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How to Choose the Right Curtain Length

The perfect curtain is like the icing on a cake. Any curtain can soften a room, making it feel warm, but there are so many different options to choose from when it comes to texture, color and pattern, see how to choose the right curtain length is for your home. 

Standard Curtain Lengths

When figuring out how to choose the right curtain length, it is important to know that there are standard lengths. These are 63 inches, 84 inches, 94 inches, 108 inches and 120 inches. However, when you work with a window design company, you’ll be able to have your own custom curtain length if you desire.

vertical blinds for making windows look larger Certain Curtain Lengths are Better for Some Windows than Others

Whether you go with standard lengths that are most likely found in stores and online or going with designer curtains with custom lengths, there are a few more points you should consider about the different length options, such as what type of length is appropriate for which setting.

Window sill curtains are the kind that end right at the window sill. This length is appropriate in places such as the kitchen where the window is elevated. You wouldn’t want a ton of excess curtain puddling on the bench seat under your bay window!

Apron curtains come down about four inches from the window sill. These curtains are great in casual settings such as a breakfast nook where you don’t want excess curtain getting tangled in chair legs, especially if your space is tight. Apron curtains are also great for windows that may have a radiator under them.

Floor-length curtains go past the sill and hit the floor. When hanging these curtains, you don’t want the bottom of the curtain to hang just above the floor, but rather skimming the floor. This is one of the most common options for living rooms as they are easy to maintain as well as to open and close.

Puddling curtains do what they sound like–they “puddle” on the floor. This is because they extend about one to three inches onto the floor. This look is very dramatic and used in formal dining spaces or even in bedrooms where you want a luxurious and lush feel and to soften the look of blinds or shutters. Do note that puddling curtains are a bit more high-maintenance as they will collect all the dust on the floor around them. And if functionality is a huge consideration for a particular window, these curtains are more difficult to open and close.

How High to Hang Your Curtains

The length of your curtain will also depend on how high you hang them. A key design aspect to think about is the higher you hang your curtains, the taller your windows will appear, which in turn can make your ceilings feel higher and therefore your room feels more spacious. How high you hang your curtains will affect the length of the curtain itself. This is because where the bottom of the curtain hits is very important. But just how high do you hang your curtains?

A good rule of thumb is that your curtains should sit about four to six inches above the window frame. If you are outfitting a room with average ceiling height (eight feet), interior designers generally mount the curtain rod about a half foot (six inches) above the window frame. And if the space between the top of the window frame and the ceiling is less than 12 inches, they will go even higher than half a foot to add more drama to the room. 

For higher ceilings (10 feet or more) where there is more than a foot of space between the ceiling and the top of the window frame, you will want to hang your curtains higher. A good rule of thumb for this ceiling height is to hang your curtains within 8 inches from the top of the window frame. Hanging any higher, even though you have the space, could look awkward.

Another option is to have ceiling to floor curtains. This is when you hang your curtain rod just below the ceiling and have curtains that are floor length or puddle. This is very popular in modern homes where you will often find very tall windows.


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