5 Types of Shower Curtain Rods: Which Style is Best for You?

Types of shower curtain rods

The different types of shower curtain rods are about as numerous as types of showers. With all those options, finding the one you need can be a little overwhelming. So, in this article, we’ll give you an overview of the different types of shower curtain rods so you can find the best one for you.

Shower curtain rods have 5 main shapes: straight, curved, L-shaped, rectangular, and double. In addition to the shape, shower curtain rods will be either tension adjustable or fixed.

What shower curtain rod you need depends mostly on the kind of shower or tub you have. Next, we’re going to dig into the details of each type of shower curtain rod so that you can choose the best shower curtain rods for you. Let’s get to it!

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Types of Shower Curtain Rods

Every shower curtain rod is either tension/adjustable or fixed. Let’s figure out what that means before we get into the shapes.

Tension/adjustable means just that the rod is adjustable. This is usually done with strong springs inside that allow you to compress it or expand it to fit different bathroom sizes. Tension shower curtain rods are pretty versatile and these types of rods are the most common.

A fixed shower curtain rod means that it’s not adjustable. These usually come in the standard sizes of 41in, 60in, and 72in. These shower curtain rods are great if you have a standard size shower, but they might give you trouble if you have an odd-shaped shower/tub.

Now that we’ve covered that basic distinction, let’s dig into all the different shower curtain rod shapes.

1. Straight

types of shower curtains

Naiture 48″ Straight Shower Curtain Rod (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions

This shower curtain is pretty ‘straight’ forward (see what I did there?).

Straight shower rods are what you think of when you picture a standard shower curtain rod, it goes straight across from one end to the other.

Straight rods can come as either fixed or adjustable.

This is also the most common type of shower curtain which makes it pretty cheap and easy to find. This is what we use in our home currently.

2. Curved

styles of shower curtain rods

Zenna Home Curved Shower Curtain Rod (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions

The curved shower curtain rod bends outwards in the middle of the rod. A curved shower rod is a great way to add shower space if your shower or tub feels cramped.

It offers more room for your arms while in the shower, without the weird feeling of a wet shower curtain touching your skin.

It’s also the best option if you have a curved or oval tub, or it’s a great way to change the look and feel of your bathroom without spending a ton.

Curved shower curtain rods also come as either fixed or adjustable.

3. L-Shaped

types of shower curtain rods

Artiwell L-Shaped Shower Curtain Rod (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions

L-shaped shower curtain rods are designed specifically to fit a corner shower. This kind of shower does not have a straight line from one wall to the other.

This shower curtain rod has a very specific purpose. It isn’t very commonly used, but it’s perfect for what it was designed for (e.g. corner showers).

If you need to use this type of shower curtain rod, remember that it’s longer than regular shower curtain rods. This means that you will have to get an equally long shower curtain to match.

It looks like there are some L-shaped shower rods online that claim not to require screws, but if I were installing a rod like this, I think I’d want to go with the fixed model.

4. Rectangle/D-Shaped

PrettyHome Rectangle Shower Curtain Rod (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions

A rectangle shower curtain rod, also called a D-shaped shower curtain rod, is even more uncommon than an L-Shaped rod.

It’s made to hang from the ceiling and on one of the bathroom walls to support the shower curtain. Now you may be wondering why you need to have a shower curtain rod hang from the ceiling.

Well, this is used if you have a tub that stands apart from a wall and therefore has no place for a shower curtain rod to be attached. It’s normally used for baths that only have a tub, no shower, which is why it’s so uncommon.

But, that doesn’t make it any less useful for your bathroom, if you have this kind of set-up.

Since this type of shower curtain rod has to be fastened to the wall and ceiling, it only comes in fixed (not tension/adjustable) models.

5. Double

shower curtain rods

Zenna Home Double Shower Curtain Rod (See on Amazon) *we receive commissions

The double shower curtain rod is basically two shower curtain rods put next to one another. They come in straight and curved rod designs.

Double rods give you a place to hang towels and such without having to hang a whole new towel rack.

This works great if you have a small bathroom without a lot of wall space for towel racks.

This kind of rod comes in both fixed and adjustable/tension models.

