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How to Measure a Window for Curtains

White with red flower pattern, yellow, striped, ivory, and red curtains hanging on window

Your Guide for Curtains and Window Treatments

Have you looked at curtains or drapes and thought “How hard could it be to measure for my own drapes. Just measure from the rod to the floor. Right?” Measuring for your own curtains or drapes is not hard, but it isn’t quite that easy either. It can depend on the type of rod, the type of hardware used to attach the curtains to the rod, and whether the curtains will be opened and closed. When you measure correctly, you will have exactly the curtains or drapes that you desire.

Infograph: How to Measure a Window for Curtains

Tips to Measure A Window for Curtains

Curtains or Drapes Length

Curtains come in many different types of tops, such as rod pockets, tabs or clip rings. Here is how to measure each type of curtain:

  1. Rod pocket – Measure from the top of the rod pocket to the bottom edge of the curtain. Do not include a header or fabric above the rod in the measurement.
  2. Tab curtains – Include the tabs in the measurement.
  3. Clip ring curtains – Start at the top of the clip. Do not include the ring.

If the curtains are going to be opened and closed, you will want the finished length to be from the top to approximately 1/2 inch above the floor. This will allow them to flow easily over the floor.

Curtains or Drapes Width

For ample coverage in the width, measure the width of the area to be covered and multiply it by 1.5 – 2 inches. This will provide a generous fullness. Other curtain styles may vary as noted below. Sheers – You may want to triple the width on sheer panels for a luxurious appearance and light control.

  1. Lace Curtains – Add only 12 – 24 inches to the window width so the lace pattern will show.
  2. Pinch pleated draperies – Use the width of the window plus 12 inches. The fullness has already been included.

Measuring Tips

  1. Use a metal tape measure or yardstick for an accurate measurement.
  2. Measure three places: At the top, middle and bottom of the window. Measure and round to the nearest 1/8 inch.
  3. Don’t assume that your windows are the same size, even if they appear that way. Measure each window. If the windows are close to each other measure the distance between them. Consider this measurement when you are determining the width of your curtains and where you want to mount your curtain rod.
  4. When measuring length to floor on carpeted areas, place a piece of thin cardboard on the carpet for a more accurate measurement.
  5. When measuring the width, place the rod brackets a few inches outside the window molding to make the window appear larger or to show the molding or trim.
  6. If you want them to “pool” on the floor, allow an additional 3 inches to the length.
  7. If you want to create the illusion of a more spacious room, mount the rod four to six inches above the window frame, or halfway between the frame and the ceiling molding. Add four to six inches to the length of your window treatments.
  8. Nothing adds elegance to your room like beautiful, luxurious drapes. This is a good place to use the most expensive fabrics you can afford, and make the drapes or curtains as voluminous as possible. This will set the stage for the rest of your room.

Picking Out New Curtains For Your Windows?

Whether you’re looking for elegant draperies, decorative valances, or a simple window sheers, we have window treatments that will complement every room in the home.

18 thoughts on “How to Measure a Window for Curtains

  1. I have a 1963 ranch home and the windows are very short with about 4 feet of wall space under them. I’d love some ideas for curtains or drapes. I just don’t know what to do with them!

    1. Hi Debra,
      Thanks for commenting! Hanging curtain rods closer to the ceiling will give the illusion of height – With regular panels, try hanging them about 4 inches above the top of your window. Vertical patterns will also elongate your windows and make the ceilings look higher. You can also adjust the width of your curtain rods and double up on panels (even mixing and matching patterns/colors), framing the space. Here’s an example of how our stylists did it on a photo shoot for our Thermologic Panels. Or you could go a different route and opt for shorter curtains that fit the window’s height and add a stylish valance. Hope that helps!

  2. I have a 20 foot ceiling, with 3 small windows along the top. The Windows I plan to curtain are 3 about 8 ft. Above the floor, lots of wall space in between top and bottom Windows about 8 inches between Windows. I want to hag panels between the 3 lower Windows. (4) how high can I hang them can I go 20 to 30 inches above the top of the window, I have such high ceilings. I have blinds on the Windows. Jan

    1. Jan, thank you for commenting. Based on your description, we are not sure the size of your 3 small windows and the distance between them and your 3 larger windows. When hanging the curtain rod for the lower windows, you will want to leave a good gap between the top of the rod and the bottom of the 3 top windows. You don’t want the windows to visually run together or diminish the size of your space. The general rule is to hang the curtain rod at least four to 6 inches above the window. With the higher ceiling, you can easily extend that beyond the typical 6 inches.

  3. We moved into a small cape cod. Ceilings are 7 1/2 feet. Windows on 2nd floor are 27 inches. It has been years since I made lined draperies and just needed this guide on measuring. Another problem is there are baseboard heat under all windows. Plan on doing Back Tab curtains in up stair windows. Will bring down to apron of window. thank you so much. Glad I found you.

  4. Hi, l like your guide for curtains treatment and some tips. Can I share it in my Facebook page? Thanks

  5. Where I live I was told my measurements by the building manager. My bedroom is 72×47 and me other is 97 x47. What measurements should I be purchasing. I see a lot of 40x 63, 40×84 or 40×95. Which is recommended for my windows?

    1. Elle, thank you for your comment.

      When selecting curtains, you need to consider not only the size of the window, but how much overlap you want on each side of the window, the amount of fullness you want and they type of curtains you want.

      In general curtains are sold in panels that are 40 inches wide. To determine the amount of fabric to create the fullness you want, multiple the width of your windows by two. For thinner curtains, like sheers, triple the width of your window. Use more fullness if you want more privacy and less fullness if you want more light. Once you determine the amount of curtain fabric you need to create your desired look, you can calculate the number of panels you need.

      Number of panels needed = Amount of curtain fabric needed ÷ by width of chosen panels.

      If in your calculations you get a fraction, round the number of panels up for a fuller luxurious look and down if you want a less full appearance. If you want to use curtain tie-backs, round the number to the next even number so you have the same number of panels on each side of your window.

  6. Wondering what you recommend for a knee wall around the room? Should curtains puddle to the knee wall or go to the floor?

    1. Melinda, thank you for your comment. If the knee wall below the window has a ledge, you can hang the curtains to meet the ledge.

      If you don’t have a ledge and want a bit more formal look, beautifully tailored drapes hung for a minimal puddle will give the room a designer touch. A larger puddle will create a more formal look. This style is perfect for curtains that won’t be opened or closed often. In addition the larger puddle of drapes will help with heating and cooling loss. https://www.countrydoor.com/Rugs-and-Windows/Window-Treatments/index.cat

  7. Thanks for the wonderful post very useful share.

    1. Hi Valentin, Thanks for the compliment! We’ll keep working on bringing you more tips and decorating inspiration.
      Your Country Door Team

  8. good idea … a valuable lesson about curtains in order to decorate and decorate windows. Good Job

    1. Hi Dudi, Thanks for the compliment! We’ll keep working on bringing you more tips and decorating inspiration.
      Your Country Door Team

  9. Do you sell curtains or just fabric to make them?

    1. Hi Felicia. Thanks for the question. We sell curtains. Here is a link to the site if you’d like to see them. https://home-decor.countrydoor.com/search?w=curtains

  10. I liked the way you have represented your information.I enjoy it and I love it, so thank you for this wonderful article, it helps a lot. Keep it up and I suggest you can also visit us blinds singapore price to help you to do more article like this one .

    1. Hello Jenny,
      Thank you for your comment and we hope that you find additional value in some of our other articles. Happy Decorating!
      Warmest Wishes,
      Your Country Door Team

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