June 18, 2024
Learn a step-by-step approach to measure effectively for curtains. Tips and tricks for calculating yardage, measuring an unusual window, and a list of common mistakes-to-avoid when measuring; everything you need to know about measuring curtains for a perfect fit and appealing look.


Thinking of adding new curtains to your home décor? Whether you’re upgrading your windows with new drapes, valances, or any other style of curtains, it’s essential to measure your windows correctly. Measuring curtains is crucial to ensure that they fit properly, cover enough space, and create the look you want in your room. In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to measuring for curtains, essential tools for the job, common mistakes to avoid and tips for unusual spaces, calculating curtain yardage and advanced tips for achieving the perfect fit.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Measuring for Curtains

The first step to measuring for curtains is to determine the right tools you would need. Gathering supplies such as a sturdy metal tape measure, a pen, paper, a ladder, and a helper is necessary to get started. The metal tape measure is an essential tool for measuring curtains, double-checking, and being as accurate as possible.

Let’s start by measuring the width of your window, noting measurement in inches, from side to side. It is vital to measure the width of the window plus the window frame. This measurement by default is called the track width. However, if you are planning to use decorative curtain rods, add the length of the rod to this measurement as well.

Next, measure the height of your window. Do this by measuring from the top of the window frame or rod if rods are used to the base of the window frame and note down measurement in inches. After measuring the width and height of the window frame, you may proceed to measure where you need your curtains to end.

Think about where you want your curtains to end. Do you want the curtains to hang above the floor, or do you prefer the fabric touching the ground? If you want the fabric to touch the floor, add an extra inch to the measurement you got previously. Suppose you prefer the curtains to float slightly above the floor, then take ½ inch off the measurement you obtained previously. This length is called the curtain drop or length, and it determines the length of the curtains you’ll need.

Lastly, measure the distance between the curtain rod and the floor, ensuring they’re level on both sides. When hanging curtains, it’s crucial to make sure that they hang evenly for a neat, polished appearance. The measurement you obtain here is used to ensure that the curtains meet the floor perfectly symmetrically.

It’s often helpful to have a visual representation of the window when taking measurements. Consider sketching an outline of the window on paper or using a digital app to create a visual reference for yourself.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Measuring for Curtains

While taking window measurements is often a simple process, it’s easy to make mistakes. Some of the most common measuring mistakes homeowners make include neglecting to measure from the top of the window frame, forgetting to include the frame’s width, and not using a metal tape measure for accuracy. These mistakes can result in curtains that are too long, too wide, or not wide enough, and it can lead to repeated changes or replacements, costing significantly in the long run.

However, there are ways to avoid these mistakes. Firstly, it is essential to measure curtain poles or tracks accurately, leaving enough allowance for your curtains to stack back correctly. Secondly, measure the height of the window from the top of the frame or from the bottom of the curtain track instead of from existing curtain tops that were already there. Lastly, measure twice to avoid errors, and always use a metal tape measure to get precise measurements.

The Right Tools for the Job: Curtain Measuring Essentials

It’s essential to have the right tools for measuring curtains, especially if you’re planning on making curtains yourself. Here are some key measuring tools every homeowner should have when measuring for curtains:

  • A sturdy metal tape measure; this is paramount for accuracy, and it’s not advisable to use a fabric tape measure.
  • A pen or pencil and a notebook to jot down measurements.
  • A ladder to help you measure high windows. If you don’t have a ladder, consider purchasing an extendable pole.
  • A calculator or a phone app to help you do math equations to calculate fabric needs
  • Curtain rods or tracks to install your curtains.
  • Measuring for Curtains in Unusual Spaces

    Measuring for curtains in unusual spaces, like slanted or unusually shaped windows, can be challenging. The key to measuring for curtains in these spaces is to take multiple measurements and to do so carefully. One smart way to do this is by using a measuring guide to ensure that you’re taking the right measurements.

    When measuring slanted windows, take measurements at the highest and lowest points of the window and in the middle. Add the highest point and the middle point together and divide by two, and this will give you the midpoint. You can use this midpoint measurement as the height of your curtain.

    When dealing with unusually shaped windows, consider using flexible track systems and order molded tracks to have your curtains hang correctly. These are adjustable and can be bent to fit unusual or unique shapes, which will create a beautiful, polished look.

    Calculating Curtain Yardage: How Much Fabric Do You Really Need?

    Calculating curtain yardage can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The amount of fabric you’ll need will depend on several factors like the curtain style, its fullness, the fabric or material, and the window’s width.

    Start by measuring the width of the window, including any extra allowance you’ve added for the curtains to drape. With that measurement, multiply by 2 or 2.5 for standard fullness or more fullness, respectively. The result you get is the required width of the curtain fabric.

    Next, measure the height from the rod or track to where the curtains are supposed to touch the floor, and this is called the finished length. Add the header length, hemline, and the bottom length hems for extra,” morning” or puddle length, to obtain the total length. Multiply the total length with the required fabric width, which is the width of the window ×2 or 2.5 for the extra fullness, and this gives you the total curtain yardage needed.

    Beyond the Basics: Advanced Tips for Measuring for Curtains

    For those looking to achieve the perfect fit, there are a few advanced tips and tricks for measuring for curtains.

    If you’re interested in a romantic, dramatic look, add an extra six inches onto your curtains’ width on each side of the window. When your curtains are hung, they’ll overlap in the middle of the window, creating more depth.

    For people looking to save money and tailor curtains to an exact size, sew your curtains using the exact fabric width that is required for a specific window, using less fabric, and cutting down on costs.

    When measuring for curtains with patterns or prints, consider matching the patterns by adding additional fabric or adding an extra bottom hem. This will create uniformity and a smoother look.


    Measuring for curtains is a crucial step in getting the perfect look for your room. Use a metal tape measure and measure carefully, always remembering to take each measurement more than once. If you avoid common mistakes and use the right tools for the job, you’ll be able to install your curtains securely and beautifully. With the step-by-step guide, tools, tips for unusual spaces, yardage calculation, and advanced tricks, you can create an inviting, polished room that reflects your taste and style.

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