Hanging Drapes: How Low Should They Go to the Floor?

At Budget Blinds Snohomish County, we get asked fairly often “but, how long should I let my drapes hang?” It’s common to see drapes hung in all different lengths, each variation offering its own form of style. It’s important to note that most of these “styles” were birthed out of actual needs in the past.

Before central heating and air conditioning were the norm, drapes were relied on for insulation - keeping either hot or cool air inside. Light control was usually secondary to climate control from the outdoors. Today, although still used partially for insulation, style is more the focus when choosing the fabric and length of the drapes.

So, how do you choose the length for your drapes? It’s simple - which length do you like the most? Your personal preference is key in this decision. Below, we describe the top drape length options to help you discover your style.

Hovering

With your measurement stick already attached to your body, you only need a finger width of space between the end of the drapes and the floor as a guideline for this length. This is a perfect length for those who want floor length drapes without dealing with dust gathering at the bottom, and keeping the hem clean from dirt and animal hair. As one of the most practical, casual looks for drapes, you can’t go wrong with this length.

Brushing

Although this length is a little tricky to perfect, it’s often used in modern homes for a graceful, simplistic look that still compliments traditional decor. This style is called brushing, because the end of the drapes lightly brush against the floor. The difficulty comes when the floor and ceiling are inconsistent in their measurement, which happens pretty often. Thankfully, quality drapery hardware normally has room for small adjustments to make up for any unevenness .

Breaking

Letting the drapes hang a little lower, they come to a “breaking point”, where they will begin to fold in after the end has reached the floor. This crease is called “breaking”. The drapes are not long enough to collect on the floor, but just long enough to put a little weight into the end of the fabric that rests against the floor, causing a slight buckle effect near the bottom. This look is a more tailored option, where an inch or two of extra length can work to create a custom, stylish look.

Puddling

Using longer than necessary drapes will create puddling on the surface beneath. Depending on your personal preference and style, you can create small puddles, or large puddles. This look is very much scenario based, as it can either very formal, or very sloppy. Historically, longer drapes had an elegant appeal, which reinforces the traditional flare this tends to bring. However, done without matching the rest of the decor can result in looking pretty messy. Use this option when thoughtfully planned.

When you live in the Pacific Northwest, especially Washington, you may still use drapes for insulation in the winter. These options show you the different levels of style to go along with your practical needs. Occasionally, you may see short drapes - which are always an option. But keep in mind, drapes that end a few feet from the floor kind of have the same effect as capri pants - they just seem a little unbalanced, and let go of a lot more climate control.

Having a hard time deciding the right length for you? Live near Millcreek, Edmonds, Everett or Snohomish, Washington? We’ll come take a look and offer our best guidance to fitting your perfect drapes.

If this Budget Blinds of Snohomish County article has you wondering how you can upgrade your space by changing your window treatments, we would love to help! Sign up for a Free Consultation, where you will have one on one attention to bring your goals to reality.