How long should a curtain a curtain be to bring out its design and fulfil its purpose, both function-wise and decoratively? Should they touch the floor? The answer to this question often troubles the minds of those who wish to renew their personal space by replacing their old curtains with new ones.
Maybe the best way to answer this question is to start all the way from the beginning...
The Initial Function of the Curtains...
Back in the time when textiles were first used for covering internally the windows of a building, the owners’ purpose wasn't just or mainly to provide protection from the sun, like today. Having no central heating system to adequately heat the structure of the building, the residents’ agony was to find a way to shield the wall openings with the warmest and heaviest textiles possible as a protection against rain, wind and humidity, as well as preserve interior temperature as steady as possible.
Apparently, since their purpose was mainly to protect the interior of the building, they made sure the curtains covered all window openings fully and touched the floor, keeping water and humidity in the fabric’s external surface.
... Today’s Needs
In our days, though, the casings, double panes and central heat systems have fully covered our needs for thermal insulation and protection from the elements, making aesthetics and style the primary criteria for the selection of curtain fabric.
So, what is the answer? Should the curtains of a modern-day house touch the floor or not?
Well, if we had to give a short answer, we would say ‘it depends.’ Both long and short curtains have their pros and cons.
First of all, long curtains touching the floor match easily a great variety of rooms. On the other hand, it is true that, due to friction, they require more frequent cleaning and care. This problem, however, can be solved by pricking more durable fabrics that do not stain easily and are easy to wash.
Long curtains also breathe a lighter, more relaxed feeling or even luxury and solemnity, especially when matched with the proper textile.
Still, a curtain with reaching just above the floor (without touching it) breathes a decorative cohesion, seeming neater (especially if it has a finishing hem), while making floor mopping and cleaning below the windows easier, particularly in houses with small children or pets, since they require frequent sanitisation.
So, whether a curtain should touch the floor or not depends on your needs and the style you wish to afford your space.