Your Guide to Curtains and Window Treatments
How Long Should Curtains Be?
Floor-length is the way to go, unless there’s a radiator or a deep sill in the way. Ready-made panels are available in lengths
from 63 to 144 inches. Measure from the floor to where you’ll hang the rod, then round up. You can always have the dry cleaner
hem them a bit if needed. You’ll get the most current look if the fabric makes contact with the floor (or sill or radiator).
Too-short curtains can seem nerdy and off, like high-waters. Here are two surefire approaches.
1: Just Hitting the Floor or Sill
This look is classic and tailored; it makes sense if you’ll be opening and closing the curtains a lot (they’ll easily fall
back into place every time you move them). The fabric should just touch the floor or hover half an inch above. This is also
a great approach for café curtains (short panels that cover only the lower portion of a window and hit the sill), which work
well in spots like the kitchen and bathroom, where long drapes aren’t practical.
2: Breaking Slightly at the Floor
Panels that extend onto the floor by one to three inches are the most stylish right now. They’re more relaxed than those that graze the floor (left), but they still feel tailored—think of a pair of dress trousers. If you have uneven floors or are worried about precision measuring, this style is more forgiving. In formal rooms, an exaggerated take—six or so inches of fabric pooling on the floor—can look romantic but is also high-maintenance; curtains need refluffing every time you vacuum or the cat lies on them.
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So maybe you can’t change your health overnight. But you can get a head start.