How to measure up for curtains and blinds

I found this really useful guide for measuring curtains and blinds (from Direct Blinds) and thought it would be a useful thing to share with you all.  It’s the one thing that I get asked all of the time so thank you to Direct Blinds for this great description.

You will need a metal tape measure cloth tapes are not accurate enough and a pen and paper to write down the sizes. You can measure your window in centimetres CM, millimetres MM, or Inches. If you want your blind to fit or hang outside your window opening or recess we call this Exact size.

How to measure inside your window recess. (Recess Size)

  1. Measure the inside width of your window in 3 places.Write down the shortest. This is your Recess width.
  2. 2.Measure the inside length or drop of your window in 3 places. Write down the shortest. This is your Recess drop.

How to measure outside your window recess. (Exact Size)

  1. Measure width where you want the blind to be allowing for overlap (usually 10-15cm each side) Write it down. This is your Exact width.
  2. Measure the length where you want the blind to be allowing for overlap (usually 10-15cm top and bottom). This is your Exact drop.

Note on measuring for roller blinds.

When measuring for roller blinds remember that the cloth or fabric width will be 3cm narrower than the overall width.

Measuring the Curtain Width (All Headings)

Measure the total width of the rail or pole excluding any finials and add 250mm (10″) overlap which allows the hanging curtains to overlap in the centre when closed. This is the track/pole width.

Measuring the Curtain Drop for Pencil and Pleated Headings

Measure from the top of the track or the small eye on the ring of the pole to 12mm(½”) from the floor or 150mm (6″) below the sill.

If fitting curtain rails or poles they should be fitted 150mm (6″) above the window recess and extend approximately 200mm (8″) either side. This is the HEM TO HEM drop.

Measuring the Curtain Drop for Eyelet Headings

Measure the distance from the top of the pole to 12mm (½”) above the floor (or approximately 35mm (1½”), if you have not yet had carpet fitted but intend to) or 150mm (6″) below the window sill. This is the POLE (TOP) TO HEM drop.


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Pippa Jameson is an author, tv designer and interiors expert. The previous interior editor on several leading UK titles, Pippa has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Throughout her 25-year career, Pippa’s unique and creative approach has won her commissions for large retail brands and celebrities to deliver exciting and engaging projects. 

She’s written the curriculum for the British College of Interior Design, produced and styled shoots for well-known brands including John Lewis, H&M & Team GB/DFS, worked as an International Stylist for leading paint brands in Asia, consulted on the launch and creative direction of major retail names including George Home and Wren, and most recently, published her first book, The Sensory Home. Pippa possesses expertise unmatched in the interior industry.