How Long Curtains Should Be

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The length of curtains should be determined based on the height of the window and the desired aesthetic. Generally, curtains should extend to the floor or slightly puddle on the ground for a more elegant look. However, for a more casual or modern style, curtains can be shorter and just cover the window frame. It is recommended to measure the height of the window and add between 63 and 108 inches to determine the appropriate length for the curtains.

How long should curtains be from the ceiling


Generally, curtain rods are installed approximately one foot below the ceiling. Standard 96-inch curtains accommodate this distance, stretching from the floor to a foot beneath the ceiling. However, for a more dramatic look, such as full ceiling-to-floor coverage or to allow curtains to elegantly pool on the floor, it’s advisable to opt for longer 108-inch panels. Expertly fitting curtains enhance the room’s aesthetic and perceived height.

Measuring Windows for Curtains

The process of measuring windows for curtains necessitates careful consideration of curtain length, a variable that significantly influences the ambiance of your room. Traditionally styled rooms often feature curtains that delicately graze the floor, dictating measurements from the top of the window frame (including the added height of the curtain hangs) to the floor.

For a more romantic and luxurious aesthetic, curtains can be longer, creating a soft pooling effect on the floor. Conversely, a modern and casual style may favor curtains that extend slightly below the window sill or just touch the floor. The key to achieving your desired look and ensuring curtain functionality lies in meticulous and accurate measurements.

Curtain Lengths Explained

The determination of the right curtain length takes into account several factors, which include the window’s dimensions, the overall style of the room, and the individual’s personal taste. There are typically four standard lengths for curtains, namely, sill, below-sill, floor-length, and puddle. The sill-length curtains are designed to terminate just half an inch above the windowsill, while those that are below-sill extend a few inches past the window ledge.

For a neat and tailored appearance, floor-length curtains are ideal as they just barely touch the floor. Puddle curtains, however, offer a more dramatic and opulent look, as they are made longer, creating a small ‘puddle’ of fabric on the floor. Ultimately, the right curtain length can elevate the visual appeal of a room while offering the right balance of light control and privacy.

Curtain Styles and Lengths

When deliberating on curtain styles and lengths, it’s crucial to consider both the room’s style and the window’s size as these factors significantly influence your curtain’s length. Traditional, formal rooms often look best with curtains long enough to graze or lightly pool on the floor. In contrast, a more casual or contemporary aesthetic can be achieved with curtains that either align perfectly with the window sill’s base or hang just slightly below it.

However, in the case of larger windows or sliding doors, floor-length curtains are typically the most fitting selection. It’s important to bear in mind that the length of your curtains can considerably modify the room’s perceived dimensions and ambiance, so deliberate choices are key to effectively enhancing your space.

Curtain Length vs. Window Height

For an appealing and balanced aesthetic, it’s advisable to have the curtain length closely match the window height. A good rule to remember is that curtains should be long enough to reach just above the floor, which means they should be about the same height as the window or even slightly longer.

If a traditional and formal style is what you’re after, opting for curtains that are 2-3 inches longer than the window height can create an elegant puddle on the floor. Conversely, for a sleek, modern appearance, curtains that match the exact window length are ideal. Regardless of your style preference, it’s crucial that you take precise measurements from the curtain rod to the floor to ensure a perfect curtain fit.

Floor Length vs. Sill Length Curtains

The aesthetic appeal of a room is significantly influenced by the length of its curtains. It’s important to weigh the style and functionality of the room when deciding between floor length and sill length curtains. Floor-length curtains, which extend from the rod to the floor, add a formal, elegant touch and are perfect for spaces such as living rooms, dining rooms, or bedrooms where a dramatic and sophisticated look is desired.

In contrast, sill-length curtains, stopping at or slightly below the window sill, exude a relaxed, casual ambiance and are often favored in kitchens and bathrooms where long curtains may not be practical. Regardless of the selected style, measuring the curtains correctly is crucial as curtains that are either too short or too long can disrupt the room’s harmony.

