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How do you measure curtains?

It might surprise you, but buying the right size of curtain sometimes vexes even the brightest of us. Confusion about the way curtains are sold and sized is one factor, and hopefully our little guide will help to clarify any uncertainty you have.

Firstly, curtains are always sold in pairs. When you see a size associated with a curtain (eg 117 x 137cm) it refers to the size of each individual curtain. The two figures given for the measurement given always come in the same order: width then length.

Measuring width
Your curtains will be hung from a track or pole. This should be placed about 15cm (6") above the window top and be 15-20cm (6-8") wider than your window to give you room to draw your curtains well back.
The key thing to do when getting the right measurement is to measure the width of your track or pole. The width of the window itself is actually not the thing to measure. When measuring, ignore the decorative endings you find on the pole/rail (technically known as 'finials', in case you're interested).
Whatever the measurement is, add an extra 2.5cm (1") on it. This gives you some leeway to allow your curtains to overlap when drawn closed - which is obviously necessary to minimise light leakage or draughts

Measuring Length
The curtain drop is the length from the top to the bottom of the curtain. The drop will depend on where the base of the curtain is to finish ie window sill (A), below sill (B) or floor (C). If you have a radiator below the window your curtains should finish 3cm (1 1/2") above it. This will prevent heat escaping behind your curtains and allow it to heat your room.

Curtain measurement diagram