How To Measure a Vintage Bath Tub For A Shower Curtain

Have you ever wondered how to determine the correct shower curtain size for a hard to fit vintage tub or clawfoot tub? We live in a vintage home with three vintage bathrooms (complete with fixtures from 1917). Two of our bathrooms contain vintage bathtubs that have one long end open and one short end open. The ceiling mounted shower curtain rod is made of chrome and bends in an L shape. We wanted to preserve the vintage integrity of our historic home and create some fuctionality for our family.

We kept the vintage tubs in place along with colorful tile surrounds, completely restored the antique heart pine wood floors and even kept the vintage wood built ins in the rooms, just updating them with Benjamin Moore - Simply White oil based paint which holds up well to daily use and refreshed all the mouldings. The shower curtains were the next item on my list of projects to tackle. Since our hardware was already hung, I used our classic roller ball style shower curtain rings (available in packs of 12), and put them on the existing ceiling mounted shower curtain hoop hoop. for this type of tub, I used 12 rings on the long side of the tub and 9 on the short side of the tub which seemed to work very well.

Then I measured the height of the shower curtain rings and made note (to determine this measurement simply measure from the top of the wire ring to the bottom most point of the wire ring - for mine, this measurement was 2.5") Then I took my tape measure and measured from the top of the already installed rod to the spot where I wanted to curtain to fall -- in my case just shy of the floor so it wouldn't sit on the floor and gather dust)

The basic formula for determining the length of the shower curtain is:

Measurement from top of rod to floor and deduct the "drop" or length of the curtain ring you are using. 

I came up with a measurement of 72" which, lucky for me is a standard length shower curtain. 

To determine the width of the shower curtain I needed I measured the long side of the tub and short side of the tub and added those together. I added an extra 11" for a little slack so the curtain does not sit completely taught when its pulled closed.

I did not want to go to the expense of having a custom waterproof fabric shower curtain liner made, though they are a wonderful option and last for years! I purchased two decorator quality 72x72 shower curtain liners through my decorator resource and overlapped them by starting one on each end of the tub and overlapping the long side liner over the short side liner so that there is not an open seam facing the shower head. This keeps any water from leaking through the overlap.

In our next article I will talk about clawfoot tub shower curtains and the most common sizes I have seen. Thanks for reading and reach us if you need help measuring your own vintage tub!

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