At What Height Should a Shower Curtain be installed?

How high up should a shower curtain be installed?  It depends on the length of the shower curtain/shower curtain liner being installed, the height of the tub/lip of the shower, and personal preference.  However, in an effort to figure out the appropriate height for the shower curtain in my own bathroom, I created a simple equation that can be used to determine the minimum and maximum appropriate shower curtain height that you can use in your own house. 

Here is how it works:

 Shower Curtain Height Measurements

Shower Curtain Height Measurements

First determine the length of the shower curtain/shower curtain liner.  To make things easy I am going to assume that the shower curtain and shower curtain liner are the same length.  Here in the US the standard shower curtain length is 70 to 72 inches (178 to 183 cm) and square, but it is getting easier to find shower curtains that are not the standard length.  In my case my shower curtain was 71 inches (180 cm) long.

Next determine the shower curtain hook/ring drop.  This is the amount of space between the top of the shower curtain and the bottom of the shower curtain rod when the shower curtain is hung on the rod with whatever hook/ring you will be using.  Depending on your shower curtain hooks this amount may be negligible, but if it is more than .5 inches (1.3 cm), or you are working with very tight tolerances,  it should be taken into account when figuring out the shower curtain height.  In my bathroom the drop was about 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Then determine the exterior interior height of the tub or shower lip.  To determine the exterior height measure the distance between the floor outside the tub/shower and the top of the tub/shower lip.  My tub was 14 inches (36 cm) tall.  To determine the interior height measure the distance between the inside tub/shower floor and the lip of the shower.  The interior height of my tub was also 14 inches (36 cm).

Last determine the amount the shower curtain liner should overlap the tub or shower lip so that it does not allow water out.  In a shower you generally want the shower curtain to overlap the lip of the shower by at least 1 inch.  Minimum overlap in a tub is generally 3 inches (7.6 cm), since tubs are curved and the shower curtain liner usually cannot hang straight down a little extra overlap length is needed.  Maximum overlap should still leave the liner about .5 inches (1.3 cm) from the floor so that it will not be stepped on.  Subtract .5 inches (1.3 cm) from the interior tub height to determine the maximum overlap.

 Now put all of your measurements in the below formulas:

  • Maximum Shower Curtain Height = Shower Curtain Length + Shower curtain hook drop + Height of tub/shower – Minimum shower curtain liner overlap
  • Minimum Shower Curtain Height = Shower Curtain Length + Shower curtain hook drop + Height of tub/shower – Maximum shower curtain liner overlap

In my bathroom the maximum shower curtain height = 71in (the shower curtain length) + 1in (the hook drop length) + 14in (The exterior shower height) – 3in (the minimum overlap for a tub) = 83in (211 cm)

The minimum shower curtain height in my bathroom = 71in (the shower curtain length) + 1in (the hook drop length) + 14in (The exterior shower height) – 13.5in (the maximum overlap for my tub) = 72.5in (192 cm)

 

Since my bathroom will be used by children, who are liable to splash water out of the tub accidently, I decided to go with a bit more than the minimum amount of overlap as a safety measure and hung my shower curtain rod 80 inches (203 cm) from the floor.

Within the range of Minimum to Maximum shower curtain height how do you determine how high you should hang your own curtain? 

Here are a few considerations that may help you out:

  • If there is an extra tall person in your household (like Firebeard in my house), make sure that the shower curtain is hung at least a couple of inches higher than they are tall or they are likely to hit their head on the rod every time they get in the shower.
  • Is the front of your tub/shower especially ugly?  Hang the curtain a bit lower to hide it.
  • Is the front of your tub/shower good looking?  Hang the curtain a bit higher to show it off.
  • Want to make the ceiling appear higher than it actually is?  Hang the curtain as high as possible (even consider buying an extra long shower curtain or a long window curtain to hang at ceiling height) to give the illusion of extra height.

What about width?

Most tubs and showers are about 60 inches wide.  The average shower curtain is 70 to 72 inches wide, or 10 to 12 inches wider than the average tub/shower.  This allows the shower curtain and liner to overlap the shower by a few inches on each side to keep water from escaping.  If your shower is significantly wider or narrower than 60 inches, you may need to find a specially sized or custom shower curtain.  If you have a wide shower, or just want a fuller looking shower curtain, an alternative to custom curtains is to use two shower curtains or two standard window curtains in place of just one. 

Now a bit about my own new curtain rod and curtain.  

 Screw Mounted curved curtain Rod by AQ

Screw Mounted curved curtain Rod by AQ

 Installing the Screw Mounted Rod

Installing the Screw Mounted Rod

Curtain Rod

I went with a screw mounted curved curtain rod by AQ that I found at my local TJ Maxx for $16.  This was an especially good deal, because screw mounted curved rods are surprisingly hard to find.  Most of curved rods I found in my price range were tension mounted rods.  I specifically sought out the screw mounted rod rather than the tension rod because I felt that it would be less likely to fall on the head of the child that inevitably tugs the curtain getting into the shower.

 Double Glide Roller Shower Curtain Rings by Utopia

Double Glide Roller Shower Curtain Rings by Utopia

The Hooks/Rings

I got double glide roller shower curtain rings by Utopia for $7 on Amazon.  This is the first time I have used this style of hook/ring, and I love it.  They are easy to get on and off the rod if needed (but do not fall off), and I can easily take off the liner to clean while leaving the curtain in place.

The Liner

The liner is a Mildew-Free PEVA 3 Gauge Polyester Shower Liner by InterDesign which I also got on Amazon.  It was only $5 when I got it.  While I think it may be one of the cheapest liners available on Amazon it is still relatively substantial considering the price, and hasn’t tried to attach itself to anyone trying to take a shower yet like some cheap lightweight liners will.

 Odyssey shower Curtain by Danica Studio

Odyssey shower Curtain by Danica Studio

The Curtain

Now the pièce de résistance, the shower curtain, which was the inspiration for the entire bathroom.  The shower curtain is Odyssey by Danica Studio.  I also got it on Amazon, and it was $50.  $50 is more than I would normally spend on a shower curtain, and I debated this purchase for a while, but in the end I feel like it was worth it.  Everytime I see it, it makes me smile.

Once the shower curtain went up the bathroom really started to feel more complete, and I could start to see my vision for the room coming together.  Even though we still have several things left to do, it is starting to feel like we are on the downhill side of an unexpected mountain climb, and I can’t wait to get to the bottom.

(This post contains affiliate links, but I have not been paid to review any of these products)