Should Curtains be Longer than Windows

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Longer curtains can create the illusion of taller windows and add a touch of elegance to a room. However, the length of curtains ultimately depends on personal preference and the desired aesthetic. Some people prefer curtains that just cover the window frame, while others prefer curtains that extend beyond the window to create a more dramatic look. It is important to consider the overall style and proportions of the room when determining the length of curtains.

Curtain Measurement Guidelines


Curtain measurement guidelines often advise for the curtains to be longer than the windows they cover, a recommendation rooted in aesthetics. The elongated length of curtains can instill a sense of height and grandeur in a room, drawing the eye upwards and consequently, making the ceilings seem higher.

Moreover, floor-reaching curtains can effectively block light and offer better privacy. However, these are not stringent rules but rather suggestions that can be tailored according to your personal style and the function you wish for your curtains to serve.

For instance, if practicality is a key concern, curtains that fall just below the window sill might be a more appropriate choice, particularly in areas that see a lot of foot traffic or in homes with children and pets.

Home Decor and Interior Design

The consideration of curtain length relative to window size is a crucial detail in home decor and interior design. Opting for curtains that exceed window length can introduce a level of sophistication and elegance to any room, as they create an illusion of heightened ceilings, contributing to the overall ambiance.

Such a choice also presents an opportunity to incorporate more fabric, adding warmth and depth to the room’s aesthetics. However, it’s imperative to prevent the curtains from touching the floor to avoid becoming a dust and dirt trap. Therefore, when determining the appropriate curtain length, it’s vital to strike a balance between aesthetic appeal and practicality.

Window Treatment Styles

When exploring different styles of window treatments, the length of the curtains can significantly influence the overall look and feel of the space. For instance, curtains that extend beyond the window length, a style known as ‘puddling,’ can instill a sense of grandeur and luxury.

This style allows the curtains to gather slightly on the floor, infusing the room with an air of elegance and theatricality. However, it’s vital to balance style with practicality. While longer, ‘puddled’ curtains can elevate a room’s aesthetic appeal, they may not be the best choice for high-traffic areas or homes with pets and small children, where they could potentially be a tripping hazard or become dirty easily.

Therefore, it’s essential to consider the room’s purpose and practical needs alongside style when choosing curtain length.

How to Choose the Right Curtain Length

Choosing the right curtain length should not be confined to the precise size of your windows. Going beyond these dimensions, particularly with longer curtains, can significantly enhance a room’s aesthetic appeal in various interior design styles.

These elongated curtains contribute to an illusion of grand, towering windows, infusing a sense of elegance and luxury into the space, while offering superior light management and insulation. Therefore, when determining the length of your curtains, it’s essential to consider your room’s overall design and the desired effect, rather than strictly sticking to the window size. The ultimate aim is to seamlessly merge functionality with style.

Installation of Curtain Rods

Installing curtain rods involves several considerations to ensure an elegant and sophisticated aesthetic while enhancing room functionality. Firstly, it is recommended that the curtains be longer than the windows to amplify the room’s perceived height and create an illusion of a larger space.

Additionally, curtains extending beyond the window frame offer superior light control and privacy by fully covering the window when closed. Therefore, to ensure the rods are positioned correctly to accommodate these longer curtains, measurements should include not only the window but also the additional space the curtains are intended to cover.

This process confirms that the installed curtain rods are at the appropriate height and width for the curtains, ensuring an optimal balance of style and function.

Choosing the Right Curtains for Room Decor

When selecting the perfect curtains for your room decor, various factors come into play, with one of the crucial ones being the curtain’s length relative to the windows.

It’s generally recommended to opt for curtains longer than the windows as they confer an illusion of height and grandeur, thereby magnifying the room’s appearance and elegance. Additionally, longer curtains provide increased styling flexibility, enabling you to tie them back or let them hang freely for varied aesthetics. Nonetheless, the ultimate decision hinges on the room’s desired style and ambiance.

For a more laid-back or contemporary appeal, shorter curtains might be more fitting. Thus, it’s paramount to deliberate on the curtain length in relation to your windows during your selection process to effectively amplify your room decor.

