Let’s face it! Just as any house needs windows, any window needs curtains. Of course, the latter is not as mandatory as the former, but should you choose to leave your beautiful windows naked you will miss out on a great opportunity to create a cozy interior for your home. Curtains offer privacy, control the light and create a sense of comfort.

Before you head to the curtain shop, however, you need to take the right measurements. This is an important step if you want to have curtains that look great and fit perfectly. But how exactly do you measure windows for curtains? We know you might have a lot of questions, this is why we are here to help you every step of the way. So, let’s get started!

Determine Mounting Technique

The first and most important step when taking measurements for curtains is to determine whether you want them inside or outside the window frame. As you can imagine, each style will give your window a totally different look. If you are not sure which way to go, you might want to flip through some interior magazines and get ideas.

  • Outside mounting technique – this is the most popular mounting technique when it comes to hanging curtains. Many homeowners prefer to hang their curtains this way due to the fact that it screens the light better, creates an illusion for a bigger window, and contributes to a more stylish interior design;
  • Inside mounting technique – even though this mounting technique is less popular, it still has its charm and gives windows an interesting look. Should you choose to go for this method you need to fit the curtain rod into the window frame. The curtains that are mounted this way will let a bit more light in, but will still give you privacy and a sense of warmth;

Determine Rod Length


So, let’s assume you have already decided on the mounting technique and you are now ready to move to the second step, which is to do with the rod or pole lengths. Curtain rod lengths depend on three main factors – whether you want to mount them inside, below, or above the top window trim. As for the thickness of the rod, ideally, it would be at least an inch, in order to avoid unpleasant bowing.

  • Inside window trim – having your rod mounted at the level of the top window trim will give your home a modern and stylish look. The length of the rod in this scenario should match the width of the window frame or be just slightly longer. Ideally, you will be needing a pole that comes with protective caps on either end.
  • Above window trim – if you opt-in for this type of mounting, then the ideal length of the curtain rod should be at least 8 – 10 inches longer than the window frame on either side. The same goes for the height above your window trim. As a rule of thumb the longer the rod and the higher the mounting – the larger the look of the window.
  • Below window trim – if you have beautiful window trims and prefer to have them exhibited, then you should mount your curtain rods below. The length of the rod in this case should be at least 4 – 5 inches longer than the window frame on either side.

Choose Your Curtain Length

Lovely! You have already decided on the mounting technique and have the length of your curtain rod measured. It is now time to choose the length of your beautiful curtains. Depending on the interior design you are after, you have 3 main options.

  1. Floor length – if you wish to create a sense of really tall windows, then this is the ideal length for your curtains. Make sure you leave at least half an inch to an inch above the floor.
  2. Above the window sill – if this is your preferred option, leave at least half an inch above the sill when measuring the length of the curtains.
  3. Below the window sill – in this scenario, the ideal length of your lovely curtains would be about 6 – 8 inches below the sill.

Measure for Width

You have already determined the ideal length of your curtains which is great, but now you may be asking yourself “How wide do my curtains need to be”? That’s a good question and the answer depends on the style you are after. For instance, if you wish to create a sense of luxury then you should go for fuller curtains, meaning their width should be at least 3 times the window width.

Alternatively, if you prefer to give your windows more of a tailored and formal look, then curtains with a smaller width are the way to go. In this case, the width of the curtains needs to be about 1.5 the width of the window frame. And if you prefer your curtains to overlap, then you need to add an extra 10 – 12 inches to the total width.

Measure for Length

In order to perform this step correctly, you need to have your curtain pole or track installed. Once it’s done, measure the desired length from the pole down. When buying curtains for your windows keep in mind that sellers usually present the size in the format “Width by Length”.

Once again, you can have your curtains all the way down to the floor, above the sill or below it. Whichever is your preferred style, take into consideration the following tips:

  • If you want your curtain rings to show then take measurements starting from the bottom of the ring;
  • If you prefer the rings to be hidden, measure the length from the top of the rings;
  • If you have opted for curtain tracks, take measurements starting from the top of the tracks;
  • If you have chosen eyelet curtains, then take measurements from the top of the curtain rod;

Final Thoughts

Curtains give windows style and warmth. However, in order to achieve the desired look and feel you need to take the right measurements. We hope that our guide will help you do that so you can create the home interior you have always dreamt of. Whichever curtain style you choose to go for, we are certain it will be the one that fits your windows best.