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Measuring For Draperies

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Draperies can add a dramatic statement to any window and room. Beyond aesthetics, drapes are functional, providing warmth through an added layer of insalation or comfort through room darkening and privacy. Draperies are more popular today as a custom made product, and therefore there are less ready-made options being offered today, when compared to 10 years ago. For those who want to tackle this project on their own, following a few simple rules will help get you to the finish line. For our example we will be using a traverse rod to hold the draperies in place.

Using A Traverse Rod

Traverse Rods can be mounted on the window frame itself or any place on the wall in order to cover the window. If you plan on using a traverse rod, add 12” total to your window width measurements for overlaps and returns.

Overlaps are where the traverse rod meets in the center and the panels overlap each other, 2” per panel.

Returns are where the panels return back toward the wall to give privacy on the outer edges of the window and cover the corners of the traverse rod, 4”per panel.

All three of these measurements require an additional 12” of fabric. If calculating for a one-way draw traverse rod, you will only need to add 6” for overlap and return because only one panel is being used instead of two.

Also, if you intend to open the draperies and want the material stack onto the wall instead of on the window you will need to add approximately 33% (or 0.33) to the width drapery you are shopping for.

My window is 46” wide, + 12” for overlaps and returns, equals 58”. I will need to shop for a drapery that is at least 58” wide. A pair of 48” wide draperies is too small and the next closest size available is 72”. The stack back on a 72” drapery is approximately 24” (72” x 33%, (or .33) equals 24”) which results in 12” on each side of the window because of the two panels.

Helpful Tip

If this is a new installation, subtract 12” from the purchased size, in the above example given, the rod would need to be mounted at 60” wide or 7” past each side of the window. Once the overlaps and returns are taken into account the drapery should pull evenly across the entire width of the window providing full coverage for both privacy and energy efficiency.

Measuring For Draperies

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