Curtain Length Rules: How to Choose Curtain Lengths
When it comes to interior design, curtains can really transform a space. But all the Pinterest research, curtain shopping and design hacks in the world won’t help you if your curtains aren’t the right length and size.
Whether you need sheer curtains for a subtle finishing touch or gorgeous, dramatic drapery that anchors a room, you need to make sure you have the right curtain lengths. In our curtain length guide, you’ll learn about standard curtain lengths, curtain length rules, and curtain length mistakes to avoid.
Read more: How to Hang Curtains
Standard Curtain Lengths
How long should your curtains be?
The standard curtain lengths are 63, 84, 96, 108 and 120 inches long, and curtain panels are typically 48 inches wide.
Curtain lengths will also vary depending on the style you’re looking for:
- Float: The curtains “float” just above the floor. This is a good option if you want your curtains to hang straight down without any break. Make sure to hang curtains less than an inch above the floor — any longer, and it will look awkward.
- Kiss: The curtains barely touch the floor. The kiss is the most difficult style to hang correctly; it requires exact, precise measurements. Don’t forget to measure not only the length of your curtains but also the curtain rods and length of your curtain rings.
- Puddle: The curtains are slightly longer, so they flare out in a “puddle” on the floor. This style has a romantic, feminine, old-world feel, designed to showcase luxurious fabrics like lined drapery, velvet or linen. It’s a great option for traditional and formal rooms.
Note: Curtains that puddle require a little more maintenance since they will easily collect dirt, dust and animal dander. They are also harder to open and close, so avoid using them in high-traffic areas.
Curtain Length Rules and Mistakes to Avoid
When choosing curtains, there are a few mistakes we often see. Keep the following curtain length rules in mind:
Follow these guidelines for curtain measuring. Place the measuring tape at the top or inside corner of the window frame. If you already know where you’ll place your hardware, measure from the height where you’d hang the rod. Then measure straight down to your desired length according to the guide below:
- Float: Less than an inch above the floor.
- Kiss: Measure the distance from the curtain rod to the floor. If you’re using curtain rings, make sure to include those in your length measurements.
- Puddle: Measure straight down to the floor. Add 15 inches to the length to ensure you have enough fabric to create a pooling effect.
Pro-tip: Use a metal tape measure for better accuracy when measuring.
Make sure your curtains are long enough. This is the most common curtain mistake. Short curtains make a room look awkward and incomplete. Generally, you should avoid anything shorter than 96 inches, unless you have very low ceilings. When in doubt, go with longer curtains rather than a shorter, cut off length.
If you can’t find ready-made curtains that fit your home, you might need custom curtains. You can hem your curtains or work with a professional designer to create fully customized curtains. Bespoke curtains you love might be worth the extra cost.
Buy the right size curtain rods. When shopping for curtain rods, your first instinct might be to purchase rods that match the width of your window. But if your curtain rod is the exact width of the window, your curtains will block the window even when they’re open, making the window look smaller. Curtain rods should extend at least six inches past the window so you can see the entire window.
Don’t skimp on fabric. You want your curtains to feel full, not skimpy. If you’re getting pre-made curtains, make sure you get enough panels to cover the entire window. A 60-inch-wide panel won’t look good on a 60-inch window — you’ll need multiple curtain panels for enough fullness.
As a general rule of thumb, curtain width should be two to two-and-a-half times the width of the window. Curtains are typically sold as pairs, but you may need to double up depending on the size of your window.
Hang Curtains in Seconds With Kwik-Hang
Hanging curtains is infamously tricky. One wrong move and you can damage a wall, add unnecessary holes and cause a lot of frustration.
Kwik-Hang curtain rod brackets and holdbacks solve all your curtain-hanging problems! The patented, revolutionary design lets you hang curtains in seconds so you can move onto the next item on your to-do list.
Kwik-Hang doesn’t require any drilling or measuring, and you’ll achieve perfect curtains every time! Once you’ve found the right length curtains, just align the brackets to your window frame, tap it in with a hammer, and you’re good to go.
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