How to choose your custom drapery length

Jan 14, 2022

When I work with clients who want custom draperies, we need to decide what length they’d like. We discuss their goals and what we are trying to achieve, including how our selections will impact the overall look of the room.

Here are some guidelines to help determine the best length for your custom draperies:


Shorter draperies

If the fabric has an overwhelming pattern or strong colors and the room is small, we often decide not to extend the length to the floor. In this case we go few inches below the bottom of the trim. If we are using blackout draperies, I would suggest extending the length a bit longer to eliminate any light peeping out from the bottom. And sometimes shorter curtains are recommended for safety, i.e., if there is a heating register or because it is unsanitary to have full length drapes in a bathroom or kitchen. And sometimes shorter draperies are preferred when there are pets in the home, as it’s easier to keep the draperies clean.



Full length draperies 

This is the most popular length. Most of our clients choose to have full length draperies, especially when they want to enhance the height of a room. If the draperies are functional – meaning that they open and close – my recommendation is to have them a half-inch to an inch above the floor. If the fabric has some stretch, we will allow a bit more space between the hem of the draperies and the floor; this way if the fabric stretches with humidity, it will not touch the floor. We generally allow enough gap to easily clean under the draperies without soiling the fabric.





Breaking on the floor

To have the draperies break on the floor, we add couple of inches of fabric to the finished length to allow the draperies to break nicely. This is especially preferred for stationary drapery panels that do not open or close. This elegant length adds richness to a room.







Puddling draperies

When puddling drapes, we add about ten inches of fabric (or more) to the finished length of the drapery panels. The draperies will beautifully puddle on the floor, adding a touch of poise and luxury. Puddling requires an installer with artistic hands to shape and dress the panels and make them look like an exquisite evening gown! I do not recommend this length when our clients have pets, as they can attract the animals to use the drapes as a day bed, or even something worse.

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