tutorial may help others to do the same, because we wished we had more to follow!
Follow Tutorial Ahead to Learn On How to Install the KVARTAL IKEA curtain system. (note, we’re no way being paid to ad for ikea. This is simply to help you!)
- Size of Window: 112.5″ wide including frame, 8′ Ceilings.
- Vision: IKEA Kvartal triple track rail rod for sliding Panel Curtains (used like blinds) & single track rail rod for pinch pleat drapes. Tracks to be attached to ceiling.
- Difficulty: We give it 3 hammers out of 5.
- Time: 7-8 of solid just working hours over a period of 2 days.
- Notes: You will need 2 people. Make sure to keep everything in order. Take time to collect trash, organize your tools, check everything twice.
IKEA KVARTAL Tutorial
Part 1: Installing Triple Track Rail Rod
This is everything purchased from IKEA for the Kvartal system. All of these items cost $240.
Here is me laughing at the instructions, which is pretty much just a bunch random pictures and lots of foreign text. One side is the instructions to attaching them to the wall, the other side for attaching to the ceiling. It took about 10 minutes just to figure this out.
Tools we needed: drill with 3/16″ drill bit, measuring tape, ruler, painters’ tape, scissors, electric screwdriver (which is my favorite tool! It’s a Black & Decker), hand screwdriver, hammer, pencil, and screws with anchors (which you have to buy on your own). You will also need a ladder & step stool. Maybe a calculator.
These are the type of anchors we used in the drywall ceilings. They worked well with the IKEA hardware. If you use less of the ceiling fixtures, I would recommend using medium duty anchors. This box was $2. (similar to these)
This is the hardware included with each triple track rail. You may or may not need all of it depending on how you’re mounting these (wall or ceiling) Since we bought two tracks, and were mounting these from the ceiling, we needed one bracket (on left) and the two end caps. The other screws/washers are if you will be attaching these to the wall with brackets.
These are the ceiling fixtures. We used 5 on the triple track, and 5 on the single track. It seems that IKEA suggests to use 3 per track, but we bought extra. The brass knob is what attaches to the track rail, and the silver squares attach to the ceiling with your screws and anchors (there is a hole in the top which the screw goes through).The Allen screw is what holds the brass knob in the silver square. Don’t worry, you get plenty of Allen wrenches with IKEA’s packaging.
*Note: The sheet in the photo is a buying guide. The PDF is here, available through IKEA’s site.
The first step was to attach the 2 triple track rails together.
First insert one of the brass knobs from one of the ceiling fixtures. You do this because you will want to have a ceiling fixture at the center of the rail. Then insert one of the brackets that has the 4 Allen screws in it. Then slide on the second triple rail.
If you only have 1 triple track, then you use two of these brackets, one at each end. The IKEA instructions show you this.
Tighten the Allen screws with the provided Allen wrench. This view is the top of the rail that will be closest to the ceiling.
We then slid on the other 4 remaining brass knobs (two on each triple rail). We spaced them evenly on the 110.5″ long rail. One is in the center. Then I spaced two on each side 27″ out from the center. Then I spaced the next ones another 27″ away. This one ended up being about 2″ away from the end. We then added on the end caps so we wouldn’t accidently scratch anything. Tape was also placed over the knobs so they wouldn’t shift around when moving the track rail.
The 2 triple track rails put together, total length 110″ long. (each rail 55″ long) The track is 1.5″ wide. We were lucky we did not have to trim the rail at all. They are able to be cut however. Any hacksaw should work. You can buy a saw and box from IKEA to do this.
We then wondered how far from the wall the track should be placed. We measured how far the window’s molding stuck out from the wall. We judged that the edge of the track should start 2″ away from the wall so the panels would clear the molding.
Now to mark where to place the track rail and where to drill the holes.
I found the center of the window. This window is 112.5″ wide including the molding. I placed at mark at 56.25″ center. From there, I held my ruler flush against the wall, and measured 2″ from the wall (where the track rail edge will begin). I then marked another 0.75″ away from that mark, which would be the center of the track rail. Exactly middle of the brass knob on the track rail. This is where I will drill my hole for the ceiling fixture.
