How to measure windows for pinch pleat curtains

Updated February 21, 2017

Pinch pleated curtains offer elegance to any room and any decor. You can purchase them lined or unlined and in solid, striped or floral patterns. They are a timeless style, which you can update with different curtain rods. Pinch pleated curtains attach to rods with pins, clips, or rings. Because the attachments affect where the curtains fall, it is important to measure for length before buying the curtains. How you will use the curtains will also affect how wide they need to be.

Decide how high to place the curtain rod. Most rods work best 10 to 15 cm (4 to 6 inches) above the window casing. This allows for clearance when opening the curtains. If you want to create the illusion of height because of low ceilings, mount the rod close to the ceiling. Once you have decided on the rod placement, affix the rod.

Measure the length for the curtains. Decide if you want the curtains to fall to the bottom of the window, below the window or to the floor. For a rod with rings, measure from the bottom of the rings to the desired length. For a rod with pins or clips, measure from the bottom of the rod because curtains attached with pins or clips, usually abut the edge of the rod.

Measure the width for the curtains. Decide how the curtains will function. If you will be opening and closing the curtains, measure the rod, not including the finials, to ensure there is enough material to close them. If the curtains will remain open, measure the inside of the window and add approximately 15 cm (6 inches) to allow some fullness for when you pull the curtains open.

Record your measurements with the width number first and the length number second. If you recorded measurements of 150 cm (60 inches) wide and 210 cm (84 inches) long, it would read, 150 cm by 210 cm (60 inches by 84 inches). When buying curtains, check whether there are single or double panels in the package. Some manufacturers package the panels individually.


If you want the curtains to open past the window, widen the rod, and then measure the rod.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
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About the Author

Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.