How to Measure the Width for Drapes

Knowing the right window measurements for drapes and curtains is an important part of decorating homes and event spaces. Designers use curtains, also called drapes, to help set the tone for an entire space.

To get the best out of your drapes, you need to know how to measure drapes’ width to make sure they fit your windows and spaces elegantly. Getting the right curtain width lets you get the right look and functionality for your space.

In this blog, we’ll learn about the essential steps to accurately measure and calculate the right curtain width for your windows. We’ll also get into guidelines for choosing curtain rods and curtain breaks. Finally, we’ll discuss common missteps to avoid when measuring for drapes.

With this comprehensive guide, you’re sure to choose the best home curtains and event drapes for any setting. Get that polished look with your drapes to your space.  

Blackout Velvet Window Curtain Panels (2 pcs) 52"w x 108"h - Burgundy

Calculating and Measuring Drapes Width

To know the standard curtain width for your windows, measure the width of your windows from end to end, including its frame. Take this measurement and multiply it by 1.5 to 2, also known as the fullness ratio. This ratio will determine the width that will allow your curtains to have a full look even when it’s closed.

For a fuller look, you can increase your fullness ratio. Multiply the width of your window by 2 to 2.5. This will give you a more lush and luxurious look. 

For example, you have average standard window sizes ranging from 24 - 48 inches. If you have 48-inch wide windows, you’ll need 72-inch wide curtains (48 inches x 1.5) for a standard look. For a fuller look, you’ll want 120-inch wide drapes (48 inches x 2).

When measuring your window frame, make sure to start at the outer edge of each frame. This will help you get the full measurement. Measure in both centimeters and inches is best for easy reference. Ensure that you set your tape straight when measuring and avoid slanting it. 

Instead of manually calculating your drapery width, you can also use a drapery width calculator. A lot of curtain sizing calculators are available online. This will help you determine the right width depending on your window size, curtain material, and other factors.

How to Measure Curtain Rods

Once you know how to measure for drapes’ width, you’ll also need to know how to choose the right length for curtain rods and curtain breaks.

Getting the right length of curtain rod is important to make sure your curtains hang well and have enough room for a full look. Curtain rods also add to the overall aesthetic of your windows.

Measure the width of your window and add a few inches as a margin. As a general rule, make sure to use curtain rods that are wider than your windows. This will help you make your space seem larger and will allow full coverage of your windows.

For smaller spaces, rods about 3-4 inches wider than your windows on each side are a good enough length. Take your window frame measurement and add 6-8 inches to get your curtain rod width. 

If you have a large space on both sides, you can choose curtain rods that are anywhere between 8-12 inches wider than your windows. This way your rods can extend around 4-6 inches on both sides. This will allow for a lush window treatment.

The same rule of thumb applies to choosing event drapes and pipe and drape sets for party venues. Choose wide-width drapes at parties for fuller looks that give off a sense of opulence and luxury. Secure your curtains and party with pipe and drape accessories like our crossbar drape support.

Spandex 4-way Stretch Drape Curtain - Baby Blue
Crossbar support (drape support) rod 8ft to 14ft

Measuring Drape Length

Once you’ve determined the right curtain width, you’ll also want to know the perfect length for your drapes. This will depend on the height of your windows. Most curtains come in standard curtain lengths of 63, 84, 108, and 120 inches.

To get a better fit, measure the length of your window from top to bottom. For full-length windows, you can measure from the top of your window frame to the floor. Floor-length drapes hang approximately ⅜ inches above the floor. This allows you to get an elegant yet crisp look.

For a more luxurious feel, you can also opt to have your curtains “puddle” on the floor. To get this look, add an extra 6-12 inches to the length you measured. 

Choosing Curtain Breaks

You can choose from different options of curtain breaks, or until where your curtain falls relative to your window. Different curtain breaks have different effects on your look.

For a more casual look, you can opt for an above-sill break where your curtains hang just above your window sill. For a casual yet more polished feel, you can also opt for a below-sill break. Here your drapes hang about 15 centimeters below the sill.

A floor-length break brings your drapes just a fraction of an inch above the floor. A puddle break, meanwhile, allows curtains to pool on the floor for a more luxurious look.

Make sure to factor in the length between the top of your window frame to your rod mount. If you have installed these, you can directly measure from your rod mount to your desired length.

What to Avoid When Measuring Drape Width

beautiful curtains on windows

Now we know how measuring drapes' width properly can help us get the perfect look. Here are some common missteps to avoid when measuring drapes. 

  • Don’t forget to account for your window frame and window molding. Include it when measuring your window width to make sure you get full coverage.
  • Make sure to give proper margins and extend your rod length to make it wider than your windows. Put in at least 3-6 inches on each side to make sure you can comfortably draw back your curtains. 
  • Consider what type of curtain heading you're using. This affects how your curtains drape across the width of your windows and may also affect curtain length. 
  • Consider the type of fabric your curtains come in. Thicker fabric may need fewer folds while thinner fabric may need more length when folded to cover the same width. Don’t forget to factor in fabric material when determining width. 
  • Do consider other elements of decor for your curtains. If they are pleated or ruffled, this also affects how wide they will seem against your curtains. Don’t forget to factor in these elements when deciding on curtain width.

FAQ on Measuring Curtain Width

1. What is the general rule for curtain/drape width?

As a general rule in measuring drapes’ width, take your window width and multiply it by 1.5 to 2. For a fuller look, multiply the window width by 2 to 2.5. 

2. What is a typical drape width?

Average standard window sizes range from 24 - 48 inches. If you have 48-inch wide windows, the typical drape width would be 72-inch wide curtains (48 inches x 1.5). For a fuller look, you’ll want 120-inch-wide width drapes.

3. How far should curtains extend past the window?

On average, curtain rods and drapes should ideally extend about 3-4 inches wider than your windows on each side. As for window length, how far your curtains extend depends on the curtain break you choose. 

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