Hanging curtains and blinds is often seen as one of the few DIY jobs that doesn’t require much prior knowledge or expertise to get right. Like most other things in life though, it’s really only easy when you know what you’re doing and after the kids spent a summer with a very wonky black-out blind that didn’t actually roll up, I decided to call in the experts. Here’s are 5 common window measuring mistakes I wish I’d known to avoid before trying that particular DIY.
No standard sizes – There is no such thing as a ‘standard’ window, at least when it comes to size. Indeed, don’t assume that just because all of the windows in your room look similar that they are. Your house might have settled over time and created minor differences, or the builder simply might not have been particularly consistent. Either way, blinds and curtains often require exact measurements so measure every window separately. Also, one-size-fits all? It’s a myth. There will be cutting involved!
Don’t go too small – The measurement that you need is the exact (and we do mean exact) measurement of the window opening. It is common for those shopping for window blinds to provide a slightly smaller measurement, believing that the blinds and curtains will need to be smaller to fit in the opening. They also sometimes use the old cuts as a litmus test, but this often results in narrow replacements. Thankfully, many modern window blind providers, such as Swift Direct Blinds, provide guarantees that ensure you can order replacements is a measuring mistake is made. Still, this will take valuable time that you can’t afford to waste so you are always better off making sure you get it 100% right, first time.
Use the measuring guides – If you’re ordering blinds or curtains from a bespoke retailer, they will undoubtedly have their own measuring guide that you’ll be able to find online. Always use this guide whenever possible. They know better than you ever could how their blinds work and how best to measure for them so don’t deny that wisdom.
Real steel – A proper steel tape measure is apparently the only way to ensure a 100% accurate reading. It can be tempting to reach for whatever measuring device you have available, but a ruler or a cloth tape measure will simply not cut it. On a similar note, tape measures should never be bent at a curve. Instead, notice that the back of your tape measure will include the size of the metal housing, so simply add this number to your measurement.
Don’t ignore depth – The depth of your window opening will determine whether or not it’s suitable for a blind in the first place. Make sure you measure from the glass to the edge of the opening and make a note of it when ordering your blinds and curtains.
Finally, there are several ‘little’ things that can lead to disaster such as not remembering to measure twice or even mixing up height and width (it can and does happen). Also, read the installation instructions before you start cutting anything to size. (Trust me on that one! ) But as long as you take your time and utilise some good old fashioned common sense, you should be able to avoid making any serious measuring mistakes. If you are going to call in the professionals though, try to find a chart like this one from windows Bristol that shows you the pros and cons of all the companies in your area.