Curtains are an elegant and simple way to decorate your home and cultivate your style. There are rustic varieties, super lavish drapes, and basic options if you want to block out the sun or acquire some privacy.
From frilly and light to heavy and shadowy, there are endless styles to choose from to upgrade your home and make it cozier.
But should curtains touch the floor? How long should they be, and how do you know? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple.
In most cases, the answer is yes the curtains should gently “kiss” the floor for the most sophisticated look. However, it depends on the room the curtains are in and the aesthetic you want, so the answer is not always a yes.
What Is a Curtain Drop?
Curtain drop is the exact height of your curtains from the bottom hem to the header at the top. The curtain drop varies depending on where the curtain is supposed to land, whether it’s the window sill, the floor, or other locations.
What Is the Average Curtain Drop?
There are four common curtain drop lengths that pre-made curtains come in:
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Should Curtains Be Longer Than Window Height?
Most interior designers recommend using curtains that are longer than your windows to make your windows appear larger. But this article will discuss curtain length options for different scenarios.
Do Bedroom Curtains Have to Touch the Floor?
Bedroom curtains should usually touch the floor. Bedrooms should be inviting and cozy, and curtains touching the floor make for a warm and elegant look that most people want in their bedrooms.
What If Curtains Are Pooling on the Floor?
If your curtains pool on the floor, this means your home will have a more lavish and romantic look that shorter curtains will not achieve. But pooling curtains usually require more maintenance because they touch the dusty floor.
Common Curtain Styles
Different styles and lengths work better in certain rooms, so consider the type of area you want to hang curtains in, whether a kitchen, bedroom, or bathroom.
Some curtain styles are far more popular than others, but the less popular ones can sometimes make a unique and dramatic look in your home.
1. Single Panel Curtains
Single panel curtains are one piece of fabric designed to cover the entire window and then be pulled to the side and tied.
2. Panel Pair Curtains
Panel pair curtains are the common curtains you see that are two pieces of fabric that match and hang on either side of a window or door.
3. Pinch Pleat Curtains
Pinch pleat curtains are a common choice. They are tailored and pinched at the top for a textured, heavy appearance.
4. Box Pleat Curtains
Box pleats also offer a tailored appearance, but the pleats are boxy, and the folds in the curtain are very deep and rigid.
5. Goblet Pleat Curtains
Goblet pleat curtains have very subtle and elegant pleats at the top. But the tailored pleats are so delicate that these are not a good choice for functional curtains.
6. Pencil Pleat Curtains
Pencil pleat curtains are versatile and functional. They have super thin pleats at the top, making them flexible for different kinds of rods and rings.
7. Grommet Curtains
Grommet curtains are a casual modern style where large holes with metal around them hang directly on the curtain rod rather than from curtain rings.
8. Rod Pocket Curtains
Rod pocket curtains are a casual style with a light fabric. The top of the curtain is sewn, so you can slip the curtain over the rod; no rings are needed.
9. Tab Top Curtains
Tab top curtains are a contemporary and relaxed style where large loops at the top of the curtain hold onto the rod, creating gaps at the top where the rod is visible.
10. Tie Top Curtains
Like tab top curtains, tie top curtains expose the rod. There are pieces of fabric at the top that tie together in knots or bows for an informal appearance.
11. Blackout Curtains
Blackout curtains are typically the heaviest kind of curtain, as they completely block out the sun.
12. Energy-Efficient Curtains
Energy-efficient curtains are thick thermal curtains that help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter by acting as additional insulation.
Generally, there are three options for curtain lengths: sill length, below the sill, and floor-length curtains. Learn more about the different categories below.
Sill length is typically the shortest curtain option, falling just half an inch or an inch above the top of the window sill. Sill-length curtains give an extremely casual and simple look, and they’re a breeze to keep clean since they come nowhere near the floor.
However, there is an even shorter option that falls about halfway down the window itself. These are called cafe curtains. However, they are rare and typically only used in kitchens in the area above the sink.
Below the Sill
Below the sill curtains are one of the least popular curtain length options as they can look awkward and not very stylish. But they are still an option, and people often use them behind furniture that would block floor-length curtains anyway.
Below the sill curtains hang somewhere between the window sill and the floor, usually five to eight inches above the floor, depending on the window and ceiling height.
Decorators typically recommend these go behind a couch or piece of furniture that will make it look like they are floor-length curtains.
When dealing with long curtains, there are three options for hanging them: puddling, breaking, or floating.
Puddling, also known as gathering, is a more lavish and bold look, where the curtains are much longer than the curtain drop, so they bunch up on the floor where there is extra fabric.
A puddle can be several inches or even a full foot of extra fabric. Or it can be minimal puddling where there’s only an extra two or three inches of fabric.
Puddling is best for a warm but elegant look that is a bit of a showstopper. Puddling curtains work best in larger, open spaces that need to be closed in slightly to feel cozier and less empty.
However, if you plan to open and close your curtains often, the bottoms will likely get dirty faster. Many decorators suggest breaking or floating curtain lengths if the curtains will be for functionality rather than aesthetics.
Breaking curtains are the halfway point between floating and puddling. Breaking curtains touch the floor the way a pair of trousers does, slightly buckling at the bottom.
Usually, breaking curtains are half an inch or a full inch longer than the curtain drop, making for a very subtle folded appearance toward the bottom.
Breaking curtains are decorative and attractive while also being functional and casual. Breaking curtains are a common choice in most homes because they don’t get as dirty but still have a lovely flair that makes them look more romantic and intentional.
Floating, also called hovering, is the simplest way to hang curtains, as the curtain will hang slightly above the floor. This style is also common but offers a much more casual and refined look rather than flashy and stylish.
As mentioned, puddled or breaking curtains can get dirty if open and closed often, so floating curtains are a great way to keep your curtains looking fresh and clean while still using them all the time.
Floating curtains can be less than an inch off the ground or a few inches above the ground for a casual style. The floating drape look is probably the most popular style that people choose to have because it’s low maintenance.
Tips For Choosing Curtains
Below are some handy tips to keep in mind when choosing curtains for your home.
- Hang them up high and wide around windows to make them look larger.
- Choose colors that accent your existing home decor.
- Use prints sparingly, and don’t use them if your home already has many.
- Consider how much maintenance you’re willing to do if the curtains are puddling.
- Pick a fabric that suits your tastes, whether light and airy or heavy and dark.
Below are questions people also ask when choosing window coverings for their homes.
What’s the difference between curtains and drapes?
Curtains and drapes are very similar, but drapes are typically lined with a thicker fabric and almost always pool on the floor, whereas curtains come in many weights and heights.
What’s the difference between blinds and shades?
Shades and blinds are significantly different. Shades are typically a soft textile that comes in one piece and hangs over a window. They can be moved up or down.
Blinds offer more functionality and durability. They are typically made from more structured materials, like wood, and have slats that allow you to let in light or block without raising or lowering the blind.
While some may think curtains touching the floor is a faux pas, it’s a lovely design choice. But not everyone enjoys the dramatic and bold look of lengthy curtains, so choose what will make you happy in your home!