How to measure roller blinds and voile curtains

Moving into a new apartment means a lot of decisions to be made. Starting with an empty room with white walls is a great blank canvas, but deciding what treatment to give the window can make a big difference to a room…

  1. Roman shades
  2. Festoon blinds
  3. Shutters
  4. Solar shades
  5. Wood blinds
  6. Roller blinds
  7. Sheer shades
  8. Drapery or curtains
  9. Aluminium blinds

For many decades, windows have been a source of drafts and were an obvious route to letting cold in and hot air out. Curtains or drapes can help insulate a room. One of the main methods is to reduce the amount of air exchange between a cold window and the rest of the room.

“Until the latter part of the 16th century in England, window curtains were virtually non-existent. Instead, internal wooden shutters were used to keep out light and cold. When curtains did finally make an appearance, they were made from one piece of fabric hung on an iron rod from iron rings sewn onto the fabric, and drawn from one side of the window only.
Adrienne Chinn

Roller blinds appeared during the Palladian Revival and Rococo era with the first recorded use in London is in 1726.

Many people used thick curtains to try and trap the cold air in a pocket between the window and curtain, and keep the hot air in the room. This was moderately effective and remained popular throughout the 20th century. This also presented an opportunity for decoration, with the curtains adorned with patterns and different textures.

measure roller blinds voile curtains
Artek Kiki sofa and Kiki bench – design Ilmari Tapiovaara Photographer Andy Liffner. Styling Thomas Lingsell

measure roller blinds voile curtains

Modernism was borne out of a requirement for simplicity and cleanliness. With the war over, and many homes having both adults out to work, it was important to make it easier to keep the home clean and keep the family well. Curtains attract dust and therefore is harder to clean. Therefore modernists were more in favour of simple blinds and washable fabrics.

Since window insulation has vastly improved over the decades, the treatment of the window is now open to style decisions and not just functional. We look now for the style to suit our rooms, rather than the need they bring. The only requirement is letting light in or out.

“At the turn of the 20th century, most households still favoured a traditional look, which could embrace a number of styles. Blinds were much in use, including festoon (or Austrian) blinds in silk and roller blinds in linen union or Holland linen, often with lace insertions and sometimes printed with fashionable designs. The roller blinds were always fringed to match. Painted, stained or varnished wood (or Venetian) blinds were another option.”
Adrienne Chinn

I had taken inspiration for a long time from some contemporary interior imagery, with floor to ceiling voile curtains defusing bright light, and obscuring views from the street. It provides light in the room, whilst making it feel cosy and connected. With roller blinds to block out light, this treatment is simple, clean and follows the ideas of the modernists.

measure roller blinds voile curtains

measure roller blinds voile curtains

measure roller blinds voile curtains

Blackout fabric stops light passing through the material at night, so if you are a light sleeper or are woken by the early sunrise then these are for you. The Elementary Range by MakeMyBlinds combines their most popular blackout fabrics with unrivalled value.

There are many blinds companies online, however, my favourite is MakeMyBlinds and I shall tell you for why…easy to use website, helpful advice, fabric samples and a fast delivery service. My experience with MakeMyBlinds has been bliss from beginning to end.


The company does what it says on the tin, they make my blinds. Many companies sell blinds for you to cut before installing, however, this is where a novice will get scared away. Like me, so many people don’t have the skills to deal with this and made-to-order usually means an expensive product. These are made-to-measure and delivered fast.

How to measure for roller blinds

Step 1: you need to decide if you are mounting the blind inside the recess or outside of the recess. Naturally, if you’re mounting inside the recess your measurements need to be spot on. Outside of the recess, and you need to ensure you cover the area of the window.

Note: I chose to mount inside the recess.

Step 2: Measure the width of the recess and check that it is square (using a spirit level)—you don’t want to install a blind that doesn’t fit a square window area. If that is the case, you might only be able to install outside the recess. If you are choosing outside the recess, you have the option of ‘bracket-to-bracket’ or the fabric width. Inside the recess will be ‘bracket-to-bracket’.

Note: make sure to measure this carefully, this dimension is crucial to a well-fitted blind.

Step 3: Measure the drop, i.e. the height of the window. A tip here is to measure a few different places in the window to make sure that the drop is the same throughout the window.

Step 4: Add to cart and let MakeMyBlinds do the rest. They will send you a note to let you know it’s being made and on its way. When it arrives, the instructions make light work of each blind.

measure roller blinds voile curtains

If you’re put off installing the blinds yourself, here’s a few things I learned installing mine…

  • Measure the width of the blind that arrived, and measure the window once more.
  • Calculate the distance in from left that you need to install the first bracket and drill the screw into the wall/ceiling.
  • Hold the blind up with the second bracket and draw the holes needed for this bracket. Push it in a little so that it doesn’t fall out when installed.
  • Make sure the brackets are in line with each other – any small error will make the blind coil at one end. This is called ‘telescoping’ – see video below for how to fix this…
  • Once installed, roll it out a few times to check it opens and closes without any issue. Adjust as required.


The blinds I chose were the White Elementary Blackout Blinds from


Having worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.

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