Should curtains touch the floor? What curtain drop length to choose?

Should curtains touch the floor? What curtain drop length to choose?

Window decoration with curtains is a rather tricky task both for those who can independently cope with sewing and hanging draperies and for those who, in principle, do not own a needle, a sewing machine, and curtain hooks but still dream of harmony and order in the interior. In the case of window treatment, the devil lies in numerous details – and this applies not only to the texture of the fabric, color, the presence or absence of valances, or the number of folds, but also the length of the panels as such.

Today, it is still not uncommon for cases when the choice of curtains’ length is treated extremely carelessly, determining this parameter, as many say, by eye. However, you should not do this; otherwise, the distortion of the visual proportions of the wall, the sloppy or incomplete appearance of the windows risk becoming a constant bitter reminder of your rashness.

And yet, even if you consider the curtains’ length from ceiling to floor, there is still a danger that you will be faced with a prevalent dilemma: should the curtains touch the floor, or should the curtains be made shorter? You shouldn’t consider this problem frivolous, since in this case, the issues of aesthetics, balance, and visual perception are being solved. So, let’s see what curtain drop length is acceptable in modern interiors.

Higher or lower: how to determine how low curtains should hang

In fact, interior design does not imply any immutable laws, which cannot be violated under fear of getting something terrible and ugly. As you probably know, trends are cyclical, and this frequency applies equally to the curtains’ length.

Today, the question “should the curtains touch the floor?”, designers answer categorically and unequivocally: of course, the curtains should touch the floor. However, you should understand that such a clear statement is by no means an axiom, and in real life, the length of the draperies is determined by several factors, which we will talk about a little later.

It doesn’t matter what length of curtains you choose – to the floor or to the windowsill – in any case, it is imperative to make as accurate measurements as possible in order to buy enough fabric. As a rule, measurements are taken in the following sequence:

  • measuring the length from the curtain rod to the floor or the edge of the window sill;
  • depending on the type and width of the curtain rod, add 1-4” (3-10 cm) to the obtained value or subtract the exact figures;
  • adding an overlap of ⅘-2” (2-5 cm) – for high-quality and aesthetic processing of the lower edge of the curtains;
  • adjustment of the fabrics to the desired length during the sewing process.

Correct measurements are already half the battle when choosing the required length of curtains. And what options, in this case, do you have in principle – we are ready to tell you a little below.

Curtain length: for every taste

Do not think that, when deciding on the curtains’ length on the windows, you can operate with only two options – to the floor or to the windowsill. In fact, even here, you can count on a variety of solutions. We suggest that you dwell in more detail on various sizes of draperies – perhaps you will reconsider your view of window decoration.

Curtains “lying on the floor”

Of course, this is nothing more than a metonymy – we think you understand that the curtains are not entirely located on the floor covering, but only their lower edge lies. As for the volume and length of the fabric located directly on the floor, in this regard, British designers distinguish two options – “puddling” and “breaking”.

In the first case, a strip of fabric is located horizontally – from 4” to 8” (10 to 20 cm). You can arrange this section with spectacular folds that look incredibly elegant and romantic, especially in traditional and classic interiors.

“Breaking” – the length of the curtains, at which the edge of the curtain is laid on the floor no more than 1”-2” (3-6 cm). This solution creates a truly cozy atmosphere and allows you to hide skirting boards or minor floor defects very successfully.

