If you’re shopping for new curtains, it’s important to know how to measure for them properly. This will help you find the right size for your windows, ensuring they fit properly and look great.
Whether you want your curtains to hang floor-length or graze the window sill, most ready-made curtains will come in widths of 117cm (46″), 168cm (66″) and 228cm (90″). The next step is to decide on a height. In this article, we will discuss about how to measure for curtains.
Measure the Width
Few things finish a room better than a well-designed set of curtains. They offer several benefits that blinds can’t, including warmth, privacy and a textural elegance. But before you can choose the right drapes for your home, you need to know how to measure for them.
Start by measuring the width of your window from plaster to plaster or, if your curtain pole will go over a recess, take the measurement to where the top of the window trim will be. If you’re using a track or rod, remember to factor in the diameter of the pole itself.
Once you’ve got the raw measurements, you can decide how full you want your curtains to be. A minimum of 1.5 times the width of your window will provide a good result, with two times recommended for sheer fabrics and three times suggested for heavier ones.
If you’re opting for a pleated style of drapery, allow extra fabric to provide a ‘gather’. This will prevent the curtains from appearing flat across your window and is particularly important if you opt for an inside mount to avoid blocking light.
For floor length curtains, add 5 to 8 inches (13 to 20 cm) if you want them to brush the floor, or 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30cm) for a more dramatic puddle effect. For functional curtains, which are likely to be opened and closed frequently, it’s best not to have puddling.
Measure the Height
The height at which your curtains will hang depends on the style you’re after. Sill-length or floor length curtains hang about 4” past the window sill, while a puddle curtain will be around 1’’ – 2’’ above the floor. If you want your curtains to puddle on the floor, add an additional 6’’ – 10’’ to your Rod to Floor measurement (Step 1).
For ready-made curtains that are sold by track width, multiply the width of your window by 1.5 or 2. This will give you a generous amount of fabric that creates a full effect. For curtains with a pencil pleat heading, multiply this by two or even three for the best results.
To measure the height for curtains, place the end of your tape measure at the top edge of your molding to find the raw width of the window. From this, you’ll need to calculate the drop, which is the measurement from your curtain pole or track to the floor. This is the size of the curtain that will appear when they are open and closed, and it’s crucial for creating a tailored look. For eyelet or tab top curtains, you’ll need to double this figure for the best results. For a pencil pleat or pinch pleat heading, multiply the number by 2 or even 3. This will ensure that your curtains will have plenty of room to hang properly.
Measure the Length
The length of your curtains can be a significant part of the overall look you want. Whether you want them to “kisses” the floor, float above it or puddle on it, the right length is essential. Start by measuring from the top of your rod to where you want them to end – ideally, a few inches below the sill or the floor for floor-length curtains. If you’re going for a more formal puddle, add 6 to 12 inches to the rod to floor distance to allow your curtains to fan out on the ground.
Keep in mind that most drapes require two to three times their width to achieve proper fullness (also called gather) when hanging. For example, if you choose a 36-inch rod/track for your window, it’s best to measure from the top of your rod casing to where you want them to end for nicely gathered curtains.
For grommet curtains, measure from the top of the rod pocket to where you want them to end – be sure to include the ring in your measurement. For tab, eyelet and pencil pleat curtains, double your curtain width. This will ensure nicely gathered curtains that are sized properly for your window and will fit your rod/track well. Taking the time to properly measure your windows will make a huge difference in how your curtains hang.
Measure the Drop
There are a couple of considerations when it comes to the length of your curtains, and the decision you make will depend on the look you want to create. To start with, decide whether you want the curtains to float at floor level (the ‘kisses the floor’ look) or to be longer and hang below the windowsill, (the ‘apron’ drop). Once you know which option you prefer, measure from the top of the curtain pole or track to your desired length. If you are unsure, take three measurements, one on the left, one on the right and one in the middle. The shortest measurement will be the curtain length you need.
It is easier to work out the measurements if you already have a pole or track up, but even if you don’t, it is still possible to achieve the right fit. The main thing is to start from the edge of the architrave, and make allowances for any overlap.
To calculate your curtain length, you need to measure from the underside of the ring fitting on the pole or track, down to the desired length – either pole to sill or pole to floor. If you are deciding on the latter, take off 1cm (0.5 inch) from the length, to give you the perfect puddle effect.