There are a few curtain measurements that it is essential to be aware of for well-appointed windows, and one of them is the length.
When your window treatment ideas include curtains, focusing on length is essential because otherwise curtains can look old-fashioned and awkward instead of super chic. Similarly, though, the length of the curtain must be practical for the particular room in which it is hung, and to fit within the window itself.
To get the right curtain length no matter where you hang it, use the golden rules of curtain experts and interior designers. They shared it here.
How long should the curtains be?
Doing all your curtain ideas beautifully means knowing what width the curtain panels need to be but also how long they need to be. Keep in mind that you will be measuring the length of the curtain from the rod, so hang the curtain rod at the correct height first.
As a general rule, floor length or just above is the preferred look. Maggie Griffin, Founder and Lead Designer of Maggie Griffin Design (Opens in a new tab)Floor curtain panels should be brushed, recommends.
But what is the length of the curtains to achieve the desired effect? What are the exceptions to this general rule? Our guide has the answers.
Evaluate the length of the curtain for the room
While floor-length curtains are an interior designer favorite, there are factors specific to the room and how the curtains are used that you’ll consider when deciding exactly how long your curtains should be, and which ones you should, too.
“The ideal length for your curtains depends on how busy the space is, where the curtains are hung, and if you plan to open and close them daily,” explains Kelly Simpson, senior director of design and innovation at Budget Blinds. (Opens in a new tab)experts in drapes, drapes, and drapes.
Think of three alternatives. The first is that the curtains can hang slightly above the floor for a smart finish. On the other hand, it can be longer with two possible options. “For a chic look, choose curtains that either touch the floor or gather on the floor, but keep in mind that curtains that gather in a puddle can present a tripping hazard and the longer lengths will collect more dust,” says Kelly Simpson.
If the curtains need to block light efficiently in addition to dressing the window, note that it is best to use longer curtains. “If blackout is required somewhere, you can lengthen your curtains, and live with the puddle that happens at the edge of the curtains and the floor,” says Noelle Isbell of Noelle Interiors. (Opens in a new tab).
Measure the length of the curtain
To achieve the desired effect with your curtains, hanging just above the floor, touching or puddle as preferred, you will need to measure precisely from the curtain rod to the floor.
Keep in mind that the type of curtain heading affects the measurements. Check your curtain supplier’s manual, but usually for pleated curtains that cover the rod from the top of the rod to the floor, and those that don’t cover the rod from the bottom of the rod to the floor. For rod pocket curtains that fit over a curtain rod, measure from the top of the rod and add half an inch, for curtains with grommet panels, measure from the top of the pole to the floor and add the distance from the top of the inner ring at the top of the curtain panel.
Then, for curtains that float above the floor, you subtract half an inch from the distance from the rod to the floor, though interior designer Katie Davis of Katie Davis Design (Opens in a new tab) He says, “We prefer a quarter of an inch above the ground for a sleek, tailored look.”
For floor-skimming curtains, use the distance from rod to floor.
For curtains that gather on the floor, add between 1 and 3 inches to the distance from the rod to the floor, although you can be more generous than that depending on the effect you want to create.
advises Lucy Searle, Global Editor-in-Chief Homes and gardens. “It’s rare for floors to be even, so it’s important to measure in several places.”
Exceptions are the floor length curtains
There are some situations where curtains cannot or should not touch the floor or gather on it.
Long curtains may not be practical (or even possible due to the location of the furniture or fixtures) in the kitchen or bathroom. It is also possible that a deep window sill is in the way, or you may have a cooler under the window, which should not be blocked by curtains. Café curtains, which only cover the lower part of the window, are an exception.
If any of this is the case, it is still easy to measure. Choose from a finished height of half an inch above the sill, or use the distance to sill for curtain length depending on your preference.
What size blinds do I need?
If you’re choosing ready-made curtain panels instead of custom curtains, you’ll usually find an option between 63 and 108 inches wide. Select the length that is closest to your measurements, but if that’s not exact, a longer length is best. They can be hemmed by a tailor for just the right fit, which will create a custom look.
How tall should the curtains be from the window?
Curtains that are not floor-length should end at the window sill if the sill dimensions are too deep to hang floor-length. This length may also be necessary if the curtains are to be hung in the kitchen or bathroom where floor length curtains are not practical or even an option. It can be a good length for kids’ rooms too, so they don’t tend to play with or pull on them.
If there is a radiator under the window, the length of the sill is also preferred, so the curtains do not prevent heat from reaching the room.
Should your curtains touch the floor?
Curtains can touch the floor so that they peel or, as some designers say, “kiss.” It’s an elegant choice, and a lot of people prefer it. However, you may want to consider instead a length that allows the curtains to float above ground level, say a half or a quarter of an inch. They will not touch completely but will still protrude along the floor and this means they can be opened and closed easily.
For a romantic look, curtain panels can drape to the floor. This requires extra fabric—usually just a few inches, but the look can be really extravagant with a few extra inches of fabric. However, the look isn’t practical in all rooms, and it means more work when it comes to caring for your curtains.