Standard curtain lengths: How to choose the right curtain sizes (for different rooms)

Standard curtain lengths: How to choose the right curtain sizes (for different rooms)

We can talk endlessly about curtains and the peculiarities of their choice – in any case, we strive for this. We have already discussed the materials of draperies, colors, trendy solutions, and even the nuances of their selection for a particular interior style. And now, it seems to us that it’s time to talk about another critical aspect – such as the curtain panel’s length.

When choosing a window treatment option in your house, you should not neglect the exact mathematical calculations since it is on them that the harmonious appearance of windows, in particular, and the balance of the interior as a whole, depend. Mistakes in the curtain sizes can make the room look ridiculous, pretentious, or overly crowded. However, we will definitely help you avoid such annoying mistakes – for this, we will talk in more detail about the length of the panels and how to correctly determine the dimensions that suit you.

What are the standard curtain panel sizes: considering typical options

Suppose you plan to independently, quickly, and inexpensively arrange windows in the kitchen, bathroom, or living room. In that case, you should consider such an option as ready-made curtains, which you can often find in fabric stores and home decor supermarkets. At the same time, it is essential to know that different size standards are characteristic for different types of draperies – let’s find out which ones.

Classic curtains

By this definition, we mean the usual long draperies that adorn most windows in houses and apartments. As a rule, manufacturers focus on the most common window sizes and ceiling heights, and therefore the curtains can be of the following length:

  • 63 inches (160 cm);
  • 84 inches (215 cm);
  • 95 inches (240 cm);
  • 108 inches (275 cm);
  • 120 inches (300-305 cm).

Such models are perfect for any standard-sized windows, and their parameters are tied primarily to the height of the ceilings. If the windows are more or less typical, and the ceiling height is not ordinary, then the curtains will have to be sewn to order – however, this idea is not bad at all.

Tier curtains

As a rule, this is the name for short curtains that cover the lower half of the windows. They are often used for windows in the kitchen, less often in children’s rooms or in rooms in small country houses. The typical length of such panels, in this case, is 24 and 36 inches (60 or 90 cm), but if you need a more non-standard solution, it is better to start sewing curtains yourself or order them from an experienced master.

Window valances

Such window decoration can hardly be called curtains – instead, it is a variant of small curtains covering the upper part of windows and, as a rule, kitchen or bay windows. They usually range in length from 10 to 12 inches (25-30 cm), but at the same time, they may well be shorter. Even though you can buy ready-made window valances in stores, many still prefer to sew them on their own or to order, choosing the length and design following the individual characteristics of the window and the interior design in general.

How to correctly measure the length of the curtains

If you need curtains, do not rush headlong to the store or workshop – it is much more reasonable first to decide what you want and how the window covering should look in the end. Designers and decorators recommend acting in several stages:

  • Approve the desired length of the curtains. Modern interiors offer different options for laying and hanging draperies, which we will talk about a little later. However, you should decide on a decorative solution quite clearly – you must be completely confident in your decision not to correct everything later with even more significant material costs.
  • Decide on the type and holders of the curtain rod. This point is especially important since the specific length of the draperies depends on it. The parameters that you require are the height at which you will mount the curtain rod, as well as its type. Please note that for a curtain rod for grommet curtains, you have to add about 2 inches (5 cm); for a round curtain rod with rings, you will have to subtract about 3 cm from the length of the panel.
  • Measure the width of the window. At first glance, it may seem that this parameter is not needed at all, but it is the optimal ratio of length and width that ensures a harmonious design. So, the width of one panel should be at least 12 inches (30 cm) for a standard size window. More is perfectly acceptable, but make sure that the curtain will drape nicely and without unnecessary bulkiness.

As you can see, there are only three measurement parameters, so it will not take much time and effort. At the same time, try to prepare for the purchase of curtains as carefully as possible – only in this case, you can be absolutely sure that the window design will succeed in every sense.

Options for the length of curtains relative to the floor: current curtain drop solutions

As we said earlier, the first thing you must understand in this case is how low the curtain fabrics should hang, whether they will touch the floor or end at a sufficient distance from it. Today, designers offer to pay attention to several options.


This not too poetic name means the length of the curtains, in which their lower edge literally lies on the floor, forming a beautiful semicircle. This size is often typical for draperies made of dense expensive fabrics – jacquard or velvet – and is most often used for traditional, classic interiors. If you are fascinated by the beauty of such a solution and are sure that you will not be too lazy to lay and straighten the folds on the floor regularly, then you may well choose extra-length curtain fabrics.

To make the “puddle” look aesthetically pleasing, when measuring the future curtain fabric from the curtain rod, be sure to add to the resulting value (taking into account the material on the hemmed edges, of course) at least 4, but not more than 8 inches (10-20 cm). With a shorter curtain length, the floor allowance will look scant; with a longer curtain, it will be too sloppy and messy.

