Easiest Way To Measure The Curtains

May 31, 2023


If you're considering adding curtains or drapes to your space, getting the measurements right is key to a beautiful look. The process can be a little tricky, however, depending on what type of curtain you want and whether you'll add a header or hem.

The best rule to follow is that your curtains should graze the floor, advises Kati Curtis. The following steps will show you how to measure curtains that do exactly that.

Measure the Width of the Window

Choosing the right width of curtain for your window is one of the most important decisions when buying curtains. This is especially true for drapes that close to cover the entire window or if they are being custom-made for a specific style such as a French pleat. For these types of custom curtains it is often best to measure the window frame width including any stack back and supply this to your tailor as that will ensure they get the correct fullness.

The easiest way to measure the width of your window is to use a retractable metal tape measure rather than a fabric one that can stretch resulting in an inaccurate measurement. This can be found at most hardware stores.

Begin by measuring the width of the window at three points, from the inside of the trim on each side and at the bottom of the frame. Record the smallest of these measurements and this will be your window width.

Most ready-made curtains are sold in 137cm (54"), 182cm (72") and 228cm (90") drops so you will need to know your window width before deciding on the size of curtain you will need to buy. Most people prefer their curtains to fall to the floor for a more casual look, but some like them to fall above the sill or on the floor to create a dramatic effect. It all depends on the look you are after and the type of fabric you choose. In either case it is worth measuring the drop from the top of your window to make sure you are buying enough fabric. You can also choose to add a puddle to the curtains to create a more formal look.

Measure the Height of the Window

Curtains and drapes are a huge focal point in any room and can make or break the look of a space. Achieving a stylish, finished look is all about getting the right measurements and correctly ordering your fabric. If you want your curtains to hang grazing the floor (a style called kiss), or to hang higher to create a tailored "break" at the bottom, use a metal tape measure to achieve accurate measurements.

A standard rule is that your curtain length should be one and a half times the width of the window. This is the minimum for a full, flowing, luxurious look. However, if you're going for a more minimal or casual style, you can go shorter.

If you're buying ready-made curtains, their lengths will already be determined. If you're having custom drapes made, it's important to know the height of your windows so that the fabric will come in at the correct fullness for the desired look.

To determine the height of your window, measure from the top of the curtain rod pocket to where you would like the curtain to hang. If you want your curtains to touch the floor (as pictured below), add another inch or so to the curtain length measurement.

You can also choose to have your curtains touch the sill or just graze it, and there are many different styles to suit any taste. If you're looking for a more minimalistic or casual style, opt for a curtain that just brushes the window frame and sill. If you're going for a more lavish and opulent look, choose a longer curtain that pools on the floor. Choosing the right curtain length is all about personal preference and what looks best with your decor.

Measure the Length of the Window

When you’ve decided on the type of drapery that will hang, measure from the top where you plan to mount your hardware all the way to where you want your curtains to end – either the sill for a casual look or the floor for a more formal style. Then add about three-eighths of an inch to that measurement to get your rod to floor height – this is the finished length for most ready-made curtains and it’s what you should order for your space.

Curtains can be fuller or less full, but in general wider draperies make more of an impact than narrower ones. Wimpy curtains are not very appealing, so if you’re going with standard panels, choose a width that is at least 1.5 times the window’s height for a full look. Two times the width looks even more luxurious.

If you decide on a more flowing style of drapes called puddling (also known as draping), the fabric is designed to pool or “droop” on the floor when closed, creating a dramatic and eye-catching look. These are generally hung in an outside mount and can be used to hide uneven floors or simply add a touch of elegance to any room. To calculate the final length, add 6 to 12 inches to your rod to floor height measurement.

It’s important to note that the finished length for drapes may be slightly longer than the measured length if your home is built with an unusually high ceiling. This is because the drapes are made to fall just above where you mount your rod and are hemmed before being shipped to you. This is normal and does not affect the quality or functionality of your curtains in any way.

Measure the Height of the Rod

Curtains not only create privacy, block light and muffle sound, they add a sophisticated aesthetic to a space. Knowing how to measure for curtains is essential for creating a room that looks polished and beautiful. However, determining what size curtains will look best can be more complicated than many people realize. Here are some tips to help you determine the correct curtain measurements for your space.

Start by deciding how high you want your curtains to hang. You can choose a sill length that just brushes the windowsill, a floor length that ends at or above the floor or a puddle style that extends 1-3 inches from the floor. To make your curtains look full and to avoid a “short” look, we suggest a length that is 1.5 to 2 times the width of the window for a classic tailored look.

Once you know the type of drapes you want, use a metal measuring tape to ensure accurate measurements. Fabric tapes can droop or stretch, causing inaccurate measurements. Additionally, it is recommended to use a ladder or step stool for accurate measurements.

When you are ready to order your custom curtains, measure the distance from the top of the rod to where you want the curtains to end. This figure is known as your Rod to Floor Height and should be used when ordering. Remember, that once your curtains arrive, they may lose a few inches once mounted on the rod, so it is important to leave a few extra inches.

When ordering custom made curtains, you will also need to provide the width of the rod between finials. This will allow the seamstress to make your curtains with the correct fullness.

Measure the Width of the Rod

When determining the width of your curtain rod, there are several factors to consider. For example, you may want your curtains to "kisse" the floor, which means that they will barely touch the ground or hang above it. To achieve this look, simply subtract 1 to 3 inches from your height measurement and purchase a rod that fits this range. Alternatively, you might prefer a small break or puddle style that creates a more formal look, or hides uneven flooring. To achieve this, add 6 to 12 inches to your rod to floor length.

You should also account for how much space you want between the ends of your curtains. This extra room is called the "stack" and can give your windows a more custom-tailored look. The amount of room you choose should be evenly added to both sides of the window (when requesting a center draw) or to one side of the window (for a one-way operation).

For most curtains, the width of the rod will not include finials and brackets. When measuring for the rod, it is important to take this into consideration as you will need to provide your tailor with this information to get a finished product that will match perfectly.

In addition to the overall rod width, you will need to calculate the height of the mounting brackets. To ensure that your mounting brackets are positioned at the correct height, mark the location where you will mount the brackets on the wall with a pencil and then hold the rod up against this point to get a guide. This will prevent you from having to re-install your drapes if they are too short.


The length of curtains, or drop, is a personal choice and can make or break the look of a room. Whether gently grazing the floor or falling into a pool, it all starts with carefully measuring your windows.


I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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