Out of the box curtains commonly come in these different lengths:
- 24 inches – short cafe curtain length
- 36 inches long – long cafe curtain length
- 63 inches long – window sill length
- 84 inches long – floor length curtain if mounting at standard window height
- 96 inches long – floor length curtain for rooms with 8-foot or 9-foot ceilings
- 108 inches long – floor length curtain for rooms with tall ceilings
- 120 inches long – floor length curtain for rooms with tall ceilings
- two story long curtains – curtains that span windows across two stories
24- or 36-Inch Long Curtains
24-inch long and 36-inch long curtains are typically cafe curtains. They usually are used for privacy and most cover the bottom half or the bottom three quarters of a window. Because their main aim is privacy, it isn’t uncommon to find cafe curtains on windows above bath tubs or kitchen sinks.
Cafe curtain covering the bottom half of a window.
Cafe curtain covering the bottom three quarters of a window.
63-Inch Long Curtains
63-inch long curtains are typically sill length curtains. Again, they may be used for privacy in kitchens and baths. They are are also a popular choice with windows surrounded by built-in custom cabinetry.
Pleated taffeta curtain at sill length.
84-Inch Long Curtains
84-inch long curtains are your typical out-of-the box curtains, and we hate to say it, but most people use them incorrectly.
That’s because 84-inch long curtains are supposed to be floor length curtains, but a lot of scenarios can easily make an 84-inch long curtain stop too short of being floor length.
Here are just three examples that will easily make an 84-inch length curtain close to unusable in your home:
- if you install a wooden frame around your window, your curtain rod now has to hang higher from the floor;
- if you use a wide diameter (1-3/8-inch) curtain rod with a rod pocket curtain, did you know that an 84-inch curtain will “ride up” on the curtain rod and end up closer to 83-1/2 inches long? That half inch alone is enough to not make the curtain floor length anymore and become a major design faux pas.
- If you use tiebacks to swoop your curtain off to the side, here again you’ll lose length as the curtain naturally moves up. This is especially evident with wide curtains.
Besides those considerations, 84-inch curtains will make rooms with 8-foot ceiling look small and claustrophobic. We highly recommend against them. You’d be surprised what just a few inches can do to a room when a curtain rod hangs higher, but you’ll have to do custom panel sizes for that.
84-inch grommet panels hung slightly lower to account for loss of length due to tiebacks.
Pleated 84-inch long curtains installed under a crown molding window frame.
96-Inch Long Curtains
96-inch curtains will definitely make small rooms look taller. They’re a must whenever possible. They’re perfect in 8-foot tall rooms when curtain rods are installed immediately under a crisp white crown molding.
96-inch long white curtains in a room with 8-foot ceilings. The curtains were even long enough to create a clean break length curtain instead of just being floor length.
108- or 120-Inch Long Curtains
In rooms with 9 to 12-foot ceilings, 108-inch and 120-inch long curtains are a must.
Although you no longer have to install a curtain rod immediately under the crown molding like you would with an 8-foot tall ceiling in an attempt to draw the eye up and make the room appear bigger, it’s still a good designer tip even in these kinds of rooms as well.
Solid 108-inch long curtains in a breakfast area with a transom patio door and 9-foot ceilings.
108-inch long plaid curtains. Because they were installed low on the window, they have plenty of length left to create a dramatic puddle length curtain on the floor.
These 120-inch long curtains were plenty long to cover these unique round bay windows.
Two Story Long Curtains
Exactly as the name implies, two story curtains span across two story rooms. These are typically found in grandiose living rooms and foyers.
Their lengths will depend on the window types. For example, some rooms with tall ceilings and stacked palladian or transom windows can do curtain lengths of 144 inches, while true two story windows can easily require curtains that are 240 inches long.
The following photos are some great examples of these kinds of curtains.
In conclusion, curtains come in all sorts of lengths. Ready-made, pre-packaged curtains typically come in select 12-inch increments like 24 inches, 36 inches, 84 inches, 96 inches, 108 inches, 120 inches, 144 inches, 180 inches, and so on. The only outlier is the 63-inch long sill length curtain, which bases its length to accommodate a typical window length of 48 to 60 inches.
Other Useful Blog Posts
- Drapery Measuring Guide (with Calculator and Worksheet)
- What Is the Difference Between Curtains and Drapes?
- What Are the Different Types of Draperies?
- What Makes a High Quality Drapery?
- What Is a Drapery Pocket?
- How Wide Should Drapery Side Panels Be?