Nothing is more frustrating than spending two or three hours picking out fabrics and treatments only to discover that they cost far more than you ever want to invest in window coverings.
This can be avoided if you give a decorator a budget before you begin to select products. You can invest anywhere from $50 to $5,000 decorating a 4 foot wide window. If your decorator knows that you only have a $50 budget, he or she is not going to waste your time showing you $100 a yard fabric. On the other hand, if you are prepared to do something special, you won’t have to fight to see the nicer products.
How do you set a budget when you don’t know what anything costs? Every window is a different size, custom treatments are not priced by the square foot, and special features can add to the cost.
I have had luck using rule of thumb estimates. On blinds and shades I use a 48″x48″ window as an average size and multiply by the number of windows in a home to get a general idea of cost. The actual cost can be off 20-30% as a result of special features and promotions, but by using rule of thumb estimates, I avoid designing $3,000 treatments for clients with $300 budgets.
The following is a list of the average prices I use in developing a budget. These are average sale prices for a good quality products. They are not prices for budget products, and they should not be used in comparison shopping, since actual prices will vary depending on specific products and promotions:
Product 48 x 48 Average Cost Mini-blind $40 – 60 Wood blind 130 – 160 Pleated shade 85 – 120 Cellular shade 100 – 160 Woven Wood Shades 160 Roller Shades 100 Silhouette Shades 300 Vignette Shades 250 Wood Shutters 600 Fabric Roman Shades 300 Balloon Shades 400
Other products like vertical blinds are used more frequently in full length treatments, so I use a 72 x 84 patio window as a point of comparison:
Product 72 x 84 Average Cost Vinyl Vertical Blind $140 Fabric Vertical Blinds 160-250 Draperies 360-720 Draperies with Valance 540-1500 Sheer Draperies 200 Lumnette Privacy Sheers 900 Duette Vertiglide Shades 650
Another way to set a budget for draperies is to price them by the width of window being covered. Based on this, I use the following for various sorts of drapery treatments.
Treatment Average Cost Per Foot of Width Pleated Drapery (lined & installed with hardware) $60 – 80 Pleated Sheers 30 – 80 Swag and Cascades 80 – 150 Cornices 50 – 60 Tier Valances (panels gathered on a rod) 30 – 50 Balloon Valances 30 – 70
It should be emphasized that this is not the Design Draperies price list. We do not price draperies by the foot and a number of factors can increase or decrease the price of a given treatment.
What this does tell you is that if you cover 20 windows with mini-blinds, you should budget around $1000 for the project. You might spend as little as $600, you might spend as much as $1800, but that is the general range.
Similarly, if you want a full drapery with swags, cascades and sheer underdraperies for a 8 foot window, you should budget around $1300 for the project. If that is much more than you want to invest in a given window, you should consider simpler options. Shopping around can get you a better price, but since everyone has similar expenses, it is rare than you can save over 10% without substantially modifying a treatment or sacrificing quality.