When working with a room that has high 9 foot ceilings, determining the optimal curtain height can be tricky. Hanging them too high or too low can throw off the proportions of the room and make the space feel off-balance. Properly hanging curtains not only improves the aesthetics of a high-ceilinged space but also helps control light and privacy.
There are a few main considerations when figuring out the best height for your curtains on a tall wall. First, accurately measure the height and width of your windows, as the size and shape will impact how the curtains should be situated. Next, determine whether you want floor length curtains or shorter ones based on your style preferences. You’ll also need to choose the right curtain rod height, weight and color for the room. Hanging the curtains in harmony with the existing architecture and furniture is critical for achieving a cohesive look. Follow our complete step-by-step guide to expertly hang your curtains and make the most of your 9 foot ceilings.
Measure Window Height and Consider Window Proportions
The first step in finding the optimal curtain height is to precisely measure the height and width of the windows you are working with. Consider the following when taking measurements:
- Use a steel tape measure for accuracy. Measure to the nearest 1/8 inch.
- For height, measure from the top of the window frame to the bottom.
- For width, measure across the window frame from edge to edge.
- Note the window shape as well – rectangular, arched top, circular, etc.
Having the exact window dimensions will allow you to plan the curtain height in proportion to the window size and shape. The overall window proportions play an important role in how the curtains will look. For example:
- On a short, wide window, hanging curtains too high can accentuate the width and make the window seem stocky.
- Hanging curtains too low on a narrow floor-to-ceiling window can accentuate the height and disrupt the flow.
- Adapting the curtain height helps keep these types of windows in proper proportion.
Recommended Curtain Rod Height
When it comes to the optimal rod height for hanging curtains, there are some general guidelines to follow:
- The standard placement is between 4-8 inches above the window frame.
- For 9 foot ceilings, a rod height of 6-8 inches above the frame is ideal.
- Hanging the rod just above the window frame creates a streamlined look.
- Allowing this clearance above the frame provides insulation and ambient light.
Hanging the curtain rod in close proximity to the window frame maximizes the visibility of the window itself and provides enough space for the curtains to hang properly. The rod should be mounted within the recommended range using secure fasteners. When installing the rod, take care that it is level to ensure even hanging. With the rod mounted at the optimal height, you can now focus on selecting the curtain length.
Floor Length vs Shorter Curtains
When working with high 9 foot ceilings, floor length curtains are a popular choice. The elongated look adds drama and height to the room. Consider the following for floor length curtains:
- They should puddle slightly onto the floor for optimal effect.
- Add 12-18 inches to your floor-to-rod measurement when ordering.
- They accentuate the height of tall ceilings.
- Can be prone to more wrinkling and gathering.
Shorter curtain styles can also work well with high ceilings. Benefits include:
- Show off architectural details like crown molding.
- Let more ambient light into the room.
- Avoid a heavy look in a small space.
- Are less prone to wrinkles and sagging over time.
Determine the overall look you are going for, and choose floor length or shorter curtains accordingly. You may also consider a high-low style, with a short under-layer and long over-layer for added dimension.
Light vs Heavy Curtains for Tall Ceilings
The weight and density of your curtains will impact how they hang and drape on a tall ceiling. Lightweight curtains have some advantages:
- Sheer and lightweight linens billow elegantly on high walls.
- They avoid looking bulky or overwhelming the space.
- Light fabrics maintain a soft cascading look over time.
Heavier curtains can also work but consider:
- Velvets, tapestries, and other heavy fabrics appear more substantial on high windows.
- They can gather at the floor and look bulky if too dense.
- Stiff fabrics lose their draping effect.
In general, balance the height by selecting lightweight, airy curtains. But heavy fabrics add luxury in formal spaces. Combine sheers and heavy panels for the best of both worlds.
The Impact of Curtain Color and Pattern
Color and pattern also influence the perception of curtain height. For tall ceilings:
- Light, bright hues draw the eye up to accentuate height.
- Dark saturated curtains tend to overwhelm the space.
- Subtle patterns like stripes work well.
- Avoid huge prints and busy patterns which compete with height.
The goal is to make the curtains visually recede so the height of the wall is emphasized. Neutrals, pastels, and cool tones are safe choices. For pattern, select a small repeat print or simple stripe to avoid a jarring look.
Achieving Balance and Proportion
With 9 foot ceilings, maintaining visual balance is key. There are a few techniques to avoid issues with disproportion:
- Mount the rod at the same height across multiple windows.
- Split the difference across uneven sized windows.
- Work with window manufacturers on optimal installations.
- Limit obstructing architectural details above windows.
Having windows and rods at conflicting heights competes with the vertical space. Maintain alignment for harmony. For very tall picture or arched windows, centered curtains can balance the shape.
Enhancing High Ceilings With Curtain Placement
Strategic curtain placement can make 9 foot ceilings feel even grander. Try mounting curtains higher to draw the eye up, especially in rooms with tall windows. Vertical repetition enhances the sense of height. Additional tips include:
- Hang curtains wider than the window frame.
- Draw the eye up with tall ceils or half-rounds above.
- Mount above existing blinds or shutters.
- Layer long sheers behind opaque panels.
Extending the curtains past the window edges maintains the illusion of expanded height. Floating panels wider than the frame maintain vertical lines. Covering existing window treatments also builds out the space vertically.
Coordinating With Room Function and Style
Adapt the curtain height to the purpose of the room. For bedrooms:
- Hang at ceiling height for a cozy, enveloping look.
- Provide privacy and block light for sleeping.
For living spaces:
- Lower height improves TV viewing and functioning.
- Sheers brighten the room and add airflow.
Formal dining rooms may feature opulent floor-length styles, while casual spaces could have breezy cropped lengths. Also consider tying the curtain style into existing furniture and room accents for cohesion.
Extra Tips and Tricks
Use these additional tips when hanging curtains on tall 9 foot ceilings:
- Increase insulation with lining or inserts.
- Add ceiling-mounted accessories like medallions.
- Incorporate hardware like holdbacks and finials.
- Layer different lengths and fabrics.
- Elevate styles with decorative curtain poles.
Lined curtains add energy efficiency to rooms with high ceilings. Visually interesting adornments like medallions, tiebacks and finials enhance the vertical orientation. Mixing sheer and opaque panels provides depth. Extend the look upward with ornamental rods and drapery hardware.
Determining the optimal curtain height comes down to factoring in your ceiling height, window measurements, and overall design aesthetic. When working with 9 foot ceilings, maintain proper proportions by selecting the right rod height, length and curtain weight. Hang them in harmony with existing windows and architectural details. Proper curtain height transforms a tall room from awkward to absolutely stunning. Follow our comprehensive guide to expertly style your curtains and accentuate your high ceilings in the most attractive light.