How to Measure The Right Length and Width for Curtain Sizes
Welcome! You’ve come to the right place for all things curtain sizes. In this post, you will learn how to measure the right length and width curtains for your windows using a simple formula I walk through below.
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Curtains are such an important decor aspect and can take any room to the next level! They can really create so much added character in your home. I have witnessed even the most beautifully decorated interiors transform with rightly selected curtains. Curtains really are the jewelry of a room.
Without the right tips and tools, it can be really challenging to find the right curtains for your home. Hopefully, the information you read here will save you some time and give you more confidence to move forward with your project.
Shop my favorite curtains:
These pleated curtains are from Amazon and are beautiful and look high-end!
I have these affordable curtains from Target in my son’s room and love them.
PB linen curtains are in our hearth room and are pretty and come in several colors and sizes.
It can be difficult to know what size of curtains to purchase, how to measure your area before purchasing curtains, what type of curtains will look best, how to pick between various styles…so many decisions!
Let’s get into all the details.
What are standard curtain sizes?
Standard ready-made curtains are usually sold in three different lengths- 84 inches, 96 inches, or 108 inches.
The height of your ceiling is the ultimate dictator in determining what length of curtains will look best in your home. It’s also up to your desired curtain height and design choices.
A general rule of thumb is- 84-inch curtains for 8-foot ceilings, 96-inch curtains for 9-foot ceilings, and 108-inch curtains for 10-foot ceilings.
You can also find 63-inch and 120-inch curtains. Both lengths are less popular than the standard curtain lengths mentioned but are great if you have small windows or, on the other hand, really tall ceilings.
What are standard curtain panel drapery widths?
Standard curtain panels in the U.S. are 48 inches wide. Determining the width needed for curtains is a lot more simple than determining the length because most all windows are 48 inches wide.
How wide should curtains be for a 72-inch window?
You need curtains with a finished width of at least 1.5 times the window. It’s even better if you increase it to 2 times the window size for even more fullness.
In this example of a 72-inch window, you would then need panels that are 144 inches wide in total. This is 2 times the fullness of the window and allows for substantial pleating.
This simple curtain size calculator gives you an easy method to figure out how many panels you need to cover a window.
The designer rule is that curtains should always be hung both higher and wider than the window. The reason for this is because the window will feel bigger and the ceilings taller. It also lets in the maximum amount of light into the room because when the curtains are open, the curtains won’t be covering the glass so the entire window is exposed.
The answer of how much higher and wider than the window depends a little on your exact situation. Ceiling height, crown molding, and potential interferences such as other windows or light switches will impact your final decision.
Generally, you want to hang the rod as close to the ceiling as possible or at least 3 inches above the window.
For width, you want your rod to overhang your window at least 6-12 inches on each side.
Related: Are Curtains or Blinds Better for Sliding Doors?
How to Measure for the Correct Curtain Sizes
1. Measure Your Window Width
First, calculate the width you will need. To do so, use the length of the rod, not the window since your rod will extend past the window on both sides.
Measure the width of the rod from left to right.
As an example, say your window is 36 inches wide and you are adding 12 inches on both ends to extend past the window.
That means your width is 60” with 12 inches on each side.
If we stick with 2 times the fullness (minimum 1.5 is recommended), we take 60 x 2 = 120
You need 120 inches in drapery panel widths to properly cover the window.
2. Measure Your Window Length
Measure the length of the window from the top of the rod to the bottom of the floor. If your curtains aren’t going to the floor, measure where you want them to end.
Floor-length curtains usually end about 3/8” above the floor, ideal for frequent operation so they aren’t dragging.
In our example, let’s say ceilings are 108” and we are mounting the rod 2 inches from the ceiling. That means we need a curtain length of 106”
3. How Do I Know What Size Curtains To Buy?
Using the example from above, we calculated that we need 120 inches in width and 106” in length.
Let’s say we want this curtain which is sold per panel and the panel width is 50”x108” long.
In order to have enough width, we need at least 2 panels at 50” each, but that’s less than our recommended 120 inches wide so it won’t look as nice and full.
If we want it extra full with more pleating, we’ll need 3 50” panels total.