Standard Curtain Sizes

The curtain length one should opt for is contingent on the standard curtain measurements which are typically divided into three primary lengths: short, medium, and long. The short curtains, also referred to as cafe curtains, typically range from 24-36 inches in length. They offer an ideal solution for smaller windows or spaces where there’s a need for privacy without hindering light.

Medium-length curtains, which are usually 63-84 inches long, are designed to cover the full window, making them a fitting choice for standard windows found in living rooms or bedrooms. Long curtains, also termed as drapery, extend from 95-108 inches and can reach up to 120 inches for exceptionally tall windows, offering an elegant and dramatic effect, often pooling slightly on the floor. However, it’s crucial to understand that the perfect curtain length can vary, depending on your window size, interior design style, and personal preference.

Choosing the Right Length for Curtains

Selecting the appropriate length for curtains is a fundamental element of interior design, as it significantly affects the aesthetic charm and usability of a room. The length of the curtains should be proportionate to the window and room’s style and size. For those seeking a traditional and sophisticated ambiance, floor-length curtains that slightly pool on the floor are perfect.

On the other hand, for a more casual and functional decor, curtains that hang just above the floor or sill-length are advisable. However, rooms equipped with radiators or deep sills necessitate curtains tailored slightly below the window sill to avoid heat obstruction. To ensure the curtains hang correctly, it is vital to precisely measure the distance from the curtain rod to the preferred length.

How to Customize Curtain Length

Customizing curtain length is a crucial aspect of achieving the desired aesthetic for your space, as it can significantly influence the room’s overall look and feel. For an elegant and traditional style, it’s ideal to opt for floor-length curtains that are measured to puddle slightly on the floor, typically 1-2 inches longer than the distance from the rod to the floor.

Alternatively, for a more modern and casual appeal, curtains should either just touch the floor or hover half an inch above it. If your space includes deep sills or radiators, sill-length curtains that end half an inch above the sill can be a suitable choice. Regardless of style choice, always ensure to measure multiple times for accuracy before finalizing the customization of your curtain length.

Effect of Curtain Length on Room Aesthetics

Curtain length significantly impacts a room’s aesthetic appeal, with the ideal length striking a balance between elegance and space. Floor-length curtains can lend a classic sophistication to the room, enhancing its perceived height and grandeur.

However, curtains that are too short might disrupt the room’s harmony by making the window seem awkwardly sized. For a relaxed and casual ambiance, curtains that slightly hang below the window sill could be an excellent choice. The ultimate curtain length should align with the room’s overall design, decor, and personal preferences. Beyond their functionality, curtains are a crucial aesthetic component of any room.

Mistakes to Avoid When Measuring Curtains

When measuring curtains, it’s essential to avoid common pitfalls such as neglecting to contemplate the desired curtain length, which is influenced by both the style you’re aiming for and your window’s dimensions. Traditional styles typically favor floor-length curtains that just touch or slightly puddle on the floor, while a more modern or casual look often prefers curtains that hover at or just below the windowsill.

Inaccurate measurements can lead to curtains that are either too short, resulting in an unappealing aesthetic, or excessively long, posing a tripping risk and contributing to a sloppy room appearance. Thus, it’s crucial to double-check measurements and consider the desired style and functionality before purchasing curtains.

Rule of thumb

As a rule of thumb, the length of curtains largely depends on the style and function you desire. If you seek a traditional look, aim for floor-length curtains that touch or slightly puddle on the floor, hung 6-12 inches above the window frame. For a more modern, casual style, consider hanging curtains so they hang just above the floor. However, in high-traffic areas or rooms with children and pets, it’s practical to have curtains hang to the window sill or just below to prevent wear and tear. Always measure carefully before purchase.

Window Treatments

The length of curtains as part of window treatments plays a crucial role in achieving the desired aesthetic and function. For an elegant, traditional touch, curtains should ideally graze the floor. A more casual, contemporary look can be achieved with curtains ending just above the floor. For practicality in high-use areas, sill-length or apron-length curtains are preferable. Always measure from rod placement to the intended curtain length for accurate results.

