If you’ve never shopped for curtains before, you may be surprised at how overwhelming it can be. There is no standard size for windows, and therefore, finding curtains in the exact color and size you want can be challenging – and costly. Follow this guide so you know what you’re getting into before heading to the store and can learn how to pick the right curtains.
- Measure, measure, measure: Before doing anything, measure your windows’ lengths and widths. In addition to the window itself, you should also measure the distance from where the curtain rod is (often above the window itself) to where you want the curtain to fall (at the ledge, to the floor, or or higher up if you’re doing a valance or half curtain). Keep these numbers in a safe place and don’t go to the store without them.
- Go online: Rather than hitting every home decor store in town, start your search online to see what may be out there. This will give you a good idea of what stores even sell curtains (Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target and Kohl’s are a few chains to consider), what the standard sizes are, and what price ranges exist. If you see some that meet your criteria, check if they’re available at a store near you. Curtains take up a lot of retail space, so if you’re comfortable buying them online without seeing them in person, that may give you a wider selection.
- Don’t forget to double up: You may assume that curtains are sold in pairs, but think again. They are sold in individual panels, so you need to buy two if you want to be able to open them in the middle. Buying two also creates the nice “bunching” effect that is expected with curtains.
- Remember the accessories: If you’re putting up curtains on a window that didn’t have one before, you’ll also need a rod. Check with your landlord about what you’re allowed to put into the walls – curtain rods range from simple to heavy duty, and may require nailing or drilling holes into the wall. If you can’t touch the walls, look for tension rods that fit inside the window frame. And don’t forget ties to hold the curtains open, which may also require hooks on either side of the window.
- Consider custom: If you’re going to be in your place for a long time, custom curtains may be worth the investment. Furniture and some home decor stores can order curtains for you in custom sizes to perfectly fit your windows. If you have a sewing machine, you can save a lot of money by altering premade curtains, or making your own from scratch! Curtains are an easy project for even a novice seamstress.