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How Long Should Curtains Be For A 9 Foot Ceiling?

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Curtains are complicated. Just picking them out can be a headache, and then you have to find the right size. So once you have the perfect curtain, how long does it need to be for a 9-foot ceiling? We've researched everything you need to know about curtain placement and guarantee that this article will help you find the right-sized curtain panel with ease.
 
For a 9 foot ceiling, pick 96-inch curtains. Typically, your curtain rod is hung about a foot from the ceiling. 96 inches covers the distance between the floor up to one foot from the ceiling. If you want to hang your curtains higher, such as ceiling height, or prefer more ornate curtains that pool on the floor, go up one size to 108-inch curtain panels.
 
Read further for everything you need to know about curtain size and placement. Do they have to go to the floor? How high should they hang? What if you'd rather use short curtains, or what if the window is small? This article covers all that and more.
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How Do You Hang Curtains On A 9 Foot Ceiling?

It's pretty standard for the curtain rod to hang about a foot from the ceiling. For the ideal placement, you don't want the curtain too close to the window frame. If the curtain crowds the frame, it will leave a lot of space between the ceiling and window. This looks off-centered and strange in most rooms. 

Low curtains also tend to make ceilings look lower. As a result, the room appears cramped and smaller. For this reason, it's better to go higher than needed. High curtains closer to the ceiling make the walls appear taller. You can always go all the way and hang curtains straight to the ceiling.

While the size of the room, the window placement, and personal preference can all factor into the decision, here are a few useful pointers to keep in mind:

  • Don't ever go less than 3 inches above the window frame. Any closer to the window is just too close. It's cramped and looks misplaced.
  • It's better to go higher rather than lower.
  • A good rule is to split the difference - for example, if there are 2 feet of space above the window, hang the curtains in the middle. One foot below the ceiling and one foot above the window has a balanced, pleasing appearance.

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Should Curtains Go Ceiling To Floor?

Once again, personal preference and style can play a role in the final decision. Some people like long curtains with excess material, with fabric that pools onto the floor. For a clean, more orderly look, you can do floating curtains. In this style, the end of the curtain floats just above the floor. It stops without touching, but barely - it should be within an inch of the floor. 

While there are different styles of curtains, the general rule is that they always touch the floor - or very nearly. Curtains that are several inches too short make a jarring visual. Curtains should flow to connect the space between the floor and the wall - it's meant to be a design feature that joins these elements. If they stop abruptly instead, it just looks unappealing. Read more about curtain lengths here.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. In some cases, short curtains that don't reach the floor are ideal. These fit into two categories:

  • Hygiene or cleanliness - in some rooms, like the bathroom, long curtains that touch the floor might be less hygienic or hard to clean. 
  • Long curtains don't fit - sometimes there's a counter, sink, radiator, furniture, or some other obstacle that prevents curtains from reaching the floor.

In situations such as these, it's perfectly fine to opt for shorter, more practical curtains. Just be sure to pick curtains that are nowhere near the floor. Use a style such as cafe curtains, which are intended to stop around the window frame. Going with curtains that almost touch the ground, but are four or five inches short, appears more like a measuring mistake than a deliberate style choice.

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How Tall Are Windows For A 9 Foot Ceiling?

In old, standard home construction, ceilings were typically 8 feet high. However, in more modern homes, higher ceilings such as 9 or even 10 feet are becoming increasingly common.

As a 9-foot ceiling is already a bit of a deviation from the norm, there's a less obvious standard for windows. Modern design has people looking for new and exciting ways to decorate their homes all the time, including windows. Unique choices such as floor to ceiling windows or bay windows become more common all the time. Windows can easily be as much as 60 inches high, although 48 inches would be the most "typical" size.

Window size and placement do depend on a few factors, such as:

Header

All windows need a header between the ceiling and the window. The header is a functional space that supports the weight of the ceiling. As a general rule, the header is not less than 10 inches - the actual size for your home will vary and is determined by a structural engineer. It's possible, but difficult, to break that rule with engineering tricks - however, it costs more money.

Furniture Placement

This isn't quite as critical as having the right sized header, but windows typically aren't too close to the floor, either. Contractors always leave about three feet of space between the floor and the window. This gives an area for furniture to go.

Who wants to pay money for a window just to have it blocked by the couch? What good is a window that is too low to look out of when sitting at the kitchen table? Windows do serve a functional purpose, and going too low interferes with it. For this reason, typical windows will rarely ever be lower than three feet from the floor.

Leftover Space

Once you account for the first two rules of windows, the window can be as big as the space leftover. In this case, a 9-foot wall that avoids putting a window in the bottom three feet would have 6 feet left. Assume one foot for the header, and you have 5 feet available for a window, or 60 inches. 48 inches is a more common standard size, as it's small enough to also fit on an 8-foot wall. As a result, you'll see it more often in home improvement stores.

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Should You Have Long Curtains On Short Windows?

If your window is a bit small, there's really no such thing as curtains that are too big. Even if the window is nowhere near the floor, the curtains can be. In fact, having long curtains over a short window draws attention to the window and makes it seem bigger.

Other tricks for emphasizing a small window include:

  • Hang the curtains closer to the ceiling, which gives the illusion of a higher, longer wall.
  • Pick curtains with thin vertical stripes.
  • Make sure the curtain reaches the floor, which draws the eye for the entire floor-to-ceiling length.
  • Select sheer or light-weight curtains.
  • Use a color for curtain panels that is lighter than the walls, never darker.

In Closing

For a 9-foot ceiling, 96-inch curtain panels are typically a good fit. This allows you to hang curtains that reach the floor, with the rod placed one foot from the ceiling. If you prefer curtains that pool on the floor or curtains that hang higher, just pick the next size up. For pre-made curtain panels, the next standard size is 108 inches.

Remember that when curtains hang higher, the ceiling also appears higher. As a result, the room seems bigger. Curtains should also be long enough to reach the floor unless short curtains are picked out of necessity, such as cafe curtains in the kitchen. Experiment with curtain material, texture, and pattern - but not length!