How to Select the Right Curtain Length

Curtains have always been used to block sunlight and provide privacy in a room. Today, curtains have also transformed into style statements. It’s not only the design that matters when selecting a curtain, rather the curtain length is also an important factor. The length would give away a good impression of the room in various ways. Follow the important tips to make sure your room curtains give a presentable look. 

The Window Length

The first thing you need to decide is how long you want your curtains to be. If you have furniture beneath the window, you should choose curtains that end by the windowsill. If you have an empty wall you want to cover, or if you want to make your ceilings look taller, floor-length curtains are the way to go. 

It is important that you measure the window. A well-placed curtain should always begin from approximately 10 inches above the window. Afterward, measure the window for sill-length curtains or the wall for floor-length curtains. Keep in mind that the window to curtain ratio should be suitable as the first and most important step towards design management. 

There are four standard measurements of curtains available, 63 inches, 84 inches, 98 inches, and 108 inches. If your required measurement is different from these, you can have the curtains custom-made. However, interior designers usually advise against curtains that are 84 inches. According to most, they end up looking awkward unless the room has a very low ceiling. 

Curtain length varies from situation to situation

Sill Length Curtains

Sill Length Curtains are those which don’t extend beyond the window, unlike a regular curtain. They are mostly used for window seats or rooms where there is a large air inlet right at the end of the curtains. They give a good informal impression and have been a part of the country-style homes as well as children’s bedrooms for quite a long time. A sill curtain is perfect if you want to have something light, casual, and bold. 

These curtains are 63 inches in length, and end ½ inch above the window.  Sill-length curtains are perfect for windows that have furniture beneath them. They don’t scrunch up behind the furniture and are easy to open and close.  Also, because of their small length, even bold colors and patterns don’t look extra. 

Curtain length for bedrooms. 

Apron Curtain Length

Apron curtains end about 1-2 inches below the window. These are 84 inches in length. They were once very much in fashion. However, these days they are not as popular. This is because they can look odd in a lot of settings. Nonetheless, an apron curtain is a perfect choice if you want something practical. The curtains look very crisp and unfussy. They are perfect because they don’t touch the floor and get dirty, all the while being easy to move and manage. 

Floor Length Curtains 

These curtains are the ideal choice for people that want their curtains to cover their bare walls. Floor-length curtains end ½ inch before the floor. Since they don’t touch the floor, they hang perfectly straight and give the best curtain folds. They also don’t get dirty and are the best thing to choose if you want to make your ceiling look taller. Keep in mind that the floor-length curtains can also be matched with the main wall color as it leaves a good and lasting impression. 

Floor Length Curtains. 

Puddle Curtains Length

Puddle curtains are given this name because of their extra length. They are about 4 to 16 inches longer than the wall, and form pools on the floor.  Puddle curtains are the right choice when you want your room to look dramatic and majestic. They are used in very formal spaces like dining rooms, studies, and libraries. Rooms with tall windows are the best places to use these curtains. If you ever see a theatre, especially a classic one, you might see the puddle curtains over there. 

Puddle-length curtains look best when made out of light fabrics like satin or silk. These fabrics have a lot of flow, structure, and create elegant puddles on the floor.  In traditional times, the puddle curtains were considered quite royal and were used at the houses of the elite only. However, these curtains cannot be opened and closed often. They are also not a good choice for people with pets or kids. The extra fabric will get dirty due to animal hair, and children might pull at it. Modern interior designing concepts have changed and puddle curtains are no longer relevant. Nonetheless, in case you do plan on getting one, make sure you get the right length.

Suggested Reading – Curtains or Blinds: Which Is the Best? 

Puddle Length Curtains. 

The Curtain Width

Once you’ve decided on the length you want your curtains to be, it’s time for the width. In general, curtains look more graceful when they’re wide. Wispy curtains look insubstantial and may not give an elegant final look. The curtains should not only be wide enough to completely cover your windows but should also have enough material to create the iconic curtain folds. 

Measuring the width of the window is the first step. Use a tape measure, and measure the window edge to edge, keeping in mind to include the entire frame and not just the glass. Then multiply this length by 1.5-3 times. If you don’t want to have very wide curtains, multiply it by 1.5. If you want a lot of folds in the curtains, multiply your width by 3. The more folds your curtain has, the heavier and costlier your curtains are. Pro tip – Always make sure that the curtain width is measured at least three times to avoid any error in the width. Even the tiniest difference in the actual width vs measured width may result in loss of beauty of the curtains.

Once you’ve figured out what the width of your curtains should be, you can choose how many panels you want. A window should ideally have 2 panels of curtains. However, small windows can have only one. Similarly, large windows, like a glass partition, may have up to 3-4 curtain panels. Nonetheless, the most common number for curtain panels is still two.  If you want one curtain, use the measurement for the width you already have. If you want 2 panels, divide the measurement by 2, and so on. 

Curtain width matters a lot for decoration. 

Installing the Curtains.

The truth is, most windows aren’t level, and they are slightly tilted from one side. This means multiple measurements must be taken along the top and bottom of the window. If the window is titled from one side, the curtains must be made short on one end. This will ensure the curtains hang even at the bottom. 

The length of the curtain rod should always be 10 inches longer than the ends of the window, on each side. This will make sure when the curtains are open, they won’t block the window. 

Common Mistakes When Selecting a Curtain Length

Wrong Measuring

The right way to measure your curtain length is to measure from about 4-10 inches above the window to the floor. If you measure your length from the top of your window, your curtains will be short. This is because a curtain rod is always fixed on the wall, above the window. Repeated measurements will give more effective results. 

Taking the Wrong Width

If you have the curtains made to the original width of the window, the curtains won’t look good. This is because they won’t have any folds. The width of the window, multiplied by 1.5-3, should be the width of your curtains.

The wrong width of curtains can destroy the overall look.

Using a Short Curtain Rod

Your curtain rod should always be 10 inches more than the window, on each side. This way, when the curtains are opened, they won’t block the window.

Puddle Curtains

Puddle curtains should only be used for tall windows. They don’t look good on short windows.

The Suitable Panels

The rule of thumb is, 2 curtain panels should go on double windows. Single windows can have one panel. Three-curtain panels only look good on glass partitions or window walls. Don’t use 3 panels on small/normal windows. 

Don’t Rush

One of the most important mistakes many people make is that they rush into buying curtains. Just because they look good hanging on a wall of a showroom or the fact that you have seen them anywhere on the internet does not necessarily mean that they will suit your wall as well. Always make sure that you take care of the color combination and other factors and not just base your decision on some well-crafted and edited pictures. 

Now that you are well aware of how to choose the right curtain length, it is important to evaluate the right curtain size for windows. Follow here – How to Choose the Right Curtain Size for Windows

Don't rush. Always buy after careful selection. 


The length of your curtains is very important. As stated above, how long your curtains are can change the entire feel of your room. There are a lot of styles out there, but the trick to remember is, if you have furniture below your window, choose sill-length curtains. If you don’t, go for floor-length curtains. Puddle curtains are difficult to manage, and so they are usually avoided.