Exactly to the floor

Curtains that reach precisely to the floor, touching it only slightly – a universal solution and a true perfectionist’s dream. Suppose you want to achieve perfection by all means. In that case, you will need to take measurements as carefully as possible, repeatedly checking and rechecking the resulting length, considering all the details.

Curtains over the floor (Floating curtains)

If you do not like the bottom edge of the curtain lying on the floor, and you do not really want to spend time reaching the ideal length for the floor version, you are left with another widespread option – draperies above the floor level. How far the lower edge of the curtains will be from the floor, of course, is up to you – however, not every length can be harmonious.

So, designers categorically do not recommend raising the curtains from the floor if a heating radiator is mounted on the wall under the window or there are wall defects. In addition, this option does not look perfect in a classic interior. That is why it makes sense to choose such a length when the curtains go behind the furniture, and you do not want problems with cleaning. Curtains just below the window can be a good compromise, but only if the wall under the window sill is perfectly finished.

Right on the windowsill

Such panel sizes are well suited for the kitchen and rooms in French country and vintage houses. In this case, it will be much easier for you to decide on the length: take measurements according to the same principle as for curtains precisely to the floor, but stop at the windowsill. Please also note that the bottom edge of the curtain should never lie on the window sill, and the minimum distance from it to the window sill can be no more than 25/64 in (1 cm).

And just in case, a few words about the curtain rod: it should not be located too low above the window; otherwise, there will be a solid visual imbalance when decorating it with draperies. The optimal height for a rod is 3-5 inches (7-12 cm) above the top edge of the window frame.

The curtain length determined by the premises

When determining the most suitable length of curtains, they are guided not only by the height of windows and ceilings but also by the room’s purpose as a whole. Indeed, not all standard length options correspond to the functionality of a particular room, and therefore, over time, specific rules for selecting window draperies were developed for them. Let’s talk about them in more detail.


Long, heavy and cozy curtains combined with light transparent sheer curtains are a classic option and a win-win for a bedroom. This length of the panels creates a feeling of coziness and security, gives the bedroom a harmonious and finished look, and, if necessary, prevents the penetration of daylight into the room. However, you can use standard sizes, but not always.

There are often cases when, due to the size of the bedroom, the bed is pushed close enough to the window, in which case floor curtains are not the best solution. They will not only be constantly under the bed and collect dust there, but also in a dream or when getting out of bed, you risk accidentally pulling on them, breaking them off, or, even worse, collapsing the curtain rod. In this case, you can try to choose curtains just below the window sill or limit yourself to roll structures – modern systems not only perfectly preserve the atmosphere and privacy but also delight with a variety of design solutions.

If the interior and the size of the bedroom allow you to choose long curtains, it is better to select panels that touch precisely on the floor or do not reach it by  25/64 – 25/32 inches(1-2 cm). Designers do not recommend drapers that fall in folds to the floor since they accumulate dust and dirt, which leads to the need to take them off and wash them more often – and you hardly want to breathe all this in the process of rest.

Living room

This room is excellent for trying out different curtain lengths. At the same time, designers still advise focusing on the room style. So, for example, draperies that fold down a few centimeters on the floor look more appropriate in the classical and neoclassical styles. Curtain panels precisely to the floor or not reaching it by an inch (a couple of centimeters) are characteristic of modern style. Well, hi-tech and loft are completely flawless when using pleated blinds and roller blinds.

Kitchen and dining room

In this case, the length of the curtains directly depends both on the area of the room and on where the window is located. So, no matter how expensive and beautiful your kitchen is, you should not decorate the window in the working area with long curtains. Firstly, it is worth abandoning them for reasons of fire safety, and secondly, you yourself will feel how tedious it is to maintain their pristine cleanliness. Panels made of suitable materials up to the window sill or slightly lower, roller blinds, and roman blinds will become a much more practical solution.

When it comes to the dining area, things take a completely different turn. In this case, you can afford elegant and cozy long curtains – also in combination with tulle.

Kid’s room

Choosing curtains for a kid’s room, among other things, you will also have to focus on such a factor as the child’s age. So, school children and adolescents are already smart enough to calmly and without any excesses coexist with long draperies that make the room much more comfortable. However, if you are decorating a baby’s room, select curtains of such length that he cannot help but get tangled in them, nor reach out and break.

Standard curtain sizes: Conclusions

As you can see, despite the existing standard sizes of curtains, in most cases, their length is almost the same but differs from the standard. That is why, in case of any doubt, it is still better to turn to specialists in the studio, where they will make draperies for you, ideally suited to the interior of your room.

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