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What is the rule for curtain size?

When choosing curtains, one of the most important considerations is getting the right size. Follow these basic rules for curtain sizes to properly fit your windows and ensure light control and privacy.

What is the rule for curtain size?

Curtain size depends on several factors:
Window height and width
Type of curtain – tab, rod pocket, back tab
Room size
Light control needs
Privacy needs
Amount of extra length desired at bottom

Follow these tips:
Measure window height and width precisely, rounding up to nearest whole inch
Account for mounts, rods, headers when measuring height

Add Length for Puddles
Add 3-4 inches for a small puddle
Add 6-12 inches for a luxurious pooled look
Consider flooring when determining length

Width Should Cover Window
For full coverage, multiply width by 2.5-3
If privacy is important, ensure ample overlap past frame

High Ceilings Require Longer
Add 18-24 inches for 8 ft. ceilings
Add 30-36 inches for 9 ft or higher
Size down if attaching above window frame

Panel Curtains
Panel curtains are sized by width, with one panel covering half a window.
Panels should be 1.5-2.5x the window’s width
Determine if panels will overlap in center or be edge to edge

Common Curtain Styles and Sizes
Curtain Type
Width Guide
Length Guide
2-2.5x window width
Sill length + puddle
Back tab
2-2.5x window width
Top of tab to sill + puddle
Rod pocket
1.5-2x window width
Top of header to sill + puddle

Key Takeaways
Precisely measure window height, width, and ceiling length
Add extra inches for optimal light control and privacy
Floor length curtains prevent light gaps at bottom
Panel curtains require 1-2 panels per window
Gathered curtains need extra fabric for fullness
Inside mount curtains must accommodate hardware
Careful measurement and planning ensures your curtains are perfectly sized for stylish functionality.


Q. What width curtains do I need?
A. For full window coverage with tab or rod pocket panels, multiply the window’s width by 2-2.5x. Panel pairs should overlap in the middle or just meet at edges.

Q. How long should living room curtains be?
A. For optimal light control and style in a living room, select curtains that just graze the floor, adding 8-12” for a puddle. Ensure adequate height for the ceiling and clearance under wall trim or fixtures.

Q. Where should curtains fall relative to window?
A. As a general rule, the bottom of curtains should fall anywhere from the window sill to 8-12 inches below, depending on the puddle size desired. Floor length curtains provide the best light control.

Q. What size rods for 96-inch curtains?
A. For 96-inch long curtains, use a rod at least 4 inches longer to allow for stack back. A 100-120 inch rod placed 6-12 inches above the window frame ensures ample height and holdback for curtains this length.

Q. Are curtains supposed to touch the floor?
A. While not required, curtains that graze the floor create a luxurious effect and prevent light gaps at bottom. Ensure adequate floor clearance so curtains do not drag.

Q. What length of curtains do I need for 8 foot ceilings?
A. For 8 foot ceilings, select or make curtains that are 90 to 108 inches long, assuming an above-frame rod mount 6-12 inches high. Adjust for different rod heights and window locations on the wall.

Q. What width curtains for patio slider?
A. For a slider, measure across the entire glass width then double or triple for tab style panels. Example: a 72-inch slider would need 144 to 216-inch wide panels, in one wide set or split with center overlap.

Q. How long should curtains be for 9 foot ceilings?
A. For 9 foot ceilings, a good rule of thumb is to allow 108 to 144 inches for floor length curtains. Adjust accordingly if mounting rod just above window trim vs. closer to ceiling.

Q. What size rod for 144-inch curtains?
A. For curtains 144 inches long, purchase or cut a curtain rod at least 4 inches longer, so around 148-156 inches. Ensure adequate mounting height and holdbacks for unhampered flow.

Q. How do I calculate height and length for curtains?
A. To calculate, measure window height and width along with ceiling length accurately. Height is measured outside frame to floor. Length is window width multiplied by 2-2.5 times depending on fullness. Add 8-12 inches minimum for optimal floor grazing length.

Q. What width curtain rod for 100 inch window?
A. For a 100-inch wide window, choose a curtain rod at least 8 inches wider on inside mount or 12 inches wider using outside mount installation. This allows adequate stackback clearance so curtains can open and close freely.

Q. How long should curtains be for 12 foot ceilings?
A. For 12 foot ceilings, allow 132 to 156 inches for floor length curtains fitted just above tall windows. Size down accordingly if mounting rod closer to ceiling height rather than tops of windows.

Q. What is the rule of thumb for length of curtains?
A. As a rule of thumb for length, allow curtains to fall anywhere between the bottom window sill down to 8-12 inches puddle length on floor for optimal light control and privacy. The longer the better for blocking light gaps.

Q. How much extra width do I need for curtain panels?
A. The standard allowance is to multiply your window’s width by 2-2.5 times for tab style panels. This provides full coverage when panels are open or drawn yet still allows adequate stacking space when closed.

Q. What size rod for 120 inch curtains?
A. For curtains with a 120-inch drop, purchase a curtain rod between 124 and 132 inches to give them enough length to neatly stack back when open. An outside mount provides several more inches of clearance.

Q. How do I calculate panel size?
A. Panel size calculations require measuring the window width then allowing adequate added width for coverage when curtains are open or overlap when closed. For example, a 36-inch window would need 72-90 inch wide panels in total.

Q. What depth curtains are needed for poles?
A. If using curtains with rod pockets rather than tabs or back tabs, depth needed will match your pole diameter (ex: 3/4 inch pole requires 3/4 inch header depth). Add a half inch if using clips rather than rings.

Q. How do you measure for inside mount curtains?
A. For inside mount curtains, measure bracket locations or pole pocket depth allowance within window frame to determine max width. Minimum depth is 3-4 inches wider than the window’s inside frame width on each side.

Q. How to calculate fabric amount?
A. First calculate total finished curtain panel width. For a gathered style, multiply this times 2-2.25 to allow for fullness. For example, two 50-inch panels would need 200-225 inches of fabric width. Divide this total by fabric width to get the yards you need to purchase.

The key rules for curtain size involve carefully measuring your windows, ceilings, and floors, then using those dimensions to calculate curtain lengths and widths that suit your functional and aesthetic needs. Allow ample additional length and width for adjustments to prevent any light gaps or size issues down the line. Follow the tips outlined here as your guideline.

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