How Wide Should Curtains Be?

curtains width

Besides the length of your curtains, determining how wide they should be is another big factor when purchasing curtains for your home. You want your curtains to be able to offer you and your home the right amount of privacy and protection from the sun so you want to measure as exact as possible.

Picking the right type of curtains depends a lot on the type of window you are trying to dress. The most common types of windows are:

  • Double-Hung Windows can open wide either from the top or the bottom of the windows. They remain inside the frame though and don’t extend out into the exterior or interior of the house. If a window is single-hung, the only the bottom part of the window can move up and down. The top part stays stationary.
  • Casement Windows are hinged windows that open outward with a turn of a crank. They can be hinged either on the left or the right.
  • Awning Windows also open outward but these are hinged at the top. Typically they are installed above, below, or beside another window.
  • Picture Windows are large stationary windows that allow for the maximum amount of light from the outdoors as well as a picturesque view of the outdoors.
  • Transom Windows are narrow windows that can be operating or stationary and are typically mounted above a door or window for more light.
  • Slider Windows glide a long a track and have at least one operating window that slides over the other window.
  • Stationary Windows are popular in more modern or contemporary homes. They don’t open but can be custom designed to fit the look you are trying to achieve.
  • Bay or Bow Windows are a combination of windows that extend out from the exterior of the house. Typically there is a stationary window in the middle and the two side windows are either double-hung or casement windows.

How wide should curtains be? No matter which type of window you are trying to dress, there is a simple rule of thumb to follow. To make sure your curtains look full when drawn closed, interior design experts recommend that the curtain panels have a combined width that are 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 even more fullness, you should also 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.

One caveat: If you just want the curtains 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.

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.

At Emma Curtains, we can help you with questions like ‘how wide should curtains be’ and help you pick the right curtains by providing the custom curtains of your dreams.

Start designing your curtains today.

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