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How long should drapes be?

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

How long should drapes be? This depends on personal preference and room style

How long should drapes be? This depends on personal preference and room style

Your new house has a bunch of windows, which is a feature you love, but you are unsure how to dress the windows. How long should drapes be? Should they hang to the floor or just to the window sill? Figuring out which window treatment to use is based primarily on personal preference and what is appealing to the homeowner.

Some prefer their curtains hang to the floor. Others like it when the curtain is longer and the fabric actually puddles on the floor. Of course, when fabric is on the floor, children, dogs and even grown-up people may accidentally step on it so keep this in mind before using the particular window treatment. Puddled curtains may not be a wise choice for the family room where a lot of romping takes place. However, they may be perfect for the formal living room.

Longer drapes look more ceremonious than shorter curtains so consider the room the window is in and the room’s function. This helps determine the type of window dressing to use.

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Other options and considerations

  • Long curtains don’t have to be so long they puddle but make sure they are lengthy enough that they don’t stop at the top of the wall molding. This length is too short and looks awkward, comparable to high-water pants.
  • A curtain can either hang to the bottom of the window sill or to the bottom of the apron, which is the bottom of the window trim. Shorter curtains are a less formal look than long window coverings.
  • If considering the puddled length, use lightweight curtains such as silk for the best results.
  • Think about buying curtains that have a thermal lining, which stops cold air from coming into the house and reduces your heating bills.
  • If the room has a low ceiling, install the hardware (curtain rod) well above the actual window, near the top of the wall, and hang long curtains that reach to the floor. This gives the illusion of higher ceilings and makes the room appear more spacious.

Never put drapery or blind cords where a small child has access to then. Children can get strangled on cords. Do not put a baby bed near a window where a child ran reach a cord and get tangled up in it. Some cords have small attachments that a child can remove and choke on.  Make sure curtains are securely attached and won’t fall down if a child tugs on it.


Curtains serve many purposes. They keep out UV rays that damage furniture fabric as well as your skin. Curtains prevent heat from escaping or coming in, depending on the time of the year. Aesthetically, they can make or break the overall appearance of a room so do not underestimate their impact.

The wrong kind of curtain, the wrong color, fabric, length or texture can mess up the way a room looks. The right kind can make all the difference. Curtains provide visual interest and enhance ambiance as well as keep a room dark for day-time sleeping or provide a light and airy touch, allowing the sunshine in. Window treatments afford privacy and improve curb appeal, improving the way a house looks from the outside.

Some windows simply aren’t attractive and need to be disguised. This can be easily achieved by hanging the right curtains. Cover up the ugly window with beautiful draperies and no one will ever know what is underneath.


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