How High Should I Hang My Curtain Rod if I Have 9 Foot Ceilings?
First, this was a reader question so thank you for those. Second, I wouldn’t feel right ONLY answering the question for 9-foot ceilings. I will address all sizes. Hanging curtains is one of the FIRST things most people like to do when they move into a new place or decide to redecorate.
Curtains or drapes are one of the best ways to get privacy and a sense of style in one purchase. Adding fabric and texture to your room makes it feel much more intentional and designed. There are three decor musts if you want a room to feel like it’s decorated, window coverings, a rug and lighting.
Do you need help deciding which curtains or drapes will complement your space? If you already have curtains and you’re ready to get hanging, this will help you decide exactly where to hang the rods and how high and how wide your rod should be.
Four Questions to Answer Before You Begin To Hang a Curtain Rod
If you are getting ready to hang curtains, the first step is to mount the rod to the wall. Where to mount the curtain rod depends on four things, and you should answer #1, #2 and #3 first.
- Ceiling Height – Standard ceiling heights include 8-foot ceiling, 9-foot ceiling, 10-foot ceiling and 12-foot ceiling.
- Window Trim – How big is your window trim and where is it relative to the ground.
- Desired Look – Some people want floor-length curtains that just sweep the floor, others like them to pool at the base. Pooling fabric gives the drape a more formal look. If you have pets or small children in the room, pooling drapes catch more hair and dirt. If you are hanging shorter curtains or a cafe curtain, you should determine if you want the fabric to meet the bottom of the window sill.
- Curtain Length – You really need to know the answers to the first three before you decide on this.
Once you know the answers to these four questions, I’ll walk you through the standard answers and explain curtain rod height.
Drapery And Curtain Standard Lengths
The best choice when you hang curtains is to hang them high and wide. Interior designers all agree that if you hang your rod on top of the window frame or window sill this gives the illusion of height. You should also hang drapes wider than the width of your window frame/sill. You get the appearance of a larger window. A good rule of thumb is 4-6 inches above and 4-6 inches outside, with a minimum distance of 2 inches above.
The bottom line is that windows are often the biggest feature and bigger is better. Hanging high and wide makes each window look bigger than the actual window.
Ready-made curtains and drapes come in three standard lengths, 84 inches, 96 inches and 108 inches. These standard lengths are meant to work with standard ceiling height as follows:
- An 84-inch curtain panels work with 8-foot ceilings (which is 96 inches)
- A 96-inch curtain panels are a good fit for 9-foot ceilings (which is 108 inches)
- A 108-inch curtain panels work with 10-foot ceilings (which is 120 inches)
If you have higher ceilings than 12 feet, you will most likely have to find custom curtains. One of the best places to do that is on ETSY.
There’s one more wrinkle in the formula before you get out your hammer. You have to consider the construction of your curtain or what type of curtain you have. The main types of curtain construction include rod pocket, grommet, ring top or back tab or tab top.
Measuring Guidelines for Curtain Rod Height
How your curtain attaches to the rod affects the height of the rod. Here’s how to measure the rod height for each of the curtain types:
- Rod Pocket or Back Pocket – If you have a rod pocket or a back pocket curtain, lay your curtain on a flat surface. Measure from the bottom of the rod pocket seam to the bottom of the curtain. For example, you might have 96-inch curtains and the length from the bottom of the rod pocket to the bottom hem is 94 inches. Mount your curtain rod so that the bottom of the rod is 94 inches from the floor.
- Ring Top – If you have a ring-top curtain, lay your curtain on a flat surface. Attach the rings to the curtain. Measure from the bottom of the ring (where it would hit the bottom of the rod) to the bottom hem. If that’s 98 inches, mount your rod where the bottom of the rod is 98 inches. The size of your rings makes a difference.
- Grommet – If you have a grommet curtain, lay your curtain on a flat surface. Measure from the bottom of the grommet hole to the bottom of the curtain. This gives you the distance where the bottom of the rod should be from the floor.
- Tab Top – Lay your curtain on a flat surface. Insert the rod into the tabs. Measure from the top of the rod to the bottom of the curtain.
The best option is always to measure twice. Double check your measurements before you hang the rod by marking the spot where the bottom of the rod will be in pencil on the wall. Hold your curtain up to this spot and see if the bottom of the curtain hangs to your desired length.
When mounting the rod, you might need to add support brackets if you have very wide windows or very heavy window treatments.
What If I Get the Rod Up and Curtains are Not Right Length?
I have had this happen myself. I measure everything, I’ve got the curtains, I hang the rod in what I think is the right spot and the curtains are still too short or too long.
The good news is that there are ways to adjust the length of the curtain if you find that the standard size curtains don’t work in your space.
There are many different options if your curtains are too long vs too short. If your curtains are too long you can hem them or use fabric glue to turn them under. Or an even quicker short cut is to hang them with rings and urn the fabric under before you clip it on the ring.
If they are too short, you can try hanging rod pocket curtains using rings or adding a tab to the top.
Before you go, if you’re looking for more about how to size your curtains check out this guide.