‘Should curtains touch the floor’ is one of the most commonly asked questions surrounding curtains, and everyone seems to be doing it differently in their homes.
A lot goes into choosing the right curtains for a home, from the length and fabric to the colour. Not all rooms need or require curtains, but they do need a covering of some sort whether that’s blinds or shutters for privacy, keeping heat in and out, and to make a room feel cosy. Window coverings really are something you can’t skip.
So, let’s take a look at the long standing conundrum of should curtains touch the floor, and everything else you should look to avoid when choosing the perfect curtains for your home.
Are Curtains Supposed To Touch The Floor?
Short curtains that don’t touch the floor are a crime against interiors! So, what’s the beef with short curtains?
Short curtains that end just underneath the windowsill are a very dated approach to dressing windows. They completely cut the length of the room off, making it feel smaller than it actually is and it exposes the hems of the ends of the curtains on a visible level.
Don’t create a beautiful interior and then ruin it by short curtains. It doesn’t end well.
There are only a few occasions where this wouldn’t apply such as in long, narrow windows that have an unusual placement, a bathroom or kitchen.
However, in circumstances like this curtains would not look right so window coverings such as shutters, roller blinds or Roman blinds would be a much more seamless option.
Curtains absolutely should touch the floor if you want to create an elegant, modern interior that doesn’t look dated. It makes the floor to ceiling appear more spacious than it is, and they look amazing.
Should Curtains Touch The Floor With A Radiator?
If you have radiators placed underneath a window this may also alter the placement of curtains.
You don’t want curtains pressed up against a high heat radiator as it could affect the integrity of the material, and it will absorb the heat.
In an instance like this I would more likely go for a shutter, roller blind or roman blind to avoid using short curtains.
Now, we know that curtains should touch the floor except in certain situations, you might be thinking – should they literally just touch the floor, or should they puddle on the floor?
Should Curtains Touch The Floor or Puddle? Curtain Lengths Explained
Should Curtains Hover?
When curtains hover, this means that the curtains are hovering just half an inch above the floor. Curtains come in standard lengths when purchasing them, so you may be riddled with the decision of whether to go slightly under (hover) or take it over where they puddle.
This shouldn’t be decided primarily on price, the longer the curtain length, the more expensive the price becomes.
Whilst half an inch above the floor is arguably ‘nothing’, personally for me, the room doesn’t look finished with curtains that hover and it’s still a no no for me.
I would almost always go for the curtain size the next length up to avoid that ankle biting feeling in the room.
What Is Puddling? And How Much Should Curtains Puddle?
As the name suggests, curtains puddle when the curtain length is longer than the height of ceiling to the floor which leads to the excess fabric forming a puddle on the floor.
Puddling can be an elegant touch to a room, but you don’t want it to over puddle! Curtains should only extend by a maximum of 6 inches to avoid too much fabric puddling on the floor.
Puddling isn’t a great solution for every room, and situation. It can be problematic when it comes to vacuuming, they can pick up dirt easily and they do need to continually be arranged to make the puddle look stylish.
This isn’t a good idea for households with pets or a lot of traffic, and best to avoid on hardwood floors because of the constant dirt they will come into contact with.
How To Measure For The Correct Curtain Length?
To find out what curtain length you need to buy, firstly you’re going to want to find out what your ceiling height is, Ceiling heights vary, but commonly they are 8ft or 9ft. However, they can be a lot taller than this, especially in period properties.
Understanding the ceiling height is really important as you want the curtains to hang from ceiling to floor, as high up as possible to help the ceiling and windows feel even taller in the room.
Curtains come in standard lengths and are the same as standard ceiling heights, for example 108 inches is a standard size for 9ft ceilings. If you don’t know what your ceiling height is, just grab a measuring tape and take the measurement from floor to ceiling.
Once you know your ceiling height you’ll know exactly what length of curtains to buy, it’s always worth measuring from your curtain pole to floor as well to double check, never underestimate the length you need, and always go over, rather than under.
What Curtains For Arch Shaped Windows?
Arched or shaped windows are notoriously difficult to dress because the shape is not considered standard.
Shaped windows are generally the feature in the room, so you don’t want to select window dressings that detract from that.
If it’s a bedroom and you absolutely need a window dressing for privacy then choose something that blends into the wall. Keep it on a very simple 19mm pole, mounted high and wide and go with a light linen curtain with blackout liner.
If it’s not a bedroom and you just want it for privacy or to reduce sunlight coming in, then just a simple plain linen drape will do.
Should You Go For A Pattern Or Keep It Plain On Curtains?
Pattern can create an incredible focal point in a room, when used effectively with the rest of the interior. However, I personally prefer to keep curtains plain, they’re also much easier for anyone to utilise within their home.
Unless it’s a small timeless print or a subtle stripe, I prefer to bring pattern through on accessories such as cushions and rugs so that curtains remain timeless.
Curtain Tie Backs – Yes or No?
Like short curtains, curtain tie backs are a very dated way to display curtains, it’s not the 90’s anymore! For a more modern and laidback look let curtains hang as they are, it adds a softer look to a room too.
There may be occasions where tie backs are a necessity if you have pets and children and hanging curtains are an attraction for playtime.
What Fabrics Are Best For Curtains & Blinds?
Linen, cotton, voile, silk, faux silk and velvet are perfect fabrics for curtains and blinds, unlike length, almost anything goes when it comes to choosing fabric!
Bear in mind that the sunlight will deteriorate silk and fade fabrics over time. If you have a coloured linen sheet curtain on a sunny window, don’t expect it to hold its colour for long!
If you have a window in full sunlight with no UV protection on your window glass, go with a white/off white curtain or use a UV liner to stop fabric fade and also keep the heat out.
Curtains can dramatically change a space, they add texture and softness, instantly make a room feel more cosy, and warm, and if hung properly, they can make a space feel bigger when hung floor to ceiling whilst of course, providing privacy.
Just remember, short curtains are a crime against interiors! Do your interiors justice and create the illusion of more space simply by adding floor to length curtains.