Curtains that reach the floor, also known as full length curtains, can greatly enhance the look of a room when chosen and installed properly. Here we’ll explore whether full length curtains look better than alternative curtain lengths and styles.
Why Consider Full Length Curtains
Full length curtains can make a room feel taller and more spacious. The long vertical lines draw the eyes upwards, creating an illusion of height. They can also make windows appear larger.
In addition, full length curtains add a sense of elegance and luxury to a space. The abundant fabric creates soft folds that cascade elegantly down. This lends a refined, polished aesthetic.
Full length styles also provide more privacy, light blocking, and insulation. With more fabric coverage, they prevent views and drafts much better than shorter alternatives.
Drawbacks of Full Length Curtains
However, full length curtains also come with a few drawbacks to consider:
- Cost more upfront since they require 2-3 times more fabric
- Can collect more dust and dirt along the bottom
- Pose a safety hazard for pets and small children who might get tangled
- Require precise measurement and hemming for an appropriate “puddle”
- Are prone to damage if not properly sized and cleaned
Measure Carefully for Proper Length
When installing full length curtains, precision is key. You generally want the curtains to lightly graze the floor, with 2-3 inches of excess fabric pooling subtly. This is known as a “curtain puddle”.
Make sure to measure the exact height of your wall, accounting for any floor moldings or unevenness. Include the entire height you want the curtains to cascade down. It’s better to cut long curtains than to end up with curtains that are frustratingly short.
Choose Appropriate Fabrics and Lining
The fabric matters when selecting full length curtains. You’ll want something with body and weight that drapes beautifully. Consider materials like velvet, taffeta, brocade, faux silk or linen blends. Stay away from anything too lightweight and flimsy.
Lining is also recommended for better light blocking. Blackout lining can prevent outdoor light from filtering in so the room stays darker. Thermal linings also help reduce heat transfer through windows.
Find the Right Hardware for Hanging
You need hardware that can support the full weight of long, heavy curtains. Standard curtain rods often bend or come loose over time. Consider upgrading to decorative finials, brackets, and tension rods designed for durability.
For wider windows, a ceiling-to-floor pole system creates a clean, seamless look. Make sure to anchor any ceiling mounts securely into studs.
Weigh Down the Bottom Hem
To keep the bottom puddle lying neatly, use hem weights or drapery tape along the inner hem. Weights help weigh down the hem for a tidy, elegant profile. Just avoid anything too heavy that could rip lightweight fabrics.
Maintain Properly to Prevent Damage
Since full length curtains sweep the floor, they’ll need a bit more care to prevent premature wear:
- Wash gently and only when truly dirty
- Vacuum with a soft brush attachment regularly
- Rotate panels seasonally if one side gets more light exposure
- Immediately spot clean any dust, spills or stains
- Consider professional dry cleaning for delicate fabrics
With some extra attention, full length curtains can maintain their beauty for years before needing replacement.
Determine the Best Length for Your Space
Ultimately, whether full length curtains look better depends on your goals, room dimensions and personal taste. Here are some best practices:
In small rooms, full length curtains could overwhelm. Try sill/apron length for efficiency. For medium rooms with 8’ ceilings or taller, full length styles elevate aesthetics. They maximize the perception of height.
For very spacious rooms with high ceilings, full length curtains beautifully accentuate grandeur. Go super long, puddling dramatically onto the floor.
In living rooms, full length curtains frame entertainment centers. They also muffle street noise. For bedrooms, choose blackout lined lengths for darkness and privacy.
Make sure ceilings are high enough so curtains don’t brush the tops of door frames or shorter occupants. Watch for ceiling fans, plants or furniture too – you don’t want resting curtains to seem crammed.
With lofty spaces and tailored details, full length curtains unlock the most beautiful potential. But always ensure proportions suit the room dimensions first.
- Full length curtains provide elegance along with more privacy, light blocking and insulation
- Take precise measurements from ceiling to floor to achieve the right “puddle” length
- Choose sufficiently weighted fabrics and lining for best draping results
- Invest in high quality hardware that can support heavy panels
- Maintain with gentle cleaning and seasonal rotation to prevent premature wear
- Make sure ceilings are tall enough to accommodate long lengths
- Allow for sufficient floor clearance to prevent safety issues or damage
Full length curtains certainly make a glamorous style statement when thoughtfully chosen and tailored for the space. With lofty ceilings and a tolerance for delicacy, they forge a world of refined beauty. But in cramped quarters, their grandeur gets lost.
