To hang beautiful curtains in your home, you have to know the right curtain width to buy. And speaking of widths, are curtains measured per curtain or does the curtain width pertain to the pair inside the package? We turned to the experts to ask this particular question and here's their reply.
The width stated on the curtains' packaging pertains to the width per panel. Even if the package comes with a pair of curtains, the dimensions indicated in the packaging refer to one curtain only so you need to compute their total width to determine if it's enough for your window.
Keep on reading so we can tell you more about curtain widths, double-width curtains, and how wide your curtains need to be. We'll also answer if curtains need to touch the floor and if they can touch the ceiling. Let's get this started!
Are curtains one or two curtain widths?
Curtains are a lovely choice for your window treatments at home and if hung properly, they can transform your interiors' look positively.
With curtains, it's always about style and functionality. This is how much of a home fashion piece curtains have become.
That's why homeowners are well-advised to follow prevailing fashion rules when it comes to hanging their curtains. This way, it would look like their homes are contemporary and designed by a pro.
Hanging curtains properly starts with buying the right curtains for your window. And when you buy curtains, you have to be mindful of their width and length (we'll talk more about these dimensions later) because believe us, it matters how wide they are and where they'll drop.
The widths of the curtains that you see on the market are stated on their packaging. But take note that it is on a per curtain panel basis.
Some curtain shops sell curtains in pairs but still the width indicated on the package is for each panel unless stated otherwise. So, you need to multiply the width by two to get the total width of the curtain set.
More often than not, you would have to buy more than just one curtain panel to cover an entire window. You should know the length of your curtain rod or track to determine how many panels you need to buy.
How wide should curtains be?
As a guide, interior designers recommend that the total width of the curtains be about one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half times the width of your curtain pole or track whichever you're using. This will make your curtains look full and ample. They will look elegant and luxurious in your background.
Take note that you're not just measuring your window but the rod or track that you'll be using to hang your curtains.
Experts recommend that curtain tracks and poles extend at least 3" from each side of the window. That's why just basing the measurement on your window will give you a shorter panel set than you need.
The total width that you need would also depend on the curtain type that you have.
If you're using eyelet curtains with grommets or tabs at the top, it's best to go for a total width of two to three times the length of your curtain pole (but don't include anymore the decorative finials at the end of the poles).
If your pole measures 72", you would need curtain panels with a combined width of 144" to 216". This means if the width per panel of the curtain that you've chosen is 42", you need to buy four to six curtain panels to cover the window in full.
Pleated or Ripple Fold Curtains
If you're using curtains with pleats or ripple folds, you can just go for one-and-a-half times the width of the curtain pole or track. These curtains already have a natural fullness in them so you won't need the added width.
Some experts are also okay with just the total widths of the pleated or ripple fold curtains being the same length as the curtain pole or track itself but others prefer the extra measurement to allow for the overlap between two curtains.
With these width measurements, your curtains have fullness as they drape over your windows when they are closed. You also have full coverage of the window without any gaps to show especially in the seams where they overlap.
What does a double-width curtain mean?
If you find it awkward to put four to five curtain panels side by side based on our given example above, you can look for double-width curtains.
These curtains are not your average-sized curtains. Based on the name itself, its width is twice that of standard sizes. They can range from 108" to 118" in one panel alone.
With their width, you don't have to buy many panels to cover your entire window. One or two will be enough.
Just read the product label carefully to make sure that you have the right width that you need for your window.
What's nice about double-width curtains also is that there'll be fewer seams in your window treatment. Sometimes gaps can be so obvious and can be distracting. They will also allow light and air to pass through even when you don't want to.
You'll be able to avoid these issues with the use of these wider curtains.
Do curtains have to touch the floor?
Now we discuss the proper length for your curtains. Again, we follow the current home design trend which is to hang floor-length curtains. This makes your home look modern and contemporary. Interior designers say that short curtains have become outdated.
The long length of the curtain gives the illusion of space. The eye is encouraged to follow the curtain's length which makes your window look taller and the room appears larger.
To get the right curtain length, you can use a measuring tape to determine the distance between the curtain rod and the floor. You have three options here.
- If you want to go with the puddled look, add 6" to your rod-to-floor measurement to achieve this look.
- For the floating look, subtract 1/2" to 1" to your measurement to make it appear like the curtain is floating above the floor.
- The kiss look requires a precise measurement from the rod all the way to the floor so that the curtain is just lightly touching the floor.
Among these three looks, puddled curtains look the most dramatic but they require extra effort when you need to clean your floor. You would have to gather them together and lift them so that you can vacuum the space under the window safely.
Should curtains touch the ceiling?
We also need to discuss where you should install your curtain rods in relation to the window frame and the ceiling to achieve a balanced look in the room. This will also have a bearing on the length of your curtains.
It is generally acceptable if you want to hang your curtains as high as you want to be or as close to the ceiling as possible.
But to achieve a professional look, experts recommend that you mount your curtain rods somewhere between 4" to 6" above the window frame.
However, if your room has a high ceiling and you have a standard window, it would look awkward to hang the curtains too high. It would just emphasize the small size of your window. In this case, you can just mount the curtain rod not more than 8" above the window trim.
But if you have a high ceiling and a tall window, you can hang the curtains close to the ceiling. There are brackets that you can install on the ceiling to make this more convenient for you.
Take note that the curtain width pertains to one curtain only so you would need to multiply it by the number of panels in the package to determine if their total width would be enough to cover your entire window.
To know more about the proper way of hanging curtains, you can read the following posts: