How Much Should Curtains Overhang Windows?

Emma Lee

Window dressings are as important as the furniture in a room. How the room is used and the style of furniture in it will dictate the type of curtains hung over the windows. The style of the room, whether elegant or casual, will have a direct influence on the length and choice of curtain. Complete your room by choosing the best curtain length for the windows.

Cafe Curtains

Casual curtains stop at the windowsill.

Cafe curtains divide the window in half horizontally. The top half is a valance, or two curtain panels that stop at the middle of the window without overlapping the top of the bottom panels. The bottom half of the cafe curtain consists of two panels. The panel length stops either at the windowsill or 1/4 inch above the sill.

Short Curtains

Short curtains are popular in a child’s bedroom, bathrooms or when obstacles are below the window. Short curtains consist of two panels hanging the length of the window. The bottom hem stops just short of the sill or 1/4 inch above the sill. Extend the length of the curtain to cover a window apron if an apron is part of the frame.

Floor-length Curtains

Floor-length curtains stop within 1/4 to 1/2 inch above the floor. The style works well for pinch-pleat curtains with a side pull to open and close the curtains. The pleats hang perfectly whether the curtain is opened or closed.

Breaking Curtains

Breaking curtains are one inch longer than the distance from the rod to the floor. Use this length for stationary curtains that hang along the side of the window. The style gets its name from the break that a man’s trousers make when the leg hits the shoe. The fabric creates a gentle crease at the bottom of the trouser leg.

Puddled Curtains

The most dramatic of curtain lengths is the puddled curtain. The curtain is left stationary and the extra fabric is arranged to pool over the floor. Puddled curtains work well in the master bedroom or a formal living room. Measure the distance from the rod to the floor and add four to eight inches of extra fabric to create the puddle.

Curtain Width

The width of a curtain varies and depends on personal preference. Narrow windows will look bigger and wider when the rod and curtain are extended past the window frame. Use a double curtain rod to make this effect work to widen a window. Place stationary panels on the outer rod and push the curtains to the outside of the window frame. Make certain that the frame is covered by the curtains. Use the inner rod for sheer panels that can either be opened or closed.