How to Install a Shower Curtain Rod

What size shower curtain do i need

Now that you know what shower curtain rod you’ll need for your specific bathroom, you probably need to know how to install it.

Well, here’s the breakdown in 3 easy steps, the steps will vary slightly based on the type of installation of your chosen shower curtain rod.

1. Pick Your Shower Curtain Rod

We’ve just given you a good foundation for this, and it’s arguably the most important step. Before you buy your rod, you need to figure out what kind of shower curtain rod you need.

First, figure out if you need an L-shaped shower rod or a D-shaped shower curtain rod. If not, then you just have to choose for your own personal preference.

If you’re fine with your current shower curtain rod and just need a replacement, you can just grab a new one of the same style. If you have a standard shower, but you’re interested in giving yourself an upgrade, then consider a curved and/or double shower curtain rod.

To make sure you get the right size rod, you’ll need to measure the distance between the two points to which your rod will be fixed. You can do this by measuring between the shower walls with your handy dandy tape measure.

Once you’ve got your supplies, you can begin with the installation.

2. Installation

Most types of shower rods should come with an instruction pamphlet to help you out. But if they somehow missed one, here’s a quick rundown.

There are two ways a straight shower curtain rod will be installed: mounted or with tension.

For a mounted rod, you’ll have to screw the mount into the wall. When doing this, make sure the center of the mount (where the rod will go), will make the shower curtain high enough.

You’ll want your shower curtain to hang 1-2 inches above the ground, and don’t forget to add an extra inch to make up for the shower curtain rings.

It’s also important to make sure that you get both sides of the rod to the same height so your shower rod will be nice and level. You can do this by measuring and marking each side at the height they need to be so that you have a reference point while you’re installing.

Once the mounts are installed, put the rod in place. Double-check to make sure your mounts are secure and your rod is level before hanging your shower curtain.

For a tension/adjustable rod, place the end of the rod over the marks you made, then tension out the rod until it’s the correct length. Tensioning a rod is usually done by twisting it.

Just like with the mounted rod, make sure it’s secure and level. For a tension rod, pull down on it slightly to make sure it doesn’t slip. If it does, tighten it a little more. This will ensure that the rod can hold the weight of the curtain.

If you live in a rental or an apartment that you don’t own, then you’ll probably need to use a tension rod to avoid damaging the walls. If for some reason that’s not an option, you can put holes in your apartment wall. Check out this post for more details: Can You Put Holes in Apartment Walls? A Guide for Renters

Now you’re ready to hang your shower curtain.

3. Hang the Curtain

Now that your rod is in place, the only thing left to do is hang your shower curtain.

There are three standard shower curtain sizes, which are as follows:

  • 70 x 70 inches
  • 70 x 72 inches
  • 72 x 72 inches

You can learn everything you need to know about these measurements, by reading our guide on picking the perfect shower curtain size.

To install the shower curtain, first, attach all your shower curtain hooks, there’s a ton of different styles, sizes, and shapes, just choose the one that works best for your bathroom or that matches the bathroom decor.

Next, attach your shower curtain liner to your shower curtain. Some snap together and others just hang from the hooks together, whichever one it is, get them lined up together.

Finally, attach your curtain and/or liner through the shower rings. Once your curtain is hooked, slide it around to make sure it’s nice and pretty.

The only thing left to do is give your shower a test drive, and by that I mean go take a shower, you probably smell after all that hard work.

How Do I Choose a Shower Curtain Rod?

The shower curtain rod you should choose depends on the shape and size of your shower. If you have a standard shower, you can get a straight, curved, or double rod. Then, measure the distance between the two walls where the rod will be attached. With this information, you can choose the best option for you.

What Sizes Do Shower Curtain Rods Come In?

Standard shower curtain rods come in 41 in, 60 in, and 72 in. If the rod is adjustable, it will vary from these sizes. Curved rods will also vary because of the curve in the middle. Measure the distance between the two walls to which the rod will be attached, to find the size of rod that you need.


Leslie has lived in tons of different places that were all in different states of repair. She has experience remodeling and replacing just about everything in a home including the roof. When she's not working on a project, Leslie blogs about home improvement tips to pass on her knowledge to others.

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