A Guide to Measuring Curtains

Measuring Curtains

Curtains are a staple in any room. They shift prying eyes from seeing inside your home, serve as extra decor, and add a unique elegance to any space. However, to work, they must be measured to a perfect length around the window or wall they are set to embellish.

To understand how you can measure your curtains properly, keep on reading. This article will discuss how you might be able to measure the curtains in your own home. By the end, you will be prepared to take on this task by yourself at home and swap them out whenever you please. 

Decide Where to Mount the Curtains

Before you measure the curtains, you need to decide where you are going to mount the curtain rod. This will make a huge difference in both the size of the curtain rod and the length of the curtains. Deciding where to place your curtains ahead of time can save you extra alterations once the curtains have already been placed.

There are three places where curtain rods are mounted that have existed since curtains came into popularity years ago. Each style will provide a different look for your room, so take care to ensure that what you are measuring matches your aesthetic. The three popular places include:

  • Inside the trim: This curtain rod position stretches inside the window, providing a clean-cut look that fits with a modern aesthetic 
  • Outside the trim: This is the way that most curtain rods are, pushed a couple of inches out from the trim and even on either side
  • Above the window: If you want a long curtain, placing the rod way above the window is another popular choice

There are two different ways of measuring for both of these. The rod inside the window has a different way than those on the outside. Read on to see how to measure the length of the curtain rod to hang your curtains effectively. Soon, your curtains will be cascading down from your ceiling in silent protection.

How to Measure for Curtain Rods

When measuring for the curtain rods, you will need to consider the location. Whether the rod is inside the window or outside will have an impact on the length that you need to invest in.

If you are putting the rod inside the window you will need to take the width of the window and apply it to the rod. Use a measuring tape and a leveler to ensure that you are getting an accurate length. It should be able to fit snugly inside, with a little bit of wiggle room for removal if necessary. There are often rods that can be loosened and tightened.

For a rod outside the window, you should measure an extra three to six inches on either side. The mount should fall in between that. That way, the curtains can be a bit wider than the window and form a sense of cohesiveness whenever anyone enters your space.

How to Measure Window Width

The width of the window should be measured to make sure that you choose a curtain that is wide enough for your space. Typically, the wider the curtain is the more full it will appear when hanging from a window. Curtains are not straight, after all. The wider they are, the more they will need to be folded to fit the rod.

There is a lot of advice on the internet about measuring the width of a window, yet some of them make it more complicated than it needs to be. There are only a few distinct measurements that should be taken into account for anyone updating their home. To properly measure a window, you will need to:

  • Find yourself a tape measure or a long and accurate ruler
  • Measure from jamb to jamb on each half of the window
  • Measure the window diagonally on both sides to ensure accuracy
  • Measure the top, middle, bottom, and so on until all sides are measured

The shortest measurement that you find should be the width. When selecting a curtain, an average one will be about two times as wide. The wider you go, the more full it will be. The less wide, the flatter the curtains are. It all depends on the style that you are going for in the space you are decorating with curtains.

Measure Window Height

Measuring the height only applies if you have landed on the curtain type that falls above the windowsill. Due to the specifics of this version, it is necessary to know how high the window is. This way, you can make sure that your curtains will fall at precisely the right place on your sill.

When measuring, the method is not complicated. All you need to do is use a tape measure or ruler and measure. You should go from top to bottom inside the frame and from top to bottom outside the frame. From there, you should be able to have an accurate measurement that you can work with.

Measure Curtain Length 

First, you need to decide on the length that you want your curtains to be. This length is critical for measuring, as all curtains come in varying sizes and shapes. There are a few different styles, which include:

  • Above-Sill Curtains: These curtains rest about a centimeter above the windowsill and are standard in many homes
  • Below-Sill Curtains: These sit a few centimeters below the windowsill, creating a seamless look when the curtains are closed
  • Floor-Length Curtains: These are the versions of curtains that fall to the floor, a more elegant look for the average homeowner

To determine the curtain length, measure the area from where the rod is to where you want your curtains to end. This number is the length that you need. For the above-sill, it will be about one centimeter above the sill. For below, aim for about fifteen centimeters below. Floor-based curtains can brush against the floor.

Each curtain length has a different style and overall aesthetic, so you will want to consider whether you would prefer longer or shorter curtains. When deciding on a desirable curtain length, you will also want to consider the distance between where you are hanging the curtains and the floor. 

Trim Your Curtains If Needed

Sometimes, your initial curtains may be too long. This issue is frequently occurring, as most curtains come prepared to reach the floor. You will need to measure the amount of excess with a ruler or tape measurer. This measurement should be marked with a pen or marker so that you can trim the curtain to the required length.

If you need to trim the curtain, you can do so in one of the following ways:

  • Hemming the piece with a sewing machine and thread
  • Taking it into a professional for alterations on the bottom
  • Shifting the curtain rod if it will not damage your wall
  • Pinning it up with safety pins or another kind of pin
  • Taking a tiny bit off the top rather than the bottom

Shortening the curtain is not a problem for your measurements. It is better to get some that are too long rather than too short. Taking away is easy to do, but adding is an entirely different story. If you need to add to the curtain, you might need to invest in a brand-new set of curtains. Adding looks tacky and disorganized.

If you want to avoid the hassle of trimming, you should figure out your initial measurement first. Mount your rod, then measure from that point to where you want the curtain to end. There may be a curtain on the market that fits that exact measurement for you.



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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