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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Installing Ikea Kvartal Rail System on a Bay Window

Ikea Kvartal

I'm ready to kick off our master bedroom makeover — starting with curtains for the bay window. Have you priced curtain rods for bay windows? Yowza! That's one reason we'll be going with Ikea. I've used their rail system in the past and I recall it being a tricky install. But, what the hay. I'm game!

Remember my Bedroom Inspiration Board? A gray and yellow theme, built around our existing Min bed from DWR, campaign chests Ross has owned for years and a yellow bureau that I found on the streets of Brooklyn many years ago.

While I've speculated in the past that the perfect mid-century modern window treatment is the simple roller blind, the bay window in our bedroom is calling out for a more dramatic treatment that would draw attention to the architecture of this room.

My number one objective for this bay window treatment is that the hardware be unobstrusive and that the curtains slide with ease and are mounted firmly to the walls. We have old school plaster walls and, while I've figured out exactly the kind of anchors that work best, I don't want an application that creates too many holes. I decided to go with Ikea's Kvartal system. I used it before in a previous home and for the price it just can't be beat.

I drew up a schematic to show the materials I will need and where I will place the brackets.
Here's the plan: The rails come in lengths of 55" so I'll need more than one to cover the longest span of 92" along the back wall. Luckily, rails can be cut down to any length using a common hack saw. So I'll cut one of them down and connect them with the connector hardware that comes with each rail purchase. (Update: This is wrong. I had to connect them in the center. See Troubleshooting Kvartal Curtain Rods Install.)

Each of the corner pieces is 8.6". I'll have to cut them down to get the ends at the proper angle to connect seamlessly with the rails on the wings. I won't know for certain how much to cut until I do a dry run with the materials. The two wing pieces are not equal. One is 1" shorter than the other. I've got 37-1/2" on the left and 36-1/2" on the right.

Kvartal corner pieces have been discontinued at Ikea in the U.S., though they're still available on some Ikea sites such as Australia and Singapore. Ikea support advises they'll be reissued in the U.S. in August after a redesign, but I can't wait that long.

I found two on eBay, brand new and still in the packaging. (Update: In the end I only needed one, cut neatly in half.) Of course, the seller wants double the price at $15.99 each, but I'm happy to pay it. Even with this "convenience tax," the Ikea curtain rail system is by far the most economical around — especially for bay windows. And if you are patient and familiar with Ikea hieroglyphics, Kvartal is no more difficult to install than any curtain rails. The important thing, which has nothing at all to do with Ikea, is to use the right anchor bolts for your walls.

I'll take some photos as I go along and post a step by step.

So, you'll notice on my schematic that I have placeholders for five brackets. It's advisable to put one in the center of the longest length, so I'll need five.

All told, the materials I need to purchase for this project are:

The total for this project is $112.81, not including the curtains themselves.

My curtains need to be about 103" long. They'll hang from brackets that I'll place right under the ceiling coves. From there down to the floor is 99". I'm adding 2 inches, as I want my curtains to pool when they hit the floor.

Ikea makes curtains in lengths of 98" and 108". The 108" will work perfectly for me if I hem them to 103". The 98" ones will be too short.

If I don't like the look of any of the Ikea curtains, I'll need to purchase fabric separately. I have my eye on some designer remnant by Jeffrey Allan Marks for Kravet called Chromis in Metal at Fabric Guru. It's $145 for 8 yards and looks like this.

If I buy my own fabric, I'll need to purchase 4 packets of Ikea curtain header tape that I have on my list. It's what the Ikea hooks attach to. I'll only need to use it if I decide to sew the curtains myself. 

Ikea offers the Vilborg, $49.95 for two panels, and if I like the way those look in the store, I'll go for that. It's difficult to tell by looking at Ikea's website whether something looks good or not. 

Time to go shopping!