Curtains have become an integral part of any room as they can easily turn into the focal point based on how well they blend in with the décor. Although curtains are primarily being installed for your privacy’s sake and blacking out light for sleeping, or blocking sound, heat and cold, these traditional window treatments can bring any room to life.
It really doesn’t matter if curtains are too long as you can choose their length according to your liking and/or interior design style. You also have the option to shorten the curtains either by sewing, hemming, using tiebacks, or raising the rod, if you find the curtains too long for your home décor.
If you are wondering, though, what impact certain lengths of a curtain would have on your home décor, and which sizes and lengths work best in which spaces, I will walk you through the ideal lengths (from the longest to the shortest) and explain why shorter curtains, in some instances, are a better idea. Make sure to keep on reading so you don’t miss out.
So, Does It Matter How Long Curtains Should Hang?
You need to decide for yourself what kind of look you’d like to achieve. But in general, the longer the curtain, the more formal, elegant, and impressive the look is going to be.
This type of curtain “puddles” onto the floor to give a dramatic yet sophisticated look to your drapery. Extra-long, elegant curtains that pool, puddle, or even drag on the floor will be ideal for a romantic décor.
They work well with large, traditional-style spaces with low traffic, such as the bedroom.
Length: When deciding the length of your puddle, you’ll need to measure the length of the curtain piece that will pool onto the floor. This can vary from 2 to 18 inches, depending on how dramatic you’d like the style to be.
Pros: When placed in the right room, these curtains can change the way the interior looks and feels. It’s also easier to tie curtains back when they are of this length.
Cons: Although beautiful to look at, puddled drapes are not the easiest to work with when it comes to cleaning as you have to constantly move them around to vacuum or clean the floor. You’ll definitely spend a lot of time washing the bottoms since they collect dust with ease and this will quickly wear them out.
These opaque puddled drapes from Nicetown are designed with a colorful, blooming floral blossom pattern that will add a classic, rustic, and sophisticated touch to your home. Made of environmentally friendly material without any harmful dyes or substances.
Floor Length Curtains
Curtains that are floor-length will hover slightly above the floor. They are long, sometimes hanging from the ceiling down to the floor, ultimately giving the room a spacious and infinitely elegant look.
You will normally find these in a living room or dining area. Drapes in a stylish or formal interior should barely touch the floor. Also, family rooms and dens will benefit from drapes that reach the floor.
Length: A full floor-length drape ranges from 60 to 140 inches, depending on how high your ceiling is. To ensure the drapes lightly sweep the floor, they should measure half an inch above the ground.
Pros: Unlike the puddled drapes, floor-length ones take longer to wear out and get dirty. They are also more suitable for any high traffic areas.
Cons: Acquiring this look is not an easy DIY task and will usually require a professional tailor. If the curtains are more than an inch above the ground, it will look odd and unappealing.
Make your bedroom look dreamy and relaxing with this rainbow striped curtain from Nicetown. It has a cutout star pattern making your ceiling resemble a sky full of stars. Dual layers will create a beautiful look that you can easily change from an elegant daytime sheer to room darkening.
Apron Length Curtains
Shorter-length curtains always invoke an informal, casual, and relaxed mood. Apron length curtains are not too long, hanging just below the window sill, or to the bottom of the window trim (known as the apron).
They work perfectly with smaller windows, making them appear larger as the curtain rod hangs way above the top of the window. These curtains are commonly found in windowed bathrooms and kitchens, and sometimes in the bedroom.
Length: The curtain itself is usually 60 to 80 inches long, depending on how high you plan on placing the rod. To achieve the desired look, the curtain must hang around 4 to 6 inches down the window frame.
Pros: This length is perfect for the kids’ rooms and areas where furniture is placed against the wall. The chances of the curtains gathering dust or getting messy are quite slim. They also work well with fixtures that can’t be moved like your radiator.
Cons: If not measured well or placed in the above-mentioned areas, apron length curtains can risk looking tacky and distressed.
Transform your kitchen or bathroom window with this lovely valance from Nicetown. The watercolor leaves pattern with rich colors offers an exclusive look in the room. The luxurious fabric is soft and smooth to the touch, yet thick and darkening.
Sill Length Curtains
The shortest curtains you’ll find around the house are sill-length curtains. These hang right by or slightly above the window sill. They are commonly used in bathrooms and are very practical in kitchen spaces.
Length: Sill length curtains must hang half an inch from the window sill or sit right on it.
Pros: These curtains are easy to open and close, and are low maintenance. Sill curtains also come in handy when windows are above countertops and areas where longer curtains would usually get in the way.
Cons: Their size and length ultimately make them a less formal choice, thus it’s important to ensure they are used mostly in the suggested areas (kitchens and bathrooms).