Standard curtain lengths

When considering standard curtain lengths, curtains typically come in three sizes: 84 inches, 96 inches, or 108 inches. The 84-inch length is ideal for standard 8-foot ceilings and can be hung either from the top of the window or slightly below the ceiling. For 9-foot ceilings or for a higher placement above the window, 96-inch curtains provide an appealing floor-to-ceiling coverage. For grander, taller windows or if you prefer a dramatic pooling effect on the floor, the 108-inch curtains serve perfectly, enhancing the room’s elegance and perceived height.

Linen Curtains

When selecting linen curtains, the length is pivotal to the overall aesthetic. With their light, breezy texture, floor-length linen curtains create a relaxed, casual ambiance. They should ideally just touch the floor or form a soft puddle for a laid-back yet elegant effect. Always measure from the curtain rod to the floor for accuracy before purchasing your linen curtains.

Rod Pocket Curtains

For rod pocket curtains, where the curtain rod is threaded through a built-in pocket, the length is crucial to their functionality and aesthetics. Typically, these curtains should fall to the floor for a classic look, with the rod positioned either just above the window or closer to the ceiling for a more dramatic effect. Remember to include the rod pocket’s size in your measurements to ensure accurate curtain length.

Fuller Curtains

Fuller curtains, with their luxurious volume and drape, are traditionally designed to extend to the floor. This floor-length style enhances their opulence and visual impact. To achieve this, the curtain rod should ideally be positioned above the window frame. For an even grander appearance, allowing the curtains to ‘puddle’ or pool slightly on the floor can add to their richness and dramatic effect.

Grommet Style Curtains

The length of grommet-style curtains, characterized by their top rings, significantly impacts their overall look. Typically, these curtains are designed to hang straight down and just touch the floor for a clean, contemporary aesthetic. The curtain rod should be installed higher than the window frame to achieve this look, remember to factor in the grommet height when measuring the curtain length.

Velvet Curtains

Velvet curtains, known for their plush texture and rich color, are traditionally floor-length to enhance their luxurious appeal. They can either just brush the floor or pool slightly for a more opulent look. The curtain rod’s position should be above the window frame, and the full drop of the curtain, including the header, should be considered when measuring the length.

Ready-made curtains

Ready-made curtains come in standard lengths, typically designed to suit average window heights. Ideally, they should either just touch the floor or have a slight break for a traditional, tailored look. To achieve this, position the curtain rod above the window frame. It’s important to measure the window height carefully to select the appropriate ready-made curtain length.

What are the general rules for curtain length?

Believe it or not, choosing the right curtain length actually involves knowing a bit of the general rules that are followed by most interior designers and experts.

This is because of how the curtain length can actually make a world of difference for the overall look and appeal of the room you are installing the curtains in.

It is essential that you make sure that you take into consideration these usual standards for choosing curtain length.

  • Curtain length usually depends on the height of your ceiling. In most cases, curtains should be a foot shorter than the height of the ceiling such that it is ideal to choose 9 feet long curtains for ceilings that are 10 feet high.
  • You are supposed to be installing the curtains from the floor up, and that the curtains should be about half a foot higher than the window frame. This leaves about a foot of difference between the curtain and the ceiling.
  • It is alright to go under 6 inches between your window frame and your curtains when installing your curtains. However, do not go under 4 inches because it gives the windows a smaller appearance.
  • There are certain exceptions to these rules, such as when you want certain designs that may require curtains to be longer or shorter or to have less space between them and the ceiling or the window frame. But such exceptions are based on preferences and on the type of room the curtain will be installed in.

How long should curtains be for bedrooms?

For those who are choosing bedroom curtains, the standards for curtain length aren’t always as strictly followed by most interior designers because bedrooms are not as often visited by other people as other rooms are.

