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Deciding whether your curtain should touch the floor or not is just as important as picking the right fabric, color, design, or curtain style. However, most windows don’t extend down to the ground, so why should window treatments and drapes do?
Is there a standard curtain drop length? How should you hang your drapes and curtains? Do curtain lengths depend on which room you’re decorating? We’re sure these questions are running through your mind. Luckily, we have all the answers you’re looking for, so keep reading for some surprising ideas about hanging curtains.
The Short Answer
Choosing the right length for your curtains depends on multiple factors like the style of your home and furniture and the look you’re trying to achieve. You also need to be more specific about which rooms you need the curtains for.
Generally, long curtains are worth investing more than shorter ones, but that doesn’t mean they “should” touch the floor. It only means that it’s “better” if they do, at least in most scenarios.
Are Curtains Supposed to Drag On the Floor?
You don’t necessarily need to puddle your curtains all over the floor. It’s more about which room we’re talking about, and, of course, the style of this room.
In general, extra-long shades that drag on the floor look dramatic, so they’re more suitable for romantic and formal settings. They’re elegant and luxurious. Therefore, you usually only see such curtains in a bedroom or a dining room.
On the other hand, short curtains are usually used for more practical reasons rather than decorative. They’re also a bit more stylish with a modern look, so they’re perfect for a family room or a living room.
Is It Okay if Curtains Don’t Touch the Floor?
Absolutely. You don’t always have to let your curtains touch the floor. Contrarily though, going for a curtain that doesn’t touch the floor can be the smartest option in many situations, like in a room that needs frequent cleaning, where you’ll be using the vacuum or sweeping all the time.
In such a case, a long curtain will only be a burden while cleaning because you’ll have to rearrange it all the time. Also, the fabric will get dirty quite easily, so you’ll have to clean it too.
Moreover, long curtains only work for formal styles, so if you’re trying to keep it casual, a traditional panel that’s a few inches above the floor would be much better. Keep your children and pets in mind too, as they might grab or hang onto the lower ends of the curtains, or even worse, your pet might cut through the curtains.
How Far Should Curtains Hang from the Floor?
We understand how confusing choosing the perfect length for your curtains can be, so here’s a simple guide for different curtain lengths for various rooms.
Breaking at the Floor
Also known as puddle curtains, these curtains don’t just reach the floor, but they also extend a couple of inches beyond the floor-length, creating breaks or folds at the bottom.
With the curtain extending that long, it’d be perfect for tall windows, particularly to achieve the fancy, elegant look we mentioned above, so save it for formal rooms that need some contrasting banding for a luxurious touch.
To pull off this style, you need to pick thicker fabrics as they’re easily tailored so that the curtain stays in place instead of moving with the wind.
Cotton or a beautiful sheer linen fabric will work perfectly for puddle curtains; just make sure to get some extra fabric (usually around 3 inches, but can be anywhere between half an inch to 4 inches), so there’s enough fabric to puddle gracefully on the floor.
Floor-length curtains are the most popular and easiest curtain lengths to find among long curtains as they come in standard sizes with a standard curtain drop length. Such curtains make a practical option for family rooms because they stay clean for the longest time possible as they don’t touch the floor, so they don’t collect dust, dirt, or even pet hair from the floor.
Floor curtains don’t really reach the floor. Instead, they hang about half an inch above the floor with a decent distance between them. As a result, they always hang straight with a beautiful look that suits modern styles.
If you choose to opt for that style, all you have to do is measure the distance from the curtain rod to the ground to pick the right length for these ready-made curtains. Otherwise, you might end up getting a shorter or longer curtain length from what you really need, which can ruin the design.
Short curtains are the ones that lightly brush the windowsill to achieve a casual look. With the right length and measurements, they can look stylish rather than traditional; that’s to say that the curtain never extends beyond 3 inches below the windowsill.
It’s crystal clear that short curtains are not suitable for formal rooms, so what are they good for? For one, these curtains are perfect for houses with high ceilings because they make the ceiling look lower than it actually is.
Another reason to go for short curtains is for windows located above the kitchen sink or the radiator. Moreover, kids’ bedroom curtains are better kept as short as possible so that they don’t pull them down while playing and end up bringing them down or breaking the curtain rod.
