Measuring Guide

How to Measure for Window Treatments

While it may seem a simple task to some, properly measuring windows for specific treatments can be a tricky business. In fact, mis-measuring is one of the most common reasons window treatments are returned, so knowing your way around a measuring tape could save you significant time and frustration.

Take a look at this handy guide to measuring windows for curtains, draperies and blinds.

** Pro Tip: To determine how to hang curtains with the most accurate results, always use a wood or metal ruler when measuring, never a cloth tape.

Measuring for Pinch-Pleated Draperies

1. Determine your rod width.

Rods can be mounted on the window frame, on either side of the frame, on anyplace on a wall you want to cover. Decide where you're going to put the brackets, then measure the width of the area between the brackets.

2. Determine your drapery width.

Measure the width of the area you want to cover, then add 12 inches. This allows space for draperies to extend beyond your windows properly.

3. Determine the drapery length.

The rod should be positioned at least 4 inches above the window so that the pleats are not seen from the outside. Measure for length from where the top of the rod will be to the desired length. Most common lengths are to the windowsill (see B in diagram), just below the window trim (C), or to the floor (D). For a "puddle" look, order the next longer length than your window-to-floor measurement.

Where you place the top of the drapery pin determines where the drapery will fall, so if you’re using a decorative rod or pole with rings, measure from the eye of the hook or ring to the sill, apron, or floor.

If you're using a standard rod, measure the distance from the top of the rod to where the draperies will hang. If floor length is desired and you have carpeting, subtract one inch for clearance.

If you're using a decorative rod, measure the distance from the bottom of the rod to where the draperies will hang. If floor length is desired and you have carpeting, subtract 1 inch for clearance.


Refer to the diagram for help when measuring for any window treatment:

  • A = window width (including casing, if any)
  • B = length to windowsill
  • C = length to apron
  • D = length to floor.

Measuring for Rod-Pocket Curtains, Pole-Top Styles, and Top Treatments

1. Determine the width

Measure the area to be covered. To create the fullness you desire, order 2 to 3 times the rod width for sheer or semi-sheer fabrics, and 1½ to 2 times the rod width if the fabric is opaque.

2. Determine the length.

Measure from where the top of the rod will be to the desired length — windowsill (B), apron (C), or floor (D) — then add 1 inch to allow for header.

**Pro Tip: When measuring length, always allow ½ inch for floor or windowsill clearance.

Measuring for Blinds and Shades

When purchasing a shade there are two types to choose from. The first selection is a translucent shade which will allow the sun to shine through. The second type is a room darkening shade, which is designed to lessen the amount of sun in a room and provide for more privacy.

Shades are mounted by the use of shade brackets. There are three (3) different types of brackets: outside brackets, inside brackets and adjustable inside brackets.

When purchasing a shade you must decide if you will be hanging the inside of the window frame or the outside of the window frame. Remember if room darkening is of the most importance, an inside mounted shade will have at least a 5/8” gap on each side to let light in, so you may want an outside mount.

Mini Vinyl Blinds

For mounting inside your window frame, use a metal tape measure to measure the inside width of your window frame in three spots: top, middle, and bottom. Do the same for the length from the inside top of the frame down to the sill.

For mounting outside your window frame, measure the width between the points where the covering will be placed. Measure the length from where you will mount the top of the blind down to where you want the bottom of the blind to be.

Roll-Up Shades

Overall shade width is measured from tip to tip; however; the shade fabric will measure 1½" less than the overall width. When using an outside mount, measure from bracket to bracket, remembering that shade fabric is 1½" less than the overall width.

When using an inside mount, you may choose a shade that will fit on a window that measures up to one-half inch wider than the size given.

Find Your Curtains, Blinds and Draperies Now

Now that you know how to hang your window treatments to create your perfect space, take a look at Marburn’s massive selection of unique, affordable curtains and decorative treatments:


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