Know how to measure windows for curtains?  It is absolutely impossible to buy curtains for your home if you haven’t taken the time to learn how to measure windows. Nobody is good enough to “guess the size” of their windows.

Correct measurements will help you buy the right number of panels, and curtains that are the right size for your windows.

To measure your windows, you’ll need a measuring tape Use a metal measuring tape, like men use in their work shops. This is much more accurate than trying to use a sewing tape, which can stretch and give you a false number.

Green checked curtains in a cozy log home dining area

Curtains at the window help to make this dining area cozy and inviting.

Knowing how to measure windows will help you get the right size curtains.

Window curtains soften the look of a bedroom and they give a room its finished appearance. They also provide a feeling of intimacy and privacy. Knowing how to measure windows for curtains will give you a better fit and a more professional finish.

Here’s How to Measure Windows the Right Way…

Determine the length of your curtains – This is partly determined by personal preference, partly by practical considerations and partly by the size of your windows. Curtains one of four lengths:

  • sill length– just to the inside of the window sill
  • apron length – below the molding at the bottom of the window
  • floor length – 1/2″ to 1″ above the floor
  • puddled – long enough to be bunched on the floor

Determine how wide your curtain area will be. Measure from bracket to bracket, and, if you are using decorative poles with finials, add 5-8″ on each side.

Determine how wide your curtains need to be. Professional decorators recommend two to five widths of fabric for a custom and elegant look. Skimping on the number of panels (or fabric, if you are making the curtains), will give your country window treatments a cheap look.However, not all curtains are the same.

Heavy fabrics – You can use fewer panels if you choose drapes or curtains that are made from heavy fabrics, or curtains that are lined, as they can bunch up unattractively if you use panels that are too wide. Examples of heavy fabrics include damask, ultra suede or brocade. Use 2 to 2 ½ times the width of the rod for these.

Lighter fabrics – On the other hand, thin, light fabrics like cotton, will need to be fuller, as they will look skimpy if the curtains are not wide enough. These fabrics are often used for country kitchen curtains or curtains for the bathroom. For light cottons, ginghams, muslin or polyester blends, use about three times (up to 4 times) the width of the rod. This simple trick will give your curtains an upscale look, without breaking the bank!

Very light fabrics – For sheers or silks, you can use up to five times the width of the rod.

Tension rods, sometimes used for fabric valences or for tier curtains, fit inside the window frame. Café curtains on tension rods, just touch (or almost touch) the window sill. Measure the inside opening of the window for the width, and measure from the rod (where you want to position it) down to the window sill for your kitchen tiers.

Now that you’ve read how to measure windows, take time to measure your curtains now, before you start to shop. You’ll save lots of time and aggravation, if you can decide quickly, that the size of the curtains you like, will work for your windows.

The only way to do that is to know your window measurements, write them down, and keep them in your pocketbook or wallet.  Then, if you see curtains or drapes while shopping, you will know if they will fit your windows.