Anthony Vaughn, September 30, 2012
When you are re-doing the interior of your house it can be easy to overlook the windows. You spend so much time choosing the right colours, wallpaper, carpet and furniture that you forget to make sure that your windows are properly dressed. Luckily there are plenty of options available when it comes to making your windows complement the rest of the decor as curtains and draperies come in a wide range of colours, shapes, fabrics and styles. Before you can decide on any of these aspects, it is important to measure your windows correctly so that whatever curtains or draperies you buy they will be the right shape so that they cover your windows appropriately.
For those averse to a bit of DIY, the prospect of measuring windows may seem somewhat tedious however if there is no hardware hung around the window then the task will be made that much easier. Start by getting your tape measure and recording the distance from top to bottom of the window casing as well as side to side. Ensure that you make note of whether there are any prominent window case moldings that could affect the placement of the curtain rail. The general rule of thumb when it comes to placing the curtain rail is that the ends should extend about 3 inches on either side and be mounted 4 inches above the window casing.
However, if there is already hardware mounted above the window then you will need to take it’s dimensions into account. In order to measure the existing curtain rod, first measure it from top to tip. This dimension is referred to as the rod’s width and is always the number that is expressed first. You will also need to account for any overlap at the centre of the curtain as well as any material that wraps around the ens that attach to the wall. In order to record the height of the drapery you should measure the length from the top of the rod to about 1 inch above the floor (if you are planning on purchasing drapes as opposed to curtains). If you have decided to buy curtains then simply measure from the top of the rod to approximately 4 inches below the window sill.
Now that you have recorded the width and length of your drapes you need to decide on how many of these curtains you are going to buy. In general, the number of panels of drapes you should use needs to be enough to cover 2 times the width of your window. The last thing you want to do is to try and stretch your curtains out so that they just about cover the window. You will find that most windows will be approximately 40-42 inches wide as standard. To take an example of a window which is 36 inches wide, you would want to use 72 inches of fabric. Using two 36 inch wide panels of fabric will be adequate to cover the window with a ‘full’ look. Standard panels can also come in lengths of 63 inches, 84 inches or 96 inches. Make sure that you choose the length of drape or curtain that is closest to what you need in terms of floor length or apron length.