Styles of Curtains
The style of curtain you choose should depend on your windows and your style preferences. Certain styles are better suited for some aesthetic or room designs than others. Keep these options in mind.
Floating curtains are curtains that don’t touch the floor. They hang above the window but there is a gap between the bottom of the curtain and the floor.
They are best suited for larger windows and they can be layered over sheer or lace curtain panels in a floor-length curtains size to add depth and color contrast.
Curtains that are puddle length are curtains that are gathered at the floor under the window. They are hung in a way that allows them to extend past the window or wall so there is extra curtain material that “puddles” at the floor.
They have a dramatic and romantic look to a room but because they touch the floor they are more prone to dust, dirt, stains, and spills, and may need to be cleaned more often than other curtain styles.
Kiss the Floor
Curtains that kiss the floor hang right above the floor so the bottom of the curtain just grazes the floor. Many people consider these curtains the perfect length because they cover the window completely but don’t touch the floor.
They are modern and low-maintenance. They are similar to floating curtains but tend to have a smaller gap between the edge of the curtain and the floor.
Designer Tips for Hanging Curtains
Before you hang your curtains, keep these designer tips in mind.
Place Rod Height As Close to the Ceiling as Possible
Placing the rod higher on the ceiling will not only allow you to adjust the length of your curtains more easily, but it will also make your ceiling looks higher and create the illusion of a more spacious room.
Keep in mind you should leave at least an inch between the ceiling and your curtain rod to make it easier to install the rod, clean, and swap out your curtains.
Hang Curtains Wider than Your Window
Choosing a rod and curtains that are wider than your windows gives you plenty of room to part the curtains or push them to each side so you can allow in more natural light.
You don’t want your curtains to show gaps when they are left straight down the center either.
Curtains should be slightly bunched on the rod rather they are parted or centered on the windows. It’s also wise to use two curtain panels instead of just one large one and avoid odd curtain sizes that don’t cover your windows or hang right.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Shopping for curtains shouldn’t be an intimidating process. In fact, it can be something you enjoy. Keep these things in mind before you buy your next set of curtains.
Formal vs. Casual Setting
What kind of decor or vibe does your home have? Do you want something that is fancy, formal, and elegant, or do you want something fun, casual, and laidback?
There are curtains to meet any theme and style, so take the time to look through the different options and find what will match the other decor and furniture in your room and go with the overall aesthetic.
The material you choose can determine how much light is filtered into the windows, how the curtains are cleaned, how much dust they collect, and the way they hang or drape over the window.
Curtain materials range from lace to cotton, to velvet, and even satin. The material can also determine the price of the curtains as higher-quality fabrics tend to be more expensive.
Curtains do more than just add color and privacy to your home, they also block or let in natural light. If you prefer to keep your room dark to reduce glare or improve sleep, you will want to choose room-darkening curtains or curtains that filter out most light.
If you prefer a bright room then sheer curtains or full-light curtains may be a better option. You can also find curtains that filter out some light and allow light to pass through but mute it slightly.
Pleats are bunches of fabric in a drapery panel that create beautiful movement and thickness. Custom-made drapery has pleats sewn in to give the fabric fullness.
While you can find pre-made drapery panels with sewn-in pleats, it’s harder to find. My favorite option for sewn-in pleats are these.
These pleated curtains are from Amazon and are less than half the cost of custom curtains but look just as beautiful!
There are a variety of pleat options you can select when going the custom drapery route.
You will need a variety of hardware to hang your curtains properly. Choose a rod that not only fits the window but looks nice with your curtains.
End caps are also available for rods. Some rods come with decorative end caps and others are plain but can be enhanced with finial end caps that have a design.
Rings are another type of hardware to consider. They come in a variety of metal or wood finishes or they can be plastic. The rings clip on the curtains to allow them to hang on the rod. You can find hardware for all curtain sizes at Walmart, Target, and other department and home design stores.
When it comes to making sure your curtains look great in your home and function just the way you want them to, it all comes down to the right measurements. Make sure you know the different length and width options and take the time to decide which of these options will look best on your windows. Measure accurately and consider the materials, the hardware, and the design of the curtains and how they will hang on your windows.
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