When you move into a new home, one of the first things you’ll want is a little privacy. Sure, all those windows and all that light looked wonderful when you toured the house. But unless you plan to put your life on display for your neighbors and anyone who happens to walk or drive by, window treatments will be a priority.
It can also be an expensive undertaking that you may not have included in your moving-in budget.
Average Cost of Window Treatments
Few homeowners are prepared to pay for window treatment the moment they move in. This is especially true for first-time buyers, who already stretched their resources to purchase the house.
According to HomeAdvisor(link is external), the average homeowner pays between $93 and $403, per window, for blinds, curtains, etc. (including installation). Regardless of how simple or complex your window treatments will be, doing the installation yourself can save you thousands of dollars!
Nationwide, the average cost is $231 per window, for basic privacy and style. This figure rises dramatically with the addition of high-end fabrics, decorator hardware and fancier designs.
Now, how many big, bright, beautiful windows does your new home have? You do the math!
If you don’t have that kind of cash the day you move in, here are five ways to lessen the financial blow.
1. Keep What’s There
If you aren’t buying a newly-constructed home, you may be able to negotiate with the sellers to leave the window treatments in place. This should be detailed in the purchase contract. Typically, everything is negotiable, but you’ll want to work with your buyer’s agent to decide how this fits into your overall negotiating strategy.
Even if you don’t like the style or the colors, working with the seller to keep the curtains will buy some time to search for sales and find affordable ways to express your own sense of style.
As soon as your offer is accepted on a house, get the window measurements for every room and keep that information with you, in your phone or on a notepad, so you can quickly take advantage of any sales you may see to get window treatments at a savings even before you move in.
2. Ask Family and Friends… and Your Dry Cleaner!
People often have former window treatments tucked away in the attic or other storage areas. They may be willing to loan or give them to you while you find what you really want. A good, inexpensive solution may be as simple as an ask!
You may even want to inquire with a local dry cleaner about “abandoned” curtains. Some cleaners will, after a certain amount of time, sell items that are not picked up, usually for the cost of cleaning. You may find a great bargain!
3. Go Minimal
When getting started, minimal treatments can give you time to scour the sales and find perfect options. Two approaches:
Go naked – Don’t add treatments on windows where privacy isn’t a big deal, or where you’d rather enjoy large expanses of glass. If you live in a rural or isolated area, you may be able to skip most windows. This is also true for windows facing a private back yard. Windows on stair landings may not need anything either. It’s also important to note, however, that going without window covers will negatively impact the cost of heating and cooling your home, so be sure this is a trade-off you are willing to make.
Begin with the basics – If you plan to have blinds plus curtains on some windows, purchase only the blinds first. If you want sheers or linen panels to accompany more elaborate treatments, start with the panels. (Just beware that sheers alone may offer minimal privacy.) Add curtains, valances, tiebacks, etc. as your budget allows.
4. Shop for Bargains
When looking for great prices on window coverings, consider discounted and pre-owned options.* Both may offer great bargains. Sources include:
- Amazon.com(link is external) – Sells both discounted open-box and pre-owned curtains. Hint: Use the browser extension Honey(link is external) to reveal discounts and price alerts on Amazon and other shopping sites.
- Overstock.com(link is external) – Great prices can be found on this close-out and overstock site.
- American Blinds(link is external) periodically runs sales.
- Check the stock (and the sales) at JCPenney, World Market, Home Depot, and IKEA.
- Pottery Barn for Kids(link is external) has great options that would work for any room in the house, and the prices are cheaper than in other areas of the website/store.
- For amazing decorator and one-of-a-kind options at bargain prices, check out Charish.com(link is external).
- Contact local decorators to see if they have previously-loved treatments they are willing to sell.
- Look at Facebook’s online marketplace and eBay for more pre-owned options.
*NOTE: If you go the pre-owned route, be sure to launder them or have them professionally cleaned before bringing them into the house. As with any upholstered furnishings, cleaning will ensure you don’t have any unpleasant “creeping-crawling” surprises. Also, be warned, if the drapes go to a professional cleaner, the cost of the curtains overall will rise considerably! Get a cleaning quote before you buy.
5. Make Them… Even if You Don’t Sew
Curtains, especially flat-panel curtains can be a great budget option that looks modern and fresh. If you sew, this one is a no-brainer! Apartment Therapy has compiled lots of helpful tips(link is external).
Even if you wouldn’t know which end of a needle to thread, you may be able to make your own dream curtains. If you find a good deal on fabric you love, contact your local dry cleaner to get a quote on putting a hem in the bottom and a pocket in the top. They will usually do this for $10-30 per panel!
Another option would be to call on your favorite tailor, or a friend or family member with sewing skills and equipment.
Whatever approach you choose, prioritize window treatments based on privacy needs. Start with the most important windows, get the basic coverage you need, and move through the house. Add fancier options as your budget and your creativity will allow.