Should curtains touch the floor? Designers decode the right length for you

The perfect length for curtains depends on the aesthetic and mood of your space – here's how to get the look you desire

voile curtains by patio doors in dining seating area
(Image credit: Hillarys)

Curtains are an eternal source of debate amongst designers – many of which discuss how the said window treatment will look in a contemporary space – and how to make them work in your home. Though the question of 'should curtains touch the floor?' is, perhaps, the most provocative of these queries.

If you've spent some time considering the best curtain ideas for your home, you will know that your chosen materials and colors count towards how your overall space will look. However, experts warn that the length of your curtains is equally impactful in achieving the aesthetic you want. So, before you learn how to measure for curtains, it's important to consider the length that will ensure your space looks as you hope. Here's what the experts want you to know. 

Should curtains touch the floor?

'The perfect length for curtains depends on the aesthetic and mood of the space. However, curtains should either just touch the floor or be longer and puddle on the floor,' says Oshri Adri and Jillian Dahlman, the co-founders of Adri + Dahlman Interiors (opens in new tab).

round wood dining room table with lantern pendant above and sheer linen curtains at window

(Image credit: Michael Sinclair / Ali Brown )

As Oshri and Jillian explain, it is important that your curtains are never shorter than your floor length. 'Curtains that just touch the floor look tailored, clean, and custom – even if they are not,' they say. 'This is our go-to length, as most of the rooms we design are more contemporary and minimalist.'

Alternatively, if you're looking for bedroom, kitchen, or living room curtain ideas that are more dramatic, traditional, or elegant, the designers recommend making your drapery longer so that it pools on the floor.

'Ideally, the curtains should start very close to the crown molding to create a sense of height and should either end at the floor or puddle on the floor, depending on the look and feel of the space,' they explain.

Is it okay if your curtains don't touch the floor?

Designers tend to agree that curtains that don't touch the floor are less common in contemporary homes. However, as Chicago-based designer Sarah Montgomery (opens in new tab) explains, there can be an exception. 

A living room curtain idea with white walls, dark blue patterned curtains and blue and red furniture

(Image credit: Emma Lee)

'You can float the curtains up to 1" off of the floor, and this will give the illusion that they go to the floor,' Sarah says. 'This option is recommended if the curtains are wool or linen, which will lengthen after hanging. It should also be considered if floors are uneven, so you don't have pooling on one end.'

If you're living with pets but decide to try the 'floating' window treatment idea, you should aim for at least a 1/2" float, so they don't collect dust or pet hair.

Should curtains touch the floor or be longer?

Curtains can touch the floor or be longer, but it depends on your overall decorating ideas and the look you want to achieve. 

'If you're going for that romantic or formal look, you have to really go for it. If the panels are just slightly too long, they will have an odd break and feel off rather than intentional,' designer Sarah Montgomery explains. 'The type of material will also determine how well they will pool. Very lightweight or heavier fabrics pool the best'.

Megan Slack
News Editor

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.