Where Should Curtains Sit Above A Radiator?

How do you hang curtains on your window when there's a radiator right below? This is a good question since not all windows have radiators beneath them, making this a special consideration when hanging them. Luckily, we have done some digging and have the answer below!

Use short curtains for your window radiator. They can sit 2-4 cm above the radiator to ensure they won't block the heat. Doing this will also prevent fire and damage to your curtains and nearby furniture and fixtures.

Keep reading to know more about how long your curtains need to be when there's a radiator below the window. We'll also give you tips and ideas on how you can dress your window and how to stop the radiator heat from going behind the curtains. With that said, let's dive right in!

How Far Above A Radiator Can You Hang Curtains?

Interior of light mansard room with wooden table near two windows with curtains and radiators with parquet floor - Where Should Curtains Sit Above A Radiator

Radiators have traditionally been placed under windows because these portions of the house were considered the coldest.

The heat from the radiator would help cancel out the cold drafts from the window, making dwellers a lot more comfortable inside their homes during chilly weather.

Long ago, short curtains were also a thing. They would fall just a little above or below the window sill, thus not interfering with the radiators below, so this wasn't a primary concern back then.

But nowadays, long curtains are hung extending to the floor. This has become the new fashion trend that makes the room look modern and elegant.

However, the radiator will be covered by long curtains, which can pose some significant concerns we'll discuss. This makes hanging curtains over a window radiator quite tricky.

Experts recommend that you use short curtains if there's a radiator below the window to prevent them from blocking the radiator.

There should be about 2-4 cm above the radiator, but some are okay with the curtains sitting right on top as they don't go over the device.

Can Curtains Be Over A Radiator?

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White radiator heating with thermostat for energy saving, wooden floor in the modern room.

No. Having your curtains on your radio is usually not a good idea. As we said, shorter ones tend to be safer and look a bit better. Also, there are some other reasons for this:

Fire Safety

Your family's safety is always the top priority. Having curtains over the radiator can be a fire hazard, especially those curtains that are made of flammable materials like cotton and linen fabrics.

This is truer for those using electric radiators because they can get really hot with continuous use.

Remember to put space between the curtains and radiators to reduce the likelihood of fire as some radiators' surfaces become too hot.

Even if the curtains do not catch fire, they will surely get damaged or burnt from close contact with this heating device.

Heat Barrier

Radiators are a heat source that allows you to stay warm and cozy despite the chilly weather.

But curtains will prevent heat from being transferred across the room. The hot air from the radiator will go up but get stuck between the curtains and the window.

The curtains will get in the way, so your radiator will not be effective in heating the room.

Distracting Look

Some radiators are bulky and cause bulges when you hang the curtains long. This will disrupt the curtains' seamless, long, flowy cascade down to the floor.

Guests will wonder what's underneath the curtains causing the ugly bumps.

Besides, many modern radiators come in sleek designs, so you'd also want to flaunt them, and they can complement the overall look of your interior.

Remember, you can have curtains on top of the radiator but not over it for the reasons stated above. That's why it's best to go with short curtains or other window treatments that won't interfere with the radiator's form and function.

How Do You Cover Windows Above A Radiator?

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Two siblings playing on a mobile phone together while sitting in a room on the floor.

It can be challenging to dress windows on top of a radiator. You cannot let your curtains drop to the floor as you do on the other windows.

But there are still ways to enjoy the benefits of having a curtain over your glass window so you can filter the light coming in, prevent drafts, and bask in some privacy.

Curtain Length

Measure the distance from the curtain poles to the space above the radiator to get the curtain length you need. Again, you can still install a window treatment without getting in the way of the radiator's operation as long as they aren't too lengthy.

Curtain Width

Measure the window frame and add 3 to 6 inches on each side to get the length of the curtain pole that you need to install over the window.

This will also be the combined width of the curtain panels if you use pleated or ripple-fold curtains. If you're going with flat-type curtains, multiply the width by 2 to 3 to get more coverage and attain a complete look.

Curtain Material

Generally, experts recommend the use of lightweight fabric with light solid colors. Aside from giving the room a fresh and airy vibe, they won't trap heat from the radiator.

However, the material you choose should match the other curtains or window treatments in the room so they won't stick out like a sore thumb.

Window Treatment Options

If you want to hang long curtain panels, you can do so but understand that they will only be stationary curtain panels gathered on the sides of the window. You won't be able to close them, especially when the radiator is in use.

You can optimize the use of the extended rod brackets, fasten tiebacks on the curtain, or install drapery holdbacks to keep the curtains in their place.

Check out these drapery holdbacks on Amazon.

You can pair these long curtains with cellular, roller, or blinds. These are the window treatments you'll use on top of the radiator if you don't like to use short curtains.

Find these cellular shades on Amazon.

How Can I Prevent My Curtains And Radiator From Touching?

A young girl hiding behind a curtain and radiator with only her legs showing

Before we answer this question, a basic understanding of how radiators work would be helpful in this case, radiators are heating devices used in homes.

Water is heated or steamed, and the heat is transferred to its immediate vicinity through convection. Heat currents move around the room to displace cold air.

Radiators are also made of metal, an excellent conductor of heat.

Through the years, radiators have been placed below the window to cancel out the cool draught coming from this portion of the house.

As science has taught us, warm air rises, so the radiator's heat can neutralize the window's cold air.

However, if there is a curtain over the radiator, it won't be able to transfer heat effectively since it'll be trapped inside the curtain.

This is also a fire hazard and can cause damage to nearby furniture and fixtures. You must stop this from happening to maximize the radiator's heat without compromising your safety.

The simple solution is not to use curtains over your radiators. But since we understand the importance of these window treatments, here are some ways to sort out this concern.

  • Use short curtains or other window treatments that won't go past the radiator.
  • Tuck the curtains behind the radiator.
  • Double-glaze your glass window panels to prevent heat from escaping.
  • Put a reflective foil at the back of your radiator. This will help prevent heat loss.
  • Put a shelf or cover over the radiator.
  • Don't put your sofa, bed, or large furniture in front of the radiator. This will have the same effect as long curtains blocking the radiator's heat.
  • Reposition the radiator on the wall and invest in high-efficiency glass windows and quality treatments.

Click this link for a radiator cover on Amazon.

These are just some ways to optimize the heat from the radiator so you can stay comfy and warm during cold weather.

To Wrap It Up

Go with short curtains when there's a radiator under the window frame. This will let you enjoy the benefits of these window treatments without compromising your safety and the form and functionality of your radiator.

If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also like these posts:

Different Length Curtains In Same Room—Can You Pull It Off?

How Long Should Curtains Hang Below Window Sill?

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