Before you even step foot in a store, measure, measure, measure!
What you will need
Metal tape measure. Don’t use cloth measuring tape, trust me
Pencil and paper
Level. Especially if you’re in an older home
What are you measuring: Width by Length
When looking for curtains, the sizes are always listed W x L
To measure the width
Measure from 5 inches to the left of the window frame to 5 inches past the window frame to the right. If you have the space and want the option of pulling back your curtains to fully expose your windows, give yourself 6-8 inches on both sides, rather than the suggested 5 inches.
To measure the length
Measure from 5 inches above your window to the floor. Adding inches all around the window frame will create an illusion of a taller and wider room for a fabulous result!
Tip for smaller spaces
If you don’t have much room above or on the sides of your window frame, measure and install your curtain rod as high and as wide as possible and use that to guide your measurements.
What to Buy
Rod with mounting brackets and hardware
Clip rings (optional; see below)
Standard curtain size lengths range from 63 inches to 120 inches. If your measurement falls a few inches short of the standard size, always purchase the longer size and either let it drape at the bottom or hem it at your local cleaners. This is cheaper than a professional installation, but whatever you do, don’t settle for short curtains that don’t at least graze the floor.
Now you have the length covered, but how many curtain panels should you buy? Take a look at your width and purchase 2-3 times that number for a full and professional look. If you don’t multiply, the curtains will look stretched and unpolished. For example, if you measure the width at 60 inches, you will need at least 120-180 inches of material to hang. Don’t underestimate the beauty of a well draped curtain to make your room elegant.
Your curtain rod should be at least as wide as your final measured width. If the rod will be fully extended to meet this width, buy the next size up to make sure you don’t end up with a bent rod in the middle, especially if you are hanging heavier fabric. If you will be hanging heavier fabric, be sure to look for a heavier rod.
To summarize, first measure and get all your numbers down on paper. This is not the time to play a guessing game. Armed with these numbers, start shopping for curtain panels and rod that meet your style needs.
Below are a few of my favorite basic panels and hardware that I use frequently
Next month, we’ll talk about how to install your rod and tips for hanging and training your curtains like a pro. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to send some love, leave a comment below!
Please note: The post pertains to simple panel drapes only. If you’re interested in learning about alternative window treatments such as blinds, shades and shutters or a combo of both, please leave a comment below and we’ll cover it in a future blog post!