“Puddling” and “breaking” are far from the only options for curtains of this length. It depends only on you how much fabric you leave for the allowance and how you will arrange it. In any case, such draperies look very elegant and, one might say, rich, and therefore often become a highlight of traditional design. However, in this case, designers warn against such a decision in the following situations:

  • You are not overly scrupulous or worried about the little things. You should beautifully arrange curtains that extend on the floor. Otherwise, the bottom edge will look like a lump of fabric accidentally thrown on the floor. If you do not feel the desire to do this, try draperies lightly touching the floor.
  • You don’t like cleaning or do it infrequently. Dust and debris collect in the folds on the floor, and when working with a vacuum cleaner or a mop, the edge of the curtain will have to be constantly raised, which is also not very convenient.
  • In the kitchen, bathroom, or nursery. In the rooms where you cook, in principle, there should be nothing extra on the floor – unless, of course, you want to regularly wash the curtains from splashes of grease and the like. Long curtains in the bathroom have a constantly wet edge, and in the nursery – all the time lost toys, garbage behind the draperies, and the risk that the child accidentally steps on or pulls the fabric behind him and drops the curtain rod. However, in living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and lounges like a billiard room, you don’t have to limit yourself to the panels’ length.

And, finally, do not forget about another significant point: the solution in the style of “curtains longer than the floor” is possible only with dense and heavy curtain fabrics. Light and translucent curtains cannot be hanged beautifully, and the inevitable deformation of vertical folds will give the room a sloppy look.

Curtains lightly touching the floor

Such a solution is a top solution in the sense of the art of decorating windows. If your curtains fall in straight and even folds to the floor surface millimeter by millimeter, then we can safely say that you are closer to perfection than ever. Even along the bottom edge, the absence of creases in the fabric gives the windows an impeccably balanced look. That is why there is no need to talk about which interior style is suitable for such a length of draperies: it is pretty clear that it is appropriate absolutely everywhere.

Floating curtains

The classic option is a curtain drop from the flooring by no more than 2/5” (1 cm). This length is considered traditional and one of the most harmonious options, since the distance between the floor and the lower edge of the curtain is almost invisible, but at the same time, you are spared from some of the problems with cleaning and from the need to measure the panel for a long time and carefully, as is necessary for the previous version. Also, the designers assure that such a length is the best way to stretch the room visually, and therefore you can safely use this window design in a room with ceilings below 8 ft (2.5 m).

Another solution that is considered standard is curtains, the bottom of which is located at a distance of about 5 cm from the floor surface. Such a length of draperies is even more practical, does not in the least interfere with keeping the room clean, and, moreover, is optimal for decorating windows with light flowing fabrics. However, there are two critical points to keep in mind.

Firstly, you should not hang such curtains in rooms with low ceilings, as such a solution visually makes them even lower. And secondly, in this case, you will have to take care of the perfect flooring and beautiful skirting boards under the windows.

Short curtains

We have already found out that floor-length curtains are elegant, cozy, and harmonious. At the same time, do not underestimate shortened panels, since in some cases, short curtains are not inferior to long curtains in either functional or decorative properties. Today, designers suggest paying attention to the following options:

  • Curtains to the windowsill. As a rule, in this case, the curtain hem does not reach the window sill by ⅖-⅘“ (1-2 cm). This option creates a rather attractive design, favorably emphasizes the window’s shape, and opens up vast opportunities for using various kinds of holdbacks and valances. However, such a length is compatible only with light fabrics, and its use in bedrooms and living rooms is entirely undesirable since it looks highly inexpressive over a large area. But for a kitchen, a nursery, or a small room where the window sill is used as a shelf, such curtains are perfect.
  • Curtains below the windowsill. In this case, it is understood that the draperies fall 4-6” (10-15 cm) beyond the window sill. This length is more balanced, allows you to focus on the design of the same window sill – and if you choose the fabric exactly to match the other textiles in the room, the picture will turn out to be surprisingly harmonious. In the living room, such a solution, again, will not be enough, but in the dining room or the nursery, it will be practical and stylish.
  • Cafe curtains. A very original design, implying the curtain rod’s placement in the middle of the window and draperies ending flush with the window sill – in some cases, a small canopy is added at the top of the opening. These curtains look stylish and help provide the privacy you need in the bathroom, rustic kitchen, or veranda.

Whether the curtains should touch the floor is a question that is not very well asked. Modern canons of interior design are very flexible, and therefore the choice of the length of the draperies depends primarily on you. The most important thing is that you really like the curtains on your windows.

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