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Measuring Drapes for a Wood Pole and rings

This article describes the measuring process for draperies on wood poles using rings where the rod will be installed after the drapes are made or purchased.

image of drapes on a wood rod with rings

In most cases measuring for drapes to be installed on a wood pole is a pretty simple process. You may find it helpful to review measuring form we have made available for your use. How to measure for pleated draperies

Let's discuss the easy jobs first and then we will cover a few of the potential problem installs. A single window with no obstructions to either side is about as simple as it gets.

With any wood pole installation your rod face should extend a minimum of 2" past the window casing or opening if it is a frameless window. Of this two inches, one inch is consumed by the bracket, 1/4" may be consumed by the finial base and 1/2-3/4" will be consumed by the ring that goes to the outside of each bracket. Many people like to see a little bit of rod on each side of the last ring so you may want to allow 3" on each side.

No center support will be required for a single window so any length that covers the top of the casing is okay but we suggest that you always be in the habit of adding 3" to the top of casing to the floor measurement because your drapes need to be that much longer if a center support is required. Also raising the rod gives the appearance of raising the ceiling.

Do always keep in mind that your choice of finials can add as little as 2 1/2" to as much as 7" to the width of the installed pole on each side, so you need to check carefully where the nearest wall or obstruction is to the left and right of the window.

A window where one side is located close to a wall is the most common problem encountered. Builder's just love building them this way for some perverted reason. If the casing to wall measurement is less than 4" the best choice usually is to just not use a finial on that side and extend the rod the same distance on the other side.

No room on either side such as is found in a dormer window may require running the rod wall-wall using socket brackets instead of the traditional wall mount.

Now that you know your rod face (width) and finished length you can order your panels. Before you can do that you have to decide if you want panels that can fully close or do you just want some decorative panels at the sides of the window. Side panels are easy, usually a width or width and half on each side depending on the width of the window.

Panels that fully close require you to adjust your numbers a little since you need to allow for the returns (the fabric that folds back to the wall) on each side and a couple of inches for an overlap. To your total rod width add 12 inches. This is your total pleated width and is also the width you should look for on the package if you are shopping for ready-mades.

Do keep in mind that draperies on a wood pole never fully overlap like draperies on a traverse rod. So if this is a potential issue you may wish to consider other options.

Also panels that are meant to be opened and closed on a regular basis should include some batons (metal or fiberglass sticks that attach to the rings) so that the oil from your hands does not stain the fabric.

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