Regardless if you’re going purchasing ready-made draperies or curtains, making a custom order, or going the DIY route and making them on your own, you will need to know how to properly measure for your new window treatments. Accurate measurements will ensure a good fit. While length and width measurements must be correct for a good measurement, the panel measurements can also be a stylistic choice. For more formal rooms, you might choose to pick tailored flat-panel styles, while for others, draperies that are more informal or romantic, such as gathered styles, will be better suited for the mood of the room.
You won’t need too many items to start measuring for your window treatments. Gather up a heavy-duty (metal) measuring tape, a pen, and a notebook, and you’ll be ready to get started. If you have someone to help you, all the better, since measuring the top and bottom of windows (especially larger ones) by yourself can be a bit tricky.
Steps for measuring for drapery panels:
1. First, measure the width of your window from the outside molding (or whatever decorate area frames the window) on one side of the window to the outside of the molding on the opposite side.
2. Note this width measurement and increase it by 1.5 to 3 times to add fullness to the panel. The amount you choose to multiply by will be determined by how much gathering you would like the fabric to have. For less, choose about 1.5, for the most gathering possible, go higher closer to 3 times the width. For instance, if your window is 60 inches (5 feet) wide, you can plan on having your panel measure 7.5 to 15 feet.
3. Next, think about how long you want your drapes or curtains to be, and then measure from the drapery hardware or curtain rod to the top of the window sill, bottom of the window’s frame, to the floor or halfway between the floor and bottom of the window’s frame, depending on the length of window treatment you prefer.
4. Note the length of that measurement. From that number, subtract at least an inch for floor-length curtain or drapery panels so that the fabric doesn’t drag along the floor. Standard curtain panel lengths tend to be 63, 84, 95, 108, and 120 inches.
It’s also a good idea to do a little research about the measurements for different types of window treatments and keep those numbers in mind while figuring out your own measurements.
If you’re using the assistant of a drapery professional, don’t hesitate to consult them about measurements. Your drapery professional will be happy to help you decide on the appropriate panel dimensions, so that you’ll be happy with the end result once your new window treatments are up and ready to go. You can even bring in a professional to do your measurements if you decide you don’t want to take that aspect into your own hands.