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How Far Below Window Should Curtains be Hang?

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Curtains are among the most impactful interior design elements and can completely change the look of the space. But buying high-quality curtains without first understanding what curtain length is right for the space can take away from the room’s aesthetic.

So, how far below window should curtains hang? The answer is nuanced.

How Far Below Window Should Curtains Hang?

Curtains should hang far below the window – the end of the curtain should be no higher than an inch off the floor. These are called “floating” style curtains. You can also purchase “kiss” curtains that just barely touch the floor. The third curtain style you could go for is the “puddle” style, which involves hanging oversized curtains for an old-world feel.

Kiss-style curtains are the most difficult to come by since the curtains will need to be precisely tailored for the window. Puddle-style curtains can look great in formal spaces, but hanging these up isn’t a good idea in casual settings. Furthermore, puddle-style curtains get dirty easily and require extra effort to maintain.

Window with white curtain

Curtain Length Mistakes to Watch Out for

Styling curtains is not as simple as picking from one of the three curtain styles. Here are common mistakes to avoid:

#1 Ensure the Curtains are Long Enough

The only time when using short curtains is appropriate is if there is an obstacle such as a bed beneath the window. If there are no obstacles under the window, you should buy curtains at least 96 inches long. If you have low ceilings, you can purchase slightly shorter curtains.

If you can’t find ready-made curtains for your window, you might need to get your hands on custom-made curtains. You could buy bespoke curtains or work with a designer to hem your curtains to the right size.

#2 Purchase Curtain Rods in the Right Size

First-time curtain buyers often don’t care about the curtain rod’s size. Going for curtain rods having the same size as the window is a common first instinct. However, mounting curtain rods the same size as the windows will lead to the curtains blocking the windows when open. This will make your window look smaller than it is.

For this reason, we recommend purchasing and mounting curtain rods that are between six inches to a foot wider than the window.

#3 Consider the Curtain Fabric

If you’re buying ready-made curtains, ensure that you buy those with enough panels to cover the entirety of the window. The idea is to make the curtains look full and not flat. For this reason, you cannot get a 54-inch curtain for a 54-inch window. You will need a pair of curtains at least 1.5x the size of the window to provide enough fullness.

Conclusion

Hanging up short curtains is one of the biggest interior design mistakes people make. Contrary to popular belief, curtains that hang three to six inches below the window sill don’t look right – unless there’s an obstacle under the window preventing the use of long curtains.

Curtains should be no higher than an inch off the ground.