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Should Curtains Touch the Floor? Designers Answer

August 24, 2023 at 1:48 PM PST

Curtains play a significant role in enhancing the aesthetics of a room while also serving practical functions. One of the key decisions when it comes to choosing curtains is determining their length. Should they gracefully sweep the floor, hover slightly above it, or be somewhere in between? The answer to this question depends on various factors, including your desired style, room design, and personal preferences.

Consider Your Aesthetic Appeal: Elegance vs Casual

Curtains that touch the floor exude an air of elegance and sophistication. They add a touch of luxury to the room and can make the space feel grander and more upscale. If you’re aiming for a formal or luxurious ambiance, floor-touching curtains might be the ideal choice, but It should just touch the floor, not necessarily puddle at the floor, says Becky Shea, interior designer and HGTV design finalist. The lengthening effect they create can make ceilings appear higher and windows more prominent, transforming the overall look of the room.

Conversely, if you’re leaning towards a more casual and relaxed atmosphere, curtains that hover slightly above the floor can achieve this effect. Interior Design Lisa Staton adds that in this case, “the golden rule is to keep them 1/4″ off the floorThey offer a laid-back, effortless feel and can work well in spaces where comfort and informality are prioritized. The choice between floor-touching and slightly elevated curtains can set the tone for the entire room.

Keep Things Practical

While aesthetics are important, you should also consider whether it is practical to have your curtains touch the floor or not. Curtains that touch the floor will gather a lot more dust and dirt over time, which could be a concern if you or your family members have allergies. You would need to clean and replace the curtains regularly to have them looking their best. It’s essential to weigh the elegance of longer curtains against the maintenance they require.

From a functional standpoint, floor-length curtains can offer advantages. They can help insulate the room better, blocking drafts and contributing to energy efficiency. This can be particularly beneficial if your windows aren’t as well-insulated. Additionally, during the winter months, longer curtains can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, while in the summer, they can keep excessive heat out, aiding in temperature control.

Think About the Room Design

Consider the type of flooring in the room when deciding on curtain length. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, curtains touching the floor might blend seamlessly. However, if your floors are hardwood or tile, you might have concerns about the curtains dragging and possibly getting caught. This could influence your decision to opt for slightly elevated curtains to avoid such issues.

Furthermore, your room’s overall design theme and style play a role in the curtain length decision. For instance, in minimalist or modern designs, curtains that just kiss the floor could complement the clean lines and simplicity of the space. On the other hand, in a traditional or opulent setting, full-length curtains could enhance the grandeur of the decor.

Determine Your Personal Preference and Budget

Ultimately, the choice of curtain length is a matter of personal preference. It’s your space, and the curtains should reflect your unique style and taste. Consider how different curtain lengths align with your vision for the room and how they contribute to the ambiance you want to create.

Budget is another practical consideration. Longer curtains might require more fabric, potentially increasing costs. Additionally, if you opt for floor-touching curtains, you might need additional hardware like tiebacks or holdbacks to prevent the curtains from dragging when opened or closed.

The Middle Ground: “Kissing” the Floor

If you find yourself torn between the elegance of floor-length curtains and the practicality of slightly elevated ones, you might consider a compromise. Curtains that lightly touch the floor—often referred to as “kissing” the floor—can offer a balance between aesthetics and functionality. This choice prevents excessive dust accumulation while maintaining the graceful appearance of longer curtains.

When it comes to deciding whether curtains should touch the floor, there’s no definitive answer. The choice depends on your desired style, the room’s design, and your practical considerations. Carefully weigh the aesthetic appeal, practicality, room design, and personal preferences to determine the ideal curtain length for your space. Whether you opt for the grandeur of floor-length curtains or the casual charm of slightly elevated ones, your curtains will play a vital role in shaping the character of your room.


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