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How Much Clearance For Blinds? Everything to Know

a wooden kitchen table and chairs next to a window

Window treatments play an important role in homes and office spaces. They are essential interior accessories that have the ability to provide light control and privacy, making our spaces comfortable and secure. 

However, as with any piece of equipment or accessory, blinds can show signs of wear and tear as they age, leading to issues. One underlying reason is incorrect or imprecise installation, which all circles back to the fundamental matter of having the correct clearance. 

This requires exact measurements, ensuring your blinds fit perfectly within your window frames – and that’s what this article aims to help you with. We’ll also include info on how to install your blinds with proper clearance. 

Let’s begin!



What is Clearance for Blinds?

In the context of blinds, clearance refers to the space between the blind and the surrounding window frame or wall, which is crucial for ensuring proper operation. Whether for vertical blinds, faux wood blinds, or any other window treatment, this gap allows for a smooth draw, efficient light control, and a better fit within the window trim. 

In essence, clearance for blinds is typically the slight but vital space needed to ensure their functionality and longevity.

Why is Clearance Important?

Proper clearance is a paramount aspect in achieving both the functionality and aesthetics of window blinds. How so? Here are a few reasons:

  • Insufficient clearance might cause the blinds to scrape against the window frame or the wall, hampering their smooth operation.
  • Overly spacious clearance may lead to uneven hanging, adversely impacting the overall look.
  • Incorrect clearance might create unwanted gaps, allowing light to seep in or compromising privacy.
  • In extreme cases, improper clearance can even result in damage to the blinds or the surrounding window trim.

Measurement & Clearance Requirements

Accurate measurements are crucial in guaranteeing that blinds fit seamlessly and operate correctly, hence emphasizing precision and attention to detail. Below are a couple of things you need to do for the most accurate results: 

Measuring Entire Window

Knowing how to properly measure your window for blinds starts with understanding three critical dimensions: width, height, and depth. Here's a simple step-by-step guide to ensure you get those measurements right:

  • Width: Measure the width of your window frame in three places: the top, the middle, and the bottom. Use the smallest of these three measurements as your window width to account for any slight variations or inconsistencies in your window frame.
  • Height: This is quite similar to the previous one. Measure your window's height at three points, the left, the center, and the right. For the blinds' length, always go with the longest measurement.
  • Depth: Depending on the type of blind you're installing, you might need to measure the window's depth as well to ensure the headrail and the slats fit inside the frame.

Source: ellinnur bakarudin/ 

Recording Accurate Measurements

Procrastinating or depending on the memory could lead to errors or mix-ups. Therefore, always keep a dedicated notebook or digital device handy during the measuring process. 

This way, you would have a reliable space for noting down the measurements, enabling quick referencing and reducing the risk of errors due to oversight. 

Minimum Depth Considerations

Depth, as we previously mentioned, can be a determining factor in choosing between an inside or outside mount. Obstructions like window handles or latches should be taken into account while calculating depth. Here are some quick tips for measuring depth accurately:

  • Measure from the glass pane to the nearest obstruction, not just the window frame.
  • Remember, depth varies depending on the specific type of blinds.
  • Ensure you have sufficient depth for the headrail and slats to fit in.

Looking for material-specific tips? We also have articles for that, like our faux wood blind guide, for example. You can check them out as well. 


Height and Diagonal Measurements

This is critical to ensuring that blinds hang properly from the window casing and reach the desired length right to the window sill. 

If the height measurements are incorrect, the blinds could end up being too short, leaving an unwanted gap at the bottom, or too long, causing them to bunch up against the sill. This would not only detract from the aesthetics but also compromise light control.

In addition to height, diagonal measurements are key to understanding the window's actual shape. This step reveals if the window is perfectly square. If diagonal measurements significantly differ, then the window isn't square, which might affect how the blinds fit and operate. 

It prevents misalignment issues that could arise when blinds are installed onto an unsquare window.