Assess your goals, dimensions and lifestyle to determine if full length curtains are indeed the best fit. When done right, nothing transforms a bare window more strikingly. But when proportions compete, simplicity often prevails. Find the optimal balance of height and efficiency that makes your room shine.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the standard length for curtains?
The standard curtain length is 36-84 inches, depending on the style. Full length curtains specifically extend from close to the ceiling all the way down to the floor.
- How much fabric do you need for full length curtains?
For full length curtains, calculate the exact floor to ceiling height plus 4-6 inches for optimal puddling. Buy fabric equaling 2-3 times the finished length to accommodate adequate panel width and hem allowances.
- Should my curtains puddle on the floor?
It’s recommended to have 2-3 inches of excess fabric puddling on the floor for full length curtains. This creates a neat, elegant silhouette. Just make sure there is no safety hazard or chance of damage from walking.
- Do long curtains make ceilings look higher?
Yes, long full length curtains draw the eyes upwards, creating an illusion of loftiness. They maximize the feeling of vertical space in a room with standard height ceilings.
- What length curtains should I get?
Choose full length curtains only if you have sufficiently high ceilings, at least 8 feet. Make sure they clear any furniture or plants to avoid resting on surfaces. For small rooms, sill length is better. In medium rooms, standard lengths between 48-84 inches typically work well.
- How do you measure for floor length curtains?
To measure for floor length curtains, measure from the top of the rod’s planned installation height down to the floor. Add 4-6 inches for the ideal “puddle” then double or triple that for the purchased panel length based on your desired fullness.
- Should curtains touch the floor?
Curtains should lightly graze the floor, with 2-3 inches of excess fabric pooling down. This curtain “puddle” creates an elegant, upscale look. Just avoid lengths so long they accumulate dirt or pose tripping hazards.
- Where should curtains fall on the window?
For full length curtains, the rod should be installed close to the ceiling. Curtains should graze the floor evenly across the window for balance. Have at least 1/4 inch clearance from any baseboard or window sill.
- Can you put curtains on ceiling?
Yes, ceiling mounted curtain track systems allow curtains to connect directly to the ceiling for a seamless, floor-to-ceiling look. Make sure to securely anchor heavy duty tracks directly into ceiling studs for safety.
- What height should curtain rod be?
The standard height to install a full length curtain rod is between 1 to 6 inches below the ceiling. Adjust higher or lower based on the room’s proportions and style of window treatments. Measure exact curtain length first before positioning rod height.
- Can curtains make a room look bigger?
Yes, curtains can make a room look bigger in a few ways. Full floor length curtains draw eyes up which perceives more vertical space. Extending rods wider than windows also expands horizontal width. And lightweight, solid colored fabrics recede visually to showcase more room space.
- What color curtains make ceiling look higher?
Light colors visually recede, making rooms feel airier and ceilings seem higher. White or soft neutral full length curtains brighten up space the most. Avoid darker colors which can have a “dropping” effect.
- Should living room curtains touch the floor?
In most living rooms, full floor length curtains provide an elegant finish. Just make sure proportions suit the space – very low ceilings will feel overwhelmed. Allow sufficient clearance from furniture and walking paths to prevent safety issues or damage.
- How long should bedroom curtains be?
For bedrooms, full length curtains from ceiling to floor create a soft, cozy effect for sleeping. Blackout lining also blocks early morning light. Just be conscious of safety with kids or pets – use tension rods for quicker removal if necessary.
- Should kitchen curtains touch the floor?
In kitchens, it’s best to avoid full length curtains touching floors due to grease splatter and heightened fire hazards from stove proximity. Opt for cafe length instead, hanging below window sills about 18-30 inches above floor level.
- Can you put blackout lining in any curtains?
Yes, most curtains can be custom lined with blackout fabric, providing almost 100% light blockage. Take panels to a sewing professional or use iron-on adhesive blackout lining for DIY installation. Great for bedrooms and home theaters.
- What screws to use for curtain rod bracket?
Use #8 or #10 panhead screws, at least 1 1/4″ – 2″ long, to securely anchor heavy duty curtain rod brackets into studs or solid wall anchors. Ensuring screws are set deeply into supports prevents tearing out under weight.
- How do you cut curtain lining?
Measure and cut lining fabric 2-3 inches shorter than main curtain length to prevent peeking out the bottom. Bind edges with trim tape. For side hems, line up main fabric and lining edges, folding both in and sewing together. Miter corners diagonally.