Custom Short Curtains & Window Drapes


Are your windows too short or is the space too constrained to accommodate floor-length curtains? While full-scaled sweeping curtains are the ideal drapery style, they may not suit all spaces and windows. And if you’re trying to dress up such a window, all you need to do is flex your creative muscles, and there is help all along the way. In this blog, find handy tips and tricks to get your short curtains for small windows right.

How ‘Short’ are Short Curtains?

Well, curtains and drapes have standards to meet when it comes to size. Curtains must either reach the floor or stop at the sill. While a few inches may be added to these lengths to make them more formal and/or functional, any awkward sizes between sill-length and floor-length come across like a shortage of fabric to the eye. 

Curtains that stop at the sill are referred to as short curtains. They are easy to operate as they are lightweight. Since the fabric involved is less as compared to that in long curtains, they are also very easy on the budget. They look casual, and homely, and are easy to maintain.  

Short curtains can be styled in two ways:

Sill-Length Curtains

Also called apron curtains, sill-length curtains cover the whole window and stop at the sill or a few inches further. Considering their casual appeal, they are usually seen adorning informal rooms, country-styled homes and children’s bedrooms. Windows that require to be covered fully, yet cannot house floor-length curtains due to radiators, baseboard heaters, or seating arrangements beneath also resort to sill-length curtains. They are usually hung as double panels for a symmetrical look. Being less heavy and bulky than long curtains, they are easier to operate and offer all the functional assets of long drapery.

Cafe Curtains

These curtains are hung to cover only the lower half of a window. They stop at the sill or a few inches further. The top portion of the window – which is left uncovered – allows light and air to pass freely. 

Cafe curtains are extremely casual in their visual appeal, and as their name suggests, are more popularly used in kitchens, breakfast nooks and dressed down dining rooms. Bathrooms, sunrooms, basements, laundry rooms, home offices, and rumpus rooms are some other places where they get to flaunt their relaxed and airy vibes. They may be designed as single-panel or double-panel curtains, depending on the frequency of operation expected.

Both sill-length curtains and cafe curtains can be installed within the window recess with the bottom brushing the sill. This way, they take up no wall space and also give off a custom look due to the perfect-fit arrangement. When extended by a few inches below the sill, they provide better coverage, being less flappy when it’s windy and minimizing light leaks from the bottom. 

Best Suitors for Short Curtains

While small windows present a reasonable excuse to introduce short curtains to the space, there are several other spaces where short curtains have a league of their own. Blinds and shades can also be used in these situations, but they may not necessarily bring in the same kind of charm that curtains do. Rippled contours of fabric accessories make a space feel more warm and inviting. They are also more suited to homes that are not fans of modern minimalism. If you find these aspects relatable, check out these situations and spaces that are best suitors for short curtains.

Handling Wet Area Issues

Short curtains are the perfect solution for kitchens, baths and laundry rooms where long-length drapery might get in the way of function and safety. They stay away from splashes and splatters without much effort. And, curtains minus their long trails also mean fewer maintenance issues and zero tripping accidents in these busy rooms.

Kid-Proofing your Curtains

Short curtains are the way to go in nurseries and playrooms where toddlers with sticky or grimy hands can accidentally (or purposefully) yank on longer curtains. You’ll stress less knowing that your kiddo won’t be able to reach the curtains until they can understand that they’re not supposed to.

Short but Wide Window Woes

Short, wide windows – especially the kind we find in basements – can be tricky. Their dimensions often don’t match readymade curtains, so getting custom curtains in your preferred fabrics is ideal. Preferably, you may get them to hang longer and wider than the window frame to provide better coverage and more insulation. It can also help to make the windows look bigger than they are. 

Lots Going on Beneath the Sill?

Radiators, counters, and pieces of furniture are often found beneath window sills. 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. They also help to create a more casual, homely appeal to the space.

Honing the Country Charm

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 and 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, they certainly can make your life easier by being kid-friendly, pet-friendly, and imposing low maintenance demands. So, get ready now to design them. Here are our top suggestions for short curtains for your small windows. Let’s get started!

Make the Smallness Look Intentional

While you might love huge picture windows for the way they erase indoor-outdoor separation, it’s hard to deny that small windows can look adorable when done right. So, instead of cursing the darkness, light a candle and let the magic happen. Lean into the smallness of the window and make it look like it was always meant to be small.

Design the 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 piece of furniture like a vintage desk below and a windchime above it to make it look like they all belong together. Finally, match your curtain fabric with one more fabric accessory in the space such as pillows, table runners, or dining placemats, and nail the look. 

Choose a Compelling Heading Style

Since the length is short, keeping the fabric engagement limited is ideal, lest the window gets overwhelmed. So, choose any heading style that pulls off a good look with less fullness. If you want to ensure more ease of movement, get the ones that hang on rings such as grommets or flat panels.  

Since these curtains don’t have long trails to flaunt, their heading styles must have an inherent oomph about them to make up for the loss. Go for heading styles that offer more substance for visual interest. Think of any one of the pinch pleat curtains that can pull the eye with their sumptuous contours and flowery folds.

Dare to Go Bold

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

Add Illusive Height to the Window

When you cannot make height, the next best idea is to fake it. Did you know that your ‘short’ curtains can make your ‘small’ windows look ‘longer’? Here are the tricks –

Let the curtains extend the window on all sides by at least 6-10 inches. This way, they cast the illusion of a bigger window behind them.

Then, design them in colors that match the walls. Since the ending point cannot be discerned instantly, you may draw away attention from the smallness of the window and the curtains.

If you like the idea of introducing patterns, go for vertical motifs such as stripes, climbing vines, and the like. They subtly guide the eye upward and make the window look taller than they are.

Make a Decorative Statement

Small curtains are not a lost opportunity for sure unless you failed to recognize it. 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. 

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!