Home • Curtain Measuring Guide
How To buy Curtains
curtain buying guide
Measuring Tips

(If you print the measuring directions you can use them as a worksheet).

  • Measure every window.
  • If you are covering more than one window, be sure to measure each window.
  • Windows that may seem the same size, frequently are not.
  • Do not assume measurements for one window will be similar for another one.
  • Use a metal measuring tape. Flexible cloth tapes are not as accurate, as they may stretch and are more difficult to hold straight.
  • Follow directions carefully.
  • Be precise, rounding measurements to the nearest one-eighth (1/8) of an inch.
  • Record measurements clearly. Make sure you can read them later.
  • Label each measurement.
  • Indicate which window the measurements are for, and which is the width, which is the length, etc.
    It's common to mistake one measurement for another. If you write it down, you'll avoid making that mistake.


  • Curtains & Draperies
    curtain width

    Step 1 - Determine Width

    Measure the desired width across the window. Because not all windows are exactly square, measure separately the top, middle, and bottom.
    Panels will be gathered (shirred) on the rod or pole, so you'll need extra fabric for a full (rather than flat) look.
    Multiply the desired width times 2 or 3(depending on desired fullness) and order the appropriate amount of panels to achieve this look.

    Record the widest of the 3 measurements:
    _____ inches to the nearest 1/8".

    Multiply this number x 2 (or 3) = ______. Order this width.



    Step 2 - Determine Length

    Measure from the top where your panels will be hung to the desired length.
    Typically, panels hang from the rod to the windowsill, the apron, or the floo
    curtain length
    Choose your desired length and take the appropriate measurement (listed below).
    TIP: If you have selected pinch-pleated draperies and will be hanging them with clip rings on a decorative rod (by inserting the pin hook into the eye on the ring).
    You may need to adjust the height of your hardware to achieve the length you want.
    TIP: If you have selected tiers (kitchen tiers/café curtains), measure from where you'd like the bottom tier to begin (typically the middle of the window or slightly higher)to the desired length (usually the sill).

    To Windowsill:
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".
    Subtract 1/2" from this number = ______.
    Order this length.
    (subtracted for clearance, so the panel won't brush the windowsill)

    To Apron:
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".
    Order this length.

    To Floor:
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".
    Subtract 1/2" from this number = ______.

    Order this length.
    (subtracted for clearance, so the panel won't brush the floor)

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    Measuring Pinch-Pleated Draperies

  • curtain width
    Step 1 - Determine Width

    NOTE: If you are replacing existing draperies, simply measure across the top of both panels. Order that width.
    Then, measure down the side of one of the panels. Order that length.
    At this point, we are determining the rod width which will, in turn, determine the width of the draperies you order.
    Width will depend on whether you want center-draw draperies or one-way draw draperies.
    Choose one of these options and take the appropriate measurements listed below.

  • For Center-Draw Draperies
    Step A:
    Measure the window width, including frame/casing (if any).

    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".

    Step B:
    Measure from the wall to the front face of the rod (known as return).

    NOTE: If you do not already have a traverse rod in place, assume it will have a return of 4 inches. Then, write "4" in both spaces below.

    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".
    Record your measurement again: _____ inches to the
    nearest 1/8".

    Step C
    If you intend to open and close your draperies for privacy and/or light control, the rod should be approximately 15% wider than the window.
    This will allow the draperies to stackback against the wall and leave space for panels to clear glass when open.
    Add 15% to your window width to allow for stackback.

    Multiply window width (number you recorded in step a) by 0.15.

    Record this number: _____ inches to the nearest 1/8".

    Step D
    Add together the numbers from steps a through c, plus 4" for
    center overlap:


    Step A


    ________Window width
    Step B


    ________Return
    Step C


    ________Stackback
    4" center overlap
    (so panelswill not gap in center)

    ________Total Rod Width

    Step E
    Use the Total Rod Width (from step d) to determine the width of draperies you should order.

    If Total Rod Width Is Order Drapery WidthPleats Per PairHooks Required, Per Pair
    40" to 48"48" to 50"1014
    49" to 72"72" to 75"1418
    73" to 96"96" to 100"2020
    97" to 120"120" to 125"2630
    121" to 144"144" to 150"3034


    Step F
    Now go to STEP 2 to determine length.

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    For One-Way-Draw Draperies

    Step A:

    curtain length
    Measure the window width, including frame/casing (if any).
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".

    Step B:
    Measure from the wall to the front face of the rod (known as return).
    If you do not already have a traverse rod in place, assume it will have A return of 4 inches.
    Then, write "4" in the space below.
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".

    Step C:
    If you intend to open and close your draperies for privacy and/or light control, the rod should be approximately 15% wider than the window.
    This will allow the draperies to stackback against the wall and leave space for panels to clear glass when open.
    Add 15% to your window width to allow for stackback.
    Multiply window width (number you recorded in step a) by 0.15.
    Record this number: _____ inches to the nearest 1/8".

    Step D:
    Add together the numbers from steps a through c, plus 1" for extension.

    Step A
    ________Window width

    Step B


    ________Return
    Step C


    ________Stackback
    1" extension
    (so draperies will extend past the rod)

    ________Total Rod Width

    Step E:
    Use the Total Rod Width (from step d) to determine the width of the draperies you should order.

    If Total Rod Width Is Order Drapery WidthPleats Per PairHooks Required, Per Pair
    40" to 48"48" to 50"1014
    49" to 72"72" to 75"1418
    73" to 96"96" to 100"2020
    97" to 120"120" to 125"2630
    121" to 144"144" to 150"3034



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    Step 2 - Determine Length


    curtain length
    The rod should be positioned at least 4" above window so pleats are not seen from the outside. Measure for length from where the top of the rod will be positioned to the desired length.
    Typically, panels hang from the rod to the windowsill, the apron, or the floor.

    To Windowsill:
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".


    Subtract 1/2" from this number = ______. Order this length.
    (subtracted for clearance, so the panel won't brush the windowsill)

    To Apron:
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8". Order this length.


    To Floor:
    Record your measurement:_____ inches to the nearest 1/8".

    Subtract 1/2" from this number = ______. Order this length.

    (subtracted for clearance, so the panel won't brush the floor)

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    Metric Conversion

    Designed during the French Revolution and officially adopted in France in 1799, most of the world also uses the metric system—and has for many years. Vivre la système métrique!
    Well, don't pop the champagne yet. For in our United States, it's still inches, miles, and pounds, rather than centimeters, kilometers, and kilograms. So, here's some conversion assistance.

    Inches
    Centimeters
    width x length
    width x length
    50" x 45"
    127cm x 114cm
    50" x 54"
    127cm x 137cm
    50" x 63"
    127cm x 160cm
    50" x 84"
    127cm x 213cm
    50" x 95"
    127cm x 241cm
    75" x 45"
    191cm x 114cm
    75" x 54"
    191cm x 137cm
    75" x 63"
    191cm x 160cm
    75" x 84"
    191cm x 213cm
    75" x 95"
    191cm x 241cm
    100" x 45"
    254cm x 114cm
    100" x 54"
    254cm x 137cm;
    100" x 63"
    254cm x 160cm
    100" x 84"
    254cm x 213cm
    100" x 95"
    254cm x 241cm
    125" x 84"
    318cm x 213cm
    125" x 95"
    318cm x 241cm
    150" x 84";
    381cm x 213cm
    150" x 95"
    381cm x 241cm
    80" x 108"
    203cm x 274cm
    51" x 120"
    130cm x 305cm

    (If you print the measuring directions you can use them as a worksheet).

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