I have my curtain pole up, how and where do I measure for new curtains?

Terry Baskeyfield | Updated

If you’ve moved into a property where curtain poles for eyelet curtains are already in place, or if you are ready to buy curtain poles, then you’ll need to know how to measure for eyelet curtains, ready made curtains and made to measure curtains and where to measure, so here’s our handy guide on how to do it:

Measuring a curtain pole for ready made curtains

Because there is no such thing as a standard or typical window, the manufacturers of ready made curtains couldn’t possibly make a range of curtains to fit every imaginable window size possible. Instead ready-made curtains are manufactured in a range of popular and versatile sizes which cover the vast majority of common window shapes and sizes. There are three standard widths available in three different drops giving 9 possible size options in total.

Deciding on the width

To see which size option is best for you, measure the full width of your metal or wood curtain pole between, but not including, the finials and make a note of it. Look at the available ready-made curtain widths remembering that the majority of ready-made curtains come in pairs and the width specified is the width of each curtain. So in a pair of 66” wide ready-mades curtains for example there will be two curtains, each one measuring 66” wide. Go for the size that is nearest in width to your pole measurement width and if your pole size falls in between two sizes decide whether to go up a size so that your curtains will be nice and full if they are going to be working curtains that are used every day, or down a size because they are going to be dress curtains that will seldom be drawn.

Measure Window Width With Tape

Also bear in mind that with lightweight curtains or lined voiles there is less bulk or volume of fabric so often it is better to go fuller. With heavier weight fabrics such as chenille, velvet and brocade the fibres are more dense making the curtains bulkier so it is sometimes better to go slightly under on your fullness to make the stack-back less bulky. For example if you have a pole width of 72” you could go up to the 90” wide ready-made size on a lined voile curtain or an eyelet heading that stacks back well; or go for the 66” wide option if the fabric is heavy or robust.

Deciding on the drop

Now measure for your drop - depending on your choice of heading style. If you are measuring for curtains with a gathered heading such as pencil pleat curtains, then you will need to take your measurement from the bottom edge of the pole rings. If you like the idea of eyelet headed curtains then you will need to take your measurement from the top of your curtain pole. Take three different drop measurements. Take your fist drop measurement down to sill level, then take a measurement part way between the sill and the floor and finally measure the full length to the floor.

Black Curtain Pole

You may already have an idea in your mind whether you want long, mid-length or short curtains, depending on any furniture or radiator obstructions beneath your windows; or you may simply be going on looks or style. But if not then check the available ready-made curtain lengths against the measurements you have taken to help you decide and consider how the nearest drop available to your measurements will look at your window.

No quibble returns and refunds

If you are ordering your ready-made curtains from Terry’s, then when you have decided on the appropriate size to order, you can do so with the confidence that if they’re not right or you have measured or calculated incorrectly, that you can return them. Whilst it may be nice to indulge in sumptuous and luxurious made to measure curtains tailored perfectly to fit your windows, the bonus to buying ready-made curtains from Terry’s is that if you don’t like them or you think you have made an error in your choice of size or colour, then our no quibble refund or exchange service will take care of it. So long as you return your curtains in a saleable condition with their original packaging (even if you can’t get the curtains back into it) and the tapes have not been drawn up on curtains with gathered headings, then we are more than happy for you to have a good look at the quality and colour of our curtains in the comfort and lighting of your own home and to then return them to us if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase.

Measuring a curtain pole for made to measure curtains

Not having a typical or standard sized window is not a problem when you’re considering having your curtains tailor made, as tailor made means just that – curtains that are made specifically to fit your window measurements.

Measure Window Width

At Terry’s we’ve made our On-Line made to measure curtain ordering service simple, speedy and efficient with clear step by step instructions and pop-up help guides. You don’t need to worry about calculating the fullness needed in your curtains or fabric quantities and hem allowances, you simply need to decide on your fabric and heading style and then provide us with your curtain pole width and finished length and we do the rest – including an instant price calculation so that you’re fully aware of the cost too.

Measuring your pole width

Using a good steel tape measure (fabric ones stretch and can give inaccurate measurements) measure the full width of your curtain pole between, but not including, the finials and enter it into the relevant box on our made to measure order page.