Now to mark out where the rest of the brass knobs should be according to their placement on the track rail. I measured 27″ to the right and to the left of this center mark, while keeping 2.75″ away from the wall. For the last 2 brass knobs, I then measured another 27″ out from each of these.
I drilled the holes at each mark making sure my drill was straight, tapped in the anchors, and screwed in the ceiling fixtures at each point.
*we tried using the rail & knobs as a template to mark where the drill holes needed to go. This didn’t work well and left too much room for error since we couldn’t hold it well enough to mark on the ceiling. I suggest measuring it out like I did, or using the plum bob method as shown in this video on youtube.
We tried our best to get the ceiling fixtures as flush and straight as possible. A couple of them veered forward, backward, and even to the right (only a tad). But it didn’t really matter because there is some leeway in the fixtures.
This is where you really need two people, and even easier if you have three! We first lined up the brass knobs on the rail and slid them into the silver square ceiling fixtures. We then tightened the screw with our Allen wrench.
and ta da!
That was tiring and we’re glad to put up our drill for now.
Part 2: Assembling Panel Curtains & Installing
This is some of the hardware for the sliding blind panel curtains. You will also have to buy (or make if you’re really good) the fabric. There are several different types you can get.
We got 6 of the Anno Sanela in gray at $15 each. You can cut them to size in length. We also recommend to get the draw rods for them to keep them clean, since they cannot be washed, ironed, dry cleaned, bleached, dried…. (in other words, throw away if they get too dirty…)
Here is a step process for attaching the hardware to the fabric. You basically get 4 pieces in this top and bottom rail kit, and some hardware. Top bar with a sticky bar, and bottom bar with sticky bar. The sticky bar attaches to the fabric, then you insert the sticky bar into the top/bottom bar.
*Note, insert your bar into the top/bottom bars the same way. One side will be flush with the bar, while on the other side you will see the fabric folded around the sticky bar.
*Note 2. You get 8 Allen screws. 1 is larger, and this is for a certain piece of hardware. The other 7 are used to attach the fabric to the bars. Why 7? Who knows…it’s quite odd. We used 4 at the top, and 3 at the bottom.
Here is the hardware that comes with the bars. The dark gray pieces are the rollers that allows it to slide on the track rail. One of the light gray plastic faces is to attach a draw rod. The other one is a type of catch. This is so you could move 3 of the panels at once with one pull. As what Kate from Retro Renovation needed to do with hers here. We didn’t use either of these, but we may add the draw rod pieces later.
Laying out the materials.
Then we slid all 6 panels onto the rail!
And added these 3 pieces onto the ends. This stops the panels from falling off the rod. You will find one with each hardware packet in the top/bottom rail kit. They attach with an Allen screw and wrench, provided. Add the cap back onto the end.
*Note, there are no extra hardware pieces. If you break one, or want to do something different, you will have to improvise, or buy more of something.
Now it’s time to do the bottom!
and cut off the excess fabric. I’m glad IKEA reminds us to keep our line straight. Phew!
We decided to cut the fabric at sill length. I used the sill as a guide to cut it straight. I then (1.) used painter’s tape as my guide. Then I (2.) attached one of the sticky brackets (after removing the white paper!). I then folded it upwards, so the silver bar is sandwiched between 2 pieces of fabric. Just like what we did for the top bracket. Then (3.) slid on the bottom bracket, put in the 3 Allen screws, with provided wrench, and done.
View from outside with panel curtains.
Part 3: Installing Single Track Rail
This is the hardware for the single track rail. We also purchased 2 of the curved rails, so the drapes would curve back to the wall and block out more light. We used all 3 of the long brackets that came with the hardware (one in the middle to attach the two long rails, and two to attach the 2 curved rails)
You attach the 2 single track rails just like shown earlier with the 2 triple track rail.
