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How to Measure for Curtains in Simple Steps

Curtains are a big investment, and so it’s important to make sure you get your measurements right.

To avoid mistakes, I would advise you install the curtain pole or track before measuring for the curtains.tape-measure

When measuring don’t assume that any windows are exactly the same size, even if they look like they are. Measure each one separately and always use an extendable metal tape measure for accurate measurements. Take all measurements at least twice.

For the best look and depending on space, your curtain track or pole should be positioned approximately 15cm (6”) higher than the window, and be wider than your window by 15-20cm (6-8”) either side.

Measuring for curtain width

If you’re using a curtain track, measure its full width.

curtain track measurements

If you’re using a corded curtain track, measure its full width including the overlap. This allows your curtains to overlap in the middle when closed.

corded track

For curtain poles measure the width of the pole only, do not include the finials (decorative pieces on the end).

curtain pole width

Use your curtain pole or track width to work out the width of your curtains. To achieve a soft gathered look when your curtains are closed, use the header type to make the following calculation:

  • Pencil pleat = pole or track width x 2
  • Eyelet = pole or track width x 1.5 or 2
  • Pinch pleat = pole or track width x 2.5

Measuring for curtain drop

If using a curtain track, measure from the top of the track to the required length.

curtain track

If using a curtain pole for pinch or pencil pleat curtains, measure from the small metal ring at the bottom of each curtain ring. This will prevent the pole or rings from being obscured by the curtain.

curtain pole drop

If using a curtain pole for tab top or eyelet curtains, measure from the very top of the curtain pole and 3cm

eyelet curtains measurement


Curtains lengths tend to be above the sill, below the sill or to the floor. The length that you choose depends upon the look you want to create plus other factors such as the positioning of radiators.

For curtains to the sill, measure to 1cm above the sill. This will ensure the curtain does not drag.

For curtains below the the sill measure 4″ to 8″ (10cm to 20cm) below the sill. However if you are choosing this length to avoid a radiator please adjust this measurement to allow the curtains to stop a couple of centimetres above the radiator.

For curtains to the floor, measure to 1cm above the floor. This will ensure the curtain doesn’t drag.


Always measure in at least 3 positions across the track or pole as floors and sills are rarely level. Use the shortest of these 3 measurements to avoid the curtains dragging across the floor or sill, unless you want them to “puddle” on the floor. For curtains that puddle, add 6 inches to the measured length.

Need any further help or advice? Send me an email and I will be more than happy to help.

Posted in: Curtains, How to Measure, Interior design

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