Ask Our Designers: Should Your Drapes or Curtains Touch the Floor?

There are so many decisions to make when you get new curtains or drapes, but arguably the most important factor is how you hang them. Though style and fabric must be chosen with care, the way you hang your window treatments will ultimately determine how well they fit in any room. That’s why one of the most common questions our designers hear is: should curtains touch the floor?

The answer isn’t necessarily intuitive, especially since most windows in a home don’t extend all the way to the ground, but more often than not, curtains and drapes look best when they reach the floor. However, just how low drapes should hang actually depends on a few factors, and sometimes you may even want them to exceed floor length. Here are a few different ways to hem your curtains and drapes, and what you need to consider when deciding which look is best for your windows.

Lightly touching the floor

Drapes and curtains that lightly brush (or “kiss”) the floor tend to be the most stylish length. To achieve this look, though, great care needs to be taken to measure the fabric panels and to hem them precisely. It’s worth investing the time, though, as your curtains will fit perfectly and look like they were made specifically for the windows they’re covering.

Hovering an inch or less above the floor

Another stylish option is to have curtains hover very slightly above the floor: no more than an inch. This style makes opening and closing the drapes or curtains easy, so it’s a great option for windows that will be used often. This option is also more forgiving than those that precisely hit the floor, which means your measuring and hemming won’t be derailed if it’s a few millimeters off. It also means you don’t have to worry if you have slightly uneven floors.

Breaking at the floor

Some people opt for their curtains or drapes to break at the floor, with fabric extending past the ground. This is usually achieved with just an extra two or three inches of fabric, though sometimes - especially in more formal or traditional rooms - drapes will extend six inches past the floor so that the fabric puddles on the ground. This style is best done with thick, high-quality fabric, so that the puddle can easily stay in place once it’s been styled.

Though this style can look great in some rooms, it’s important to keep in mind that drapes or curtains that break at the floor will require more maintenance. They will collect dust and pet hair much more easily, so they’ll need to be cleaned more often.

Short curtains

Short curtains and drapes are not ideal, and most often you don’t want curtains that hang more than an inch above the ground. Too short curtains can not only look outdated, but they can also sometimes make the ceiling look lower. However, there are a couple of scenarios where short curtains are a more practical option.

If you have a window above a radiator, you’ll definitely want to cut your curtains to hang above it. Another consideration is children: sometimes parents opt for shorter curtains in kids’ bedrooms or playrooms so that they are less likely to play with them or pull them down.

So should curtains touch the floor? The short answer is yes...usually. But when making any decision about your window treatments, whether they’re drapes, blinds, or shades, it’s important to consider every aspect of style and function so you can choose the best option for your windows and your home.

Want to talk to an expert for advice on custom drapery and how to choose the best window treatments for your home? Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts..