Tension Rods: Unsung Heroes of the DIY - The Habitat
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Tension rods are inexpensive and foolproof hardware, useful for more than just hanging shower curtains and drapes. The spring-loaded metal or plastic poles use tension and rubber ends to stay in place, eliminating the need for screws, hooks, and power tools. Thanks to this versatile design, they're the unsung heroes of DIYers and problem-solvers who need unique design solutions. From organizational woes to wasted wall space, tension rods may be the secret weapon you didn't know you needed.

01

Tension brightens the mood

A bit of mood lighting never hurt anyone, but adding more lamps isn't always a convenient choice. Whether you're working with limited floor space or you can't find the right design to match your taste, a tension rod works perfectly in the meantime. Set the rod in an alcove, shelving unit, or in between wall moldings to support an old-fashioned bulb or a string of lights. Wrap wires around the pole to avoid unsightly dangling cords.

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02

Gardening on another level

Hanging plants bring you natural beauty at eye level, and thanks to tension rods, you can easily see green in any room. Hang potted plants instead of curtains in the window, allowing the foliage to naturally drape toward the windowsill. Use chains for a modern aesthetic or macramé rope for a rustic look. Get creative with placement, adding a row of hanging plants above the front porch, over a stairwell, or in the bathroom.

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03

A shelf without a trace

Tension rods have come a long way in recent years, and chances are they're a lot nicer and more versatile than you remember. Use a chic metallic or wrought iron-esque tension rod to suspend a small wooden shelf with string, rope, or customized metal hooks. Modern rods come in several finishes, from shiny brass and chrome to matte black, and can support up to 30 pounds.

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04

Floor-to-ceiling style

Anchored in-between a low ceiling and the floor, a vertical tension rod becomes a sturdy base for attaching hooks, pegs, and small surfaces. Put one up in the entryway for hanging coats and backpacks or attach a little shelf in a small bathroom for a convenient place for your phone. For a chic spin on seating houseguests, take the design to the back porch or anywhere that guests may congregate to replace cocktail tables.

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05

Meet your view halfway

Café curtains are hardly a best-kept secret. By covering only the lower portion of a window, they afford privacy while allowing as much natural light into the room as possible. They also need more frequent washing since they are most common in restrooms and kitchens. Use lightweight fabrics on a thin tension rod for easy removal and to avoid overpowering small windows. For an extra touch of personality, choose curtain clip rings to suit your style.

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06

Maximize even the smallest spaces

It's not easy to fit your unique life into generic storage compartments. Even the tiniest shelves can work more efficiently with some creatively placed tension rods. Mount petite rods across storage openings to hang utensils, small potted plants, or clips for postcards. Under the kitchen or bathroom sink, inexpensive rods are perfect for hanging spray bottles.

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07

The best supporting role

Creating storage space from nothing takes some creative problem-solving, but you can always find inspiration in your home's unique architectural details. Hallway molding or a recessed portion of a wall creates a narrow space for displaying items. Showcase your pieces with peace of mind by using small tension rods to keep everything in place. A supportive rod makes any ledge a usable storage area for anything from children's artwork to your favorite cookbooks.

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08

It's what's inside that counts

Drawers are some of the most challenging spaces to organize. Unless you invest in pricey trays or dividers, you'll have to rely on your creative repurposing skills to create order from chaos. Use small tension rods along the length or width of the drawer, dividing it into narrow compartments for storing jars and boxes. Place rolls of paper towels, aluminum foil, and plastic wrap on thin rods for easy access and unrolling.

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09

Vanquish wasted space

Cabinetry may be plentiful in your kitchen or bathrooms, but available storage remains limited to the single surface of built-in shelves. That means a lot of wasted space behind those cabinet doors. Rather than hanging a few hooks or stacking boxes, create a makeshift shelf using three or four tension rods. Adjust the height to accommodate bags of chips or other fragile items, and use clips to hang open packets near the front.

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10

Reimagine your existing storage

Maximizing space inside your cabinets doesn't always require more shelving. Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of vertical support to keep your supplies in good standing. Secure tension rods vertically to organize your baking sheets, muffin tins, and cooling racks in overhead cabinets that otherwise wouldn't be useful. Keep cutting boards filed neatly in tall drawers or cabinets, or keep multiple rolls of wrapping paper stacked to the side.

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