How far from the floor should curtains hang?

Updated February 21, 2017

Hanging curtains in your home offers many advantages: privacy, protection from the sun's fading effects, added colour and a sense of height since your eyes are drawn upward. Like most home decorating tasks, choosing curtains can be overwhelming for some, especially because they come in a variety of lengths.

Draperies Versus Curtains

What is the difference between draperies and curtains? The former is usually made of heavier fabric than curtains and hangs in deep, graceful folds. Meant to be pulled across the window, draperies are always floor-length and extend beyond the width of the window three to six inches on each side. Modern draperies of flat panels are often paired with another layer of panels to create a layered look. Still, they fall to the floor. Curtains, on the other hand, are made from more-lightweight fabric and can be hung in many lengths. They are used most often on smaller windows (in kitchens, for example) and can be hung with clips, rings or tabs of fabric.

Casual Curtain Lengths

For a casual, café-curtain look, hang them two to three inches below the window seal. If your windows are decorated with a pleasing trim, you may want the curtain hung low enough to just touch the top of the seal, helping to show off the decorative trim, or apron, as it is sometimes called. Curtains that stop just short of hitting the floor, or end at the top of floor mouldings, look awkward.

Formal Curtain Lengths

In general, the longer the curtain (or draperies), the more formal the look. Curtains that just touch the floor compliment formal or dressy rooms like well-appointed living rooms, dens or libraries. Hanging elegant, extra-long curtains that puddle on the floor under the window give spaces like a dining room a more-romantic look.

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About the Author

Gail began writing professionally in 2004. Now a full-time proofreader, she has written marketing material for an IT consulting company, edited auditing standards for CPAs and ghostwritten the first draft of a nonfiction Amazon bestseller. Gail holds a Master of Arts in English literature and has taught college-level business communication, composition and American literature.