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Custom curtains and drapes are the perfect accessories for your windows. When properly installed they can give your home the perfect look you desire. However, many people struggle when it comes to measuring for custom curtains and drapes, because whether you purchase ready-mades or have them sewn, measurements for your custom curtains and drapes are vital.

When taking on the important role of measuring for your custom curtains and drapes, you need these essential tools:

  • tape rule or measuring tape

  • a piece of paper or jotter to record your findings

  • a pen or pencil

  • chalk for marking

  • a drapery rod (optional)

After having your materials in place, you need to identify exactly what needs to be measured.

How do I know what size drapes to buy?

When you’re in need of new drapes, this is the million-dollar question everyone asks!

Not to worry, the answer is right here. Drapes come in various sizes and the size to purchase depends on the following criteria:

  • Mounting technique to be used

  • Rod length

  • Drapes length required

  • Width

  • Length

All the above have to be measured carefully and the final measurements will determine the size of drapes to purchase. Firstly, we need to look at the techniques needed to get the essential measurements you require. The results can then be presented to the sales professional at the store where you purchase your drapes. With the correct measurements, you are assured of buying the right drapes for your windows and perfectly designing your home to your heart’s content.

Let’s look at the techniques used to ensure you get accurate measurements.

Determine Mounting Technique

We have talked about types of mounting techniques that exist in our previous article, but let’s recap and see how the type of mounting technique chosen affects the size of drapes to be purchased. There are two types of mounting techniques, outside mounting and inside mounting.

Outside Mounting

This technique features your custom curtains and drapes being hung on the rod, which is secured outside the window frame. With this type of mounting, the window looks larger, hence the drapes will need to be larger to cover the window fully and give the aesthetic value it deserves. This mounting technique is the most common of the two.

Inside Mounting

This technique is less common. With this technique, the drapes are hung on the rod, which is secured within the window frame. It creates a more streamlined look, and the drapes to be used must look scanty to fit the illusion that is to be created. Not much light is blocked from entering with drapes hung by the inside mounting technique. Check out for more details on mounting techniques.

Determine Rod Length

The rod is a vital tool when it comes to measuring for custom curtains and drapes. To get the perfect measurements for your drapes, you have to picture hanging the drapes on drapery rods. The first step is to measure the width of the windows to determine the length of the rod. Drapery rods usually extend 6-8 inches past the window frame, so once you have measured the window’s width, add the extra inches.

Rod lengths are influenced by where they will be mounted, which is why we have inside, above and below trim mount rod lengths.

Inside Trim Mount

This gives a streamlined, tailored look as drapes are suspended from within the window frame. Rods with an expandable design and end caps should be considered. The measurement is taken from within the window frame and a few inches can be added to give it a lavish and modern look.

Above Trim Mount

This type of mount is recommended for the ‘perfect’ look and the rod should be installed about 6-8 inches above the top of the window. The length of the rod will be the width of the window plus 8 inches.

Below Trim Mount

This type of rod mount is considered for windows with beautiful mouldings that you want to showcase. If that’s the case with yours, then you should measure the width of the window and add about 8 inches to give it a fuller look.

Measure for width

Measuring for the width of the drapes can be divided into two:

With drapery rod

The width of the drapes with a drapery rod installed will amount to the width of the installed drapery rod minus the end caps. So write down the measurements of the drapery rod and there you have the width of your drapes.

Without a drapery rod

If a drapery rod is yet to be installed, measure the window frame from one end of its outer trim to the other to get the width for your drapes. You can add about 8 inches for the rods if you have the wall space.

Measure for length

Measuring the length for your drapes is perhaps the simplest part of measuring for curtains and drapes, as you just need to do some small calculations. This measurement is also divided into two:

With a drapery rod

You have to measure from bottom tip of the rod to the floor.


  • Deduct 1 inch if you want it to be just on the floor.

  • Deduct 2 inches if you want it to be away from the floor.

  • Or Add 2 inches if you want it to form a small pool on the floor.

Without a drapery rod

Measure from the window top trim to the floor.


  • The drapery rod should be about 6-8 inches above top trim. Add about 6-8 inches if you have wall space.

  • Deduct 1 inch if you want it to be just on the floor.

  • Deduct 2 inches if you want it to be away from the floor.

  • Or Add 2 inches if you want it to form a small pool on the floor.

With these handy tips you can see that measuring for your custom drapes and curtains isn’t so hard! To learn more tips on measuring for your custom curtains and drapes, go to  DrapesPlace/measurment

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