Should Curtains Touch The Floor? [Inc. Two Cases When They Shouldn’t]

As you spruce up your home with some beautiful new curtains, you may be wondering, “Should my curtains touch the floor?” It’s a good question that will impact your decision about the curtains you buy, so we’ve collected the best, most relevant information about the topic right here in this article.

Dirty white colored curtain reaching the floor, Should Curtains Touch The Floor? [Inc. two cases when they shouldn't]

We may include affiliate links and curated AI content to highlight top design styles.

With a few exceptions, your curtains should touch the floor. Although your final choice definitely depends on the particular style you’d like to achieve, floor-length curtains provide the most classy, modern look.

However, there are certain situations in which you may want to use short curtains. This includes –

  • Rooms where long curtains would be inconvenient, such as the kitchen or bathroom
  • Small windows set above counters or furniture.

In general, though, you’ll want to choose curtains that are either short or long and avoid curtains that end halfway between the windowsill and the floor.

Hopefully, that gave you a good overview of curtain lengths, but you probably have even more questions. Don’t worry – we have it covered! In this article, we’ll also discuss the different lengths and styles of curtains in greater detail, explain some terminology, and give you product recommendations. So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started!

What Does Curtain Drop Mean?

Curtain drop refers to the distance from the top of the curtain to the bottom. You can also think of this as the distance between the top of the curtain that is attached to the curtain rod and the hem.

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!

You can use a measuring tape to quickly and easily find your curtain drop measurements!

Click here to view this measuring tape on Amazon.

What Is A Standard Curtain Drop?

There is no one standard curtain drop length, but most ready-made curtains come in drops of 54″, 72″, 0r 90″, and a few offer an extra-long 108″ drop for rooms with high ceilings. However, you can have your curtain altered at a tailor or even do it yourself to achieve the perfect length.

How Far Should Curtains Hang From The Floor?

The distance that curtains should hang from the floor depends on the look you’re trying to achieve. Below is a list of common curtain styles and lengths:


Modern living room interior design with bar counter and large corner sofa

Click here to view these puddling curtains on Amazon.

Puddling means that your curtain extends at least 6 inches onto the floor, creating a “puddle” of fabric. This is a formal style that’s inspired by the traditional, romantic style of ornate old European homes and looks great with curtains made from opulent fabrics such as velvet.

It’s a beautiful look but requires some upkeep, as the curtains need to be rearranged every time you vacuum or sweep. You’ll also need to wash the curtains more frequently, as they can get dirty from being in constant contact with the floor. Read our article Are Curtains Machine Washable? Let’s Find Out Which Are to learn more about curtains that can be easily washed to get some ideas.


Grey living room with window concept curtain and garden view

Click here to view these breaking curtains on Amazon.

Breaking refers to a curtain that extends 1″ to 2″ onto the floor, creating a loose “break” around the hemline that creates a casual vibe. This look is perfect for a room with a cozy, casual look, such as a bedroom or family room. You’ll still need to move your curtains to vacuum or sweep, but it’s easier to rearrange them than it is to rearrange puddling curtains.


Room window with curtains

Click here to view these grazing curtains on Amazon.

Grazing is an extremely precise look – your curtains just brush the floor, but don’t break and also don’t reveal any of the baseboards. To achieve this, you’ll need to carefully measure the distance from the curtain rod to the floor and then have your curtains hemmed to that exact length. It’s an elegant, airy look that’s worth the extra time it takes to create.


Comfortable sofa with lamp and book against window in the room

Click here to view these floating curtains on Amazon.

Floating is one of the easiest curtain lengths to achieve and maintain. You should aim for your curtain hem to be about 3/8″ to 1/2″ above the floor. Not only is this an easier length to measure for, but it also makes it simple to vacuum and sweep. It’s a great option if you plan to open and close your curtains a lot since you won’t need to rearrange them each time. Plus, your curtains will stay a lot cleaner since they aren’t brushing against the floor!


Long horizontal stairway window with short white curtain

Click here to view these short curtains on Amazon.

Short curtains are curtains that just brush the windowsill or extend slightly below it. If you’d like them to just brush the sill, you can follow the same length guidelines as you would for grazing or floating curtains.

This is a cute, casual style that’s great in situations where you might not be able to have curtains that extend all the way to the floor. They’re especially perfect for windows above the kitchen sink or in a bathroom. If you select this style, however, make sure that the curtains don’t extend more than 3″ past the bottom of your windowsill to achieve that perfect breezy look.


Click here to view these cafe curtains on Amazon.

Click here to view these cafe curtains with a valance on Amazon.

Cafe curtains are exactly like short curtains, except that they extend only halfway up the window. You can hang half cafe curtains alone, or add a small, flounced curtain called a valance along the top edge.

This curtain style is great for bathrooms if you’d like privacy but also want to let in some natural light. They’re also a stylish choice for kitchens, and they look perfect with country rustic or farmhouse style. Check out our article The Rustic Home Decor Guide (Inc. Pictures and Interior Design Guides) to find decorating ideas that will go perfectly with your cafe curtains.

Where Should Curtains Drop To?

Curtain drops largely depends on your personal preference and the style you’d like to achieve in the room. For a casual look, try curtains that don’t quite reach the floor – floating or cafe style. A longer curtain style like floating is best for large spaces, rooms with big windows, or anywhere you’d like to introduce an airy look. Short curtains, however, are great in small spaces or for small windows that are placed above a counter or piece of furniture.

Should Curtains Be Longer Than The Window?

As a general rule of thumb, yes, curtains should be longer than the window. You’ll typically want to hang your curtains slightly above the window unless you’re using a tension rod that fits inside the window frame, so you’ll need a few inches to accommodate that. Your curtains will also be shorter than the window if you choose a half cafe curtain. Any length beyond this will depend on the style of curtains you’ve selected.

Click here to view this mounted curtain rod on Amazon.

Click here to view this tension curtain rod on Amazon.

Are Short Curtains Out Of Style?

According to our research, short curtains — and cafe curtains, in particular — are in style and not going anywhere! They’re a timeless way to add some privacy, color, and style to your windows.  Short curtains have actually recently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with the increase of minimalist style. More people are choosing curtains that are short and simple instead of curtains that are long, frilly, or ornate.

To make sure your short curtains are in style, however, be sure that they extend no more than 3″ past the bottom of your windowsill. Curtains that reach halfway between the windowsill and the floor typically look awkward and dated.


How far should a curtain pole extend past window?

Generally, the curtain pole should extend 3-6 inches past the window frame on each side.

How far should curtain pole brackets be from window?

This will depend on the type of window and the size of the curtains. Generally, it is recommended to place the brackets six to eight inches away from the window on either side.

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Share with a friend -

One comment

  1. I have used fabric shower curtains in my living room and bedroom. I swagged them to the frame just below the window sill. I’m very happy with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *