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How to Accurately Measure Windows for a New Shade or Blind

How to Accurately Measure Windows for a New Shade or Blind

Measuring a window accurately before purchasing a new blind or shade is essential to ensuring your investment will fit and function correctly. Although it is often wise to have a professional measure your windows, you can do it yourself by following these simple steps.

What you Need:

How to Measure a Window

• Steel measuring tape
• Paper and pencil
• Ladder (if required for your window height)
First, determine where your new blind or shade will be installed. Is there room to mount it inside the window frame? Or, is it better to outside mount the window treatment? You will need at least ¾” of an inch in depth to mount a blind inside the window. This minimum depth will vary depending on the type of window treatment you ultimately select. If you want complete light-blocking capabilities or privacy, outside mount blinds are the only thing that can ensure these qualities. Mounting inside the window frame will result in slight gaps around the edges of the blind; these gaps vary with the type of shade you select.

Next, sketch your window on paper, making note of important details, such as existence of trim, sills that extend beyond the window frame, etc. This will give you a permanent record of the window’s dimensions, and a clear way to communicate them to your window treatment dealer.

Using your steel measuring tape (never a fabric tape, as these can stretch), measure the inside of the window frame (for an inside mount blind), at the point the shade will be mounted. Generally, this is the largest, flattest area in the frame. Measure from one side to the other, to the nearest 1/8″. Note this measurement on your drawing. Measure in the same way, at two other points between the sill and top of the window frame. Note these measurements on the drawing. If they are slightly different, use the smallest measurement as your width, to ensure the shade will operate properly.

To measure the height, use your tape measure to measure from top of sill to top of window frame in at least two different locations. Note these measurements on your sketch, and use the smallest of them as your shade length.

To check the squareness of your windows, measure from one corner diagonally to the other. Do this in both directions. Note the measurements on your sketch, and compare the two numbers. If they are more than 1/2″ different, your window is out of square; you may wish to mount your shade on the outside of the frame, as it may not operate properly as an inside-mount shade.

For an outside-mount shade, follow the same instructions listed above, except measure from the outside edge of the window trim on one side, to the outside edge of the other side.  If the trim varies in width, use the widest points as your measurement.  Add at least 1″ to each side of the window (2″ total addition to the width of your shade) to overlap the trim slightly. This will ensure your shade covers the trim completely. At the top, you may may to add 2″ or more to the total length; make sure you have enough length figured into your measurement to accommodate your mounting bracket, as it needs flat wall space for installation. You should now have the proper measurements to order your new window treatment!

Tips for Success:

• It is a good idea to purchase your window treatments from a reputable dealer who will take final measurements for you. This will put the responsibility for errors on the dealer, not you, and will keep you from reordering (and paying for!) mistakes in measurements.
• If your window is a bay window, bow window, specialty shaped window (arches, angles, trapezoids or other) or located high off the floor, consult a professional. Sometimes, these types of windows require templates to be made before the shades can be ordered.
• Use care on ladders when measuring your windows, and don’t overreach!
• Ask for help from a friend if your windows are wide; you will need an accurate measurement and having someone to hold the end of the measuring tape can be very helpful.
• When noting your measurements for an inside-mount shade, do NOT reduce them to create space for operating the shade. Deductions to the actual measurements will be taken by the shade manufacturer. If you also deduct from the width or length of the shade, it will be too narrow or short, allowing for light and privacy gaps!

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One Response to How to Accurately Measure Windows for a New Shade or Blind

  1. […] like to make a drapery that will cover your window entirely, and your window is 54″ wide (outside measurement).  Take the 54″ measurement and multiply by 2.5.  Your result is 135″.  The fabric […]

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