Here’s a Budget-Friendly Fix for Curtains That Are Too Short

published Mar 7, 2023
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Curtains sometimes really do make a room. That’s what I told myself, at least, when I decided to buy drapery for the space in my home that has the most casements and thus gets the most natural light. Some kind of window treatment was totally necessary in this little sunroom for privacy, since it’s at the very front of the house and street-facing. Each of the windows had a light-filtering shade on it, but with a whopping seven windows on just three small walls (the room is open to the living room), the area felt like a series of hard right angles and not much else. So I knew fabric panels would not only add an extra layer of coverage and softness to the space, but they’d also provide an opportunity for bringing in pattern and color. Luckily, the windows on each respective wall are side by side, so I could get away with just six panels total, two to frame each bank.

During Black Friday sales, I scooped up three sets of ikat patterned, fairly heavyweight ivory and green panels. I measured twice and went for the 84-inch length. By my calculations, they’d just skim the floor, which is the look I prefer for my drapery versus dramatic pooling. Somehow, when I got the curtains up though, they were about three to four inches too short. I panicked, since the curtains were final sale, and I let them hang for about a week so the fabric could relax. That helped a little, but the curtains still looked a bit like highwater pants.

I began to troubleshoot my options. I could add some kind of trim to the bottom of the panels, but that would require buying fabric and sewing. I could get new curtains, but since my ceilings are a constant height throughout the house, it’s not like I’d be able to use these panels elsewhere without the same issue, and moving on from them felt wasteful. That’s when I remembered curtain rings with clips existed, and my Stockbridge Curtain Rod from Annie Selke had a style to match in my satin brass finish.

Having had them in place for a few months now, I can officially say these curtain clips are genius. First, they can tack a few extra inches onto your drapery visually, since both the rings and clips make the height from which you’re hanging your panels a bit lower than just threading them through drapery pockets or using the fabric loops. In my case, these rings were all I needed to close the annoying gap between my drapery and the floor. They require zero sewing; all you have to do is take your drapery rod down, and clip the rings to the top of your drapery panels, spacing them as evenly as possible (a set of seven should be just about right for one panel). Your drapery can’t be too heavy, but these clips worked just fine for my panels, which I wouldn’t say are lightweight.

Curtain clips also add polish. Decorators tend to always use them, even though they’re a window hardware detail that is typically optional. That being said, they can improve drapery function, too. If you’ve ever felt like your curtains — whether hung by fabric loops or rod pockets — were catching a bit when opening and closing them, it’s probably because of the friction between the curtain fabric and the rod. Clips let your curtains to glide across your rod, and this particular style doesn’t require drapery hooks (though if your drapery has hooks, you can opt for curtain rings with loops versus ones with clips).

Curtain clips are available in tons of finishes and designs, so even if your drapery rod hardware doesn’t have a corresponding style, you can probably find something close enough to match. Yes, they can be an investment, but again, you can find them at all price points (I’d check Amazon for budget options — they’re out there for sure). In my case, the extra $48 I spent per window to fix my drapery’s length instantly and with very little effort was well worth it. I also bought these with a 20 percent off coupon, so I’d, of course, recommend that as well.

One word to the wise though, if you’re trying to use curtain clips to offset slightly too-short curtains like I did: You have to measure carefully. Your drapery can’t be so short that the clips won’t close the gap between it and the floor. You’ll want to take the dimension of both the ring and clip in mind to be sure that they’ll work.