Learn interior decorators' foolproof design formulas to make your living spaces beautiful. Here, top designers share the best insider tips, tricks, and terms in hanging and measuring window treatments.
• Drapery measurements are always recorded in inches, never feet.
• Always measure using a metal tape to ensure accuracy.
• Mount your rod on the outside of the trim, both above and side to side, adding extra height and width for a more finished look and to keep light out more effectively.
• If you want your curtains to “clear” your window when drawn open, extend the rod beyond the width of the window at least 6 inches on either side.
• For a more custom look, you may want to add a “return.” A return is created when the end of the drape is wrapped around the bracket to hide the mounting hardware.
The width refers to how many cut lengths of fabric will be needed to cover window properly. Our panels measure 48 to 50 inches wide on average. Therefore, when ordering curtains the multiple for the number of widths needed is 50 inches for a flat panel or 25 inches for a pleated panel. (A pleated panel starts at 50 inches and finishes at 25 inches once it has been pleated.)
The stack is the amount of space the curtain will take up on the curtain rod when the curtain is pushed open. A 50 inch wide panel hung on rings will take up about 8 to 12 inches of rod space on average, when pushed all the way open. For this reason, we recommend that you extend the rod beyond the width of the window a minimum of 6 to 8 inches on each side so that the window will not be blocked when the curtains are pushed open. The wider the panel that larger the stack will be.
The return is the term used to describe the end of the drapery panel that wraps around the mounting bracket to hide the hardware. On average a bracket holds the rod about 4 inches from the wall. So for a 4 inch bracket you need a 4 inch return. This is most important to consider when you are measuring for a pleated panel which needs to be fitted to the rod. The return should be added to the overall rod measurement for accuracy.
A break is the little bit of fabric that sits on the floor when the curtains are hanging. A curtain break is just like the break that sits on top of your shoe at the bottom of in your pant leg. The break can be created by ordering your drapes a bit longer than the length recorded from the rod to the floor, usually 1 to 3 extra inches is enough.
For example: If your rod is mounted 84 inches off the floor and would like a “break” you need to order your drapes 85 to 88 inches long.
A puddle is a mound of fabric that sits on the floor at the bottom of the curtain. If you want a small puddle you need to order your drapes 5 to 6 inches longer than the length recorded from the rod to the floor. If a larger puddle is desired you need to order your drapes from 7 to 12 inches longer than the recorded length.
For example: If your rod is mounted 84 inches off the floor, for a small puddle you need to order your curtains 89 to 90 inches long. For a large puddle you need to order your curtains 92 to 96 inches long.
*Finding the perfect fit for any size widow always starts by taking accurate measurements. Follow our step-by-step instructions for measuring for your curtains by clicking the links below.