Just How Low Should Your Drapes Move?

I am asked again and again, “How long if full-length drapes be?” People today want to know whether their drapes should float, break in the ground or hover just above it. These versions have been left over from a time prior to central heating and air conditioning, when people put up drapes for protection against the elements greater than for privacy and light control. Today, far from hanging an animal pelt within the entry to a cave, we have stylistic options to consider.

Often in design there are no right or wrong answers. Either you like it or you don’t. But here are some guidelines to assist you consider your choices so that you pick the curtain length that is ideal for you.

Driggs Designs


For a practical, casual look, leave only a finger width of distance between the ground and the hem of the drapes. Dust won’t gather, and the hem will remain clean. This is a good length for your family room or any high-traffic location. In addition, it is a great duration if your pets drop, or your drapes sit next to the backyard patio door, where grime is dragged in on a regular basis.

Ken Gutmaker Architectural Photography


For a trendy, tailored look, have a slight break in the bottom. A split is a bend or fold above the hem, which can be generated when the fabric is more than required to make it to the ground. Here, an inch or two of extra length produces a break.

Lisa Ferguson Interior Design

Notice a break can use contrasting banding to make a custom look. All these details that are made-to-measure are the hallmarks of habit design. An extra 1/2 inch may be just enough for a trendy break.

DME Construction


For a no-fuss match in a gracious area, hang drapes to just brush the ground. This length is frequently used in modern houses where crisp simplicity is preferred, but it also simplifies decor.

This is sometimes a tricky length to master, but because any inconsistencies in ceiling and floor (more common than you might think) will be clearly revealed. Quality expert drapery hardware allows for slight adjustments to be made during installation to camouflage any irregularity brought on by uneven ceilings or floors.

Carla Aston | Interior Designer


Puddling goes beyond a simple break. It moves right into a feeling of surplus. It may look very formal or just the opposite, depending on the fabric.

For a relaxed texture, use a soft, gauzy fabric, which won’t seem too fussy if left somewhat unkempt in the bottom. Much like the difference between a break in faded jeans versus a break in suit pants or dress pants, one kind of fabric will seem casual, another stylish. Fabric and design work hand in hand.

Liz Williams Interiors

If you’re using silk, make a few extra inches and add tasteful hardware for a formal and dressy look.

Tommy Chambers Interiors, Inc..

For an opulent look, really push the length forward. This methodis most frequently used to reinforce a sense of history in a traditional or historical home.

Rick Hoge

Deep puddling here reinforces the formal setting. This is not a low-maintenance solution; you have to organize the excess fabric to take a seat only how you like it. Also, it may be a tripping and falling hazard.

More: Custom Draperies 101

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