Avoid Costly Mistakes By Getting it Right the First Time: How to Properly Measure Windows For Drapes

By | March 22, 2017

Through their admittance of light and decoration, windows can create an entire mood and add a sense of unity to the interior decorating theme of your home. Window blinds and drapes for windows can make your home feel more comfortable, add drama and evoke feelings.

When choosing the appropriate window treatment, make sure to consider the amount of privacy you desire, light and climate control, ventilation, energy efficiency, the view from the window, and the look you want to create. For example, velvet drapes or heavy brocades that flow onto the floor create depth and drama, while sheer, breezy organdy fabrics create a casual, comfortable vibe. Here’s how to measure for drapes.

Assemble Your Tools
Grab a pencil, paper and a metal measuring tape for taking window measurements. If you’re using a cordless drill to hang up your drapery rod, make sure your battery is fully charged. Decide on the type of aesthetic appeal that you are trying to achieve as well as the intended function of the window coverings and purchase your curtains and hardware accordingly. Be careful when using a fabric measuring tape as it can stretch or droop, leading to inaccurate measurements. 

Choose Your Mounting Technique
To determine how long your drapes should be, consider the mood you want to project in the room. To create a formal room, curtains should puddle on the floor (to achieve the ideal drape puddle, you should add some additional fabric to your length). Otherwise, fabric should hit the top of the floor. Fabric should always be long enough to cover the baseboard.

When preparing to hang drapes using an outside wall mount, make sure the hardware extends beyond the outside of the window frame and a little bit above the trim. To ensure minimum light gaps and maximum privacy, add a few inches of fabric on both sides of the window.

Inside Mounts: These create a sleek, modern appeal to windows. The inside mount technique is appropriate for applying Roman shades or if you want to keep molding in line of sight. Remember to keep all hardware within the frame. When measuring for an inside mount, begin with the width. 

Outside Wall Mounts: A more traditional, classic method for mounting drapes, outside wall mounts are perfect for creating the illusion of larger windows or for draping a fuller, more-dramatic look with more fabric. If you have a really wide window, you can break up the space by hanging several panels across the window. Hang your drapes so they flow straight down, or tie them back in pairs to show a more formal window treatment.

Choose Your Drapery Rod Length
When choosing rod length, measure from bracket to bracket. Remember, most rods are expandable, and while they are offered in standard sizing, they may be cut to a custom size or joined together for a greater length.

For a room with low ceilings, you can add the illusion of height by placing the drapery rod closer to the ceiling. If you want a fuller, layered-look of fabric that creates a more dramatic window treatment, consider purchasing a double rod. Remember lightweight sheer fabrics create a lightweight treatment so you may want to purchase more fabric than usual, depending on your desired look. 

Energy-Efficient Window Treatments & Accessories

Depending on your lifestyle, window treatment options can aid in creating an energy-efficient, sleep-friendly, and climate-controlled environment. If you’re someone who works at night, or just needs to get some extra sleep during the day, blackout drapes might be the ideal window treatment for you. If you want to save some money on your energy bills, you may choose a set of insulated curtains that keep the warmth and chill out of your home. Check out some of our energy-efficient window treatment options.



2 thoughts on “Avoid Costly Mistakes By Getting it Right the First Time: How to Properly Measure Windows For Drapes

  1. Stacy

    There’s nothing worse than drapes that don’t fit the window. If you have a large window, please buy more than two panels. And make sure that they at least hit the floor. I am amazed at the amount of people that buy the wrong size curtains.

  2. Meredith

    I’m with you. I’m a decorator, and so many people that call me for a consult have the worst taste in window treatments, and oftentimes, they are ill-fitting as well. I’ll never mention unless they ask me what I think of their curtains, but if they do, I’m honest and tell them we need to go looking for fabric; at the very least, new rods.


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