How to Measure Windows for Drapery & Hardware

Have you ever checked the retailer’s sizing chart before buying clothes online? Or, maybe you skimmed the reviews to see if someone commented on the fit. When you’re not entirely sure how a dress will hug your waist or whether it hits above your knees, the natural next step is to research. Believe it or not, the same due diligence applies to window treatments.

Drapery is particularly vulnerable to poor planning. The way your drapery hangs has everything to do with how the panels fit your windows. If they’re too long, too short, too narrow or too thick, your room’s design will suffer. Of course, all this can be avoided by learning how to measure windows for drapery and hardware.

It’s easier than you think, and Everhem is here to make sure of it. Below, we walk you through what and where to measure, so you can create your own drapery sizing chart. With the right touch points covered, there’s no question your custom drapery will look stunning when you bring it home.

How to Measure Windows for Drapery in 4 Easy Steps

Before you prepare a recipe, you have to gather the ingredients. Make sure you have these three essentials handy at the start, so you’re ready to make the right moves.

What You Need to Measure for Window Coverings:

Tape measure – We recommend a steel tape measure, so you have less room for error. The metal is precisely straight and accurate. That’s why steel tape measures are most commonly used in construction. Plus, they’re compact and easy to handle.

Pro tip: When measuring for window coverings, round to the nearest 1/8 inch. If your tape measure falls on a 1/16-inch mark, round down to the next 1/8 inch.

Pen and paper – Even if you have a remarkably reliable memory, use pen and paper to record your measurements. You do not want to leave this to chance.

Step stool – Give yourself enough height to comfortably reach your room’s ceiling. For most windows, a step stool provides a sufficient advantage. If you need to measure for large window coverings that expand more than one story high, a ladder would be more appropriate.   

With all your tools at the ready, it’s time to summon your inner designer. Here’s how to measure windows for your drapery and hardware:

Everhem design professional demonstrates how to measure windows width for drapery

Step 1: Measure Window Width

You might have noticed drapery panels offered as 1X, 2X or 3X. This refers to the window width. For example, 3X drapes would be three times the width of your windows. If your window width measures 20 inches, 3X drapes would be 60 inches wide.

At Everhem, we only offer 2X fullness, which means our custom window drapery is designed to be double the width of your windows. We’ve found this level of fullness is the right balance of coverage and elegance. With twice the fabric, you know there won’t be any gaps around the edges of your windows. You’ll also notice that 2X fullness creates the most evenly spaced folds in the fabric. These beautiful waves will look well-tailored, regardless of whether your drapes are opened or closed.  

When measuring window width, it’s critical that you measure in three different places: the top, middle and bottom of your window. First, wrap the hook of the tape measure around the side trim of your windows. Next, pull the tape measure cartridge straight across your window and stop when you reach the outer edge of the trim on the other side. You will repeat this at the top, middle and bottom of your window frame.

Everhem design professional demonstrates how to measure windows height for drapery

Step 2: Measure Window Height

Your window’s height will help determine the length of your drapes. Ideally, you want drapery to be long enough to just kiss the top of your floors. If the panels are too long, fabric will puddle on the floor. This can make it more difficult to clean drapery, as the puddle of fabric collects and traps dust.

On the other hand, drapery that falls too short can visually cut off your design. Instead of a full, elongated aesthetic, you get a wall of high-water pants. In other words, it will look incomplete. But, with accurate window height measurements, you won’t have to worry about puddles or puddle jumpers.

Similar to measuring window width, you’ll need to measure the height in three different places: the center, right and left sides of the window. Drop the end of the tape measure, so the hook sits flat against the floor. Now, pull the cartridge up to the top edge of the window trim. Record those inches and repeat this in the center of your window, as well as on the right edge and left edge.

Everhem design professional demonstrates how to measure windows stack width for drapery

Step 3: Measure the Stack Width

Stack width refers to the number of inches your hardware rod extends beyond the edges of your windows. You want your rod to be wider than your windows, if at all possible. Without a little slack on the sides, your drapery will overlap your window panes in the open position.

To measure stack width, place the end of your tape measure on the outside of your window trim. Now, pull the cartridge away from the window to see how much space you have. We recommend your hardware extend about eight inches on either side of your window, so your drapery has somewhere to “stack” up when the panels are completely open. If your windows don’t allow for eight inches, add as much as you can and record those inches.

Everhem design professional demonstrates how to measure windows mounting height for drapery

Step 4: Measure Mounting Height

The other factor that determines the length of your drapes is your hardware mounting height. The hardware rod will pull the drapes up toward the ceiling and away from the floor. At Everhem, we automatically factor in window height and mounting height, so you don’t have to do any subtracting. We do, however, recommend your mounting height measures 7 to 8 inches above your window trim. This will give the illusion that your windows are taller and ceilings higher.

To measure for mounting height, pull your tape measure out 8 inches and place the 8-inch marker line at the edge of your window trim. If you have less than 8 inches of wall space between your window and the ceiling, you’ll need to mount your hardware lower – and that’s fine. Record whatever space you have. Note: Everhem hardware requires at least 3-1/2 inches above the window trim for proper mounting. 

Everhem understands not all windows are created equally, which is why we stress the importance of measuring. For any mounting heights below 3-1/2 inches, give us a call or email to discuss further. When it comes to designing custom window drapery, we’re flexible and love the opportunity to be creative. There’s no reason you can’t have the draperies of your dreams. As long as you know how to measure your windows properly and carefully record your findings, we’ll take care of the rest.