Should Sheers Be Shorter Than Curtains?

Sheers are lightweight window treatment fabrics. You might wonder when layering with sheers whether they should be shorter or longer than your curtains. There are several sheers with curtains combinations, and we've found the designers' best suggestions for achieving this look.

Generally, sheers and curtains should be equal in length. However, sheers layered behind curtains should hang an inch shorter. The relative length of both materials would depend on the pattern and intended design of the combination.

Sheers are an excellent way to dress up an otherwise ordinary window. They may be used by themselves or combined with curtains and drapes. That said, the material itself adds visual interest while providing you with more privacy. If you wish to find out more about sheers, continue reading!

curtain with window and sunlight, Should Sheers Be Shorter Than Curtains?

Sheers: An Overview

Sheers are made of lightweight, thin, breezy, and transparent fabric that can be layered or combined with curtains and other draperies. Because of their material, they let natural light in while providing you with additional privacy. However, note that sheers cannot totally obscure the view.

Similar to various window treatments, sheers help filter the sunlight that may otherwise do considerable harm to your furniture, floorings, and other fixtures inside your living space.

Apart from additional protection, sheers can soften any room and add to its aesthetic appeal.

Combining Curtains And Sheers

When combining curtains and sheers, consider the style you prefer. It wouldn’t hurt to try out several patterns until you decide on the design that suits you best. Here are some popular ideas:

Curtains Over Sheers

Curtains Over Sheers - woman's hand opening brown luxurous curtain over white translucent curtain

Hanging curtains over sheers is a popular choice amongst homeowners. The solid color adds a striking effect when paired with the softness and lightness of the sheers. If this is the design you intend to use, remember that the sheers should be one inch shorter in length if the curtains overlap them.

Sheers Over Curtains

Placing sheers over curtains is one way to soften a window. It can cover the entire material or can be opened on either side for a classy draping style. In this design, the sheers must have the same length as the curtains to create uniformity.

Alternating Fabrics

Alternating the fabrics is another technique that adds to your window’s aesthetic appeal. For a more stylish effect, use colors that complement each other, or simply use a single hue in different shades.

Since the curtains and sheers are placed alternately, it looks best when the fabrics are the same lengths.

Readymade Layered Curtains

To make the styling hassle-free, you can use a readymade overlay. The product features sheer fabrics already attached to the curtains. However, note that the material will restrict you from coming up with your own desired combinations.

Sheer Shades: An Alternative 

Sheer Shades An Alternative - Hand between two fabric light filtering shades in open position

Sheer window treatments are more about design and aesthetics than function. When used without curtains or drapes, the thin fabric can only filter some light and offer little privacy. 

Sheer shades feature a fabric placed between translucent or semitransparent materials that effectively filters light and darkens a room. In essence, it combines the aesthetic quality of sheer curtains and the function of traditional window treatments.

They feature a protective layer that filters light and minimizes UV exposure while allowing an unobstructed view of the outside. Walls, floors, and furniture are protected from the discoloration that direct sunlight causes over time. They illuminate a room more evenly and reduce glare.

If you live in neighborhoods where the houses are located close to your own, next to a street, or maybe within sight of overlooking higher structures, privacy becomes an issue.

Sheer shades are designed so that the interior of your home is not visible from the outside.

They are available in many design options and are considerably more affordable than curtains or drapes. Most window treatments are made from expensive materials like silk or velvet while sheer shades have lightweight components which are more economical.

Combining Sheers With Other Window Treatments 

Sheers and curtains may be combined and used in patterns or designs that best complement the look of any room. However, the possibilities may extend to and include drapes, shades, or blinds.

Sheers And Drapes

Sheers And Drapes - fabric curtain and white sheer curtains with translucent fabric hanging on door

Drapes are similar to curtains in all respects but differ mainly because they are usually made of heavier materials to totally block light out. Apart from homes, they are commonly used in hotel rooms, conference areas, offices, and other facilities that require total privacy. 

The common materials, including velvet and silk, are stiff and usually flat. Sheer curtains provide movement and depth when used to complement drapes. The application is similar to that of curtains but the contrast is more pronounced.

When drapes are pulled aside during the day, sheer curtains filter out excessive light and soften the tone of a room. 

Sheers And Shades

Sheers And Shades - Roman blind in the interior detail close-up.

Shades come in various types of diverse materials that range from vinyl to bamboo. They differ from curtains and drapes because they are sized to fit the window frame and do not overlap the windowsill.

Used on their own, shades effectively limit light and provide adequate privacy. However, they may come across as too formal and confined. Layering them with sheer curtains would create a less structured look that transitions the elements of a room more subtly.

Sheers And Blinds

Sheers And Blinds - Shadows of the evening sun coming through window blinds leaves a soft shadow on draped sheer linen curtains

Blinds are functional window treatments that come in different materials and styles. They are good at providing privacy and blocking light. The material itself is popular because of its aesthetic appeal. 

When the blinds are fully opened, excessive light will penetrate the room. Underlying them with sheer curtains will reduce glare and dampen the brightness.

On the other hand, sheers placed over blinds will conceal the rigid structure of the blinds and soften the general appearance of the window.

What To Do With Sheers That Are Too Long?

Perhaps you have chosen to cover the sheers with curtains, or the other way around. Fabrics that are too long may flow elegantly or they may hang slovenly. Fortunately, there are simple ways to fix this.


Hemming is the most common method where you fold back and stitch the edge of a fabric. You can either sew the material by hand or use a sewing machine. It is important to trim the sheers into your desired length, however, leave a considerable space below because you will still need to fold the fabric.

Use A Hem Tape

Using a hem tape is the simplest solution because there is no sewing or stitching involved. The product is a heat-activated adhesive that allows you to shorten any garment or fabric. This is done by placing the tape onto the material and then ironing the folded surface.

  1. First, you must cut the sheer fabric into your desired length, remember to subtract ">2 inches from the calculated size to make room for the folding.
  2. Place the sheers on top of your ironing board, and be sure that the backside is facing up. Make a 1-inch fold at the trimmed portion, then carefully press your iron along the section.
  3. Make another 1-inch pleat on the hem and repeat the process.
  4. Afterward, place the hem tape in between the folds and press the iron along the portion to activate its adhesive property. Ensure that the heat is appropriate for the thin and see-through fabric. If the material is made of polyester, do not turn the heat too much because it can melt or damage the cloth.

Take a look at the video below for a demonstration in hemming sheers:

It is important to know the grade of the hem tape you are using since it affects the amount of heat it requires. To test the product and the fabric’s capacity to handle the heat, use the piece of sheer that has been cut.

Check out Mandala Crafts 1 Inch Hem Tape on Amazon.

In Closing

There are unlimited ways to enhance the appearance of your window through layering curtains, shades, drapes, and blinds. Sheers are one way to complement the overall look and soften a window's rigid structure.

For more window treatment tips, check out our related post: "How to Layer Curtains with Sheers on the Same Rod."