Depending on the style you’re going for, your curtains can finish just above or below the window sill. It’s best to measure for your curtain’s length before you choose a rod, so the finished product will match your expectations.
A retractable metal tape measure is preferred to a cloth one, as it won’t slip and add inaccuracies. In this article we will provide you the best guidance for measuring windows for curtains.
Choosing the correct length for curtains can make or break their appearance in a room. While it’s entirely up to personal preference, many professional designers adhere to one hard-and-fast rule: “Your curtains should graze the floor.”
To determine your curtain’s length, start by measuring from the top of the window frame to where you want the rod to hang. If you prefer the look of your curtains to extend past the sill, add 6 inches to that measurement. This extra length will help your curtains sway and create an eye-catching wave effect.
Once you’ve figured out how long you want your curtains to be, the next step is to decide on a width. Take your measurements and multiply them by two if you’re planning to use pinch pleats, double the number for pencil pleated windows or even triple it for sheers.
Finally, if you’re planning to use a center split for your curtains (where the rod is placed between two panels), take your width and add 12 inches per side (or 24 inches total). This will give you a total number that you can divide by the number of panels you plan to order, ensuring each panel has at least this much width. To avoid wasting fabric, you can also measure the width of the window, then subtract 6 inches to get your final number, ensuring each panel will be at least this wide.
As a rule, curtains and drapes need to be two to three times wider than the window casing in order to have a full appearance when hanging. To measure for curtain width, mark from one side of the window casing to the other, then add 6″ per side or 12″ in total. Then take this total number and divide it by the number of panels you wish to order (this is usually two).
It’s important to know that a good rule of thumb for deciding how wide to make your curtains or drapes is to look at the width of the curtain heading style you are thinking of ordering. For example, a gathered, pinch pleat or wave heading will have a built-in fullness that needs to be added to the total width of the curtain so that it can be pulled tight and hang well.
For a less voluminous curtain, the heading may not need to be added to the width of the curtain so much and you can simply measure from the inside edge of the track or pole (or the bottom of the rings on a rod) up to where you want the curtains to sit when they are closed. For side panel windows, which are decorative and not meant to be closed all the way, you can measure the width of the window, then subtract a few inches to account for the panels being suspended from either end of the track or rod.
If you’re planning to use a rod that hangs outside the window casing, measure from where you want the curtains to be mounted to the floor. You can choose to have the curtain reach the floor or to just brush it, or a little further to add a “puddle” effect. If you’re choosing a more functional type of curtain, which will be opened and closed frequently, it’s a good idea to avoid puddling as this can create snags and wear.
When measuring to the floor, it’s best to have a steel tape measure for taking precise measurements as cloth or vinyl tape measures tend to stretch and distort the measurement. You can also use a yardstick for accuracy, although it’s important to remember that you will have to add the length of the rod (and finials or brackets) into the overall measurement.
For curtains or drapes that will be inside the window frame, it’s a good idea to add 6 to 12 inches to your Rod to Floor measurement in order to provide extra fullness. This will help your curtains to look more like a custom fit and make the window seem larger in the frame. If you are using a wide-scalloped rod or plan to have the curtain fall to the sides, this may be less of an issue as these types of curtains tend to be fuller anyway.
If you want your curtains to fully cover the window when they’re closed, it’s best to go with a fabric that’s at least double the width of the window. This ensures your curtains look full and billowy. However, too much fabric can make the curtains feel bulky and take away from the overall look of your window frame.
To find the right width, start by measuring from the left side of your arch to the right, then add 12 inches to each measurement for a total of 24 inches. This will give you the finished width of your curtain and will also leave enough room for a rod pocket.
Measuring for a bay window can be tricky but our easy-to-follow guide will help you get it perfect every time. First decide if you’d like your tracks or pole to finish inside the bay, meaning they won’t extend out of the window frame, or if you want them to extend out of the bay. Then count the number of sides in your bay (any flat section counts as a side) to get your total track width.
If you’re ordering an inside mount, simply order your product in the width and height measurements you took, making sure to note if you need your product made with face or top fitting. Our factory will apply the correct deductions to ensure your products fit perfectly. If you’re ordering an outside mount, add 6 inches to both measurements. This will allow your products to hang past the brackets and finials if you’re going with a puddle or puddling style.