Custom Short Curtains & Window Drapes


While ceiling-to-floor, grand sweeping drapes are often woo-worthy, they are not the one-size-fits-all solution for all windows. In fact, in some instances, short curtains prove to be a better fit, and have great potential to be styled as attractive features. 

The decision to opt for short curtains can spur from various factors including window size, decor style, and other practical considerations. Since they engage less fabric than long curtains, they are lightweight and easier to operate and maintain. They are also less weighing on the budget, making them prime picks for rentals and temporary homes. 

In addition to custom roman shades, short curtains present obvious set-ups for small windows and compact spaces. Mass-produced blinds can also be used in these situations, but they do bring in the same kind of charm that fabric window treatments do. If your mind is set on short curtains for these very reasons, check out these situations and spaces that are best suitors for short curtains.

WET AREAS: Short curtains are the perfect solution for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms where long-length drapery might hamper function and safety. Short curtains do not get wet easily since they are higher up from the floor, and should they get wet somehow, they dry easily as they allow airflow all around them. Curtains minus their long trails mean fewer maintenance issues and zero tripping accidents in these busy rooms.

KID-FRIENDLY SPACES: If you have toddlers or pets running about the house, it’s safer to go with short curtains. Long puddled curtains often double up as swings and napkins for cheeky kids. Furthermore, in the naive pleasure of rollicking and toddling around, toddlers and pets can trip upon the long trails of floor-length curtains. So go short and save the day.

SHORT BUT WIDE WINDOWS: Short, wide windows – especially the kind we find in basements – can be tricky as they are too short and high to be dressed in long curtains, and sometimes too small to be treated with blinds. Short custom curtains in your preferred fabrics are ideal as they can be hung longer and wider than the window frame to provide better coverage, and make the windows look bigger than they are.

WINDOWS WITHOUT WALLSPACE UNDER THE SILL: Radiators, counters, and pieces of furniture are often found beneath window sills, as is often the case of box or bay windows. If full-length drapery would cause loss of heat from the radiator, or be in the way of a comfortable window bench seat, consider opting for a shorter length instead. Not only will short drapes be easier to open and close, but they’ll stay cleaner since they won’t be resting behind or on top of furnishings that could get dusty.

COUNTRY-STYLED HOMES: For homes that are designed on the lines of country-style decor, small windows are the perfect venue to stage your skills as a designer. Rustic cafe curtains  or tie-top sill-length curtains dressed in humble stripes or old-world style florals can fine-finish your cottage fittingly.

Short Curtains for Small Windows: Ideas & Tips

You might have just discovered some more windows in your home where short curtains can do wonders. And while they may not deliver a formal look of long curtains, they certainly make your life easier by being kid-friendly, pet-friendly, and low on maintenance. 

But, taking them from ‘stunting’ to ‘stunning’ needs creative vision and clever design tricks. When designing small windows, the focus should be on either masking the smallness or making it seem intentional. Curtains can be used to aid the mission, no matter which of the two is your goal. 

Interested to lay your hands on some tips to design your short curtains for small windows? Read on.


Since short curtains are designed to fit the dimensions of the window, taking the measurements correctly is vital. The method of measuring will differ slightly based on your choice of the heading styleSo do browse our detailed Drapery Measurement Guide to measure accurately per your chosen heading style.

And while you are at it, bear in mind that the ending point of your short curtains will also differ based on the style and coverage level you’re aiming for. If you’re aiming for sill-length curtains, the bottom hem has to just brush the sill with no overlapping edges on the window trim. Apron-length curtains, on the other hand, are extended up to six inches down from the window trim. For further details, browse our blog post on How Long Your Curtains Should Be.

Lastly, we recommend keeping to a low width for your short curtains, so a small window does not get overwhelmed with dense pleats.


If your windows are longer in length rather than width, floor-length curtains are ideal. Short curtains would accentuate the shortness while long curtains add a sense of height. Also, ensure that you hang them 6-12 inches above the window trim to complete the illusion. By using a longer curtain length, you put the window in better proportion to the rest of the space.

Conversely, if your window is wide and far higher from the floor than usual practice, avoid floor-length curtains that may highlight the awkward size and position of the window. Instead, go for sill-length curtains and allow them to fall a few inches below the sill to add as much as you can to the vertical dimension. Then, strategically place a study table or a wingback chair below flanked by lovely potted plants to make that tiny window look like an intended design decision for the room.


The small size of your windows may seem like a limitation by default, but with a little bit of creativity, you can turn it into an asset worthy of celebration. Magic happens when you lean into the smallness and make it look intentional.

