How to Measure Window Blinds
When I worked at the wholesale club Direct Buy, one of my jobs was to help our members order blinds for their home. It was the members' responsibility to provide me with the exact measurements of their windows, however, and I can't tell you how many people shuddered in fear of this task, terrified of messing it up. You'd think I had just ordered them to invite Jeffrey Dahmer over for dinner. Measuring for blinds should be a simple task, but one misstep and your window treatments will turn out looking misshapen. Nine times out of ten, the member would opt for the alternative we offered -- paying $75 per window to have our interior designer come in and measure for her. It doesn't have to be this way; taking window measurements can actually be a simple process if you have a rudimentary understanding of what you're doing.
MEASURING BLINDS 101
- Use a metal measuring tape; a cloth tape is too flexible and if it bends your numbers will not be exact.
- Don't rely on memory -- have a notebook on hand as you go from window to window and take detailed notes. Mark down which is the width and which is the height.
- All measurements should be precise down to the nearest eighth of an inch. (For example: 35 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 7/8")
- Measure each window separately. Even if they appear to be the same size to the naked eye, most likely they are not. Additionally, many windows are not perfect squares. To be exact, measure in three places -- top of window, middle of window, bottom of window.
- Next, if you are going to be using inside mounts, use the smallest width number so the blinds will fit throughout the smallest part of the window casing. For height, measure in three places up and down and use the longest height.
- If the width measurements differ by more than 3/8", you might want to consider using outside mounts instead to disguise the imperfection.
WHERE TO BUY BLINDS
INSIDE MOUNT VS. OUTSIDE MOUNT
INSIDE MOUNT blinds are mounted (hung) inside the window casing. When hung, you will still be able to see the moulding or trim that surrounds your windows. Not all windows are compatible with inside mounts, but it is best to use them whenever possible as it looks neater. When measuring for inside mounts, measure the EXACT window opening size. Some people mistakenly deduct a fraction of an inch to give the blinds room to move without rubbing up against the frame. Do not do this -- the manufacturer will do this automatically when they are making the blinds.
OUTSIDE MOUNT blinds are mounted either on the window moulding or directly on the wall on either side of the window trim. Outside mounts can be used to cover up unattractive windows, or when the window opening is too shallow to mount blinds on the inside. Mini-blinds, for example, only require a 3/4" depth, whereas wood blinds may need up to 2". With outside mounts, the size you measure will be the exact size the blinds will be created. The manufacturer will not take any deductions nor supply any additions. With outside mounts, you have the option of adding a little to the sides to provide more privacy or keep light out. If you plan on mounting the blinds above the moulding, add 1 1/2" - 2" to the length to allow for the headrail.