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How To Measure Curtains and Drapes

Everything you need to correctly measure for custom curtains and drapes

Getting Started

Tips before you get started:

  • Use a steel tape measure for the most accurate measurements
  • If you’re considering an Inside Mount, make sure your window has enough depth to accommodate it
  • Always measure width (left to right) first and height (top to bottom) second
  • Record all measurements to the closest 1/8”, making sure to clearly identify which is your height and which is your width—it is very common to get them mixed up

Tools you will need:

  • Steel Measure Tape
  • Step Ladder
  • Pencil/Paper

Please note that the directions below provide a general overview of how to measure for drapes. You can add width and height to your draperies as desired.

Step 1: Determine where you'll mount the drapery rod

The length and overall look of your drapery will be affected by where you choose to mount the drapery rod.

Outside mount is always recommended for custom draperies. This means your drapes will hang above and around the windows. To make your window appear larger when the drapes are closed, and to show more of the window when the drapes are open, we recommend:

  • Placing the rod 6" above the window (if space allows)
  • Extending the rod 6" on each side of the window (for a total of 12")

Inside mount: While it is possible to inside mount custom draperies, outside mount is far more common and is always recommended. If you're considering an inside mount for draperies, please call 800-575-8016 to speak with one of our Design Consultants.

Step 2: Determine the width you want your draperies to cover

When customizing your draperies, specify the exact width you want your panel(s) to cover. If you desire full window coverage when the drapes are closed, view instructions for Full Coverage Draperies below. If you're looking for drapes that hang at the sides and don't fully cover the window, view instructions for Side Panels.

What is fullness? Fullness refers to extra fabric that's built into a drapery to give it a "full" look. Your custom draperies will be made with 200% fullness, meaning if you order a width of 26", the drapes will be made with 52" of fabric, but the finished product will still be 26" wide. This is so the draperies have a full, textured look even when closed. You may want to order a narrower width if you're concerned about having too much fabric.

Full Coverage Draperies: If you want to fully cover the window when the drapes are closed, you'll need to find the window width, then split the measurement between the number of drapery panels you want.

  • Measure the width of the window opening from outside edge to outside edge of the window casing
  • Add 6" to each side (12" total)
  • Take the total and divide it by the number of panels you want (The most common panel configuration is a center split, which consists of two panels that open to the sides)
  • Order each panel in at least the width you calculated in the previous step (You can add more width as desired)

Example: To cover a 36" window with two panels, you would add 12" to 36" (your measured width) and divide by 2 (number of panels) to get 24". The two panels each need to be 24" or wider.

Side Panels: Side panels are commonly used for decoration only. They're not designed to close all the way, instead hanging at the sides of the window, so they're not good for privacy or insulation. Here's how to measure and order:

  • Determine how many panels you need (If you want panels to hang on both sides of the window, as is most common, you'll need a quantity of 2)
  • Specify the exact width you want each panel to be (24" minimum) undefined
  • Choose the Single Panel configuration when customizing your product
  • Specify a quantity of 2 if you want your panels to hang on both sides of the windows

Step 3: Determine how long you want your draperies to be

Once you know where you'll mount your drapery rod, you can determine your drapery height.

  • Use a pencil to mark where you'll install the brackets for your drapery rod
  • Measure down to where you want the drapery to hang (usually the floor or bottom of the window)
  • You'll use this measurement as your drapery height (Do not hang any hardware until the drapery arrives)

Step 4: Select your drapery style

The following styles are recommended for draperies:

Floor Length

  • Choose a length that will fall about ⅜" above the floor
  • This style is recommended for drapes that will be opened and closed frequently

Sweep, Brushing or Cuff Length

  • Measure from the marked spot (where you plan to mount your drapery rod brackets) down to the floor to get your rod-to-floor height
  • Choose a length 1"-3" longer than your rod-to-floor height
  • This style is ideal for providing extra support in precise mounting situations, such as a ceiling mount

Pooling or Puddling

  • Measure from the marked spot (where you plan to mount your drapery rod brackets) down to the floor to get your rod-to-floor height
  • Choose a length 6"-12" longer than your rod-to-floor height
  • This style is recommended for stationary panels only
  • A small "puddle" or "break" can enhance the finished look of your drapes and is a great way to disguise uneven floors


  • Choose a length from 10"-30"
  • This style is often used to add the appearance of height to a window

Step 5: Choose your drapery rod

When determining the length of your drapery rod, note that it does not include the finials. Also keep in mind:

  • The finials will add about 6" to each side (You can find these exact measurements on your product's page)
  • Draperies will not move over brackets
  • Pleated draperies consisting of only one panel will need to be attached to the drapery rod with C-rings instead of fully closed rings. This is because there will be extra center support brackets. A full panel is normally used for openings such as a sliding door.
  • With pleated draperies, pin locations can be different. Most pins can be adjusted up or down to account for your height.
  • Pleated drapes can work with a traverse rod or a regular rod with rings.
  • Pleated, grommet and rod pocket drapes will have a 1" fabric header.
  • Grommet style panels are normally used as decorative panels.