DIY Curtain Projects

When engaging in DIY curtain endeavors, it’s typically advantageous to opt for curtains that extend beyond the window’s length. This approach not only infuses an air of elegance and opulence into your space but also delivers functional advantages.

By making your windows appear larger, longer curtains enhance the room’s overall aesthetic appeal. They also afford superior light and privacy control due to their capacity to cover the entire window and a portion of the wall, thus leaving no gaps for light or intrusive gazes.

However, the need for additional fabric and precise measurements for the appropriate hanging of longer curtains may elevate the complexity of your DIY project.

Effect of Curtain Length on Room Appearance

The overall ambiance and aesthetic appeal of a room are significantly influenced by the length of the curtains. When curtains extend beyond the window length, they create a dramatic and elegant effect that enhances the room’s aesthetics by drawing the eye upward, thereby giving an illusion of a higher ceiling and a more spacious room.

This effect is further amplified as long curtains elegantly puddle on the floor, adding a layer of sophistication and grandeur. However, it’s crucial to factor in the room’s functionality and style when deciding on curtain length. For instance, rooms with high traffic or those occupied by children and pets may not be suitable for longer curtains.

Therefore, while longer curtains have the potential to significantly boost a room’s appearance, their appropriateness is dictated by the room’s specific characteristics and requirements.

Custom vs. Ready-made Curtains

The length of curtains in relation to windows is influenced by various factors including aesthetics, curtain type, and personal preference. Standard lengths are common in ready-made curtains, but they may not always achieve the desired look of extended, luxurious drapes.

Custom curtains, conversely, offer the flexibility of tailoring to any length, whether it grazes the floor, pools slightly, or is positioned several inches off the ground. The choice between extended curtains for a more formal or dramatic appeal, and shorter ones for practicality and easy cleaning, also adds to the decision-making process.

Ultimately, the decision on curtain length in relation to windows hinges on personal taste, the room’s style, and the choice between custom or ready-made curtains.

Drapes vs. Curtains

The debate between drapes versus curtains often involves the query of whether curtains should exceed the length of windows, a decision largely influenced by the desired aesthetic and functionality.

Drapes that stretch beyond the window to touch the floor offer a traditional, elegant appeal, elevating the room’s perceived height and providing superior light control and insulation. Conversely, curtains are typically designed to align with the window’s dimensions, although opting for longer curtains can generate the illusion of a larger window.

Leaving these longer curtains to hang a few inches below the window sill, or even extending to the floor, can introduce an element of drama. Ultimately, the choice between drapes and curtains should reflect your personal style and accommodate the unique requirements of the room.

Is it better for curtains to be too long or too short?

We think it’s important to define what it means for curtains to be ‘too long’ or ‘too short.’ Puddled curtains are the longest type of curtain pooling or even dragging on the floor for a dramatic, romantic, and sophisticated look.

The length of curtains that pools or puddles on the floor can be anywhere between 2 to 18 inches. And anything above this may be considered too long.

To call a window ‘too short’ will depend on the type of window and the look the designer intends to achieve.

Whether curtains are too long or too short is a matter of perspective. Your curtains can be as long or short as you want according to your preferences and interior design style.

How long should your curtains be?

As we said earlier, the length of your curtains mainly depends on your preferences and the look you intend to achieve. However, as a general rule of thumb, the longer your curtains, the more elegant your room will look.

Below are the most popular curtain designs with varying lengths that can help you achieve unique looks in your home.

Puddled curtains

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We discussed puddled curtains above and will provide more information here. You already know that this type of curtain ‘pools’ or ‘puddles’ on the ground for a dramatic yet elegant look.

For best effect, choose curtains made of thick, quality fabric curtains will stay in place after being styled.

While puddled curtains will look great if used in the right settings, note that they require more maintenance as they collect dust easily, requiring you to wash them regularly. Also, you’ll have to move around them when cleaning or vacuuming your room.

If you are okay with all these, then the extra elegance and sophistication puddled curtains add to your room will be well worth it.

Length: The length of the curtains that pool on the floor can be anywhere between 2 to 18 inches. But it’s more common to see people using 2 to 6 inches.

Floor-length curtains

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Floor-length curtains, which slightly touch the floor, are considered to be the most stylish curtain length to use. Usually, floor-length curtains are long and usually hang from the ceiling down to the floor. This makes a room look more spacious and elegant.

