How To Measure Your Windows For Curtains And Other Tips

Measuring for curtains may seem like a simple task, but you don't want to just buy a pair, bring them home, hang them and realize they aren't as long as you thought they'd be or not as wide as you had hoped. Curtains do a lot for a room; they don't just add a decorative touch. They also help add depth, height and width to your room. They help provide an optical illusion, which if you use the wrong curtains, can give the wrong illusion. See below for tips on how to measure your windows for curtains and a few other curtain-hanging tips.

Here's What You'll Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • 12" x 12" Stiff cardboard piece


  1. First, measure your curtains from the top to the bottom. You'll want to measure three inches above the top of the window frame down to wherever you want the hem of the curtains to hang down to. For instance, if you want your curtains to end at the exact bottom edge of the window sill (for shorter curtains), or all the way to the floor, measure accordingly. For a more dramatic look, if you want the curtains to pool at the bottom of the floor, add another three inches to the length.
  2. Next, measure the width of your curtains. For this you will measure from one side of the window frame to the other side. When you pick out your curtain width, the type of curtain you choose and the fullness you want your curtains to have will matter. For instance, for curtain sheers, you want to add three times the width. This will help control the light and give your windows a luxurious appearance. For lace curtains, add 12 - 24 inches to the width so you can see the lacy pattern. For pleated curtains, only add about 12 inches to the width, so they don't look too bunched up.
  3. Once you have your measurements, you can begin hanging your curtains. If you don't already have a curtain rod in place, hanging one is simple to do. For this you will use the piece of cardboard. Measure it around the corner of your window sill and cut a 90 degree angle out of the cardboard (so you have a small square cut out on one corner). Next, line up the curtain rod bracket on one side on top of the piece of cardboard as high and wide as you would like. Mark your holes onto the cardboard and then use those holes for a guide on the other side. Simply turn your cardboard over and mark the holes on the other side of the window frame. Your holes should be even at this point. Next, install the brackets and hang your curtain rod. Then add your new curtains. 

Other Tips:

  • To help add height to any room, hang your curtain rod about 6 - 8 inches above your window frame.
  • To add width to a room, hang a longer curtain rod and hang curtains about 4 - 5 inches outside of the window frame.

Measure your curtains right the first time, and think about the type of look you want your home to have when buying your new curtains.