Installing window treatments is a simple and affordable way to add personality and style to any room in your home. Curtains create privacy and allow you to control light, and you can even use window coverings to help regulate interior temperatures.
The first step in choosing your perfect curtains is measuring your windows according to the mounting technique you plan on using. In this guide, we explain how to measure for curtains using a basic measuring tape and step-stool or step ladder.
Decide How You Want to Mount Your Curtains
Curtains can be mounted in one of two basic ways — inside mount and outside mount.
Outside mount is the most common way to hang curtains, since this method provides full coverage of the window. With outside mounted curtains, the curtain rod is secured to the wall with brackets placed above the frame and anywhere from 3 to 6 inches beyond the sides.
How to Measure Windows for Curtains Using Outside Mounting
To measure for curtains that will be hung on the outside of the window frame, start by deciding if you want to conceal the frame molding or highlight it. Below trim mounting is less common, but it can be ideal in spots where the window is close to the ceiling.
In most applications, you’ll mount the curtain rod anywhere from 6 to 12 inches above the top of the window frame. Keep in mind that the higher you mount your curtains, the taller your window will look.
Next, decide whether you want your curtains to extend just above the windowsill or below it.
Once you’ve made these choices, go ahead and make your measurements. It can be a good idea to have a helper on hand, especially if your windows are exceptionally large or you need to use a ladder.
Measuring for Curtains Mounted Inside the Window Frame
While curtains are usually mounted outside the window frame, inside mounting can be a great option when you’re going for a sleek modern look. This style of mounting is also popular for applications where you only want to cover the lower section of the window for privacy, such as in a bathroom.
Start by measuring the inside width of your window frame then decide on the length. Unlike outside mount curtains, curtains mounted inside the frame usually extend down to the top of the interior sill rather than beyond the sill. These two measurements will give you the info you need to buy your curtains, less the width of the mounting hardware.
How to Measure Windows for Curtains – FAQs
Should measurements be taken in imperial or metric?
In general, most curtains are sized using imperial measurements, although some European window covering companies use metric measurements. You’ll also find metric measurements on curtains purchased from IKEA, so it can be a good idea to write down your window measurements in both inches and centimeters.
Can curtains touch the floor?
Yes. Extending your curtains onto your floor by a few inches is known as puddling. This designer technique is used to give your room a romantic, old-school feel and is popular in formal dining rooms. Puddling can also be used to transform your bay windows into the focal point of your room.
Is measuring for thermal curtains different than measuring for other types of window treatments?
The type of curtain makes all the difference when it comes to how to measure windows for curtains. Thermal curtains, as with blackout curtains, need to extend a few inches beyond the entire window frame in order to function correctly. If you plan on installing thermal or blackout curtains, be sure to measure approximately 2-4 inches beyond the upper and side frame, as well as the window sill.
Contact Our Team of Window Experts Today
If you’re interested in upgrading your existing windows, we’re here to help. Contact our team of replacement window experts at Thompson Creek Window Company today to learn how we can install beautiful, high-efficiency windows in your home.