When I was working on the conversation room (see the reveal HERE) and the dining room (see the reveal HERE) in tandem, I ordered the same extra wide, pleated statement drapes for the front wall they share. Naturally, I wanted to use the same curtain rod for each and easily found the “look” I was going for — a simple, sleek and modern rod with a straight cylinder finial. While different widths, the window openings in each room are large — the dining room window casing holds three windows while the conversation room holds two. We’ll get into the specifics in a bit but I needed to extra long curtain rods for each — the only problem was that after I carted the rod for the dining room, I realized the size I needed for the conversation room wasn’t available. And, when I found a rod for the conversation room, there wasn’t a size available that was long enough for the dining room. They were at two totally different price points but aesthetically very similar. So, I decided to take on a little experiment and I ordered both. Today, I’m sharing the results, comparison and full breakdown for these sleek, simple rods — one West Elm curtain rod, the other from Amazon.
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West Elm Curtain Rod vs. Amazon Modern Finial Curtain Rod
I was originally most familiar with THIS pretty rod from West Elm. I’m a fan of the cylinder finial and all the rods I’ve ever purchased from Williams Sonoma family brands have been great. But, I wanted to see if I could find something I liked just as much on Amazon — I came across THIS sleek rod (incredibly visually similar to the West Elm rod) with over 5k 5-star reviews and I was going to order the widths I needed for both rooms. Unfortunately, they were out of one of the sizes I needed at the time (they’re now currently fully stocked again) but it gave an opportunity to take both of these rods on a test run to break down all the details.
Below, each rod is facing off in the following categories and comparisons:
- Options available
- Mounting Hardware
- Ease of installation
For the record, here are the window stats for each window, along with the rod that was installed in each respective room. The conversation room window has a width of approximately 71″ — it also has a bit of wall space on either side of the window casing that I wanted some pretty generous overlap for the curtains. I installed the West Elm curtain rod (HERE) in the 60″-108″ length in this room…
The dining room has a window width of approximately 96″ — it also has very limited space between the window casings and the walls but I wanted to extend the rod as close to the full length of the room as possible. I used the Amazon rod (HERE) in the 120″-240″ option.
In both rooms, I used my go-to, inexpensive curtain rings that ship free via Amazon (HERE). They come in five finishes but I used black for both. They pair perfectly with my pleated drapes that have metal curtain hooks sewn into each pleat — you can find those HERE; my color is Linen Weave Vanilla Bean and right now, they’re offering an additional 5% off lowest sale price with code KELLEY.
So, now that we’ve gotten some of the basics out of the way, let’s get into the actual comparison of the two rods!
In terms of options, both the West Elm rod and the Amazon rod are incredibly close. They both come in four color options and multiple lengths. I will note that the dark color of the West Elm rod is noted as “Antique Bronze” but it looks black in person. And, it still pairs perfectly with the black curtain rings I use.
THE WINNER: While they both have several options in both finish and length, the Amazon rod takes this category based on the lengths the rod is available for — suitable for windows 10″ more narrow and almost 100″ wider than the West Elm rod.
2. Mounting Hardware
Hardware ties in to both “3. Ease of Installation” and 4. “Durability” but is important to note, all on its own. While the Amazon rod comes with pretty standard screws and flimsy anchors you’d expect, the West Elm rod‘s hardware is much more substantial. It comes with large screw-in style anchors, long screws, and the rod actually mounts with a plate system that works similar to a toilet paper holder. Each plate has a small under-screw that can be tightened with a tiny provided allen wrench.
The Winner: The West Elm rod easily wins this category.
3. Ease of Installation
While any curtain rod needs to be level, some leave more room for correction of error than others. The Amazon rod has more standard rod brackets that are easier to measure, adjust, and even correct should your measurements (or eyeballing method) be slightly off. With the heavy duty mounting hardware of the West Elm rod though, while the installation itself isn’t especially difficult, correcting mistakes is tricker. Those large screw anchors don’t come out easily (if at all) and there are definitely more steps involved in getting the rod installed. Also, while the Amazon rod can essentially be laid on top of any bracket (which is especially helpful when hanging the curtains on the rings), the center mount on the West Elm rod is a fixed circle mount.
Another note is that in this particular install, with all the trim in the dining room, the Amazon rod mounts had to be wedged in-between the top of the window casing and the bottom of the crown molding. Because I used four brackets across the long rod, I felt comfortable with Dave using a Dremel tool to shave off half of the double-screw mount. While I felt ok with trying this on the center mounts because of this specific setup, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it if it can be avoided and I wouldn’t have done it on the side mounts that bear the brunt of the weight of the curtains.
Lastly, each of rods come in length ranges. The West Elm curtain rod comes with three telescopic rods that are straightforward while the Amazon rod came with somewhere between five and seven (from my recollection?) individual rods. While you can come up with a pretty finite length with the rod length options, using only what you need, it was a little tricker to find our preferred configuration for the Amazon rod.
