How To Measure Drapes, Curtain & Rods
Measuring for drapes is not a complicated process. In fact, it is relatively easy if you simply follow the directions we provide.
Two Primary Categories for Measuring
1. When a rod already exists
2. When a rod does not exist
One of the safest ways to “fit your drape” to any window is to replace an existing rod with a new one. If replacing your rod is not possible, then carefully follow our instructions as described under ”When a Rod Already Exists”.
Rules for Measuring
A. WIDTH is always measured and expressed first.
B. HEIGHT is always measured and expressed
C. Use a RETRACTABLE METAL TAPE MEASURE to ensure accuracy. NEVER
use a cloth tape measure or a yard stick). A cloth tape is not ideal
due to a number of factors. First, there is a higher probability of
error in measuring. Second, a cloth tape doesn’t
stay tight over the entire face of the rod and
usually your arms are not wide enough to measure in one width so you
have to measure in two
places. Finally, when measuring with a cloth tape
measure, the tape can slip and you might get the wrong measurement.
D. NEVER measure the existing drape or window covering.
You WILL NOT get an accurate measure this way.
When a Rod Already Exists
The procedure for measuring an “existing drape rod” (i.e. one you plan to keep and continue using,) slightly varies depending on the type of rod you have above your window. Therefore, please first identify which one of the following drape rods cover your window(s) and then follow the appropriate instructions.
1. Standard Rod
2. Custom Rod
WIDTH (side to side or left to right): Measure only across the front face of the rod from tip to tip (end bracket to end bracket)
Important Rules: Do not include the “wrap around” (brackets at each end of the rod where the drape returns back to the wall). Do not add in any extra for the overlap beneath the center of the rod where the master carrier(s) may cross one another.
Quick Tip: Just measure the front of the rod only across the front tip to tip for the width. We will automatically add in extra material for the brackets at the ends of the rods and the overlap in the middle.
HEIGHT (up and down): This is your easiest measurement. Place the tip of your metal tape measure on top of the rod at the center of the rod down to where you want the drape to hang. You may want to choose from the standard heights shown below:
Typically, there are 3 standard heights:
1. Just Past the Bottom of the Window Opening: In order to provide sufficient coverage for privacy, reduce incoming light, and hide the drapery hem fom outside view, measure a minimum of 4” past the bottom of the window casing.
2. Floor Height: If you would like your drapes to hang down to just above the floor or carpeting, measure the distance from the top center of the drape rod to 1” above the floor or carpeting.
3. Floor to Ceiling: These are drapes that hang from the ceiling down to just above the floor or carpeting. Measure the distance from the top center of the drape rod to 1” above the floor or carpeting. In most cases, “floor height” is the best choice since they offer superior privacy, light control, and insulation. “Floor height” drapes also “dress up” your room providing an elegant decor to the surroundings.
These are the type of rods with balls, finials, or decorative end caps all attached to the ends of the rods. Oftentimes, these rods are in faux brass, wood, or antique colors. The clips the drapes hang on are found beneath the rod.
WIDTH (side to side or left to right): Measure across the rod from the last clip on the left end of the rod to the last clip on the right end of the rod. That’s it!
Important Rule: Do not include in your measurements the decorative finials, end pieces, or the overlap at the center of the rod!
HEIGHT (up and down): On custom rods, place the tip of your metal tape measure at the bottom of the ring or clip, beneath the rod, down to where you want the drape to hang. You may want to choose from the standard heights shown below:
Again, typically there are 3 standard heights:
1. Just Past the Bottom of the Window Opening: In order to provide sufficient coverage for privacy, reduce incoming light, and hide the drapery hem from outside view, measure a minimum of 4” past the bottom of the window casing.
2. Floor Height: If you would like your drapes to hang down to the floor from your “custom rod”, place the tip of your measurement tape at the top of the clips beneath the rod down to 1” above the floor or carpeting.
3. Floor to Ceiling: To have your drapes hang from the ceiling down to just above the floor or carpeting, place the tip of your measuring tape at the top of the clips beneath the rod down to 1” above the floor or carpeting.
When a Rod Doesn’t Exist
This is probably the easiest and safest way to measure (in terms of minimizing errors) when you want a new drape. Although you may already have a drape rod, consider replacing it with a new one and measuring for drapes where the new rod will be placed.
When measuring for a drape where there are no rods:
FIRST: Simply measure the “width” (side-to-side) of the inside of the window opening or casing.
SECOND: measure the “height” (top-to-bottom) of the inside window opening or casing.
Important Rule: The casing should be measured from side-to-side and top-to-bottom on the inside of the window casing.
Once you have established the raw window width and height:
WIDTH: Add 6” to your inside width measurement. This is the width you need your drape.
HEIGHT: Measure as indicated below depending on the “height” coverage you prefer.
1. Just Past the Bottom of the Window Opening: In order to provide sufficient coverage for privacy, reduce incoming light, and hide the drapery hem from outside view, add a total of 8” to the inside height measurement (4” above the window casing and 4” below the window casing).
2. Drapes to the floor: If you would like your drapes to hang down to the floor, measure from 4” above the window casing to 1” above the floor.
3. Floor to Ceiling: Measure from the top of the wall (ie: up to the ceiling) to the floor. Deduct 1” from this measurement to allow the drape to hang freely not brushing the ceiling or floor.
EXPLANATION: Standard placement is calculated on the basis that the ends of the drape rod should normally extend past the window opening/casing by 3” on both sides for the width. This will allow you to firmly anchor your drape rod into the wood window framing beneath the sheetrock. Similarly, when a rod is anchored 4” above the window opening/casing it is firmly mounted into the wooden framing header beneath the sheetrock.