How to Choose The Right Curtain Lengths For A Professional Finish

Window treatments can completely transform the look and feel of a room.

Knowing the correct height and the best curtain panels for your window treatments is a big part of this.

Which is why I came up with this quick and handy curtain length guide!

So let’s get into what the right length of your curtains should be…

How to get the best curtain lengths for your windows.

Whichever window treatment you choose, knowing how to measure up your window size and hang the window treatment properly is key for a professional look and finish.

Curtains or Drapes?

Drapes are simply a more formal fabric window treatment than standard curtains.

For example, heavy blackout curtains can add warmth and provide a cozy feel to a space.

Most window curtains are often available in a wide range of colors, styles, patterns, and common curtain lengths.

Whereas window drapes, typically pleated at the top of each panel, can help to add a traditional and often a dramatic look to your home.

These are usually lined and come in panels sold in pairs.

window showing the best curtain length for window treatment with blinds and whiet curtains
Lux holdups lucite drapery rod shown here with pencil pleats on drapes.

To make this process easier than ever, I’ve put together a simple guide to help you find the best curtains or window drapes for your room and to figure out the right length for your specific windows.

Window Drapes & Standard Curtain Length Tricks

Here are some top interior design tips for measuring window treatments to create different looks and desired effects within a room.

Add height with exaggerated curtain lengths.

To give the illusion of height, there is a simple interior design trick using window drapes or curtains to trick the eye.

Rather than buy a window treatment that starts at the top of the window and falls a couple of inches below the windowsill, you need to add length by raising the bar, so to speak.

Instead of attaching the curtain rod above the top of the window frame, position it higher, while leaving around 5 inches of wall before it meets the ceiling.

Now measure from the top of the rod to the floor and use this measurement when purchasing your window treatment.

This interior design tip will help you to add drama to any room and give the illusion of a larger window, instead of creating a standard box with a set of curtains or blinds that match the size of the window.

How long should your drapery be?

As far as standard curtain lengths go, ideally, you’ll want your drapes or floor-length curtains to almost touch the floor.

Some times you might see drapes that are “puddled.”

This implies the fabric is so long it lies or puddles on the floor.

We went with long curtains, which is a more formal look in our old home in New York.

While it was pretty to look at, personally, I don’t recommend it as collects a lot of dust.

Now I prefer a more tailored look, it’s really up to your own personal preference.

Side note: Not only is the correct length crucial, but so is the width of your window for all of your curtains and drapes.

You want to make sure you avoid skinny, skimpy curtains.

This is a common mistake.

To do this correctly, measure fabric for window treatments two times the window width.

traditional dining room drapes
Our dining room with the draperies hung a few inches above windows.

Create depth with layered window treatments

You can also add depth and texture to any room by layering a heavy fabric curtain over sheer curtains.

This will create a high end look, which is especially nice for bedroom curtains.

Start with a sheer panel that will hang over the window and allow light into the room.

Then, you should invest in a high-quality pair of curtains made of a thicker fabric.

Using the above height illusion technique for window treatments, hang your curtains as a second layer over the window drapes.

This instantly gives your windows more depth.

And allows you to enjoy privacy whilst still allowing natural light to flood in.

Make sure that your window drapes and curtains are exactly the same length, or you’re not going to get a professional finish.

Make a room cozier with shorter curtains.

If you’re lucky enough to have a home with high ceilings, you might actually want to create a window treatment that makes your room feel cozier.

This can be easily achieved by attaching the curtain rod at the top of the window frame and measuring curtains or window drapes that hang well above the floor.

Short curtains will make it look as though the ceilings are lower than they actually are.

Take this a step further by choosing darker or heavier fabrics for your curtains or window drapes.

For low ceilings, the inverse of this is works as well.

shorter curtain lengths
Example of a sill length curtain. For this look try these ready-made curtains.

How To Hang The Right Curtain Length In 5 Easy Steps:

Time needed: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Ready to measure your window treatment like a pro?

Supplies: you’ll need the following items:
Standard Size Curtain rod with brackets – larger windows / small windows may require a custom rod.
Metal tape measure
Level or phone app that has this feature

Here are the 5 simple steps you’ll need to follow every time.

  1. Remove any old blinds, curtains, or window treatments and move any furniture away from the window sill, so you can access it easily.

    You need an open space to work and measure.

  2. Decide whether you want to elongate the height or width of the window or create a cozy vibe.

    Then using the tape measure, calculate the depth of your window to determine the ideal size of your curtain brackets.
    Ideally, as a good rule of thumb, you’ll need the brackets to be positioned ahead of the depth of your trim.
    Too shallow and the curtains won’t hang professionally.

  3. Use the tape measure and a pencil to mark where your curtain brackets will need to be attached to the wall.

    Roughly this is around 5 inches above the window frame.
    Or, to add more length to your window treatment, go higher.
    Make sure to leave around 5 inches below the ceiling to hang the rod.
    *At this point, you can measure from the rod to the floor or where you’d like the window treatment to hit the floor to get the exact length for drapes or curtains.

  4. Once you’ve purchased your window treatment, you can now attach the brackets using the measurements you made previously and check that the rod is level.

    If you’re hanging curtains, make sure there is enough space on either side of the window for you to push back the curtains and allow light to enter the room.

  5. Once the right curtain rod is secure, you can hang up the curtains or window drapes for a professional finish.

Standard Lengths

This image of standard curtain panels and different lengths, gives you a general idea on the type of curtain you may need and the correct curtain length.

For this purpose, assume you have standard windows.

three examples of standard curtain lenghts for most windows.
via West Elm

A. Apron Style of curtain

Recommended length: 84″

This is a great option for windows you plan on opening often, such as bathroom windows and bedroom windows.

B. Floor length 

Recommended length: 84″ — 96″

These longer curtains are perfect for a living room or family room.

C. Puddle 

Recommended length: 108″

These offer a more formal look and look best in dining rooms.


Hopefully you found all these window treatment tips and different ways for getting the correct length of the curtains helpful.

For even more home design ideas be sure to check out these posts:

And, even more great home decor ideas, be sure to join our fun and VERY helpful design Facebook group!

In this group – members share photos with their design questions and dilemmas from their own home. We all chime in with our best advice!

It’s also great for sourcing hard to find items and pieces.

Lastly, to help you even further with your home projects, download my FREE DESIGN CHEAT SHEET, it’s loaded with all sorts of quick tips and handy measurements.

design cheat sheet on phone

Sign up below to grab this, it’ll be super helpful!


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Leave a Comment


  1. Deb wrote:

    How do you dress two windows on corner wall that are unevenly placed? One window is 12 inches from the corner while the other window is barely 7 inches from the corner. Right now we have pleated blinds left by the prior owners of our house. (Really, every window in the house!) I feel that curtains will add verticality to the low ceilings but placement of rods has me stumped.

    Published on 3.24.21 · Reply
    • Sue De Chiara wrote:

      Without seeing it, I would suggest using the closer to the corner placed window as the guide for hanging the rod and then faking it, possibly with extra fabric (for lack of a better word) with the other window to create symmetry and make it appear closer to the corner. Hope this helps!

      Published on 3.24.21 · Reply