How to choose curtains for high ceilings

Lisa Nolan
Written by Lisa Nolan
Russells Consultant
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Dimensions matter

The height, width, length and volume of your curtains are all going to play a part in how functional and stylish they are. So, let’s go through these factors now:

The best height to hang curtains

Many homes have windows with some amount of wall space above the top of the window frame. A common place to hang a curtain rod or track in houses with a ceiling height of 2.4m (the average stud height) is about 10-15cm above the window frame, or halfway between the window frame and ceiling or architrave.
In homes with higher ceilings and windows, you have more options; as well as the positions just mentioned, you can also mount the rod or track just above the highest point of the window frame, or right up at ceiling height.

Celling to floor curtain length

Many modern, architecturally designed homes have full height windows; glass from floor to ceiling. These will need full-length curtains. But you can also choose to create a grand and elegant look with floor to ceiling curtains even if your windows aren’t full height. Floor to ceiling curtains draw the eye upwards, showing off the height of the ceiling well. You then have the option of what length to have them at the floor – skimming, breaking, or puddling. Read more about that in our blog on curtain length.

How wide should they be?

This will be different for every home, and it depends on how much wall space you have either side of the window. But a general rule of thumb is that curtains should completely cover the window frame and then some, extending beyond the sides so the curtains are partially covering the wall and the window is fully exposed. Measure 8-15cm either side as a baseline and adjust to suit your windows and walls from there.

What is the best fabric for very long curtains?

Now let’s discuss volume – how full your curtains look and what is the most functional or stylish choice. The first thing to consider is what you need your curtains to do as this determines the type of fabric. Do you need to filter sunlight during the day, darken a room at night, or privacy during the day and/or night?
Sheer fabrics suit long lengths very well because they’re not bulky when stacked/open; sheer curtains are useful for light filtering and, depending on how sheer, privacy during the day. Fabrics for darkening rooms (or thermal insulation in winter) tend to be bulkier. This matters only if you don’t have a lot of space for stacking the curtain to the side/s when open, as they take up more room.

S-fold curtains are perfect for large areas

Floor to ceiling windows (as well as sliding doors, or even long walls) are perfect for our s-fold curtains. They look especially elegant when hung floor to ceiling and their easy operation means they can be opened and closed with no difficulty. Read more about why we love the s-fold curtain in this blog.

Consider blinds

Blinds are an excellent choice for tall windows, with multiple different options offering a variety of looks and functions.

• Roller blinds and romans are simple to operate and offer a flat, minimalistic look.

• Blockout honeycomb blinds might be the answer to the aforementioned ‘bulky fabric’ issue.

• Venetians and vertical blinds both have a classic, linear look and offer varying degrees of light control so they’re a good day and night combo in one.

• Use blinds in combination with curtains to get the best of everything. Read our blog for some popular combos.

Veri Shades®

Our Premium Veri Shades® are also known as ‘the clever walkthrough curtain’ and they’re ideal across sliding doors. They hang beautifully with no weights or connecting chains and simply sway out of the way before settling back perfectly, whether they’re open or closed. These make them ideal for homes with pets as they can pass through to the outdoors simply and safely. On the off-chance damage is caused, individual panes can be replaced which keeps them cost-effective.

Learn more here.

Vertical blinds

These blinds are made up of thin vertical slats that make them hard for pets to cling onto. They can also be operated by wand so there’s reduced hazard from a chain or cord. And individual slats can be replaced should they get damaged or badly marked.

Learn more here.


How to make a room seem smaller: If your ceilings are too high for you, and you want to make a large space feel cosier, choose curtains that are a darker colour than the walls. Stripes can also fool the eye; use horizontal stripes to visually shorten high ceilings (and wide walls also). Hopefully these tips have got your thinking about the right curtains for your high ceilings. To get a full picture of your options and uncover some surprising solutions you might not have thought of, invite one of our consultants into your home for a free consultation. They’ll be able to tailor the right window furnishings to fit the unique dimensions of your home.

Learn what to consider in picking the right curtains for your home