Curtains are often overlooked, but it’s an important finishing touch and accessory for the home to provide privacy and protection from the sun. Most homeowners pick their curtain of choice right from the store, not measuring their window first. However, it’s important to first know the size of your windows before going out to buy the right curtain size. Here’s how you can choose the right curtain size for your windows.
1. Gather measuring materials
For measuring, you need a metal tape measure. A measuring tape for cloth can give an inaccurate measurement, so it’s best not to use it. Get a pen and paper ready, especially if you tend to forget numbers easily.
2. Know how window treatments are measured
All curtain sizes are stated width by length. The width is the measurement from left to right, and the length is always measured from the top of the rod pocket to the bottom of the panel. Valances are also measured width by length and usually takes up ¼ to 1/3 of the window.
3. Choose your hardware
Most curtain rods come with mounting hardware and is available in 2-3 adjustable lengths for fit standard window sizes. It’s best to choose a rod that is 6 to 12 inches wider than your windows to give room for your curtains to stack when they are pulled wide open.
4. Measure the width and provide the right amount of fullness
Ready-made curtains have standard measurements. For width, pencil pleat and rod pocket curtains can be of standard size (66 inches or 168 cm) or wide size (89 inches or 228 cm). Tab top and eyelet curtains are available in standard (53 inches or 135 cm), wide (66 inches or 168 cm) and extra-wide (89 inches or 228 cm).
To identify the right curtain size, measure the width of your curtain rod from left to right. Do not include the finials. If you’ll be using a curtain track that overlaps, you must also include the overlap in your measurement.
On most curtains and window treatments, it may take two to three times more cloth/material to provide the right fullness of appearance when installed than the actual width. For rod pocket curtains, its width is the flat-out width. You would not use the curtain flat out so keep in mind that a 60” wide curtain will not look good if you’d like to cover a 60” window. You need to add fullness by using two or more panels for a window that size.
Meanwhile, when it comes to pinch-pleat curtains, the fullness is sewn in. So, a pair of 89” wide drapes can cover an 89” window.
Now, the correct curtain must have a natural gather even when fully closed. Your curtains and drapes can be 1 ½ to 3 times the width of your window. Less fullness can produce a more tailored and casual look, while more fullness will provide a richer and more opulent look. For instance, if the width of your window is 60 inches, you must buy enough curtain panels to cover between 90 to 180 inches in total. Your valances should also be wide enough to give you the desired amount of fullness. A common rule for displaying curtains is to get some that are at least twice the width of your window. So if your window is 60 inches wide, you can simply get a set of two panels that have the same width.
4. Determine the desired length
Standard curtain lengths range from short (54 inches or 137 cm), medium (72 inches or 183 cm) and (90 inches or 229 cm).
Measure the length of your curtain to purchase by measuring from the curtain rod to just below the windowsill, or to midway between the windowsill and the floor, or to the floor. The overall curtain length is a personal preference, but you must consider its practicality as well.
A curtain that reaches just below the windowsill or midway between the windowsill and floor is ideal for windows that you frequently open like in bedrooms, as well as in places were radiators or furniture would block full-length curtains.
Full-length curtains that reach the floor are perfect for polished and pulled-together windows placed in rooms like the master’s bedroom, living room, and dining area. It can elongate the look of the room, making the ceilings seem higher, but placing the curtain rod higher than the actual window.
Meanwhile, you can also pick a curtain that is longer that puddles. To pick a perfect puddle curtain, choose one that falls 5-8 extra inches on the floor. This curtain style is best in formal or romantic, low-traffic rooms that won’t be in reach by children or pets.