Buying guides

Curtains buying guide


The first step to choosing new curtains is measuring up. This way, you can see if your windows are more suited to our ready-made curtains, or whether our made to measure in 7 days or made to measure services are a better fit.

Our step-by-step guide shows you how to take quick and accurate measurements, or if you opt for one of our made to measure services you can book our free in-home estimating service, where one of our experts will come to your home and measure your windows for you.


We are now arranging in-home appointments, or you can book our new virtual appointment and speak to one of our estimators on a video or phone call, who will provide a combination of practical measuring, design and technical advice.

Ready-made curtains

If you:

  • Want a quick solution for windows with standard measurements, opt for our ready-made curtains, available in an array of designs and styles

Made to measure in 7 days

If you:

  • Have irregular size requirements or want to tailor your curtains, we can make your curtains to order in just 7 days, providing your chosen fabric is in stock. 

Browse from a selection of over 500 designs, make your selection and Partners at Herbert Parkinson, our exclusive textile mill in Lancashire, will create high quality curtains, blinds, cushions and tie-backs to your measurements. 

Made to measure

If you:

  • Have very large windows or want a show-stopping window treatment or fabric, then choose our in-store made to measure service. 

Simply visit your nearest shop and we'll custom design soft furnishings for your home. Our bespoke curtains are available in 3-6 weeks.  If you need some help, our experts can support you with your project. 

Find out more about our curtains and blinds services.

Make your own curtains

If you:

  • Want to make your own curtains, choose from our wide selection of fabrics

You can buy them by the metre and request up to 5 free swatches, which will arrive with you in 5 days.


The style and drape of the curtain is defined by the heading: this is the top of the curtain where it joins your track or pole.

Our ready-made curtains are available in eyelet and pencil pleat heading styles only, while our made to measure curtains are available in a variety of heading styles:

Barathea Blackout Lined Curtains

Pencil pleat & deep pencil pleat

Folds gathered closely together to resemble a row of pencils laid side by side. If you would like to alter the fullness of your curtains to achieve a lower price; simply visit your local John Lewis & Partners or call 0345 610 0357 for an alternative quote.  

Double and Triple Pinch pleat

Double & triple pinch pleat

Decorative curtain heading fitted to each window with permanent sewn-in pleats, for a luxurious, tailored look. If you would like to alter the fullness of your curtains to achieve a lower price; simply visit your local John Lewis & Partners or call 0345 610 0357  for an alternative quote.  

Oakley Trees Lined Curtains


Only suitable for use with curtain poles. Eyelets have a standard diameter of 40mm.

Wave (in store only)

A contemporary option, with a special track used to create wide, even folds.


Linings give a pair of curtains a better drape, while improving warmth and insulation within your home.
These linings are available as part of our made to measure 7-day service.

Standard lining

Our 100% cotton standard lining is exceptional value, with the quality and draping of a natural fabric.

Blackout lining

Designed to block light and protect fabrics from fading in sunlight; keep in mind no blackout lining blocks out 100% of light.

Polycotton lining (in store only)

Our polyester and cotton blend fabric gives the look and feel of a standard lining, but at a lower price.

Thermal lining (in store only)

A heavier insulating lining, ideal for single glazed windows and suitable for use with most fabrics.



Cushions (in store only)

A matching accessory for your decor, available plain, or with a piped, frilled or Oxford border. Order in store or call 0345 610 0357 

Basics rope tieback in grey

Tie backs (in store only)

Neaten up open curtains using tie backs. We offer piped and unpiped options. Order in store or call 0345 610 0357 

The Basics Plain Cotton Curtains

Sheers / unlined curtains

Available in a variety of heading styles, we have a specially selected range of 60 sheers and light fabrics.

curtain valance illustration


A valance is a piece of fabric that covers the curtain pole and track, for a decorative finish.


Watch our guide to measuring up.

To ensure the best possible fit:

  • Take time to measure your window carefully
  • Decide whether you want your curtains to hang from a track or pole
  • Fit the track or pole before taking measurements, it should be positioned 15cm (6 inches) above the window
    and extend 15-20cm (6-8 inches) either side

Measuring width

Measure the total width of the track or pole (excluding the finials) – do not measure the window unless it is wall-to-wall.

Measuring length

Before measuring the length, decide whether you want your curtains to fall to the sill, below the sill or to the floor. We suggest that:

  • Sill length curtains finish 1.25cm (1/2 inch) above the sill
  • Curtains that fall below the sill finish 15cm (6 inches) below
  • Floor length curtains finish 1.5cm (1/2 inch) from the floor (although you can create a romantic, Bohemian look by having them longer so that they actually trail on the floor)

Measuring curtains for tracks

Measure from the top of the track.

Measuring curtains for poles

Pencil pleat curtains: Measure from the eye – the small metal ring at the bottom of each curtain ring. This will prevent the pole or rings from being obscured by the curtain.

Tab top and eyelet curtains: Measure from the very top of the pole.


At-home estimating and fitting service

If you've decided you’d like made to measure 7-day or made to measure curtains and know what style and fabric you want, you can book a free appointment with us to visit your home so we can measure up accurately for you.
We can also quote for at-home fitting.

How to pay (interest free credit)

If you spend £1000 or more over on your furnishings when you buy in our shop, our payment plan allows you to spread the cost of your purchase (0% variable, subject to status, terms & conditions apply).

What are my delivery options?

Spend over £30 online and you can Click & collect your curtains free of charge.
We’ll deliver them for free when you spend over £50.


Setting the width

Step 1. Measure the total length of the track or pole and divide by two to give the correct width for each curtain. If your curtains include part or half-widths, then position them at the outer edge of the window.

Step 2. Knot the three drawn cords on the inside curtain edge. Pull the three cords at the outside curtain edge at the same time and gather the curtain in even pleats to the desired width.

Step 3. Tie off the cord and wind any surplus cord on to the cord tidy provided. Do not cut the excess cord as you may need to let the pleats out to wash or dry clean your curtains.

Pencil pleat curtains

Step 1. For pencil pleat curtains, insert the heading tape hooks into the top row of pockets to hang the curtain below the pole or track. Insert the hooks into the lower row of pockets for the heading to cover the track.

Step 2. Insert a hook at each end of the tape, then at approximately 8cm intervals across the curtain.

Step 3. Check you have the same number of hooks on each curtain as gliders or rings on your pole or track. Don't forget to count the fixed end stop when counting the gliders on your track.

Pinch pleat curtains

Step 1. These are delivered in the correct width, with hooks already inserted and adjusted to the height ordered.

Step 2. Check the hook position. If the hook position needs to be adjusted, it can be done by moving the hook down the slider from notch to notch. To raise the hook, move it down to the bottom of the slider until it comes off, then re-insert the hook on to the top of the slider and move it down to the desired position

Step 3. Check the curtain against the track or pole: we include additional pin hooks to insert at the end of each curtain to suit the track or pole.


Your curtains can be dusted or vacuumed with the upholstery brush attachment.


Ready-made curtains can be returned if unsuitable,
but please ensure you don’t pull the headings and keep all packaging and parts.