The Largest Measurement Determines the Size of the Blinds Needed

For ultimate window coverage, using the largest measurement guides the choice of size. This principle ensures that you won't underestimate the size needed. The best thing about doing this is you can avoid unwanted gaps, helping you maintain privacy better with a full window coverage assured.

When ordering, always round up your measurements to the nearest millimetre. If fractions are involved, remember that it's safer to overestimate slightly than underestimate. This way, you ensure better window coverage.

Exact Size Required for Custom Items

Custom-made window treatments offer a unique appeal, differentiating them from standard or pre-made ones, including window shades, hardwood blinds, and vertical blinds. Here's how:

  • Fit: Custom blinds are designed to fit precisely within the window casing, unlike pre-made ones that might leave unwanted gaps at the sides or between the blinds and the window sill. 
  • Aesthetic: They can also be tailored not just in size but also in design, elevating the aesthetics of your space. 
  • Variety: These blinds also offer wider options in terms of fabric, colour, and slat size that gel with your interiors.

However, keep in mind that precision is key when ordering custom blinds, as wrong measurements could lead to improper fits or clearance issues.

Source: Sergey Peterman/ 

Installing Blinds with Proper Clearance

Measuring for clearance is just half of the task, with the installation completing the entire process. It involves precision, a thorough understanding of the installation process, and an in-depth knowledge of the type of blinds you're working with.

Mounting Blinds on Window Frame or Wall Trim

Mounts can either be on the inside or the outside of the window frame or wall trim. Each technique offers a different aesthetic and functionality, making it important to understand how each is installed:

  • Inside mount: These blinds sit within the window casing.
    • Identify and mark the appropriate spot for the brackets inside the window frame.
    • Attach the brackets using provided screws.
    • Insert and secure the blinds into the brackets.
  • Outside mount: This hangs above the window sill or on the window casing or wall.
    • Mark where you'll place the brackets outside the window frame or on the wall trim.
    • Attach the brackets with screws.
    • Fit and secure the blinds into the brackets.

Note that brackets that are level and consistently spaced apart can make a big difference in the overall appearance and operation of your blinds.

Recessing the Window to Allow for Larger Clearance Depths

To know exactly when to recess windows, consider the depth of your chosen blinds or whether you have distinct aesthetic preferences. 

Recessing might be necessary if you're opting for deeper blinds; it creates additional clearance and imparts a seamless, recessed look. To safely recess a window, rely on professional help. They'll accurately gauge the window depth, make necessary adjustments, and ensure aligned, secure fittings, maintaining the structural integrity of your surroundings.

Using Metal and Steel Tape Measures for Exact Measurements

The right measurements require the right tools. Metal or steel tape measures prove significantly more reliable than cloth or plastic ones, ensuring accuracy and consistency. To get the most accurate readings, always keep the tape measure straight and taut, avoiding any sagging or bending.



Precise measurements and proper clearance are essential for functional and aesthetically pleasing blinds – these make it crucial to ensure the proper maintenance of your blinds.

To make everything better, it’s only wise to find a dealer that helps you from the decision-making stage up until you maintain your window treatment. 

At Factory Direct Blinds, we offer not only quality blinds but also custom Roman shades, roller shades, cellular shades, and more. With perks like free shipping, intermittent discount prices, free samples, and customer support accessible through phone, chat, or email, we ensure a pleasant shopping experience.

Got questions about any window treatment? Get in touch with us today!


How much of a gap should I leave for blinds?

The gap for blinds should be minimal, only enough to allow smooth operation without scraping against the window frame or wall.

How high should blinds be off the floor?

They should be high enough to just brush the window sill. The exact height depends on the type of blinds and mounting style.

How close should blinds be to the window?

For effective light control, blinds should be close to the window, but ensure enough clearance for unobstructed operation.

How much clearance does a roller blind need?

A roller blind typically requires a clearance of a few millimeters to ensure uninterrupted operation and optimal fit within the window frame.

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