Buying curtains and blinds without measuring first is a common mistake that can lead to problems. Most people don't measure their windows before they buy blinds and end up with either too short or too long blinds for the window.
This leads to wasted money on new blinds, or worse yet – not being able to close your curtains at night.
Measure your windows before you buy anything so that you know exactly what size of blind will fit in each window. We'll show you how below – read on to find out more.
How do I choose window blinds?
The first thing you need to do is measure how wide and how tall the window is. Measure from the top of one side, across to the other, then up to get how high it goes. You should also take into account any trim that might be protruding past your measurement – for example, a vertical line about halfway down will make some blinds too long if they're not taken into consideration during measurements.
If there are two windows on either side of each other in a row (like in most houses) then you'll have three different sizes:
- small = width + height divided by three ≈ 40″ x 66″ or 44″ x 77″;
- medium = width + height divided by two ≈ 50″ x 84″
- large = width + height divided by one ≈ 70″ x 114″; and extra-large = width + height
Make sure you measure how wide your window is, not how big it looks. If the trim on the side of your window blocks out part of the viewing area then use a wider blind in that spot to fill up any gaps leftover from measuring.
How do you know what type of blinds you need?
Next, decide which type of blind or curtain rod would look best with your measurement. This decision will also help with hanging curtains over blinds.
Here are the various options you have at this stage:
Basic Roll Up Blinds tend to be 40″ – 44″ wide and come in many different colors.
Pleated Shades are typically between 40-60 inches long, 20-24 inches tall, and have a nice drape to them when they're down. Cordless shades can also be used instead of pleated shades if you don't want the cord dangling from your window all day long.
Roman Blinds look best with measurements of 70″ x 114″. These blinds have soft material that falls straight over the window frame for an elegant appearance.
Vertical Blinds need to be measured first by how much room there is behind them so you know how wide they should go across (e.g., if there's just enough space for 45″ blinds, you would measure from the top of one side to the other and divide by two). Measure how tall they are last.
Plantation Shutters should be measured in feet rather than inches – a window that's 84″ x 108″ wide might need shutters that are 114-120 inches long (including any trim or spindles below them), while a 72″ x 96″ window might only require 82-87″.
Roller Blinds can go up to 120″-140″, but it all depends on how far down your windowsill is from where you want the bottom of the shade to meet.
Shower Curtains usually just need to be measured for height because the width is determined by how much room there is at the top of your window.
Window Treatments are a combination of Blinds, Curtains/Drapes, and Sheers that you can measure together for width or separately (or purchase together as an entire package).
How much smaller should blinds be than the window?
Ideally, the width of your blinds should be about one-and-a-half to two inches smaller than how wide the window is. This will give you plenty of room for people behind it so they don't bump into them and still allow a good amount of sunlight in during all seasons (which means less chance that curtains will need to be closed).
If you're really not sure how much smaller your measurements are going to end up being then there's an easy way around this – order something bigger. Think about how big each piece can go before running out of space on either side or at the top/bottom. It might seem like too much but we have a lot more ways to make our windows look great than just how big the blinds are.
Another thing that you want to consider is how much light you want to let in. If there are a lot of windows on one side, it might be best for them all to have the same width or height so they can work together well during certain hours of the day and block out as much natural sunlight from that area as possible.
This means that you'll need to measure how much smaller you want the blinds to be than the window. If it's just a few inches, use your tape measure or ruler and mark how far down from where you're measuring (e.g., if there are three windows side by side then place a dot at how high up they will be).
Do blinds go inside or outside the window frame?
Blinds should go on the inside of your window frames when possible because while they look nicer from both sides – one side has an elegant appearance going up against how light will shine through during certain hours; another side is usually plain wood showing off how well-maintained everything looks as long as there isn't any dust buildup (which doesn't happen often).
Some people prefer having their blinds on the outside of their window frames because it's how they're used to seeing them in other parts of the house, and also how natural light is able to shine through.
Final thoughts on how to measure for blinds
When it comes to measuring for blinds, it's important to know how wide the window is first, and how much smaller it needs to be for how big each piece of blinds is.
Keep these tips in mind and you'll be well on your way to successfully measuring and finding the right blinds for your needs.