Measuring and deciding on your finished length

Unlike ready-made curtains, made to measure curtains are not limited to 3 or 4 standard drop lengths. Our made to measure curtains can be made to your exact specified size (within a tolerance of 5mm). If you are measuring for curtains with a gathered or tailored heading such as pencil pleat or pinch pleat headings, then you will need to take your measurement from underneath the pole rings, where they meet the hook eyes. If you like the idea of eyelet headed curtains then you will need to take your measurement from the top of your curtain pole.

Dark Wooden Curtain Pole

Consider where you want your curtains to finish length wise and supply us with the finished length from either underneath the curtain pole rings to the bottom of the hem, or from the top of the pole to the finished hem, depending on your heading style. There is no need to add on any extra in your measurements for hem allowances or for the stand up above the curtain pole for eyelet heading. All we need is your measurement from pole to hem entered into the relevant box on our made to measure order page and we will do the rest. Decide whether you want long, mid-length or short curtains, depending on any furniture or radiator obstructions beneath your windows; or simply go by what look or style you are after.

Measuring for long curtains

For living rooms, dining rooms and master bedrooms, full length curtains look much more dramatic and elegant and can make quite a statement on a well fitted curtain pole. If you want your long curtains to clear the floor slightly (recommended for eyelet curtains and any long working curtains) then take your measurement right the way down to the floor and knock off a 1.5cm (or ¾”) clearance to give you your finished length and supply us with this measurement. If you want your curtains to touch the floor when they are hung and prefer not to see any clearance beneath them then supply us with the measurement to the floor without knocking off any allowance. For dress curtains that are not going to be drawn on a daily basis then an over measure for curtains which either knock-up or puddle on the floor can be very attractive.

For curtains that knock up on the floor add an extra 3 – 5” to your floor length measurement; and for curtains which puddle onto the floor (which is basically an excess of fabric which rouches informally onto the floor in a puddle or cloud effect) add anything from 12” – 18” to your floor length measurement. Measuring for Short Curtains – Sometimes even though you may prefer the look of long curtains, short curtains to sill length are a necessity rather than a style choice. Curtains fitted on bay window curtain poles for instance are a good example of when you may have to opt for short curtains; and measuring for the finished length of made to measure curtains in this situation is quite crucial and needs to be quite accurate. It is always recommended that you leave a slight clearance between the bottom of the hem and the sill to avoid any wear or tear on the curtains. This can happen if the bottom of the curtain hem comes into contact with the sill as the curtains could collect any dust, dirt or moisture on the sill.

Chrome Curtain Pole

Measure from underneath the pole ring to the sill and knock off a 1cm (or ½”) allowance for clearance. Bay windows are not always consistently level all the way around and have a tendency to run out a little. Take several drop measurements around the bay with a steel tape measure and use the shortest average measurement, less the 1cm (or ½”) clearance allowance to arrive at your finished drop measurement. If your bay window has quite a big difference in drop measurements around it and taking an additional clearance off the shortest measurement would possibly leave too big a gap at the bottom of the curtains in places, then take an average measurement that you are happy with for your finished length and accept that in places the hem of the curtain may touch the curtain sill when the curtains are closed and in others it may not.

Measuring for mid-length curtains

Sometimes obstructions beneath windows such as radiators, furniture or window seats will prevent you from having full length working curtains, but don’t necessarily mean that you have to have short sill length curtains. Mid length curtains which fall somewhere between sill and floor length are easy to measure for and can add a little more of a luxurious or sumptuous look than sill length curtains, without blocking any valuable heat from radiators or obstructing furniture and window seats as floor length curtains would. And if you’re ordering made to measure curtains then the finished length can be anything you like. As a general rule of thumb the hem needs to be at least 6” - 8” below the sill to look comfortable but can be shorter if necessary or longer if desired.

Returns and refunds

If you are ordering made to measure curtains always double check your measurements before you submit them . Once your order is placed and processed, your curtains will be cut and made to your specific sizes and your order will therefore be unique to you and not returnable or refundable as a ready-made curtain order would be.

Related Products

Related Collections