Grazing Curtains are midway between long and short curtains. They’re designed not to touch the floor without revealing any baseboards.
Therefore, the length of a grazing curtain should be measured precisely with a measuring tape, and it should be hung so as to hem the lower edge to the exact measured distance with a little space left between it and the floor.
Thick fabrics look stunning with such style, and it’s even better if you use these curtains for wider windows.
Cafe curtains are similar to short curtains, but they only reach halfway up the window, exposing the upper part. This way, natural light can break through the window without invading your privacy, which makes cafe curtains an excellent pick for small windows in bathrooms, as well as farmhouse-style or rustic country kitchens.
Further, you can attach a valance or a small flounced curtain along the top edge of a cafe curtain for a more decorative look.
Apron Window Treatments
An apron curtain is an unpopular type of short curtain that extends only 1 inch below the window apron. This length is only used for its practicality, yet, it’s not preferable except in windows with wide aprons or if there’s a window seat that doesn’t allow for hanging full-length curtains.
Should Curtains Be Longer Than the Window?
It’s safe to say that most interior designers prefer curtains that are longer than windows. However, there are few exceptions to this rule, especially with bathroom and kitchen windows.
As you can tell from the previous section, curtains come in different lengths, so choosing the most appropriate size is a matter of personal preference.
Do you want to keep them at windowsill level like a farmhouse style? Is it a small window in the hall with a beautiful vase beneath? There are plenty of situations in which shorter curtains make far more sense. That aside, it’s better to use longer curtains or blinds with a drape to control light and privacy, especially with windows that extend along the entire length of the wall.
With small windows, you can use a significantly shorter curtain. Still, as explained earlier with cafe curtains, we prefer moving the curtain rod down, exposing the upper portion rather than the lower part of the window. This way, you get all the natural light you need, and you still achieve a stylish and modern look without compromising privacy.
What’s the Standard Length for Curtains?
Ready-made curtains come in 3 different lengths, including 84 inches, 96 inches, and 108 inches. The first one is the least used because it only works if you have a low ceiling. However, 96 and 108-inch curtains are more suitable in most scenarios, even if you’re hanging your blinds behind furniture.
Are Short Curtains Out of Style?
Not all short curtains, but yes, some of them are out of style, for the most part. Regardless, it’s not fair to use curtain lengths as the only reference to whether your curtain is stylish or not.
In other words, there are many factors that you have to think about to pick the perfect draperies for your home rooms; the curtain length is one of them, but you still have to choose the fabric, pattern, color, texture, and styles that match your furniture as well.
Additionally, you need to figure out your priorities, does style matter more than functionality? For example, if you have children running around the house all day long, a short curtain would be perfect for a playroom. Also, for wet floors like bathrooms and kitchens, a short curtain would make more sense, even if there’s nothing to hinder using a long one.
Lastly, you can go smart with styling. For instance, why not mount the curtain rod higher than the window level and place a sofa below the window to create the illusion of a long window regardless of the curtain length? If that’s the situation in your living room, you don’t need to use a long drape that requires more frequent cleaning; just opt for the less troublesome option.
How Far Should Curtain Rods Extend Beyond the Window Frame?
The length of your curtains is one thing, and the width is a whole other thing. While longer curtains make panels look longer, increasing the width makes the window look wider.
There’s no way to ultimately determine the exact width of the drapes and therefore, the curtain rods. Again, it’s one thing that’s left for personal preference.
Yet, most designers pick a rod that extends at least 4 inches on each side of the window so that you have enough space to open the drapes during the morning time. Meanwhile, the rod’s length shouldn’t exceed 10 inches beyond the window frame.
So, Should Curtains Touch the Floor?
As far as we’re concerned, there’s no solid answer to such a question. Yet, finding the perfect length when choosing curtains for your house isn’t as challenging as one might think, especially that many sellers will show you photos of different designs they offer so that you can pick the one you like the most.
However, what we’re trying to get at is that while there is no absolute right or wrong, you can still make an informed decision relying on different aspects, not just the length as a separate entity.
So, if you’re keen on picking what works best, make sure to go through the different types of curtains we discussed earlier with the bigger picture in mind!