When it comes to picking out the right curtain size for you, you want to get it right. While most of it comes down to personal preference, it can be helpful to see what everyone else is doing before you decide.
After all, inspiration usually starts with someone else who was inspired to do what they did. It’s a cycle that can be endless if we let it. Even if it starts with something as seemingly trivial as standard curtain lengths.
Note: we are talking about window curtains here. For shower curtains, check out this shower curtain size guide instead. The two types of curtains are not interchangeable, so keep shower curtains in the shower.
What Is The Standard Curtain Size?
While size varies depending on your window size, likely the most common standard curtain length is 95-96 inches. This single size is sometimes labeled as 95-inches and sometimes labeled as 96-inches.
Widths depend on your window width as well and most curtains also come in panels so you can draw the curtains back and let light in. Letting the light in is important for most people! And so is getting the right curtain length.
In fact, curtains that let in light are the most popular type of curtains. People will actually look for these features above most other features. A room with a good flow usually has a good amount of natural light.
Standard Curtain Lengths
There are only a few types of curtain lengths that are common in households. The length isn’t defined by a number but by how long they are relative to the window. This is how you tell what kind of curtain you are seeing.
Though there are other types of curtains that aren’t mentioned below, these are the most common lengths when it comes to using your window as a guide. So if you don’t choose any of them, don’t worry, this is customizable.
Apron-length curtains fall just a few inches below the windowsill. It gives plenty of room to put something under the window and is much better for kids and pets who tend to mess with curtains that touch the floor.
Apron curtains also look cottagey and cute. They can be used in any room, but are more common in rooms where you want the entire floor to show. These are the most common type of bathroom curtains.
Long curtains that start above the window and end when they just brush the floor are considered floor-length curtains. They are long and will either end less than a 1/4in. above the floor or just barely touch it.
They are great for bedrooms, living rooms, and even dining rooms. However, they don’t work well for other rooms like kitchens and bathrooms as long curtains would be unsanitary and simply in the way in these rooms.
Alternative floor curtains start at the ceiling rather than just above the window. These curtains are as tall as the wall. They can cover multiple windows and usually have a built-in curtain rod on the ceiling.
Café curtains stop just above the window sill. They can look both cute and formal. They are most common in children’s rooms and kitchens so that they are always completely up and out of the way.
Café curtains are a lot like apron curtains but they stop before the windowsill and apron curtains stop shortly after. That’s how you distinguish the two from one another. Café is usually better for kitchens.
This is a very long curtain-type that not only touches the floor but puddles on the floor. They work well for rooms with high ceilings because the puddle will draw the ceiling and floor together beautifully.
They don’t work well with pets or children who may sit on the curtain or pull on it, bringing it down. If your pet does pee on the puddle curtain you can use similar methods you would use to remove dog pee from the carpet.
Types Of Curtains
There are many different types of curtains you can buy that are sorted by the material they are made from. Although any curtain length can be any material or vice versa, there are standards for each one.
For example, blackout curtains are usually floor-length to block out the most light. But then lace curtains are usually cafe or apron length in order to keep them clean, light, and orderly. But again, customize your curtains!
This is probably the most common curtain material. Cotton is plentiful, affordable, and easy to care for. They are usually quite thin but not usually sheer. We’ll get to sheer curtains soon enough. Right now, we’re talking about classic cotton.
This was also one of the oldest types of curtains made. Cotton and linen were both ancient materials used to create drapes and curtains. Cotton is a solid choice that is completely machine washable.
A lot of people get linen and cotton mixed up, believing that the two are one and the same. But they are not. Real linen is actually made from flax, though the term linen can refer to “fabrics” or materials.
Linen can only be considered linen if it is made from flax, however. Linen curtains are usually thicker than cotton and feel quite different as well. It really is a personal preference when choosing between the two.
Sheer curtains can be made from a variety of materials, but are most often polyester. These curtains aren’t defined by material but by the way they look and the way they feel. And most important, transparency.
Sheer curtains are very thin and lightweight. They are see-through though not clear. The look isn’t achieved by used certain materials but by using a loose-thread technique that isn’t dense nor tightly woven.
Blackout curtains are generally made for velvet or polyester. But they can be made from many other materials too. The point of blackout materials isn’t to create a new type of material but to block out the light.
This may seem silly to those who prefer an airy and light room. But it comes in handy when it comes to those with night jobs who need to sleep in the daytime. Or for those who simply like to live in a den.
Lace curtains are similar to sheer because they are thin and transparent, but they are very different types of curtains. You see, lace is another very old and very sophisticated material that makes amazing curtains.
Though lace curtains are easy to clean and care for, if you do know how to care for them, they can last a lifetime. Lace can be made from a lot of different materials but is most often made with cotton or silk.
This is actually most likely the single most popular type of curtain in America. Polyester is a synthetic material made from petroleum or polymer. It is a very common material today because it is so readily available.
If you’re unsure of what material a curtain is that is on sale then there’s a good chance it is polyester. This is one of the cheapest, durable, and easy to clean materials on the market and is usually a safe choice.
The only reason not to get polyester is if you want 100% natural curtains. You won’t be able to find organic polyester curtains so a better option would probably be linen or cotton as they are affordable yet can be organic.
How Long Are Most Curtains?
Now let’s get down to how long the standard curtains actually are. While you can get custom lengths, especially if you are sewing your own, there are only a set amount of lengths that are sold nearly everywhere.
Most curtain panels come in five different lengths: 63, 84, 95, 108, and 120inches. Though there are other varieties, these are the primary lengths that you will find. The larger lengths are for puddling and the shorter is for apron curtains.
An alternative type of curtain is known as a valance curtain. Valance curtains are the types of curtains that hang on the top side of the window in one piece. They are generally only a few inches long, rarely longer than a foot or two.
How to Choose The Right Curtain Length For You
This can be difficult. Maybe one choice is practical and another is pure fantasy. But ideally, you want to find what is in-between. It’s important to find what length works for your lifestyle without compromising on your dream.
So start off by listing everything that just won’t do. For example, puddle curtains with curious dogs. Or floor curtains in the kitchen. Then, after you do that list, you can choose whichever you are most attracted to.
After you choose the curtain length you like, you can start working on patterns and materials. Make sure it fits in well with your design style in each room and you’re good to go! Do what makes you feel good.