How to Measure Curtains for Windows

People will quickly tell you to get the right-sized curtains if you don’t want to take another troublesome trip to the store. Well, they aren’t exactly wrong there. Getting the right size for your curtains is crucial, especially if you don’t want unnecessary expenses. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to measure curtains for windows. 


how to measure curtains for windows

As we all know, windows can come in many different sizes with varying dimensions. It is no wonder that people might find it confusing to get the correct panel width to suit their window. Luckily, we’ll get right into that for today. 


For starters, your curtain fabric’s width should at least be twice or thrice as wide as your actual window. You can’t cover a 60-inch window panel with 60 inches of curtain fabric. It looks flat and dull and will not give you a look that you were going for. So here is the proper way on how to measure curtains for windows.

Step 1: Get your measuring tools

Obviously, you have to be familiar with your measuring tools in order for this to work. In most curtain shops, the retailers use inches to describe the curtain’s dimensions. So take out your tape measure and look for the inch measurement. We will start by measuring our windows. 


Step 2: Determine the width

Start off with the width and place the tip of your measuring tool with 0” at the window’s left edge. Measure the width from left to right and multiply the number by a fullness factor of two or three. If you want pinch pleat drapes, you can increase the fullness factor by four. 


Sheer curtains should be three times the window width to achieve decent window fullness. The common multipliers for window fullness are 2, 2.5, and 3. Multiply the window’s width by two for standard fullness, 2.5 for deluxe fullness, and 3 for the ultimate fullness.


Step 3: Determine the rod placements

When getting the length of our curtains, we don’t simply measure the length of the window. First, determine where you want your rod to be placed. For standard rod bracket placements, it should be four to six inches above the window frame. 


If you want to achieve taller-looking windows and give the illusion of a high ceiling, then you can move the rod brackets higher than their standard placement. However, be careful of going a little too high or low when it comes to placing your rods. 


Step 4: Measure the length

Take the 0” end of your measuring tape and measure the wall from the bracket’s placement. For short curtains, go a few inches beyond the window sill, or end just above the window sill itself. 


For more elegant and sophisticated-looking curtains, try to go for floor-length drapery. Take your measuring tape and go all the way to the floor. You can tinker with the edge of the curtain and decide if you want the fabric to touch or end an inch or two above the floor. 


Puddling is also an option that requires an additional amount of fabric to puddle on the floor. In that case, simply add five inches from the rod to floor height. Add more inches to the material, depending on how much cloth you want to puddle. 


Step 5: Curtain panels

Obviously, we only made measurements for a single fabric covering the entire window. And we all know that curtains are not a mere straight piece of cloth. This brings us to our fifth and final step, which is measuring curtain panels. 


Once you have established your curtain’s width, determine how many panels you are going to need. Since drapery panels come in standard sizes, divide the width of a single panel by your curtain’s total width. 

Standard sizes

For curtain panels, it can vary from 50” to 58”. Sheer curtains can reach their double at 108” wide. However, the most common panel width is 54”, so you can start from that number and work your way towards the exact size you need.

Sewing Tips

If you opt to buy fabric for DIY curtain projects, you need to add seam allowances of at least an inch or two on all sides. That means adding four inches to the fabric’s total width. The curtain’s height needs to be a bit longer since you need extra length to accommodate the facing. 


Of course, every curtain panel needs a way for you to hang them. Whether you opt for tab top curtains, rod-pocket curtains, or grommet-top draperies, you need to consider the length of the drapery’s crown. Add the size to your panel’s total height. 

Design Tips

In some unfortunate cases, the store might not always have the exact dimensions to fit your window. Luckily, there are clever ways to manipulate the fabric so that it suits your needs. You can lengthen the curtains by hanging them with clip rings or adjusting the bottom hem.


One of the easiest ways to add length to your curtains is buying using clip rings. These can come in different sizes and add at least two to three inches to your curtain’s overall length. The best part about clip rings is that you don’t have to pinch the top part of the curtain. You can pinch and clip the back part of your curtain’s crown and create a hidden tab effect. 


Overall, learning how to measure curtains for windows is not too difficult to understand. Simply measure your windows, multiply the width by the fullness factor, determine the length, and you are good to go.