The balloon curtain from Nicetown can be adjusted to the height of your choice. Tie it up to upgrade the look of your window and let more sunlight in, or untie it for extra coverage, blackout, and privacy.
Now that you’ve identified the perfect curtain style that will suit your décor and you know what they look like, do you still consider your curtains too long? If so, you’ll need to shorten them!
The thought of having to alter your new curtains might seem terrifying and near impossible especially if you lack the skillset, but know that it’s actually not that complicated.
My guess is that you’re reading this article because you’re quite the financially savvy person and would like to figure out if there’s a way to make your curtains shorter on your own, at a low cost. The direct answer is yes, and there are many ways to accomplish it.
You can easily shorten your curtains without sewing in case you’re worried that you don’t have the skills to do it or don’t own a sewing machine.
Most of the equipment you will need, you most probably have lying around the house, except for a few items you’ll have to buy.
Below are a few ideas on how to shorten curtains that are too long, without sewing:
Before getting started make sure you wash, dry, and iron your curtains. They will shrink in the washing machine, thus, you want to ensure you’re working with the right size.
Tools you’ll need: An ironing board, measuring tape, hemming (fusing) tape or fabric glue, pencil, straight pins, and scissors.
Once you’ve decided how long you want your curtain to be and what style will best suit the room and window, measure where you want your hem to be.
Lift your curtain on to the ironing board and flip it over to work on the backside. Along the width of where you want your hem to be, place markings along that width of your curtain using a pencil and follow through with your straight pins.
Grab your iron, fold your curtain, and create a crease along the width of your curtain where you placed your markings. Remove your straight pins and while doing so, ensure the crease is crisp.
- Using Hemming Tape
Open up the crease and place your tape along the edge of the line, then fold your curtain back over.
With your iron, on medium heat this time, iron along the edge where you’ve placed the hemming tape.
Iron over each section for at least 4-5 seconds to ensure the tape melts and bonds the curtain.
Once that’s done, grab a pair of scissors and cut off the excess material. And that’s it! You’ll have a new curtain at your desired length.
- Using Fabric Glue
Open up the crease and insert your glue along the edge of the line and fold your curtain back over.
Fabric glue is quite messy and dries quickly. To avoid making mistakes, as this is going to be permanent, work by adding the glue to small sections.
Shortening the Curtain Bottom Without Cutting
If you want a less permanent effect, instead of cutting off the excess fabric from the curtain’s bottom part, you can insert straight pins or safety pins along the crease as well as along the excess fabric.
To ensure the pins don’t show, pin them through the lining of your drapes.
Raising the Curtain Rod
Another way to shorten the length of your curtains is by moving the rod. Not only does this help shorten the curtain but as the rod moves higher up the wall, closer to the ceiling, the room looks much taller and appealing.
Tying the Curtain Back
Depending on how you tie the curtains, doing so could give them a small lift. To shorten the curtain you will need to get tiebacks (purchased or homemade) and install two cup hooks into the side of the walls.
Close the curtain and gently pull it back towards the edge of your window. Wrap the tieback around your curtain and fasten it with the hook. Pull the top part of your curtain outwards to lift the drapes until you get your desired look and length.
If the Christmas season is approaching, why not try a fun and festive curtain decoration from Snowcity. You can choose between a Santa Clause, Reindeer, Snowman, or Elves. This cute curtain buckle is not only a great idea for tying your curtains back but is also a colorful addition to your holiday décor.
Shortening the Curtain Top
This is an easy and quick way to shorten a rod pocket curtain. This curtain style doesn’t have hooks but a rod pocket that’s sewn in at the top of the curtain panel.
So all you need to do is slip the rod through the pocket and hang it up. If you want to shorten your curtain, measure the length of the curtain you want, fold it over from the top, and add pins through the lining. This creates a new pocket you can slide your rod through.
Curtains are one of the few decorative elements you can add to your room that actually make it look bigger. If they are hung high and wide, they will expand the space visually.
Curtains can also transform windows that are the wrong size or shape, or look just ugly.
Because curtains are so remarkably decorative, you may hang them to change the look of the windows, which will add personality to any room.
Choosing the right curtain length isn’t always a smooth sailing task, that’s why you should be on the safe side and buy longer curtains because short ones are a headache to extend.
There are mainly five curtain length options you’re likely to find in stores or online, i.e. 63, 84, 94, 108, or 120 inches, although you can purchase longer ones, too. It’s essential to know what curtain length gives you the desired style before purchasing.
If you need some protection from the sun or just want to block the heat and let light in, check out my post on the best curtains to keep a house cool in the summer.
Otherwise, if you desire privacy but don’t like the idea of covering up windows with heavy curtains, maybe you should consider alternatives to the traditional window treatments, for example installing stained, tinted, or frosted glass. Find out more in my post on night and daytime privacy.