Before you make a purchase, you'll want to decide how you'd like your window treatment to hang: on the inside or outside of the window frame. To measure your windows, you'll need a pencil, retractable measuring tape, and paper.
|Measure from the inside of the window to the other side for the width of the inside of the frame.
||Measure from the outside edges of the window molding for the width of the outside of the frame.
||Measure from the outside edge of the top of the window to the outside edge of the bottom of the window to get the height of the window.
Windows may look identical, but they are not always perfectly straight, nor exactly the same size.
To obtain the most accurate measurements start by measuring width horizontally from the inside of the window to the other side. Measure in three different places: at the top, middle, and bottom of the window. Use the narrowest measurement. Measure the height of the window vertically from the inside edge of the top of the window to the inside edge of the bottom of the window. Also take three separate measurements from the top to bottom: the right side, the middle and the left side. Select the longest measurement.
First measure the horizontal width of the window from the outside edges of the window molding. As with an inside mount, measure in three different places and use the widest width. To measure the vertical height of an outside mount, determine where you are hanging the rod, either directly on the top section of molding or if above the molding, add 1”to 3” for the mounting brackets. Mark the location with a pencil. Determine if the curtain will fall to the bottom of the frame or hang further below the window to achieve a longer look and mark that spot with a pencil. Then measure from the top point to the bottom point.
- Hardware will generally extend 4" beyond the window frame (2" on each side).
- A curtain rod's length doesn't include the decorative finial.
- While many rods are expandable, wooden poles come in standard lengths of 4', 6', and 8' and may be customized.
- For a full look, plan on two to four times the fabric width to the width of your window.
For panels, the height includes the tip of the tab or ring to the bottom of the panel.
- Panels are usually hung 4" above the window frame (commonly 96").
- Shorter panels are meant to hang 4" below the window sill (commonly 63").
- You'll typically want to use an even number of panels (four per window creates a full, gathered look).
For scarves use this equation:
SCARF LENGTH = LEFT HEIGHT + WIDTH + RIGHT HEIGHT
For blinds and shades that will be mounted to the inside of a window frame, you will need exact measurements. Follow these steps:
- For inside (recessed) shade or blind mounting: Measure the width of the window to the nearest 1/8". Because not all windows are exactly "square," measure the width in three places: high, middle, and low. Record the shortest width. Next, measure the length of the opening.
- For outside shade or blind mounting: Measure the width of the area to be covered; include window trim when applicable. The recommended overlap is at least 1 1/2" on each side. Next, measure the length of the opening adding 3" to the measurement in order to accommodate bracket installation.
When it comes to choosing the right window treatment for your room, there are three things you'll want to consider: type of window treatment, the fabric, and the hardware. All three factors combine to form the perfect window treatment.
What is the shape of your window?
|My window is...
||Your window shape is called:
|Shaped like a rectangle [typical window shape: patio door, door way, sliders.]
||Rectangular [Horizontal or Vertical]
Types of rectangular windows are:
|Is polygonal in shape and projects out from the exterior.
|Narrow and located on either side of my door.
|Semi-circular (and sits above my door or window).
||Eyebrow or Circle Top
Type of Window Treatment
Whether your style is traditional or contemporary, there are many types of window treatments to suit your room's décor. Each of these types of window treatments comes in a wide variety of styles, fabrics, and materials from which to choose.
|Type of Window Treatment
||Panel is the term used to describe the big piece of fabric that hangs on a window, which can be called either a curtain or a drape. Curtains are casual, usually made of lightweight fabrics, while drapes are more formal and fashioned from heavier fabrics.
Panels are available in several standard top styles. The type of top style a panel is will let you how it hangs from the rod:
- Rod/Pole Pocket, Pinch Pleat and Back Tab (gathers at the top and conceals rod)
- Tab Top, Tie Top and Grommet Top (decorative rod remains exposed)
Panels generally come in the following lengths: 63", 84", 95" and 108".
||Typically made of see-through, lightweight, plain-weave fabric called voile, sheers come in various textures, colors, and styles. These versatile panels can be used alone or by layering.
Sheer panels generally come in the following lengths: 63", 84", 95", and 108".
||Valances are short panels that cover the top portion of a window. They can be used alone, or with panels and blinds.