Take measurements of your windows (the width) and the length from the ceiling to the floor. This will cause curtains that fit perfectly, showing that you are intentional about the design of your curtains.

Floor-length curtains have the advantage of not getting dirty as easily as puddled curtains while also being more durable. They are also ideal for high-traffic areas as you can move back and forth easily without the curtains getting in your way.

Note that the length of this type of curtain must be precise, and an inch more or less can compromise the look you intend to achieve.

Length: Depending on how high your ceiling is, floor-length curtains can be anywhere between 60 – 140 inches.

Hovering an inch or less above the floor

Curtains that hover an inch or less above the floor are also stylish. The aesthetic effect of this type of curtains depends on them slightly hovering above the floor, and anything more than an inch may ruin the effect.

This type of curtains is ideal for windows you often use as they are quite easy to open and close. Also, your hemming won’t be derailed if your measurement is a few millimeters off. This type of curtains also works well if the floor in your room is slightly uneven.

Length: It can be anywhere between 60 – 140 inches depending on the length of your ceiling, with the curtain hovering an inch or less. above the ground

How long should curtains hang below the window sill?

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Most curtain styles extend below the window sill, slightly touching the floor, hovering an inch or less above the floor, or pooling on the floor.

How long your curtain hangs below your window sill will depend on the style you choose and the height of your ceiling.

There are also curtain designs where the curtains stop at the window sill (Sill length curtains) or the apron (Apron length curtains).

Sill-length curtains are the shortest type of curtains you’ll come across as they hang or slightly above the window sill. They are used where it’s not hygienic or practical for the curtains to reach the floor.

For example, it’s not hygienic for bathroom curtains to reach the floor. Also, the curtains in your kitchen may not extend below the floor because of interference by another object such as your kitchen counter.

One advantage of sill-length curtains is that they are easy to open and close while also requiring little maintenance. However, they are restricted to kitchens, bathrooms, or any other place where using long curtains isn’t practicable.

Length: Still length curtains should hang at or slightly above the window sill.

Apron-length curtains are just slightly longer than sill-length curtains invoking a casual, and relaxed look. This type of curtains hang at the bottom of the apron, also referred to as the window rim) or below the window sill.

Apron length curtains have similar uses to sill length curtains as they are used in bathroom and kitchen windows. However, apron length curtains can sometimes be used in bedrooms. They work best with smaller windows as they make such windows appear bigger.

By being short, apron length curtains require less maintenance and may be suitable for children’s rooms.

Length: Apron-length curtains can be anywhere between 60 – 80 inches. The major factor deciding their length is how high they are placed.

Can you put long curtains on a short window?

Yes, you can put long curtains on short windows. In fact, using long curtains on short windows draws attention away from the size of the window, makes the room feel spacious, and increases the importance of the window while bringing it into proportion with the room.

Believe us when we say you don’t want to use short curtains on short windows unless it isn’t practical (for example, a radiator below the window) to use long curtains on such windows.

Hanging short curtains on short windows will draw attention to the size of the windows, something you want to avoid. Also, short windows will also reduce the significance of a room.

To use long curtains on short windows, take the width of the curtains into consideration. Obviously, you need to go for curtains wider than the windows, and curtains at least 30% wider than the window will give the best results.

Using wide curtains ensures you expose as much of the window as possible when you open the curtains, and this helps create the illusion that the window extends behind the open curtains.

Try to imagine it. Your window is going to look a lot grander than it actually is.

After deciding on the width of your curtains, the next thing to consider is how long the curtains will be. The length of your curtains affects the overall style of the room.

If you want a formal and contemporary theme, then floor-length curtains will do the trick. We’ve talked about floor-length curtains above, so scroll up for more information on them.

Puddled curtains provide a dramatic yet elegant look. If you go for puddled curtains, make sure that the curtain rod is hung high just below the ceiling.

If not, you create the impression that the curtains are just too long or hung too low. But by hanging the curtains high, you show you are intentional about the style of the curtains.

Regardless of the length of your curtains, always try to mount the rod up as high on the ceiling as possible as this is one of the most effective ways to make a small window appear larger.

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