Window Coverings

So on wednesday evening I returned from Chicago where I attended the Window Coverings show. My boss wanted me to go to attend some trend/market research seminars, and to scout some new vendors for window coverings. The seminars were pretty good- nothing super new, but I gained some insight into how others are running their design businesses. The Window coverings expo itself was a complete waste of time. There were so few vendors there- the only ones worth looking at, I already knew about! The rest were cheap knock-offs of Hunter Douglas.

One thing that I was supposed to be on the lookout for was a decent ready-made drapery panel vendor. Something we could sell to the more budget minded client. Of course, I didn’t find what I was looking for. Right now, most of our drapery sales are custom and in the $800-2000 range PER WINDOW!!!!!! Insane, right?We are looking to test some programs geared towards first time homeowners that would allow us to be in a more reasonable $250- 500 per window range. But thats still to rich for my blood….and the blood of most of my first time homeowner friends. But whatever….those of us with a more realistic budget can stick to DIY and discount retail for our drapery panels.

Like I have said in previous posts, I don’t particularly like Window Coverings.  I would NEVER put a Roller shade, honeycomb or wood blind on my windows. Well, I might if I lived in a city or suburb where I had neighbors- but, I don’t. I live in the woods, I only have 1 neighbor whose house we can see, and they really can’t see in any of our windows.

In the right circumstances, I do really like drapery panels. They are not good everywhere- but can be  fantastic decorative element in room. They can soften walls, add color and pattern as well as create height.

Currently, I only have drapery panels in 2 rooms right now. Our Living/Dining room and our Master Bedroom. The panels in the LR/DR are really only for decoration and softening – they are never closed. The panels in the bedroom are only there to block out the light when we want to sleep in on sunday mornings.

I only recently added the panels in the LR/DR. They are ready made rod pocket panels that are hung by Ring clips off a wood rod:

The Room is partially open concept- but there is a distinct LR area and a distinct DR area. We have the LR and adjoining hallway painted BM Sandlot Grey, and the DR area Pops with BM Raspberry Truffle ( The colors look much brighter in the pics) To pull the 2 areas together, I used the same drapery in both areas.  The only window in the LR is a set of French Doors, and in the DR we have 1 set of double hung windows.

The 84″  long rod pocket panels are from Cost Plus Wold Market. Here. They are 100% cotton and have a nice lining on the back. The are currently listed for $34.99, but I got them during a sale for $29.99. The wood hardware was purchased as un-finished components from Home Depot. Rings and clips, Brackets, Finials, Rod. You can purchase pre-stained versions, but I sanded and stained the hardware myself to match other wood the room. I took me all of 1 afternoon.

Total Cost for 2 Large Windows:

4 drapery Panels (48×84)= $119.96

4 sets of 7 Rings with brass clips= $31.88

4 finials= $39.98

6 brackets ( we added a center bracket for added support)= 47.82

2 – 12 foot dowels= $20

TOTAL= $259.54!

Estimated Cost from one of my “Budget” vendors at work= $900. Total savings $640!!!!!

We had a wide expanse to cover, and ready made metal rods are not easy to find in the width we needed. They can typically be found up to 108″ for under $40.  So this is why we used extremely long (12′) wooden dowels as the rods. For the LR we kept it at 12′ so the panels could be completely out of the way of the doors, but still hang with a 2.5′ width when pushed back. The DR rod we cut to 10′- but it is basically the same concept- out of the way of the window.

I went super cheap with Christmas tree shop treatments in our current Master Bedroom ( the NEW master bedroom will have treatments like the LR). Sure they don’t look great- but they were a functional Placeholder option for us when we knew that we would eventually be remodeling the new Bedroom. We have 2 standard double hung windows. Each window only has 1 panel that when closed, covers the window, but can be pushed to one side when not in use. The $9.99 each panels are a heavy Velour fabric, so they are great for keeping the light out. They are tab top for easy install, since I take them off regularly to clean so I can keep the dust mites out of the bedroom. The metal adjustable rods are a steal at $14 each! Total for the Room= Under $50!!!

Here are some of my favorite Sources if you want to get started on Budget DIY window treatments:

Cost Plus world Market


Home Depot

West Elm


Some last words to keep in mind:

  • The height to hang the Rod, so that the Drapery panels just skim the floor
  • The width of your rod- take into account where the panels will sit when open vs. Closed
  • Do you need a lining? They hang straighter when there is a lining.
  • Wood or metal Hardware. Can you use an adjustable rod?
  • Grommets, rings, tab top, rod packet.

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