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How to Measure (Your Windows) for Curtains

If you are yet to decide if curtains are for you, you’re missing out on a great opportunity!

Curtains are great for interior design. They can bring warmth to a room, provide privacy, filter sunlight, and bring style. Before you choose the perfect curtains for your space, you’ll need to be sure you have the measurements absolutely perfect for both your window and the curtains themselves.

Here’s Five Steps To Show You How:

Decide how the curtains will be mounted

Outside Mount

The most common way curtains are mounted and most likely to be the way you would imagine curtains in your mind. This is when the rod and mounting are attached to the wall outside the window frame.

Outside mounted curtains provide full coverage for blocking out light and create a more luxurious look. They can also help to give the illusion of larger windows if that is something you want to achieve in your room.

Inside Mount

This is a less common option – mostly seen in a kitchen or bathroom where privacy is needed or to dress up a window without extra fabric getting in the way in wet areas.

The inside mount is when a curtain rod is secured within the window frame and most commonly the curtain will fit in the window also.

This style of mounting can offer a modern, minimalist look.

Ceiling Mount

Some spaces may require either the ability to completely block out light, soundproofing ability, or perhaps your windows are so large there is simply not enough support for side-mounted curtains.

If any of these is your situation you may find that ceiling mounted curtains will be the way to go.

Outside mount with extra height above the window and Puddle length.


a window with a curtain hanging from it


Ceiling Mount Curtains

If you want your windows to look grand and stately, even if they aren’t, there is a perfect way to achieve this. Mount your curtains halfway between the top of the window frame and the ceiling plus a little extra. Also, be sure to have enough room on either side of the window for your curtains to sit to the side of your windows to maximize your view and natural light when the curtains are open. A good guide is between 3 – 6 inches ( 7.5 – 15 cms ) from the window casing to the rod mounts. Don’t forget curtains should always kiss the floor!

Decide how long you want your rods

Obviously, this all depends on how you’ve decided to mount your curtains. In order to measure perfectly for your rods making the decision of how to mount them comes first!

Outside Mount

Measure your window casing along the top of the window. Measure from edge to edge. Then add the extra measurements to cater for the width and fall of the curtains when they are open.  3 – 6 inches on either side is a general guide but you may find that the curtains you decide on require more space. Don’t be afraid to get a longer rod to accommodate them!

Inside Mount

This is where you need to be extra careful! Inside mounted curtains require perfect measuring. Be sure to take into account any trim or moulding in the interior of the window casing. Look for a rod system that has protective end caps and an expandable design to get a snug fit!

Choose your curtain length

We have already mentioned this – in our opinion curtains should always touch the floor. Unless of course there’s a counter under the window or another obstacle. If you have decided on an inside mount curtain, the obvious answer here is that the curtain should fit within the window frame.

What you will need to decide on when it comes to length is how much curtain you want to touch the floor. In the design world, this is called Float vs Puddle.

  • Float means that your curtains will hover slightly off the floor. If you will be moving the curtains regularly this will be preferable!
  • If you have uneven floors you may want to disguise this fact with the curtains. This is called Break – having the fabric kiss the floor with about 1 – 2 inches excess.
  • Puddle means longer curtains with 3 – 6 inches of puddling fabric. This is very elegant and can also help to disguise uneven floors. Don’t forget the dust factor though, when moving long drapes, they can shift a lot of dust!

Float Length Curtains


a room with a couch, chair and curtains

Measure for width

As a guide curtains should be about 1 ½ to 3 times the final width measurement of your window. The fullness you choose is totally up to you and is all about the look you are trying to create. Fuller curtains will feel more luxurious while a shorter width curtain will add a tailored, modern feel to the space.

Measure for length

Take into consideration all of the decisions you’ve made so far. When you know exactly how you want your curtains to look you will have the exact measurements you need.

  • Measure from the top of the window casing to the ceiling. ¾ of this measurement is what you need for high mount curtains.
  • Measure from the top of the window casing to the floor.
  • For high mount curtains add the measurement in point one to the measurement in point two.
  • Add on fabric length for the Break or Puddle style. (1 – 6 inches)

So, there you have it. An easy five steps to measure for curtains. If it all sounds like you could still use some help, we’re here for you! Give us a call or come visit our showroom and one of our staff will be happy to help you.

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