How to Measure for Curtains

How to Measure for Curtains

Curtains are an important part of your interior design. Not only can they provide privacy, filter sunlight, and add warmth, but they can also infuse your space with style. When determining the best window treatments for your space, getting the measurements right will help bring your desired look together. Window treatments are most commonly measured width by length, where length is the distance from the rod pocket to the very bottom of the panel. Valances, which traditionally only take up the top one-quarter of the window, are also measured width by length. Scroll on to learn more about how to determine curtain size for a window.


Determine Mounting Technique

The first step when measuring for curtains is to determine whether you want to mount them outside or inside of the window frame. Both mounting styles offer a completely different aesthetic. If you’re unsure about which mounting style to choose, consider the options below.

  • Outside mount curtains: The outside mount is the most common mounting style for hanging curtains and means that the curtain rod is secured to the wall outside of the window frame. Outside-mount curtains can give the illusion of a larger window, provide full coverage to block out natural light, and create a more luxurious look.
  • Inside mount curtains: While not as common, inside-mount curtains are another mounting option that will provide a specific look. Inside mount refers to a curtain rod that is secured inside the window frame, creating a more streamlined appearance. While inside-mount curtains don’t completely block out light, they still provide plenty of privacy and offer a modern, minimalist look.


Determine Your Style

You’ll next want to consider the interior design style you hope to achieve, which will determine the right length for your curtains. Ask yourself whether you prefer a casual look or a more opulent design. While there is no right or wrong way to hang your drapes, you can get inspiration from the popular styles below to determine the best curtain length for your windows.

  • Streamlined: This unconventional curtain style highlights your window frame and creates a sleek, understated look. The curtain is suspended just within the window frame and utilizes an inside-mount technique. Whether you use hanging pull-down blinds or fabric curtains, you can achieve a minimalist look with this modern curtain length.
  • Floating: If you want to achieve a more contemporary look, choose curtains that hang less than an inch above the floor. This style lengthens the look of your windows and is a great way to show off bold patterned drapes.
  • Kissing: To elongate the look of your windows and give your room a well-designed look, consider curtains that just kiss the floor. To achieve this aesthetic, opt for curtains that are long enough to suspend at least 6 inches above the window frame and are just long enough to make contact with the floor.
  • Pooling: To create a look of luxury, curtains should suspend a few inches below the ceiling and gently pool at the floor. This opulent aesthetic is best achieved with sheer or lightweight curtains that aren’t overly stiff. If curtains are too stiff, they won’t create the fluid look that is so appealing.


Measure the Window

When measuring windows for curtains, use a metal measuring tape instead of a fabric tape measure to get the most accurate dimensions. The length you choose will ultimately depend on your hanging method and desired look. Whether you’re going for a luxurious style or want something sleek and streamlined, getting the right measurements will make finding the perfect curtains a cinch.

  • Measuring length: Place the measuring tape at the top of the window frame or in the top inside corner and measure down to your desired length. For a higher curtain placement, measure up from the top window frame 20 inches to achieve an elongated appearance.
  • Measuring width: Curtain widths should typically be about 1 1/2 to 3 times the final width measurement of your window. However, the fullness you choose will ultimately define the style you want to achieve. Fuller curtains will lend a richer feel to your windows while curtains with a shorter width create a more tailored look.


Choose Rod Placement

  • Inside trim mount: For streamlined, tailored window treatments, suspend curtains from within the window frame. Opt for curtain rods with protective end caps and an expandable design for a snug fit. Window treatments for this modern style should only be about as wide as the interior of the window or slightly wider if you want a gathered look.
  • Below trim mount: If the top of your window frame sports beautiful molding, consider mounting your curtain rod just below the trim. This is a great way to showcase the craftsmanship of your molding while adding privacy and style to your windows. Opt for a rod that reaches at least 3 to 5 inches beyond the width of the window on either side for a full look.
  • Above trim mount: The ideal placement for a window rod is typically about 6-12 inches above your window frame. However, it really depends on the available space between the top of your window and the ceiling, and the overall aesthetic you’re going for. Curtains can be hung as high as 20 inches above the window frame to create an elongated appearance. The higher and wider your curtain rod is placed, the large your window space will appear.