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The White Dahlia Guide on How to Hang Curtains

Reena Sotropa In House Design Group

There are many components to a well-executed room design and curtains are one of those components that can make or break it. When choosing to hang curtains in your room, you need to consider important but simple measurements.

Window treatments come in a variety of options with curtains (drapes), blinds, and shades being the most common. However, for this post, we will be focusing on curtains (drapes) so that you will have a simple guide on how to hang curtains after we've given you curtain options to suit your personalized room design. This guide will allow you to easily hang your curtains yourself with confidence. Let's dive in!

Important Architectural Measurements

Before you start purchasing your beautifully selected curtains, get out your tape measure and notepad! Get ready to jot down these three simple measurements.

Here are our easy tips on how to measure windows for curtains.

  • Ceiling height

  • Window horizontal width (including trim/molding)

  • Window vertical height (including trim/molding)

These three measurements will help you know how wide your curtain rod will be, how wide each curtain panel needs to be in order to cover your window, and how long each curtain panel needs to be depending on the desired look you are going for.

Pictured: window width and height (including trim/molding), curtain hanging types

Abby Lawson I Reena Sotropa In House Design Group I Barn and Willow

Curtain Hanging Types

Once you've got the important measurements recorded, the next step is to decide what kind of look and feel you want to achieve through your curtains, as well as how high to hang curtains. Let's take a look at these examples.

The Puddle

The Design Files I East Living

The puddle curtain look is best suited for spaces where you want to create a little drama. It gives off the feel of a European and old-world interior space.

Designer Tip: Choose fabrics of higher quality and weight to give off a more luxurious and cozy feel. Add an extra 2" to 4" for that desired "puddle" look. The puddle would look great in a more formal room such as a Dining or Living Room.

The kiss

Studio Mcgee I Les Ensembliers

Think of the kiss style as a quick peck to the cheek, where the curtains are just slightly touching the floor without any puddling effect. This style requires pretty accurate measurements in order to achieve this look so it's important to have the correct curtain height including the rings/clips that will be used to hang onto the curtain rod.

Designer tip: Hang one panel on the rod while making a little marker on the wall so you can visually see how high or low the rod needs to be installed before any drilling begins.

The Float

Decor Loving I The Savvy Heart I Amber Interiors

The float style is the cleanest look of the three. "Floating" is a little too on the nose, but that is exactly what this curtain style is intended to do, although it's crucial it's done correctly to avoid it just looking awkward overall. Aim to have the bottom of your curtains no higher than 1/2" off the floor.

Curtain Hanging Styles

There are several ways to hang curtains as well, each of which will help you to achieve that look you want. Let's take a look at the most popular styles and options.

Pictured: curtain track versus curtain rod


The difference here is that the for the curtain track you don't visually see the pole when the curtains are close, while the curtain pole style you do. Curtain rods are more modern and give you more flexibility in integrating with different styles. For example, a brass curtain rod can complement a bohemian style room or add a bit of glam to a mid-century modern room. The track style come from an older era but can work well to create a romantic flare. However, they can be more tedious to install.

Pictured: curtain heading styles

Pinterest I Pottery Barn

(Left to Right) Rod Pocket, Pencil Pleat, Curtain Rings, Grommet, Clips

You also have many options for curtain header styles such as the ones listed above. Pleated is a must for the curtain track hanging method which is why it tends to look more traditional. Whereas curtain rings or grommets allow for a more unstructured modernized look.

Standard Sizes for Curtains and Rods

Curtain's usually come sold in single panels, with a curtain rod, rings, and clips all sold separately so make sure to double-check when purchasing so you don't end up buying curtains thinking that they come in one full set. Designer tip: Always opt for longer curtains to be on the safe side

  • The standard length for most curtain panels are typically 63", 84", 95", 108", and 120".

  • For extra tall ceilings (10 feet or more) opt for lengths that are at least 95", 108", or 120".

  • For standard ceiling heights (8 feet or 9 feet) opt for at least 84", and 95".

  • The standard width for most curtain panels are usually 44", 66", or 90"

  • Keep in mind that more than one panel is usually needed to cover one window.

  • Curtain rods usually come in adjustable lengths, but make sure to check that you've purchased the correct length to suit your window.

It's important to note the standard lengths and widths when choosing the appropriate size, however, the overall look will depend on your actual window width and height, ceiling height, and trim/molding. Please read the next section for more hanging tips.

Amber Interiors

How-To Hang Curtains

Once you know your window width (including trim/molding) make sure the rod length you have is able to extend at least 6"-12" on both sides of your window trim/molding. Your rod should be mounted about 2/3 between your finished trim/molding and the ceiling. The goal here is to give the illusion of a larger window, as well to help to add to the height of the room.

White Dahlia Design

Determine the look and feel you want for your windows. Of course, we want the panels to cover the window when completely shut. So when choosing panels make sure you know the width of your window including the trim/molding. for an extra full look consider wider panels paired with a secondary sheer option.

To summarize, here are important tips to remember:

  • Measurements for window width and height, and overall ceiling height.

  • Determine the look and feel you want to achieve with your curtains.

  • Include the curtain rings/clips when determining how high to hang curtains.

  • Make sure the curtain rod can adjust 6"-12" on both sides of your window trim/molding.

  • Longer curtains are often better.

  • More panels are often needed to cover a whole window.

Here are a few of our go-to places for soucing curtains with prices ranging from low to high.

CB2 I Urban Barn I Wayfair

We hope this simple guide will help you hang your curtains correctly and avoid that "awkward" look. Just remember that a well put together room includes everything from your area rug down to the drapes/curtains you choose to incorporate. Feel free to reach out for any further questions, or let us know what other decor tips you are wanting help with.



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