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Window curtains are available in countless styles and lengths. Plus, they provide a visual focal point that makes a serious impact on any room. So, if you were curious, we researched how long your curtains should hang beneath a window sill.
If your curtains will hang below a window sill, the style and purpose of the room determines the curtain length. We will review Apron, Floor, and Puddle curtains, which all hang beneath the window sill. We listed the measurements for each type below.
- Apron curtains- Hang 3 to 6 inches beneath the sill
- Floor curtains - Touch the floor
- Puddle curtains - Have 1 to 3 inches pooling onto the floor
Curtains can transform your windows or an entire room. So, it’s important to find the right length. Keep reading to learn which curtains are best for you, if they need to be the same length, and how to shorten them without sewing.
Should All Curtains Be The Same Length?
It’s best for neighboring curtains to have the same length. However, it isn’t essential for curtains to be the same size in different rooms. Instead, you can maintain consistency by matching their styles to each other and the overall interior design of the home.
It’s important to consider the purpose of a room before selecting the curtains. For example, Café curtains are often terrific for kitchens or bathrooms. Café curtains are short enough that they only cover one half of a window.
Usually, this style of curtains is in kitchens, because they have a traditional diner style that lets in more natural light. Kitchens and bathrooms typically require more light because they’re smaller rooms that need to feel more open. Also, kitchens often have houseplants.
Meanwhile, longer curtains are not best for kitchens or bathrooms for safety purposes. Longer curtains in a kitchen might cause a fire, while using them in a bathroom might make it easier to slip or will collect mold.
Don't forget to consider if children or pets will use a room. You may prefer shorter curtains so kids or pets won’t be able to reach the curtains and play with them.
It might depend on their size or age. But sill curtains, and anything above the window sill, are considered the best option for nurseries or kid’s rooms. Read our post, How High Should You Hang Bedroom Curtains? for more details.
These curtains commonly measure around 63 inches long, allowing them to fall just beneath the window sill.
Because they are shorter than traditional curtains, they might look awkward in a living room. However, Apron curtains are ideal for avoiding obstructions that disrupt the flow of the room, such as radiators.
You can also use them to fit in with nearby decor like side tables or couches. While these would block out traditional curtains, Apron curtains could remain in full view.
Apron curtains are suitable for kitchens, bathrooms, nooks and bedrooms. These areas are smaller, and more likely to have obstacles on the floor.
Apron curtains highlight the floor and decor in a room by drawing less attention. They fit cozy, homemade interior designs like a farmhouse or cottage scene.
There are two kinds of floor curtains, although both are measured to stop just when they reach the floor. Their size is flexible enough to complement any interior design.
Ordinary floor curtains hang above the window as usual, and stretch to the floor. These commonly measure about 84 to 96 inches long.
They have a formal style and are traditionally used in the living room. The wider area is a great fit, and they are useful for balancing decor.
The alternative is a 'Floor to Ceiling' design, which is long enough to connect the two. They often measure well over a 100 inches and have a loud personality.
This curtain style is often used to make the walls appear longer than they truly are. The length commands a lot of attention and draws your eye upwards. It also hides the windows completely, so that smaller windows won’t break the illusion.
You can also use floor to ceiling curtains to create a room divider or for privacy reasons. But with thermal designs, you can better control natural sunlight and heat. Those curtains can help during heat waves or when summer comes around.
These are even longer than floor length curtains. They should measure beyond the window sill enough for the edges to pool on the floor. And you can find them with lengths of 108 inches.
Puddle curtains have the most formal and fanciest style. Although their style suggests they are only fit for special occasions, they are perfect for the dining room. Puddle curtains also make tall ceilings appear lower, if you want to make an area feel more cozy.
However, remember these are more likely to conflict with common interior designs. For example, modern styles like a minimalist approach prefer clean lines and less ornate decor.
Instead, Puddle curtains are deliberately used to bridge the lines between the floor and the walls. They are also a great way to soften contrast, if your floor or wall colors are not within two to three shades apart.
Using Puddle curtains would be much cheaper and faster than repainting all of your walls, or re-staining wooden floors.
Should Curtains Go Over Radiator?
Radiators can be very unsightly, especially if they are an older model. So, it's tempting to hide them with your curtains.
However, experts such as Trade Radiators advise against this, as you should never let curtains get too close to a radiator. With older radiators, they pose a fire risk in the event of faulty sparks.
Although newer radiators may be less dangerous, fire hazards are also present. Keep in mind, blocking a radiator in any way will reduce your heat circulation. If you must compensate for the blockage by using more heat, it will only cost you more money.
If a radiator is in your way, curtains should hang above them. For safety reasons, Apron curtains an ideal choice for the area. However, any curtains that hang above a window sill are also useful, such as sill curtains or café curtains.
How Can I Shorten My Curtains Without Cutting Or Sewing?
You may need to shorten your curtains if you introduce a new child or pet to the room, or repurpose the area. The easiest way to avoid making adjustments to your curtains is to reinstall the curtain rod, so that it rests higher above the window.
If needed, you may have to fold the bottom of the curtain to your desired length, and then use something to keep the fabric in place. Beforehand, make sure what you use will support the weight of the curtain.
While some use safety pins, you can also invest in a fabric adhesive. Using this product will preserve the quality of your fabric.
Adhesives are also available in a clear and washable formula, and are use urethane. After ironing out your new hem, apply fabric adhesive to the old edge.
You can also use an iron-on adhesive, which is sold as a roll of tape. Traditionally, it is double-sided, so use a pre-heated iron to apply this option. It safely bonds the old edge of the folded curtain to the rest of the fabric.
For more details and inspiration, you can read our post How To Shorten Curtains - Even Without Sewing.
How Far Should Curtain Rods Extend Past The Window?
In most cases, you want to make sure your curtains won’t cover too much of the window when you fully open them. So, a curtain rod should extend at least 4 to 6 inches beyond the width of the window.
You should measure the width of the window and then add 8 to 12 inches for the corresponding rod length.
To be even more exact, specialists such as Continental Window Fashions suggest adding 20% to the width of the window’s casing or frame. They also advise a 3-inch minimum on either side of the window.
You might prefer to see less of your windows, receive less natural light, or create a certain interior design. If so, you may tie off the bundled curtains, but that can appear less tidy.
Curtains are wonderful decor, but you need to understand how to choose a practical length. You want a safe room that still delivers the style or personality you desire. Now that you've learned about curtains that hang below a window sill, you can select one that suits your home.