There are several types of valances. Some of the most common are:
Valances are available in a wide range of widths, lengths, and top finishes.
- Blouson: Can be hung two ways: stuffed for a balloon look or tailored for a straight look.
- Ascot: Has a tiered or pointed look.
- Festoon: Hangs curve-like over the window.
- Scarf: A versatile style that can be hung using a sconce, swag holder, or decorative rod.
- Patriot, Federal, or Tucked: Tucked to create swags across the width. Usually trimmed along the bottom edge.
- Tailored or Straight: Rectangular straight across.
- Scalloped: Bottom edge is lined with rounded curves.
||Kitchen tiers are short panels that are used on smaller windows and are usually sold in pairs. They are often paired with matching valances at the top of the window.
Standard lengths for kitchen tiers are: 24" and 36".
||These are slatted window treatments that can be rotated to different positions to create privacy or to block/reduce sunlight. They can be combined with fabric window treatments for a layered look.
Blinds are typically constructed from wood, aluminum, or vinyl.
Blinds come in standard window measurements or can be custom fitted.
||Shades are solid or tone-on-tone fabric window treatments that stack or roll up to the top of the window when raised. They are usually hung from inside the window frame. They're great for insulation and filtering light.
Shades come in various styles. Some types you might want to consider are:
- Cellular: Made from two layers of fabric to create an accordion-like, honeycombed style.
- Roman: Features loosely folded horizontal pleats that hang flat when lowered and fold up neatly when raised.
- Woven: Usually made from natural or natural-looking materials, like rattan and bamboo.
Shades come in lengths of 64" or 72" and a variety of widths that can accommodate windows between 18" and 72".
||These panels have small rod pockets at both the top and bottom, and are hung using spring tension or sash rods.
The best way to select the right fabric for your window treatment is by playing up the room's overall style. If your room's décor is formal, opt for heavier drapes in silks and brocades. If your room is casual, choose easy-care cotton and polyester. Let your room's style and function dictate fabric choice.
||This most versatile, easy-care fabric used for window panels consists of 100% natural fiber.
||Made from fibers of the flax plant, linen allows some light to filter through and allows for more privacy than sheer panels.
||A natural fiber that is made from the pupae of the silk worm, silk has a radiant sheen and retains vibrant colors.
||This man-made fabric is wrinkle resistant and generally resists fading. Polyester is often blended with cotton or rayon to achieve the look of finer fabrics, such as silk or suede.
||A lining is a layer of fabric placed on the back of panels to protect it from dirt, dust, and sunlight. A lining can also help a panel drape more smoothly.
Some types of linings are:
- Blackout Lining: This 3-layer fabric consists of two layers of cotton and one layer of opaque material. It completely blocks out light and can be used along with decorative panels.
- Interlining: Typically made of cotton, this third layer of fabric is sandwiched between the fabric and the lining to provide light and noise reduction.
- Foam Backing: A coating is applied to the back of the panel to provide thermal qualities, room darkening properties, and noise reduction.
Not strictly functional, hardware also pulls the entire look of your window treatment together. From sleek to ornate, hardware can dress a look up or down depending on your room's needs.
|Rods or Poles
||Rods are the main support for your window treatment and are usually made of metal, wood, or plastic.
There are two types of rods:
- Non-decorative: These rods are meant to be concealed by fabric. Types of non-decorative rods are: white curtain rods, Dauphine, magnetic, sash, tension, and café rods.
- Decorative: These rods are meant to be seen and are available in a wide variety of styles, materials, and finishes, as well as in telescoping and fixed lengths.
|Double or Combination Rods
||Use these rods when layering a valance on top of sheers and/or panels.
||Use projection rods when there is a fair amount of space between the window treatment and the wall. Such can be the case when layering panels or fitting around large moldings.
||Finials add a decorative touch to the ends of a rod. They come in many styles and finishes.
||Rings can be decorative and functional, as they add to a panel's look and allow for panels to slide easier. Rings can be slipped onto a rod and clipped to a panel.
|Holdbacks or Spindles
||These decorative hardware accents are secured to a wall and hold panels open.
|Sconces or Swag Holders
||Use sconces or swag holders to hang scarf valances or to hold curtain rods.