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How to Measure for Curtains

how to measure for curtains

Whether you just bought a new home or are looking to update your current home with new furniture and curtains, shopping for new curtains does not have to be a stressful situation. Here is everything you need to know from how to measure for curtains to picking the right color, pattern and fabric.

First, let’s talk about choosing the best fabric for curtains.

Fabric for Curtains

Choosing the right texture and color of curtain is probably one of the biggest decisions you will make when it comes to hanging curtains. Keep in mind the mood and style you want for the room. For instance, heavy silk or velvet curtains are more suited for a formal living room while linen and cotton blends offer a more casual look.

When it comes to color, choose something that complements all the colors and patterns already in the room. Choose a color from the room that is just a few shades darker or lighter or if you want your curtains to pop more then maybe you want to introduce a new color to the room’s palette. It all depends on what type of look you are trying to achieve.

One general rule of thumb though is that you should only choose curtains with prints and patterns if the room is mostly neutrals. You don’t want too many patterns clashing with each other.

Sheer vs. Opaque Curtains

Sheer fabric for curtains can be very aesthetically-pleasing, but keep in mind that they don’t offer much protection from the sunlight or very much privacy. Most common types are voile fabric, lace, nylon, eyelet cotton, muslin and gauze.

If you want curtains that don’t let in as much light then you will prefer a type of opaque fabric for curtains that has a higher thread count. Most common types are cotton, synthetic fabric, linen, blend fabric, silk, velvet, bamboo and synthetic blends.

The Importance of the Curtain Heading

The curtain heading is referring to the top piece of the curtain that attaches to the curtain track or rod and help shape the curtain fabric.

The six most popular types of headings are: tailored pleat, pinch pleat, flat panel, rod pocket, tabbed, and grommeted. If you prefer the pleated look, you can choose from either the tailored or pinched look, and if you prefer a more modern feel than the flat panel or grommeted might be what you are looking for instead. For a simple, timeless look, a tabbed curtain heading is a great choice. There is an option for every style.

How to Measure for Curtains

Interior design experts recommend that you go with floor-length curtains in most rooms like the living room, bedrooms and family room unless there is something obstructing it like a radiator or a deep windowsill.

Most ready-made panels come in lengths ranging between 63 to 144 inches. Of course, you can also have custom curtains made to ensure that they fit perfectly. When measuring the window, make sure you measure from the floor to where you will hang the rod. Your curtains should just touch the floor or hang just about a half an inch off the floor, depending on which look you prefer.

Keep in mind that there will be rooms in your house where the floor-length curtains won’t be appropriate like the kitchen or bathroom. For these rooms, just aim to have the curtains fall to just a half inch above the windowsill instead. Roman shades are a great option for this.

The most popular look in curtain length right now is actually a little bit longer than what we normally would consider floor length. For a little more flair, you can instead have the curtains extend another one to three inches so they pool gracefully onto the floor. These curtains will need more maintenance though especially in heavy traffic rooms.

For an even more dramatic look, especially if you have high ceilings place the curtain rods higher, closer to the ceiling and have the curtains drape down all the way to the floor for an elegant look.

Another question to ask is how wide should curtains be? To make sure your curtains look full when drawn closed, interior design experts recommend that the curtain panels have a combined width that to 2 to 2 ½ times the width of the window. If you have chosen pleated curtain panel, however, they are already pretty full so just measuring the width of the window should be enough.

For curtains that you just want to frame the window and don’t plan on shutting them, then you just have to have a combined width of 1 ½ times the width of the window instead.

If you are going for a fuller look, you should add about four to eight inches to the width on both sides. These extra inches will also make it easier to block out the sun and gain more privacy.

Curtain rod lengths can also be a factor. When hanging the curtain, placing the brackets above and outside the window molding will look the most stylish. To make the window feel grander and allow more light in, extend the curtain rod about 3 to 6 inches past the frame on each side.

Another important tip is to make sure you don’t hang the curtains too low. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, do all the measuring before you go out shopping for the curtains. While shopping for curtains, also take the time to check out how the curtains will drape. To test it, gather up at least two feet of the material and pleat it like an accordion at the very top and then let it drape down. If it doesn’t drape down nicely then it is not going to look nice on your window either.

If you are looking for help on how to buy curtains, we at Emma Custom can help. We can guide you on important decisions like choosing your fabric and hardware, and how to measure fabric for curtains, and even tips for hanging curtains

Have more questions? For more information on how to measure for curtains, send us a message, and we’ll be glad to assist you.

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