How To Measure For Curtains  

Without getting it horribly wrong

how to measure for curtains properlyhow to measure for curtains properly

Even if you know how to use a tape measure. Discovering how to measure for curtains is much more than knowing how to read the numbers on your tape measure. It's just as much about knowing where to take your measurements from.

It's understanding that different curtain tracks or poles. All need to be measured slightly differently. Also the kind of curtains you want to hang will also make a difference to the sizes you take.

So let me help you work out what you need to know and what to avoid, so saving you a lot of heartache and expense further down the road. 

Measuring is the area in the curtain buying process where most of the mistakes in the made to measure curtain business are made by far.

I have been in this business for more than 25 years and I still get it wrong on occasion. Usually because I have been rushing or have been distracted after measuring and before writing down the sizes. So don' let that happen to you :-)

If I ask a builder to measure a window for curtains. I can almost guarantee they would literally measure the window. Not measure the size needed for the curtains to fit that window properly. It's not that builders are stupid. It's more that builders don't have the first clue about curtains. Just as I don't know the first thing about laying foundations :-)

Most common measuring errors!

  • Mixing cm's with inches
  • Swapping numbers around, 89 instead of 98cm
  • Misreading the tape measure 101cm instead of 110cm
  • Mixing the width and length sizes
  • Keeping sizes in your head rather than writing them down as you go

So please, please and.... please againTake your time and don't get distracted. If you get this part wrong, then everything else you do afterwards is just a complete waste of your time and money. 

I find it useful to have someone help when measuring a bay window. The other person can hold the tape where you need it. Then you can reel it out and read the size correctly. If you try to measure wide distances on your own. The tape measure tends to bow a little.

There is another benefit of having someone else to help you measure for curtains. You can swap places and they can double check your sizes. Nothing like having a sanity check :-)

Your How To Measure For Curtains Check List

Just by following these simple steps you will avoid the most common measuring mistakes people make.

How to measure for curtains check listHow to measure for curtains check list
  • Pick your curtain style before you measure for curtains. This is so important if you want curtains that fit exactly right. They all hang slightly different. So need to be measured slightly different. You shouldn't be measuring for your tracks or poles until you know this.
  • Use a wide blade steel tape measure if possible for easier number reading, plus less tape bending measuring wide windows. Especially if you are doing this on your own, which I recommend you don't.
  • Get someone to help by holding the other end of the tape measure. Then write down the sizes on a pad. The width first and the length (drop) second. This the industry standard. Then swap over and repeat the measure and check the sizes again. 
  • Measuring in the right place means thinking about how you want your new curtains to hang.  Usually you will be either measuring the walls over your window. Or taking your sizes from the front edges of the window sill (especially if having floor length curtains in a bay).
  • Measuring wide enough is another common problem. The wider the window, then the wider the track should be past each side of the window. so if your window is 150cm wide. Then your track or pole should be 180cm wide.
  • If your window is 240cm wide. then your track or pole should be 300cm wide. This will allow the curtains to stack back off the windows when open. 

How to measure for curtains
measuring guides

Below are quick links to examples of how to measure for the different kinds of curtain styles hanging from Curtain track and curtain poles. The right way to measure correctly for each one is slightly different, so make sure you read the right one for your chosen curtain style.

How to measure for bay window curtainsHow to measure for bay window curtains

Discover how to measure for bay curtains here. Watch the video and see how simple it is to get the correct sizes. No more worrying that your new curtains won't fit properly.

Once you know how to measure for curtains then bay windows are simple :-)

Check it out on the measure for bay curtains page now.

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Discover how to measure for the best look when deciding where to install your curtain pole.

Discover some very useful tips that are specifically for measuring for your new eyelet curtains.