When it comes to measuring your windows for curtains, there are a few things to bear in mind. A lot of it is down to the style of curtain you'd like and what you'll be using to hang them.
In this guide we'll be going through the types of curtains sold by Graham & Brown and telling you how to get the exact measurements you need.
Types of curtains
When we talk about different types and styles of curtains, we usually mean the kinds of pleats they have on the header. At Graham & Brown we sell three styles: grommets, pencil pleats and pinch pleats.
Grommet curtains have wide pleats and can be hung on most curtain poles. The grommet curtains sold by Graham & Brown are best fit on a curtain pole with a 35mm diameter. Rings are embedded in the material at the top of the curtains so they can be hung directly onto the pole - this makes them unsuitable for hanging on tracks.
Pencil pleat curtains have a more tightly gathered pleat that comes together when you pull the cords in the heading tape. We offer 3" and 6" pencil pleat curtains, and they can be hung on most curtain poles and tracks.
Pinch pleats also have tight pleats but, unlike pencil pleat curtains, they are stitched into the fabric to make them permanently gathered. This makes them a particularly luxurious style of curtain. They are available in either a double pinch pleat or a french pleat for a fuller finish and they can be hung on either curtain poles or tracks.
Wave curtains feature clean and simple lines making them a popular choice for a contemporary finish. A wave header needs a special track to create the wave effect that’s why we supply the track with the order. The measurement you supply includes the track. The track will be visible when fitted.
Curtains Poles and Tracks - What's the Difference?
Curtain poles and tracks both serve the same purpose - namely, they're things to hang your curtains on. The main difference is the aesthetic; whereas curtain poles are usually visible, tracks often can't be seen once the curtains are hung.
Curtain poles can be very decorative and are more versatile than tracks, as they can be used to hang grommets, pencil and pinch pleat curtains. On the other hand, tracks are more minimalist and can be 'neater' than poles.
Knowing which you are going to use is important before buying curtains, as the measuring process can be slightly different depending on whether you have a pole or track.
How to Measure for Curtains with Pole or Track in Place
The best way to measure for curtains is to begin with a pole or track already installed. This is because it is the pole or track that you need to measure, rather than the window itself.
If you have a curtain pole, measure the space between the two finials (the decorative ornaments at each end). Record this as your width.
For a curtain track, simply measure from end to end and record the result as your width.
Curtain Track with Overlap
If your track is made up of two overlapping parts, first measure the whole width from end to end. Then, measure the width of the overlap. Add these two figures together for your final width.
To measure a curtain drop you need to take three measurements - one on the left, one on the right and one in the middle. For grommet curtains, measure down from the top of the pole to your desired length - this will likely be either from pole to sill or pole to floor. Take the shortest of the three measurements and record this as your drop.
Pencil & Pinch Pleat Drop
For pencil and pinch pleat curtains, measure from the underside of the ring fitting supplied with your pole or track, down to your desired length. This will likely be from either pole to sill or pole to floor. Take three measurements - one of the left, one on the right and one in the middle. Take the shortest of these three measurements and record it as your length.
Tip: If you want to make sure your pole or track is hidden by the curtain, the measurement needed for the drop starts at the top of the pole or track.
How to Measure for Curtains without Pole or Track in Place
You will likely get more accurate measurements if you begin with a curtain pole or track already in place, but if you don't have one yet it is possible to work out the numbers. Instead of measuring the pole or track, measure the window itself and add an overlap of 200-300mm. Do this at each side (for the width) and above the window (for the drop). Make sure that the pole or track you order also takes into account this overlap.
How to Measure Bay Windows for Curtains
Measuring bay windows for curtains follows exactly the same process as for standard windows. The only difference is that it can be a little fiddly making sure you get the exact right numbers! If you have a curtain pole, measure the pole between the two finials and record this as your width. If you have a track, measure the entire thing from end to end.
For the drop, measure down to your desired length - this will likely be either to sill or to floor. If you have grommets curtains, measure downwards from the top side of your pole or track. If you have pencil or pinch pencil pleat curtains, measure from the underside of the ring fitting supplied with your pole or track.
Take three measurements for your drop - one on the left, one on the right and one in the middle. Record the shortest measurement as your length.