Beautiful Curtains Complete the Home: How to Measure Windows for Curtains

how to measure windows for curtainsThere are many advantages to having curtains in your home. They can help regulate temperature, prevent dust and provide privacy. Before purchasing them, however, you need to know how to measure windows for curtains. There is a lot that goes into it, but we’re going to show you everything you need to know.

Getting Started

Before getting started, it is crucial to know what tools you are going to need. Measuring for curtains is somewhat similar to measuring for replacement windows because precision is necessary rather than just a rough measure. You’ll want to get exact measurements in both cases. Below are the tools you’ll need to measure windows for curtains.

Measuring Tape

Measuring tape is the most crucial tool for measuring windows. A yard or meter stick might not be long enough to measure the entire window. Make sure the measuring tape you are using is made of metal because a cloth tape could provide an inaccurate size.

Pencil and Paper

When measuring, make sure you make light marks on the wall and window with your pencil. This way, you know where to drill your holes, where the curtain rod will be and how low the curtains will hang. Afterwords you can easily erase any extra markings. It is also important to write down all of your measurements so when you do go out to purchase your rod and curtains, you get the proper size.


A level is highly recommended when hanging the rod. The rod is going to be the base on all of your curtain measurements. If there is a rod from previously hung curtains, you should still double check to make sure it is even. If it is uneven, then all of your measurements are going to be inaccurate and your curtains won’t be as beautiful as you had hoped.

Things to Consider While Measuring

We’re almost there! Before you can measure windows for curtains properly, there are a few different things you need to consider.

Curtain Rod

stacking widthBefore measuring for your curtains, the curtain rod should  be installed. It isn’t required but it would make the measurements a little easier and more precise. The curtain rod is what the curtains will be hanging from. According to Maria Killiam, the length of the rod is dependent on how much fabric you want to hang on each side. This is called stacking width. The longer the rod, the more stacking width.

The height of the rod is also dependent on how low you want your curtains to hang. The higher up the rod is, the higher off of the floor the curtains will hang. Make sure you put the rod a minimum of a few inches above the window frame. This way, light won’t sneak in above the curtains.

Curtain Rings

Curtain rings are something else you need to consider. The size of the curtain rings can have a major effect on how the curtains hang. The bigger rings cause more hang. A tip from SFGate’s Home Guide: before installing the curtain rod, slide one ring onto it. This will give you an idea on how the size of the rings will effect the curtains. You can adjust the height of the rod accordingly before installation.

Measuring Windows for New Curtains

The moment we’ve all been waiting for: we’re going to show you how to measure windows for curtains!


measuring a windowAccording to CurtainWorks, measurements are done width by length, so it is recommended you start by measuring the width. Use your measuring tape to measure the rod from left tip to right tip. If you don’t have a rod or haven’t installed one yet, measure the outside of the window frame from the left side to right. Measure both the top and bottom of the window the same way and take the largest measurement in case there is a width difference. If the rod isn’t installed, you should add four inches to each side (eight inches total) as compensation.  Take the width plus eight inches and multiply it by one and half  to two. This is to incorporate stacking width. It’ll give you enough curtain for proper fullness.


green curtainsThe length of your curtains is also preference; it depends on how much you want your curtains to hang. They could go to the sill or all the way down to the floor. Once that is determined, use your measuring tape to measure from the curtain ring down to where you want the curtains to stop. If you don’t have or haven’t installed your curtain rod yet, measure from the base of the window to where you want the curtains to hang. Then add two inches to compensate for the curtain rod. Moving the rod up and down or changing the size of the curtain rings can determine how low the curtains will hang.

It’s Easy to Learn How to Measure Windows for Curtains

Now you know how to measure your windows for curtains. Make sure you follow the steps and double check all measurements so your curtains will look their best. Go out there and make your windows look beautiful with your new curtains!

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