Sources: Dining Chairs | Rug (natural; 8’x10′) | Lamps | Faux Tree | Curtains — Linen Weave Vanilla Bean (enter code KELLEY for an extra 5% off lowest sale price) | Curtain Rod (120″-240″) | Curtain Rings
When I was mounting the hardware, I used anchors anywhere that didn’t have a stud behind the drywall. The window treatments I used in these rooms are thick and heavy — heavier than most window treatments. But, because both curtain rods came with the appropriate quantity of mounts to support the weight and length, they are both sturdy. The West Elm rod is a bit heavier duty and more substantial — as is its hardware — so for that reason…
The Winner: The West Elm curtain rod takes this category.
Sources: Curtains — Linen Weave Vanilla Bean (enter code KELLEY for an extra 5% off lowest sale price) | Curtain Rod | Curtain Rings | Loveseat | Large Terracotta Urn | Water Hyacinth Storage Trunk | Cane Arm Chair | Lumbar Pillow | Faux Olive Tree
With these rooms being separated by an entry, the fact that these rods aren’t the same isn’t even noticeable unless you’re looking for some of the distinct characteristics. The most notable differences are:
- The West Elm curtain rod has a little bit of a great circumference at 1.3″, compared to the Amazon curtain rod at 1″. I prefer a thicker rod so the West elm rod edges out the slightly thinner Amazon rod, for me.
- The finials on the West Elm rod are larger — this is totally a personal preference.
- The squared-off mounts for the West Elm rod are more noticeable, but give a slightly “neater” appearance than the standard Amazon curtain rod mounts.
Sources: Chandelier | Sconces (similar) | Rug (8 x 10)| Bird Art Print Pair | Coffee Table | Black Carved Tray | Wooden Beads | Coffee Table Seagrass Planter (similar)| Cane Arm Chair | Lumbar Pillow | Faux Olive Tree | Olive Tree Pot (large) | Loveseat | Green Belgian Flax Linen Pillow Covers | Curtain Rod | Curtain Rings | Curtains — Linen Weave Vanilla Bean (enter code KELLEY for an extra 5% off lowest sale price) | Large Cement Vase | Smaller Cement Vase | Water Hyacinth Storage Trunk
Sources: Chandelier | Sconces (similar) | Rug (8 x 10)| Bird Art Print Pair | Coffee Table | Black Carved Tray | Wooden Beads | Coffee Table Seagrass Planter (similar)| Cane Arm Chair | Lumbar Pillow | Faux Olive Tree | Olive Tree Pot (large) | Loveseat | Green Belgian Flax Linen Pillow Covers | Curtain Rod | Curtain Rings | Curtains — Linen Weave Vanilla Bean (enter code KELLEY for an extra 5% off lowest sale price) | Black End Table | Black End Table | Ivory Ceramic Lamp | Candle Snuffer (Part of 3-pc Accessory Set) | Black Matte Capri Blue Volcano Candle | Plant Basket (similar) | Large Cement Vase | Smaller Cement Vase
The Winner: Without literally comparing the two, it’s such a close call, but in having both, the I slightly prefer the look of the West Elm curtain rod.
It’s no surprise that the Amazon rod ships quickly and for free via Prime — perfect if your on especially tight time crunch (or don’t have patience to wait). The West Elm rod is a mixed bag. Some Williams Sonoma family retailer items have showed up fairly quickly (within the week) but the norm for them over the past year is exceptionally long lead times. Depending on the rod length, delivery is currently showing anywhere from late May to late August. However, when I ordered a few months ago, the Amazon rod size I needed didn’t even display as an option. But, since then, they have fully restocked.
The Winner: the Amazon curtain rod (by a long shot!)
This single factor directed me towards one rod over the other initially. And had it been in stock in the size I needed, I would have gone for it. While the costs for both the West Elm rod and the Amazon rod vary across all the length range options, the Amazon rod is significantly less expensive than the West Elm curtain rod. The rod lengths don’t line up for exact comparison, but here are the current listed prices:
- West Elm 28″-48″: $80 vs. Amazon 16″-28″: $19.99; Amazon 28″-48″: $25.99
- West Elm 48″-88″: $100 vs. Amazon 48″-86″: $30.99
- West Elm 60:-108″: $130 vs. Amazon 72″-144″: $34.99
- West Elm 108″-144″: $150 vs. Amazon 72″-144″: $34.99
- West Elm N/A vs. Amazon 120″-240″: $57.99
The Final Verdict
After ordering, receiving, installing, and now living with both rods for a few months, there’s actually no finite answer. But, because “best bang for your buck” means a lot to me, I would have to give the best overall to the Amazon curtain rod.
If you’re being more mindful of budget, have a bunch of windows to dress, or have an XXL window area to cover, the Amazon rod is the clear choice. However… if you aren’t as concerned about price or want a nicer, heftier rod for a single space or a few special places, I would go for the West Elm rod.
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