You attach the two curved rails the same way. Make sure you slide any brass knobs onto the single track rail before adding the curved track rails. Don’t add the end caps yet. These you will attach at the end with Allen screws, which are located right on the cap.
We placed the brass knobs at the same distances as we did on the triple track rail. This made it easier to mark on the ceiling where to drill the holes. To mark the holes on the ceiling for this rail we…
1. Held the single track rail centered to the window. We determined how far we wanted the end of the curved rail to be from the wall. We determined 2″. I put a mark at this 2″, and did the same at the other end.
2. I had placed the end brass knob 1″ from the end on the curved track rail. I put another mark 1″ away from the 2″ mark. This is the brass knob’s drill hole mark. I then did the brass knob at the other end.
3. While still holding the track rail up where I wanted it to go, I measured how far the center of the single track rail was from the wall. It was 7.25″.
4. For the remaining 3 brass knobs, I marked 7.25″ away from the wall. I used the silver square ceiling fixtures already attached on the triple track rail as my guide.
* The important part is to be the same distance away from the wall (the depth) on all of the brass knobs (except the ones on the curved rails). For us, it wouldn’t matter if we accidently drilled a hole wrong distance wise sideways to sideways (like at 26″ instead of 27″) because we can slide the brass knobs up and down the track to line up with the ceiling fixture that way. We however needed to drill all the holes at 7.25″ (depth) away from the wall, because the track rail has to remain in a straight line. You can’t have your brass knobs miss any of the holes on the ceiling fixture, or else none of them will go in.
After lining up the brass knobs with the square silver ceiling fixtures, we tightened the Allen screws.
The triple and single track rail rods installed.
Part 4: Attaching Curtain Panels
Esme no longer gets to sleep on the drapes.
These plastic things are what you use to attach the curtain panels to your track rail rod. You get 24 each of two types of plastic things. They are $2/box. One piece looks like a car. The other looks like a hook. We only used the plastic car piece and we needed 28 pieces. We think the hook piece is to sew onto the curtain, which then attaches onto the car. We however used normal pinch pleat metal hooks.
These are the cars slid onto the track. It was kind of hard to do this, especially around the curve part of the track rail. We were not able to get the curved track rail even and flush with the straight track rail, due to its imperfections. However, we found one of the boxes of plastic cards seemed to go onto the rod better than another box. We guess that’s a manufacturing defect. It’s a good idea to buy another box or two extra to make sure you get a good box. It’s also good to know how many cars you will need so you buy the right amount. This depends on the width of your curtains and how the tops of them are made.
The pleat pins (one at each pleat and one on each end) on these curtains were spaced 4″ apart. We needed 14 cars per panel, making 28 cars total.
Now add the end caps and tighten their Allen screws (a little easier said than done).
Slide your curtain hooks or pinch pleat pins through the plastic car’s hole! Attach the draw rod’s clip onto the plastic car at the end of the drape.
Things we would have done differently:
We would have purchased 2 more ceiling fixtures for the single track rail for extra security since the drapes are heavy. The rail is sturdy just as it is though.
Things we’ve noticed about the system:
It is really easy to slide the blind panel curtains on the triple track rail. It is not very easy to slide the pinch pleat curtains. This really prevents the will of opening and closing the curtains. However we read on IKEA’s website that you can use Silicone Lubricant Spray to help them slide. The plastic cars should be made of metal or heavier plastic. We could also potentially see the ‘loop’ part on it breaking. We’re keeping extras in case this happens.
The curved track rails don’t line up that well with the single track rails. Maybe it was just ours. It prevents the curtains being opened easily at the ends. Not cool.
Some Things We May Do Later:
We will add draw rods onto each of the blind panel curtains. This means we will have to attach the extra piece of hardware to each panel. We may find rods that come off of regular blinds instead of buying them from IKEA. For one, IKEA is far away for us and you can often find old blinds for free.
We will get some of the silicone spray or replace some of the plastic cars to see if they move on the track better.
Also view Kate from Retro Renovation’s tutorial on putting up the Kvartal system.