We are considering updating some of our window coverings in our home and I thought it might be a good time to go over what options are out there and what you might expect to pay. The first thing you need to consider is will you be doing the work yourself or will you be hiring a contractor or purchasing from a blind company and having them install your window coverings.
After looking at all of the options and prices most people that can do the work themselves will choose to do it because of the cost but if you are moving into a new home or need the work done right away having a company do it means that you won’t be making mistakes on sizes or installs.
In the past when I have installed blinds myself the first ones that go up are the bedroom blinds and for most of us we can get that done in a day. The rest of the house can be completed as we have time and you can always tack up a sheet or solid white plastic tarp in front of that big open window for a few days. As a matter of fact hitting the home store and buying a roll of cheap solid white plastic tarp and tacking it to your windows is probably the best thing to do for new home owners or people just moving in. Its quick and it works pretty well and it doesn’t weigh very much so a couple thumbtacks will hold even a large piece over your sliding glass door opening. This will give you time to make choices and check prices.
Window Coverings And Privacy Options
Whether your home is set on a farm with a large amount of distance from your neighbors and the road or if you are in a handshake apartment where your neighbors window is just feet from yours we all have reasons for privacy in our homes.
Privacy doesn’t always mean light blocking. In some cases like a bathroom window you might want privacy but also light and blinds or thin drapes just won’t provide that so your best option is a plastic sheeting that has a built in texture that will scatter the light and create privacy. You could also choose a smoked glass.
This material comes in rolls and adheres to the glass like window tint. I have also used the 2 x 3 foot plastic light fixture panels available for a few dollars at a home center. They work great are not effected by moisture pealing them back and are durable but they will discolor from the sun over time since they are acrylic plastic.
Horizontal and vertical blinds are another option and there are a variety of choices. For Privacy you are normally going to be looking at the fabric models that are accordion shaped and won’t let you look out of them unless you raise the blind. Anything else will normally let some opening remain.
Finally drapes are great options and you can get rubberized backing on them to black out the sun. Good for privacy and to reduce light in the room. They are especially good for people that work late shifts and need to sleep during the day.
What Materials Are Best For Window Coverings
Well there are a lot of choices to make when it comes to what materials are used on your window coverings. You can go with the really inexpensive plastic or PVC vinyl models and I like them because they are light and if they break you are only out of pocket maybe $10 to replace them.
If you want an upgrade from that you can go with aluminum blinds that are more durable and won’t sag or warp from the sun. They also block light since they are metal but expect them to let in some light from the gaps.
The next choice might be a fabric blind or a fabric covered plastic blind. Many vertical blinds will come with a fabric covering to simulate drapes. It is a nice choice and can bring some color and texture to your room but also remember the problems with cleaning. Fabric is also used for privacy horizontal blinds where an accordion shape of the blind blocks all outside view while still allowing in light. Expect to replace this type of blind more often but they are on the lower mid range of pricing so they are not too expensive to replace every 3-5 years.
Wood is an option for some homes and they look and work great however they are on the higher end of cost and normally have to be installed and fitted by a custom blind maker. If you choose to use a retailer for your wood blinds you should make sure you have their contractor measure your windows as returns may not be possible and they are expensive.
Drapery Vs Blinds
In our home we use a combination of drapes and blinds and you might do the same. If you are just installing blinds you might still install a valance blind that hides the mechanism of the blind at the top and provides a nice fabric detail. This is good in your kitchen or living room depending on the design of your house.
Standard blinds can come in a variety of styles from sheer silk type blinds to a heavy ornate blind with a blackout backing. The cost of drapes is always going to be more than blinds for a given opening unless you are comparing high end blinds to low cost drapes.
Drapes are also a great way to backup a blind. A sheer drape over a blind will allow you to open the blind for light but still block some view for privacy. It can also cut more light as light will always infiltrate around and through a blind and it can be purely decorative.
Costs Vs Benefit
For the most return you can find blinds that cost less than 10 even for wide windows many that are under $5 per blind and cover your windows pretty quickly. This is the fastest way to get something into your window to block bright sun or nosy neighbors.
Cheap curtains can also be made with a curtain rod and some simple fabric available at a local discount store. You will get more choices for style if you pick your own fabric and it doesn’t take much skill to fold over each edge about an inch and then fold the top over to form a loop for the curtain rod. With a little more skill you can learn how to set up folds that are decorative. You can expect to pay about $15 per window for a basic curtain rod and fabric. You can hand sew or machine sew as you have the ability.
There are two sides of window coverings. First is utilitarian because you are blocking the sun or creating privacy. The second reason is decorative and windows take up a huge portion of any room.
If you are staying cheap then you should get the lowest cost coverings that you can. If you want to get really decorative and expect to pay $50 to $200 per window then you want to get some professional advice. You might install the coverings yourself or even make them but you should visit a retailer or a blind store and see what options are out there and how they actually work and look. It is one thing to purchase something in a box at a store or online to save money but you should only do that if you have seen the product opened and in use.
Read reviews and collect some ideas before you spend hundreds or thousands on your window coverings. It is a big investment and a big item in your home.
And if you are buying a number of blinds for your home and they are not too expensive and a good number of your windows are the same size then make sure that you buy 1 or 2 extra blinds that you can store and replace those that brake. If they do brake save the ones that brake so you can use parts off them such as twist rods or slats.