In my opinion you have three choices when you are wondering how long your curtains should be. I have had this question several times in the last week, so I thought I’d share my answer to all of you.

General Rule to Curtain Lengths: The longer the curtain the more formal the look.

#1. Floor length. This is probably the most traditional look out there. The curtains brush the floor and are precisely the length between the rod and the floor.

#2: Just to the Sill. This length is great, but realize that if you choose for this length of curtain in your home, that it tends to send the more “casual” message, and most rooms tend to be more casual than others in most homes.

#3: Small bunches on the floor: This length is the most formal, and it tends to be used with luxurious looking fabric. (Luxurious does NOT equal expensive….remember THIS POST?)

Number three is my personal favorite. I like my curtains to bunch a tiny bit at the floor. It is the most formal choice of length, but yet it is definitely appropriate for family rooms, living rooms, and also master bedrooms. I would not however use this option in kitchens, kid’s rooms, or great/toy rooms.

The length of your curtains is completely up to you, but I would recommend using one of the three choices. If your curtains don’t follow one of these main guidelines, you may want to take the leap to either shorten or lengthen them.

This is a great illustration of option #3 by Pottery Barn.

This curtain was found HERE and it illustrates the #1 option perfectly

This picture illustrates picture #2. This picture came from

All three choices are appropriate in certain circumstances. What length do you prefer in your home?


  1. says

    I have no curtains anywhere in my house! I have blinds and cute valances because it scares me thinking of my little kids touching them with their dirty hands and twirling up in them like I used to when I was little.

    Maybe when they grow up?

  2. says

    I too have no curtains but that is a project I am soon to embark on. (We are currently living in a temporary apartment in TX but will be returning to our home in MO this fall. Then I will go curtain crazy!)

    I, however, prefer either the floor length or puddled on the floor looks. Either one of these are fabulous. We have LOTS of windows on the main level of our house in MO and I have been SOOO anxious to dress them up with some beautiful curtains! I would, of course, put the sill length curtains in our kitchen and probably also in the small window we have in our bathroom upstairs.

  3. says

    I have None of those haha! Our windows are on the smaller side so I've gotten creative with a few things to make them look larger so our curtains in reality go about halfway between the sill and the floor, but it looks like they are sill length, and since they are never all the way open it works to enlarge the window space.

  4. says

    Floor length is best. Especially if you have little ones! Puddles of curtains on the floor just equal a tripping hazard in our house!

  5. says

    This post made me giggle a bit. You see, I have two miniature dachshunds (anyone feel me on this?) I have always wanted the long drapery that kind of pools on the floor…until, I tried it in my master bedroom and the dogs immediately started "nesting" in the folds. Digging and turning until they arranged the ends in a beautiful nest to relax in. Needless to say, dog hair/smell is not what I am going for in my decor and they were immediately shortened. :-)

  6. says

    Great post, especially since I am hanging curatins soon. I agree that it depends on the fabric. I just got velvet curtains for our master bedroom and I think they look better with a slight pool at the bottom.

  7. says

    So, I have never done curtains, still intimidated by it all, but I have two more questions to add, first a few of my windows have the little arched window on top of the main windows . . . what do you do there? And also, in my family room I have a 2 story high wall of windows (with an arched one on top of course), gorgeous, but facing west, would yards and yards of drapes be too much in solving my too much sunshine in the coming summer afternoon/evening problem?

  8. says

    I have both options 1 & 2 in my house. I like curtains that end at the sill for all the bedrooms and also someday for my kitchen windows (if I ever get around to it!) and floor length at my large picture window in the living room. I love the look of longer curtains but I too have dogs who like to nest on anything soft and when a 140lbs mastiff tries to lie on curtains, the rod ends up bent :(

  9. Robyn says

    I was faced with this issue when I found a pair of "in great shape" vintage curtains at Goodwill recently. When I looked at them I knew they'd hang just slightly below the window sill in my dining room. I took a chance and bought them for $1.50 pr panel, and I haven't second guessed my decision at all…they are yellow and avocado green…their totally funky and I love them!! come by for a visit

  10. says

    Great tips! I'm thinking about buying my first set of curtain ever so it's nice to know what options I have for length. The draping fabric on the floor is so pretty, but I just can't see that working with a cat who rubs on everything!


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