Standard Shower Curtain Size and Types of Curtains

White tiled shower next to white wall with colorful shower curtain bunched up.

Dietmar Humeny / EyeEm / Getty Images

Looking for a new shower curtain for your home or apartment? Then it helps to start with understanding the standard shower curtain size, which is just as important a factor in choosing your best option as general style and appearance.

There are three standard shower curtain sizes that are considered to be pretty much universal in their ability to fit any conventional shower. And while they only vary slightly, picking out the right one is important to ensure that you don’t end up with an inadequate curtain that allows water to drip out onto your floor.

So, how do you choose? Here’s what you need to know about standard shower curtain sizes—plus some tips for selecting your perfect fit.

Standard Shower Curtain Size: Which One Fits Your Shower?

Across the board you’ll find three options when it comes to standard shower curtain sizes:

  • 70 x 70 inches
  • 70 x 72 inches
  • 72 x 72 inches

Beyond these, you’ll also find specialty sizes, such as curtains for extra tall showers (70 x 84 inches or 72 x 84 inches), extra wide showers (144 x 72 inches), and shower stalls (54 x 78 inches).

The good news when it comes to shower curtains is that you don’t necessarily need a completely accurate fit. While you’ll certainly want to stay within the standard for your type of shower, a few extra inches in width or height won’t be the end of the world (though of course, you don’t want your shower curtain to drag too low on the floor).

Measuring For a Shower Curtain

It’s unlikely that the exact measurements of your shower will match the exact measurements of a standard shower curtain size. So instead of trying to fit a precise match, you’ll want to look at other key factors when doing your measurements.

  1. Start by measuring how wide your shower is. Go from wall to wall, and measure in inches since that’s. usually how shower curtain sizes are measured in the U.S. Keep in mind that you want a shower curtain that is slightly wider than your shower. This is so it hangs with folds, as opposed to being fully taut when you pull it closed. A good way to ensure this happens: add 12 inches to the width of your shower. An extra foot of fabric will go a long way toward getting you that optimal look.
  2. Next, measure how tall your shower is. Don’t go from ceiling to floor, since that’s not where your shower curtain will hang from. Instead, go from shower rod to floor, then subtract about 8 to 10 inches to account for curtain rings. Many shower rods are adjustable in height, so if you find that you don’t end up with a height that matches the standard sizes, you can just raise or lower the rod itself as needed.

Types of Shower Curtains

Aside from the size of your shower curtain, you’ll also want to think about the style that you want. There are several types of shower curtain to choose from, each with its own unique features.

Vinyl shower curtains – A low maintenance shower curtain that’s a pro at repelling moisture. Available with clear paneling if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like to be completely closed off while taking a shower.

Cotton shower curtains – A popular choice with near endless options in terms of design. Just be sure to pair a cotton curtain with a vinyl or polyester liner, since cotton does have a tendency to absorb moisture instead of repel it.

Decorative shower curtains – If you’re more concerned with form than function, consider a decorative shower curtain, which is generally made with more luxurious fabrics, such as faux silk or linen, and paired with embellishments like ruffles or sequins. Again, just be sure to pair with a functional liner so you don’t end up with mold.

Hookless shower curtains – If you want to forego curtain rings, opt for a hookless shower curtain, which slips directly over the shower rod for a more streamlined look. You can find hookless varieties in a range of materials and styles, and many also include built-in liners as well.

Tips for Choosing the Best Shower Curtain

Aside from making sure that you get the right size, there are a few other key considerations that you might want to factor in as you shop for a shower curtain.

  1. Let there be light. If you don’t have a light in your shower, then you’ll probably want to go with a sheer—or even clear—shower curtain that will allow light to filter in from your fixtures and/or windows.
  2. Keep the mold at bay. Mold is always going to be one of your shower curtain’s biggest foes. Always protect your curtain with a liner, and if you don’t have great ventilation in your bathroom, a vinyl curtain may just be the way to go.
  3. Think about your bathroom’s style. Your own style is obviously important when choosing a shower curtain, but you also want to make sure that it’s not going to clash with the rest of your bathroom. Factor in your bathroom’s style when choosing a type of shower curtain, as well as the color palette you're going for.

And there you have it. If you start with size and work your way out from there, you should have no trouble finding just the right curtain for your shower—or one that really complements your space.