12th Nov 2021

How Long Should Curtains Be?

 How Long Should Curtains Be?

Curtains play an important part in a room’s overall decor. A good set of curtains can bring a sense of elegance and charm, as well as serving a practical purpose.

The primary purpose of curtains is to block out unwanted light from a room. For example, if you struggle with getting a full night’s rest - good-quality curtains will help to block out untimely light, improving the quality of your sleep.

The question of how long your curtains should be can be answered in a variety of ways, and we’re here to help you find the perfect length to suit your style and add the finishing touches to your home, whilst still fulfilling their primary function.Read on to find out how long your curtains should be…

Kensington Lined Pencil Pleat Curtains - shop now. 

Floor Length Curtains

Floor-length curtains tend to be the most popular choice, as their style and versatility can complement most rooms. The floor-length curtain can come in standard sizing, normally in the ranges of 48-90 inches.

It’s important to note that when you’re in the process of measuring the space your curtains will go, start from the floor and align upwards. This way you can gather a better understanding of the length needed to reach the curtain pole.

If your measurement shows an uneven number, always round upwards to the nearest inch, never down. This way you can adjust accordingly, as opposed to not having enough material.

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Popular curtain length styles

When it comes to home decor and floor-length curtains, three decor styles are the most sought after. These included floor-length curtains that either touch, break, or slightly puddle. Let us differentiate between these three styles:

  • Touching the floor:This is a true classic, leaving you with a finished and effortless look. When curtains are just touching the floor, they give off a tailored look - almost as though they were made just to fit your room. In terms of functionality, just touching the floor will be easier to use than other styles. To achieve this look, opt for curtains that either slightly touch the floor or sit no more than half an inch above the floor.
  • Breaking at the floor: Curtains that break at the floor will create a softer, more relaxed look. The curtains slightly overhang to the floor by one to three inches, depending on personal preference. Many people would describe this as a more romantic, formal, and extravagant aesthetic, whilst still being short enough to appear as though they are tailored. This look is slightly higher maintenance, as the curtains may need to be ‘fluffed’ to achieve their best look after use.
  • Slightly puddle at the floor: This means that there can be either a slight or significant gathering (usually between three to eighteen inches) of the curtains on the floor once hung, as opposed to just grazing or hovering like the other two styles above. The puddle effect is considered a dramatic look, and if executed well, can add a touch of luxury to a room. The most popular materials to achieve this look would be curtains made from velvets or silks.

Isabella Lined Pencil Pleat Curtains - shop now. 

Sill-length curtains?

You can also have your curtains come down to touch the window sill or sit very slightly above it. This will look great if you have rooms with several smaller windows, as it can make the room appear more put together as opposed to a disconnection in the style.

Measure carefully to make sure the curtains are exactly the right length because sill-length curtains that are too short or too long look messy and awkward and significantly detract from the look of the room.

Can curtains cover radiators?

You may need to opt for sill-length curtains if there are radiators below your windows. As a rule of thumb, curtains shouldn’t cover a radiator. This is because the curtains will trap in the heat and not allow the room to heat up effectively.

How high should you hang the curtain poles?

You should always aim to hang your curtain poles at either four to six inches above the window, with the curtain rod extended slightly beyond the frame. This will ensure that once your curtains are in the correct place, the window will be completely covered and unwanted light will not get in once they are drawn.

Of course, there will be exceptions - if there is shelving to one side of the window or some other obstruction, then you may not be able to have perfectly positioned curtain rods. For the most part, though, curtain rods should be hung as high as possible. Rods that are too narrow or too low will detract from the appearance of the window once the curtains are in place.

The closer to the ceiling you are able to hang your curtain rods, the better the curtain will look, making your windows, and your room, appear larger.

How wide should your curtains be?

The actual width of the curtains will depend on how ‘full’ you want them to look when closed.

If you’re wanting to achieve a fuller appearance whilst closed, opt for approximately three times the length of the curtain pole to achieve a heavier look. If this is too much for your room, a safer option is to go for around two times the width of the rail. This will still appear full but will achieve a less heavy and gathered finish.

Final advice

If you are opting for curtains that touch the floor and you are concerned that the floor is not completely even, then a small ‘break’ of 1 to 3 inches will help mask that issue and make the curtains look neater.

In high traffic areas, floor-length curtains aren’t always a good choice – consider buying curtains that just skim the windowsill instead.

Buckingham Patio Door Lined Pencil Pleat Eyelet Curtains - shop now. 

Remember that it is much easier to hem curtains that are too long than it is to extend curtains that are too short. This is why we always recommend rounding up curtain measurements.

When you buy your new curtains, read the label to check the type of fabric, and then carefully press or steam the curtains to remove any wrinkles.

Remember that synthetic fabrics should be ironed using a much cooler setting than, say, pure cotton. It is still a good idea to press them, though, because visible fold marks are unsightly, and will persist if you simply hang the curtains fresh out of the bag.

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If you need more helpful advice or some inspiration, check out our blog for more!

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