How to Measure for Drapes

Follow These Simple Steps to Hang Your Window Treatments the Quick & Easy Way

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.

How to Measure for Drapes in 3 Easy Steps:

1. 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. TIP! Be careful when using a fabric measuring tape as it can stretch or droop, leading to inaccurate measurements.

2. 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 2-4″ of 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 3″ to 4″ beyond the outside of the window frame and 4″ to 6″ above the trim. To ensure minimum light gaps and maximum privacy, add 4″-5″ of fabric on both sides of the window. For narrow windows, additional fabric should be added to the sides of the window frame and fabric should cover the frame, exposing a small amount of glass.

If you are attaching hardware on the side of the windows to loop tie backs through, make sure your measurements are even on both sides of the window.

Inside Mount Drapes Inside Mount Drapes Outside Mount Drapes Outside Mount Drapes Hanging Hardware Hanging Hardware
  • Inside Mounts:
  • Creates 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. Measure the window at 3 different points (top, middle, bottom) and use the narrowest figure for your final measurement. For determining the length, measure 3 different points and use the longest figure for your final measurement (unless you are hanging Roman shades, than use the shortest measurement.)

  • 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.

3. 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 (10″, 12″, 14″) 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.TIP! Plan for fabric to be 2 to 4 times that of your window’s measurement for a rich, full look. 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.

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4 Responses to How to Measure for Drapes

  1. Do you have fabric color samples for purchase? I have had trouble in the past with purchasing colors from catalogs and on-line.

    I want to purchase cotton duck insulated curtains.

    Sage would be my first choice IF the color is right. Natural if the sage green does not match my wall color and bed quilt.

    Please let me know. Thank you.

  2. Anne Harris says:

    How do keep outdoor/porch drapes from blowing? Is there any way to attach them to a window sill?

    • Cyndee D'Agostini says:

      Hi Anne,
      You can attach Velcro to the inside of the drapes and stick the other side to the wall, porch or window sill. Or, if you search online for “drapery weights”, you’ll find a product that you can add to the bottom hem of the drape which may help. Curtain weights are generally used to keep the curtain straight when hung but I think it would probably work to keep the curtain from blowing around too much.

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