Simply put, you can have more freedom for choosing the right curtain length for bedrooms.

The most common type of curtain length that is used for bedrooms is when the curtain reaches the floor and has about an inch on the floor.

This allows the bedroom to look larger than it actually is.

Sometimes, you can also go for puddled curtains that actually have about half a foot on the floor.

But the usual case against puddled curtains is the fact that they may be unsanitary due to how the fabric is all over the floor.

Still, bedrooms are ideal spots for puddled curtains because of how there is less foot traffic in bedrooms and that it is going to be less likely that the curtains will get dirty.

Hanging curtains can also be an option if you want to make your bedroom windows look bigger than they actually are.

These curtains not only reach the floor but are also installed at a higher point.

This means that they are over 6 inches above the window frame and are closer than one foot from the ceiling.

The only time that shorter curtains should be used for bedrooms is when there is something in front of the curtains.

This can include a headboard, a table, a radiator, or anything similar to those. Just make sure that the curtains are right above those objects and should not be touching them.

How long should curtains be for the living room?

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Now, for living room curtains, the standards should be more strictly followed in the sense that you should always keep the general rules of curtain length in mind.

That means that you should use curtains that are at most a foot shorter than the height of your ceiling. So, if you have a ceiling that is 8 feet high, it is best to go for curtains that are 7 feet long.

Meanwhile, again, the most common is to make sure that your curtains have at most an inch on the floor because this will give your living room a more elegant and elongated look.

However, you can also go for grazing curtains that touch the floor but are not necessarily all over them.

It is usually discouraged to use puddled curtains in the living room because of all of the foot traffic that living rooms get.

However, you can still use them if you really prefer the elegant and puddled look that these curtains give you.

Keep in mind that using puddled curtains requires that you go for curtains that are longer than what the general rules dictate.

Hanging curtains are the best for living rooms with smaller windows. That’s because hanging curtains give the windows a larger appearance when there is at least a foot of space between the window frame and the curtains.

You can probably go for a longer curtain if you intend on using hanging curtains.

Also, don’t let anyone tell you you can’t use short curtains for living rooms. While not as popular as long curtains, shorter curtains can still make any living room appealing so long as you know how to use them.

Of course, you can also use short curtains when there is something right in front of a living room window, such as a radiator. Short curtains also are great for houses with pets because of certain hygiene issues you want to avoid.

How long should curtains be for the bathroom?

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Bathroom curtains can also be quite important for bathrooms with windows that are larger than normal because of how you want to make sure that your privacy is kept intact when you are using your bathroom.

However, the usual rules for curtain length don’t apply for bathroom curtains you are using either for your bathroom window or your bathtub or shower.

The first thing that you need to know is that curtains used for bathtubs or showers need to be long enough such that they cover you well enough while you are in the tub or when you are using the shower.

However, it is not advisable for you to use tub or shower curtains that are long enough to touch the floor because of hygiene reasons.

After all, you don’t want the curtains to get soaking wet from all of the water and other liquids that may be on the bathroom floor.

This can make your shower curtains dirty quickly, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning up shower curtains that are too long for your bathroom.

Meanwhile, the same rule applies to window curtains in your bathroom.

Keep them short enough that they are not touching the floor so that you can make sure that they don’t easily get wet or contaminated by anything that may be on a dirty bathroom floor.

How long should curtains be for the kitchen?

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Kitchen window curtains also get the same treatment as bathroom curtains because of how you want to make sure that your kitchen curtains do not easily get dirty from all of the different things that may be on kitchen floors, such as water or grease.

It is best to make sure that kitchen curtains don’t touch the floor or are actually far away from the floor.

What you may have noticed for kitchen windows is that they are usually located right in front of the sink.

In such a case, it is best to use kitchen curtains that are actually quite short such that they don’t get to touch the top of the counter of the kitchen sink because you don’t want them to get wet while you are washing dishes.

Therefore, in most cases, kitchen window curtains are usually the shortest among all of the curtains in your home.

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