Design your short curtains with an eye-catching pattern or palette or add precious details in the hardware, tie-backs, or trimmings. You are making sure that the window is well-dressed and clearly intended to woo the eye. Then strategically place a prized piece of furniture – a vintage desk or an oversized wingback chair for instance – and a windchime or statement pendant light above it to create a cohesive, Insta-worthy scene.  Finally, match your curtain fabric with another fabric accessory such as pillows, table runners, or dining placemats, and nail the look. 


Since short curtains don’t have long trails to flaunt, their heading styles must have an inherent oomph about them to make up for the loss. Also, prefer those that work on rings/grommets to ensure more ease of movement. Think of any one of the pinch pleat curtains that can pull the eye with their sumptuous contours and flowery folds.


Bold designs and color palettes get more demanding on the eye if the surface they cover is vast. Since short-length curtains take up less visual space, they allow you to get more adventurous. Love a loud pattern? Adore a vibrant color? If it blends with the rest of your decor, go for it! An eye-catching design won’t overwhelm your room thanks to the small real estate it occupies.

Soon, you’ll see how the smallness of your window is a blessing in disguise. Large windows almost always end up being covered with solid neutral curtains so they don’t overwhelm the eye. But, when choosing the treatment for a small window, you can go all-out with the palette as it will take little optical space in the decor of the room.

Think of small window curtains as accent pieces. Use them to add personality to your decor without having to care about how they will impact the overall decor. They add visual interest without overwhelming your final design. 

The only caveat here is to be wary of introducing grand-sized motifs that cut off abruptly because of the short size of the drapery, so do review the pattern scale carefully before you order short curtains.


Contrasting hues define the bounds with clarity while similar colors create a sense of continuity. Use this visual effect of colors to design the curtains for your small window. Here’s how.

If your walls are white, go for white curtains that commit to the shade as perfectly as possible. Since your eye cannot discern where the wall ends and the curtains begin, you tend to bypass the smallness of the window inadvertently. The dimensions of the window don’t stand out, therefore, they don’t exist for the mind as well.


Patterns pique visual interest and some of them can work like stilettos for your windows, making them ‘seem’ longer than they are. These are patterns that pull your attention along the vertical axis by their perceptible ascending movement. Upward pointing arrows, climbing vines, steep chevrons, and thin vertical stripes are some examples.

Similarly, certain patterns take away from the sense of spaciousness that exists. If you choose curtains with wide horizontal stripes or bold buffalo checks, they will visually shrink the window.

Not just the movement or direction, but also the scale of the patterns matter. Extremely huge motifs get cut off abruptly making the small dimensions of the window more obvious. Tiny and medium-scaled motifs, on the other hand, make you feel that the frame in which they are held is large.


In addition to the tips above, you can ‘fake’ height by adding a valance to the top of the window. Mount the valance such that it overhangs the top of the window frame. Not being able to discern the top trim will create the illusion of length as it seems to the eye that the window extends far above it actually does. 

Besides, the valance draws the eye upward, making you grasp the vertical spaciousness. For greater impact, design the valances in colors or patterns that are more striking than those of the curtains.

Board-mounted valances may be preferable to pole-mounted valances as they cover the sides as well, concealing any clue that the window does not span as high as it seems. They also give a very neat and premium look with their perfect angles and tailored finish. 


If your window is longer in length than in width, you’re dealing with a narrow window. Thankfully, you can easily fake width with the strategic placement of the curtains. 

You need to start with the installation of the hardware. Extend the drapery rod for about 6-10 inches to both sides of the window. Now measure the width of the curtains keeping the span of the rod in mind, not the actual width of the window. So, if your window is 20 inches wide, with a margin of 10 inches on both sides, the width of the curtains must be specified for a 40-inch wide space, not the 20 inch windows.  

Feed the rod into the curtain rings such that the drapery bracket stands between the last two rings. This will ensure that the farthest ends of the curtains will remain locked in the bracket. So, you’ll never draw the curtains across the window trim, exposing its smallness.

And, there you have, your window, ‘formerly’ narrow, now wide (and only you know the secret)!


Going ‘small’ on size does not have to mean going ‘low’ on design and embellishments. A beautiful way to add to the charm of short curtains is to add trimmings such as tassels, fringes, and pom-poms. They load the space with character and personality. And the handmade traits of these adorable details make your curtains look more designer, custom-made, and intentional. And needless to emphasize, they also look more high-end than any of the factory-made blinds that go straight from the stores to the windows without any personalization or creative element.

Winding Up on a Short and Sweet Note

And that’s the long and short of short curtain panels. With these handy tips, we hope you feel more confident in dressing your small windows with short curtains that perfectly fit your aesthetic vision. So, get on the exciting venture and order your custom drapes today from Spiffy Spools!