Measuring for Curtains


Accurately measuring for curtains is a must if you want to get the right fit, whether you're shopping for easy-fit ready-made curtains or commissioning made to measure.

Curtain width measurements will depend on the length of your curtain track or pole, but measuring curtain length or 'drop' will be determined by where you'd like your drapes to end.

Use a metal tape measure for better accuracy and follow our guide on how to measure for curtains to get those dimensions right!

Measuring a curtain track or pole

If you don't already have your track or pole in place, we recommend fitting one before you measure.

To fit correctly measure the width of the window plus 30/40cm (12-16"), this will ensure your curtains will comfortably cover your window. Fit your track or pole approximately 15cm (6") above your window recess and centre ensuring you have 15-20cm (6-8") either side of the window.

Measuring curtain width

1. Measure your track or pole

For the best performance, your curtain track or pole should be positioned approximately 15cm (6") higher than the window, and be wider than your window by 15-20cm (6-8") either side.

2. Calculate your curtain width

To get a soft gathered look when your curtains are closed, use your pole or track measurements as a starting point and multiply it as follows (depending on your chosen curtain type):

Pencil Pleat
Pole or track width x 2
Pole or track width x 2
Tab Top
Pole or track width x 1.5
Multiplying the width - If you use the pole or track measurements as they are, your curtains will cover the width but the fabric will appear flattened across the window.

3. Add another 2.5cm (1")

Adding an extra 2.5cm (1") to the width measurement will allow your curtains to overlap in the middle when closed.

Measuring curtain length

1. Decide where your curtains will end

Radiator below your window? Curtains should end 3cm (1 ½ ") above the radiator to allow the heat to circulate into the room rather than rising up behind your curtains.

2. Measure the drop

Depending on your choice of fitting and curtain type, measure as follows:

Curtain track
Measure from the top of the track to your chosen end point.
Curtain pole
Measure from the top of the pole to your chosen end point.
Exceptions to this rule: If you intend to hang pencil pleat curtains from your pole, and want to make a feature of the pole, measure from the eye of the curtain ring.
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3. Things to remember

Measure at multiple points

Windowsills and floors are not always level, so measure at 2 or 3 points and use the smallest measurement to ensure the best fit.

Header tape

Our pencil pleat curtains come with either a 3" or 6" header tape. Header tapes offer 3 or more rows on which to attach your hooks. Where your curtains stop will be impacted by the row you choose to hang your curtain hooks from. This allows some flexibility if your want to give the appearance of more length, without letting the hems down.

Buying curtains at Dunelm

Our curtains all follow 'width x drop' sizing to make it easier to find your favourite drapes in the size you need.

Dunelm's ready-made curtains are sold in pairs. The size given refers to each individual curtain, so if you buy a pair of curtains measuring 117cm x 137cm (46" x 54") you will receive two curtains each with the same measurement of width 117cm x length 137cm (width 46" x length 54").

Heading types

Eyelet Curtains

Eyelet Curtains

  • Eyelets headers have metal rings (eyelets) inserted at evenly spaced intervals across the top of the curtain to create a softer fold with larger pleats.

  • Eyelet curtains can only be used on a curtain pole.

Pencil Pleat Curtains

Pencil Pleat Curtains

  • Pencil pleat curtains are tightly gathered at the header to give a close pleating and a more classic look.

  • Dunelm’s pencil pleat curtains have a 3-inch or 6-inch heading tape depth.

  • Pencil pleat curtains can be fitted onto either a pole or track. Curtain gliders are required to hang them from a curtain track.

Slot Top

Slot Top

  • Slot top curtain headers have loops of fabric evenly distributed along the top of the curtain, through which you can feed a curtain pole.

  • Slot top curtains can only be used with a pole.