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How To Measure For Drapes Like The Pros

How To Measure For Drapes Like The Pros

Trying to find out how to measure for drapes? We’ve got you covered.

Measuring for drapes doesn’t require you to be a technical genius or a math whiz it only requires you to account for a few extra factors than when taking measurements for shades or blinds. The drapery stack, puddle or break, and the hardware type and location are the biggest factors that affect the final order size for custom drapery. If your serious about how to measure for drapes and learning about more tips for making your future drapery look its best in your space keep reading.

Functionality and Style Come First.

The first step in learning how to measure for drapes involves deciding on the type of panels and how they’re going to be used. It’s possible to order single panels, which could be used to cover a single window or be placed at intervals across glass doors, larger walls or windows. For more traditional drapery, order a pair of panels, that consist of two equal sections of material that will cross your window from either side.

How To Measure For Drapes


Then, you’ll need to choose whether these panels will be stationary and purely decorative drapery, or functional, meaning they can be drawn open and closed. Your décor style, light blocking needs, and the amount of privacy will help you determine this.

Measuring the Width of the Drapery.

Once you choose the panel you need, you can measure for their width. Pro tip: we always recommend extending out your drapery hardware as much as 6” – 12” on either side of the window to make the window appear larger and allow space for the drapery stack, or drapery fabric that pools together when the drapes are pulled back, to sit at least partially on the wall instead of obstructing the window glass and natural light.

How To Measure For Drapes


Measure the entire width of the area to be covered, this includes the extended length on either side of the window. Don’t worry, Alva will automatically account for drapery fullness and ensure your panels are wide enough to provide that perfect stack.

Measuring the Length of the Drapery.

The type of drapery hardware being used will determine how you measure for length. For ceiling mounted drapery, measure from ceiling down to the floor.

For wall mounted hardware, plan on installing the hardware about 6” above the top of your window. This helps draw the eye up, making your ceilings look taller and the room feel more spacious. Measure all the way down to where you want your drapery to touch.

With that measurement in hand, consider adding or subtracting for a puddle or clearance. Functional curtains that are opened often should hang about ½” off the floor. This helps keeps the drapes clean and makes them easy to pull open and closed. If you have uneven floors you want to disguise, add up to 1” – 4” for a puddle. Some natural materials such as wool and linen tend to stretch over time, and look best with some added length.

Lengths adjustments:

  • Touching – enter 0” or – ½ to ensure no dragging and no styling needed
  • Break – enter +1” to 2”
  • Sweep – enter +2” to 4”
  • Puddle – enter +6” to 8”

You will also need to add extra length if you want to tie back your draperies still have them hit the floor.

Our design consultants are happy to help if you have any questions about how to measure for drapes. Give us a call or shoot as an email, we can help with complex motorizations, tough windows. hardware selection and placement, and drapery materials.


Feature Photo by Bowdre Longo Interiors

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