Here's exactly how to measure curtains

Sophie Thompson
·3-min read
Photo credit: FollowTheFlow - Getty Images
Photo credit: FollowTheFlow - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Curtains are a home-staple that most of us have to block out light, or even add a pop of colour to a room. But when it comes to switching up your style and deciding it’s time for a new pair, who actually knows how to measure what size you’re looking for?

There’s nothing more devastating than finding a style that you love before realising that it doesn’t come in your measurements. That’s why it’s so important to do the ground-work before getting creative.

Dealing with numbers and metrics doesn’t sound like too much fun, but it’s actually really easy, and there’s far less maths involved than you’d think. Plus, it's going to avoid any awkward mishaps that involve putting your new drapes up and realising the whole street can see you learning TikTok dances in the evenings.

So, here's exactly how to measure your curtains.

  1. How do you want your new curtains to sit?

There's a few decisions to be made before we even get into the aesthetic of your new curtains. In order to accurately measure the size of your new curtains, you'll need to work out the placement of them and the length.

Firstly, it's time to choose whether the curtains will sit on the inside of a window frame or the outside (outside mounting is usually the most common style). Indoor mounting won't provide as much of a light block but are super modern and a top choice for lovers minimalism.

Now is also the perfect time to think about the curtain pole, if you're choosing to use one.

Curtain rods are typically extended 3 to 6 inches past each side of a window frame, but again, it can depend on where you're choosing to hang it. If you're going for an inside mount, you'll only want to make it as long as the window itself.

The ideal placement for a rod height-wise is typically about 6-12 inches above your window frame.

2. How long do you want your curtains to be?

Now it's time to get a little more creative with the length. There are three common styles to consider: Above sill, below sill, or floor-length.

Of course they're pretty self explanatory, but will play a big part in what measurements you need.

So, if you opt for above sill, you'll want to measure from the top of the window frame (or where your rod will be placed), to 1cm above the window sill.

Similarly with below, you'll want to look around 15cm below.

Floor-length curtains are a little more forgiving as there's no "rule" as to how long they should be depending on your taste, but if you're unsure, aim for 1cm above the floor.

3. What width curtains should you buy?

Congrats, you're almost at the finishing line! That wasn't so hard was it? But finally, you'll need to work out what width curtains you'll need, before you go wild in the shops. Just one tiny measurement is between you and the home section. Dreamy.

Curtain widths should typically be about 1 .5 to 3 times the width of your window, but again, it depends on what style you want.

If you want a shorter, more tailored look, go for 1.5 - if you want a fuller, richer look, aim for 3. Easy.

So, if your window is 36 inches wide and you want fairly tailored drapes, you'd opt for curtains that were around 75 inches wide. If you want a fuller look, go for around 120 inches.

Easy.

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