CURTAIN LENGTH: PUDDLE, BREAK, JUST TOUCHING OR OFF OF THE FLOOR?

Clients often ask me “what’s the normal curtain or drapery length?”  We’ve all seen the extremes from too short vs massive puddle.

Puddles, in the right environment and at the correct window, make a dramatic, formal statement. This is a fabulous example of an overstated puddle done right.  (I tried to find the original source for the photo, but gave up after many attempts.  If you know whose photo this is, let me know. They deserve credit!)

Dramatic Drapery with large puddle, Source Unknown

Dramatic Drapery with large puddle, Source Unknown

Here’s an example of curtains which are too short.

“Mount curtains as high as possible to give the room more height, and let them break 1½ inches on the floor.”
—Miles Redd

But those are the extremes.  What about the other 95 percent of the window treatments? I work with many designers and individual clients.  About 75% of the time, we add about an inch to the finished length for a “break” at the floor, similar to a man’s pant cuff.  Here in America, we don’t have to worry as much about drafty houses as the Europeans.  But we take our cue from Europe by adding enough length to the curtains to look voluptuous and custom made.  I often hold a piece of fabric  to the floor and let it touch and relax on the floor to help clients visualize their favorite length in their own home, and to see how much break they want.  A “Break” can be anywhere from 1/2″ to 2″ and is the look that you see most often in magazines, Pintrest and design blogs.  With the “Break” you will see buckling at the end of the curtain and hemline.

Silk Draperies with 1″ Break, Design by Chelsea Frazer, Allied ASID, Workroom: Camille Moore Interior Treatments

Silk Draperies with 1″ Break, Design by Chelsea Frazer, Allied ASID, Workroom: Camille Moore Interior Treatments

Silk Draperies with 1″ Break on Floor

Silk Draperies with 1″ Break on Floor

There are a smaller percent of clients who do not want the curtains to touch the floor at all.  They may have pets or children, or simply do not like the “look”.  For these clients, I usually suggest “just touching” or “grazing” the floor.  I like this effect as well, it’s very custom and the draperies hang very nicely with no buckling in the hemline, like the 1″ break.

Celtic Banded Linen Curtains, Just Touching Floor. Design by Camille Moore, Workroom: Camille Moore Window Treatments

Celtic Banded Linen Curtains, Just Touching Floor. Design by Camille Moore, Workroom: Camille Moore Window Treatments

If you do not like the draperies to touch the floor at all, here is what having the curtains installed 3/8″ to 1/2″ off of the floor will look like.  When needing your curtains or draperies to open and close each day, this is a fabulous option.

Linen Draperies, 3/8″ off of floor. Installed on Beautiful Operational Wood Traverse Track. Design: Camille Moore, Workroom: Camille Moore Window Treatments

Linen Draperies, 3/8″ off of floor. Installed on Beautiful Operational Wood Traverse Track. Design: Camille Moore, Workroom: Camille Moore Window Treatments

How do you like your curtain and drapery to meet the floor?  Leave a comment below; I’d love your opinion!