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How to measure for curtains

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This is a frequently asked question, so we thought we’d share our top tips from the experience we have gained over the years.

  1. Have you a track or pole in place?

    If you don’t already have something in place, we recommend you install one first as it will make measuring so much easier and more accurate. Use a metal tape measure if you can as their rigidity will help to give you a more realistic measurement. Position your track or pole around 6 inches (15cm) above the window and allow 6-8 inches (15-20cm) at each side of the window.

  2. Measure the width of the track or pole

    If you have a track, measure the full width from one end to the other. If it’s a pole with finials (the decorative end pieces), then ignore the finials and just measure the pole, or track, itself.

  3. How wide will your curtains need to be?

    Avoid having ‘flat’ curtains when they are closed. In order to get a gathered effect, double the width of your track or pole (if the curtains are pencil pleat or eyelet). Then add an extra 1inch (2.5cm) to ensure that the curtains overlap in the middle when closed. If your curtains have tab tops, use the same method, but instead of doubling the width of the track or pole, times it by 1.5, then add 1 inch (2.5cm) for the central overlap.

  4. How do you measure the length of curtains?

    There are three common lengths – sill length, below sill length, and floor length. There is no right or wrong option; it really just depends on your requirements for a particular window. For example, you may like the idea of floor length in the living room as a feature, but if there is a radiator below your window, you may wish to opt for a length that ensures the heat rises into the room and not behind the curtains. If this is the case, curtains should end 1.5 inches (3cm) above the radiator to allow the heat to circulate into the room. As a general rule, sill length should end 0.5 inches (1.25cm) above the windowsill, below sill length should end 6 inches (15cm) below the windowsill, and floor length 1.5 inches (1.25cm) above the floor.

  5. People talk about ‘the drop’. What is that?

This measurement is the length from the top of the curtain track or pole to your desired length. An exception would be if you want to hang pencil pleat curtains and want to make a feature of your pole. In this case, you should take the ‘drop’ measurement from the hole in the curtain ring (known as the ‘eye’).

Useful Information

A useful point to leave you with: depending on the age of your windows, they may not always be level. It may be wise to take two or three measurements for the drop and take an average.

If you would like any help or advice on how to measure for curtains we would love to hear from you.

Call us on 0115 920 1813, or email .

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