How To Measure Curtains

How To Measure Curtains

Measuring curtains might seem straightforward, but there are several nuances to consider when achieving the perfect look and function. Whether you're a homeowner looking to spruce up your space or an interior design enthusiast seeking precision, knowing how to measure your curtains correctly is crucial. In this comprehensive guide.

Curtains play a significant role in interior design, influencing a room's ambience, privacy, and energy efficiency. Accurate measurements are essential to achieve this.

Before you dive into the specifics, it’s important to understand the basics of curtain measurement. This guide will cover various types of curtains, including eyelet, net, and pencil pleat, and provide advanced tips and tricks to ensure you get it right the first time.

How to Measure for Eyelet Curtains?

Blackout Eyelet curtains are popular for their modern look and ease of installation. These curtains have metal rings at the top, which makes them slide smoothly along the curtain rod. Here’s how you can measure for eyelet curtains:

  1. Measure the Width of the Curtain Rod: Start by measuring the full width of the curtain rod, not just the window. Add an extra 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) on each side to ensure the curtains fully cover the window when closed.
  2. Determine the Number of Eyelets: Count the number of eyelets you want. Typically, there should be an eyelet every 6-8 inches.

  1. Calculate the Fabric Width: The total width of your curtains should be 1.5 to 2 times the width of the curtain rod. This fullness gives the curtains a luxurious look.

  1. Measure the Drop: For eyelet curtains, measure from the top of the curtain rod to where you want the curtain to end. This could be just above the sill, below the sill, or to the floor.
  2. Consistency: Ensure your measurements are consistent. Use a metal tape measure for accuracy.
  3. Rod Placement: To create an illusion of height, the curtain rod should be placed 6 inches above the window frame.

How to Measure Curtains for Windows?

Regardless of the type of curtain, measuring accurately for windows is crucial. Here’s a general guide on how to measure for window curtains:

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Measure the Width: Measure the width of the window frame and add an extra 6-12 inches on each side. This ensures the curtains can be drawn back fully without obstructing the window.
  2. Measure the Height: Determine where you want the curtains to end. Measure from the top of the window frame (or where the curtain rod will be) to the desired length.
  3. Type of Curtains: Different curtains require different measurements. Sheer curtains, for instance, might require more width for added fullness.
  4. Mounting Style: Decide whether you want an inside mount (within the window frame) or an outside mount (covering the frame).

How to Measure Net Curtains?

Net curtains are lightweight, semi-transparent, and often diffuse light while maintaining privacy. Here’s how to measure for net curtains:  

  1. Measure the Width: Measure the exact width of the window. Net curtains usually have a gather, so multiply the width by 2 or 2.5 to achieve the desired fullness.
  2. Measure the Drop: Measure the desired length from the top of the window. Typically, net curtains fall just below the window sill or to the floor.
  3. Gather Ratio: The standard gather ratio for net curtains is 2 to 2.5 times the window width. This ensures the curtains look full and elegant.
  4. Rod Type: Ensure you have the right rod or wire to hang your net curtains, as they are often lighter than other types.

How to Measure for Pencil Pleat Curtains?

Pencil pleat curtains have tightly gathered folds at the top, creating a neat and classic look. Here’s how to measure them:

  1. Measure the Width: Measure the width of the curtain track or pole (excluding finials). Multiply this measurement by 2 to 2.5 to get the curtain width.
  2. Measure the Drop: Measure from the top of the pole or track to the desired length. Pencil pleat curtains can hang just below the sill, to the floor, or anywhere between.
  3. Pleat Allowance: Pencil pleats need more fabric to accommodate them. Always account for this extra width.
  4. Curtain Tape: Ensure the curtain tape is evenly distributed to maintain consistent pleats.

How to Measure the Width of Curtains?

The width of your curtains is a critical measurement that impacts how well they cover your windows and how they look when closed. Here’s a detailed guide on measuring the width:

  1. Determine the Rod Length: Measure the length of the curtain rod, including any decorative finials.
  2. Decide on Fullness: To get a standard look, multiply the rod length by 1.5. To get a fuller look, multiply by 2 or 2.5.
  3. Measure the Fabric Width: Once you have the total width, divide it by the number of curtain panels you plan to use.
  4. Overlap: Ensure the curtains overlap slightly in the middle for complete coverage.
  5. Symmetry: If using multiple panels, ensure they are symmetrical for a balanced appearance.

How to Measure Drop for Eyelet Curtains?

The drop, or length, of eyelet curtains, is crucial for achieving the desired look and ensuring they function well. Here’s how to measure the drop for eyelet curtains:

  1. Measure from the Curtain Pole: Start from the top of the curtain pole, not the eyelet itself. Measure down to where you want the curtain to end.
  2. Consider Different Lengths: Common lengths include sill length, just below the sill, and floor length.
  3. Floor Clearance: If you want the curtains to touch the floor, add an extra inch to your measurement for any shrinkage or movement.
  4. Visual Effects: Floor-length curtains can make a room appear taller and more elegant.

Advanced Tips and Tricks to Measure Curtains

  1. Use a Laser Measure: A laser measure can provide accuracy down to a fraction of an inch for the most precise measurements, especially in larger rooms or high ceilings.
  2. Account for Curtain Hardware: When measuring, always account for the space curtain rings, rods, and brackets will take up.
  3. Double-Check Measurements: Measure twice, cut, and nice. This age-old advice is particularly relevant for curtain measurements. Double-check all dimensions before purchasing or cutting fabric.
  4. Mock-Up: Use painter’s tape to mark where the curtain rod and the bottom of the curtains will be. This visual aid helps ensure you’re happy with the placement before installing.
  5. Professional Consultation: If in doubt, consult a professional. Many curtain retailers offer measurement services, which can save you time and ensure accuracy.

Common Measurement Mistakes and How to Avoid Them?

Even with the best intentions, mistakes can happen. Here are some common measurement pitfalls and how to avoid them:

Mistake 1: Incorrect Width Measurement

Solution: Always measure the width of the curtain rod, not just the window. Remember to include the extra space for the curtains to stack when open.

Mistake 2: Wrong Drop Length

Solution: Decide on the curtain length before measuring. Measure from the top of the rod to your desired length, and add an extra inch for floor-length curtains.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Fullness

Solution: Ensure you account for the fullness of the curtains. Multiply the window width by 1.5 to 2.5 times, depending on how full the curtains appear.

Mistake 4: Overlooking Hardware Space

Solution: Measure the space for curtain rings, brackets, and finials. This ensures the curtains hang correctly and move smoothly.

Mistake 5: Uneven Curtains

Solution: Use a level or laser measure to ensure your curtain rod is perfectly horizontal. Uneven rods lead to uneven curtains.


How to Measure Curtains for Different Window Types?

Different window types require different measurement techniques. For bay windows, measure each section separately and add the measurements together. For arched windows, measure the height at the tallest point and the width at the widest point. Always consider the specific window shape and style when measuring.

Can I Measure the Curtains Myself, or Should I Hire a Professional?

Measuring curtains yourself is possible with the right tools and attention to detail. However, hiring a professional for complex window shapes or high-value fabric can ensure accuracy and save you from costly mistakes.

What to Do If My Measurements Are Off?

If your measurements are slightly off, you might still be able to make adjustments. Hemming tape can shorten curtains, and some curtain styles are forgiving of minor discrepancies. However, consulting with a professional or returning to the store for advice is recommended for significant errors.

Reading next

What's The Best Duvet Tog All Year Around
How To Put Up A Curtain Pole