Deciding the perfect length of drapes to fit windows can be a challenging task, especially as sizing is, to the uninitiated, a rather inexact science. Selection depends on a combination of personal preference and the style of the room to be dressed. That’s why so many people enlist the help of a professional window dressing service when determining the best options for their home.

The following are some considerations to take into account when choosing the length of drapes for your windows.

  • Consistency is key: For rooms with varying size windows, it’s advisable to go for a consistent length of drape to bring about a uniform visual balance.
  • Short or long? When it comes to shorter windows many choose to cover them with longer drapes. The reason for this is that larger drapes add depth to the room—hanging high and wide is an optical trick used by designers to make the window and room space appear larger.
  • Full-length panels: When creating floor to ceiling drapes the industry norm is to allow ½ an inch at the top and the same at the bottom so the drapes don’t rub on either surface.
  • Consider sunlight: For drapes hung just above a window, or those that end at the windowsill, consider if sunlight will highlight the hem. If so, extend these (top and/or bottom) by around 4” to prevent this.
  • Is there a baseboard heater? If so, drapes should end just above the heater.

Common Terminology Used In Drapery

Two common terms used in curtain design are “breaking” and “puddling.” 

  • Breaking: The term used for panels that “break” like a pair of trousers at the bottom, leaving about an inch of the drape to sweep the floor. This is a great style that looks good with all types of fabric.
  • Puddling: Curtains that have significant extra length that lies in a “puddle” at the base. This can be of varying amounts, up to 15” for a luxurious and classic effect.

Top tip: Puddling is often used in formal settings, areas with less traffic, and for drapes that are rarely opened and closed. 

Other Important Considerations

Both surroundings and lifestyle need to be considered when deciding on the ideal length of drapes for a particular setting. Consider aspects such as:

  • Is the room formal or casual?
  • What’s the flooring? Wood, tiles, carpet? 
  • Is there a lot of traffic through the room—kids, pets, etc.?
  • Are you going to use a valance or cornice? Particularly applicable when dressing windows in rooms with high ceilings. 

Drapes are a beautiful finishing touch to a room and should be considered as the “jewelry” that embellishes great décor. For the finest of effects, it’s well worth discussing your needs with a window treatment company to determine the perfect tailored look to create the necessary style.

Every room has it’s individual nuances, and premier window dressing company, Regency Shutter & Shade, offers the ultimate in drapery solutions to create bespoke designs that match both your expectations and budget. With thousands of fabrics and a multitude of styles to choose from, their friendly expertise provides the best in design advice to ensure the beautiful interior your home deserves.

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