floor to ceiling drapes

The Price of Custom Drapery

I’ve told you in previous columns what you can expect to pay for blinds and shades. Here is the drapery primer so you can plan a bit and not be too shocked when you get a quote.

 I don’t think it’s luck, but in all my years in business I’ve had very few disgruntled customers. But this last while I had another one. My columns are triggered by what my customers want, what they ask about, the solutions I find for them and sometimes the discussions.

This last customer chose to buy the very least expensive fabric I could find, — she knew it was very inexpensive by comparrison to a mid-range fabric — and who decided, after the drapes were completed and hung, that they weren’t as expensive looking as she wanted.

For the wall of drapes, I suggested a color as close to the wall color as possible. Another situation of trying to find fabric after the walls are painted.  This paint color was gray-green, a very specific color, too.

I found a beautiful linen that exactly matched the paint, but the quoted mid-range price was too high for her. I found an alternative budget fabric in the exact same color — a total fluke — and she chose it.

It is an unfortunate situation; I have no doubt she will tell all her friends that the drapes aren’t right, and I rather doubt she will also say that she chose the very least-expensive option she could find. It’s a new home and it’s not a little bungalow.

This situation is exactly like having a dress made and then telling the dressmaker that the fabric you chose isn’t as expensive looking as you’d like it to be and you want your money back.  Although we try, we can’t please everyone  all the time.

Blinds have been more popular than curtains or drapes for about 15 years. This happened because the price of fabric skyrocketed and the price of blinds plummeted. And now folks are realizing that there is something really nice about fabric window coverings after all and drapes are becoming more common but the price of custom drapes can be a bit daunting.

wood rod and rings

Plan on $30.00 to $70.00 per foot for medium to high quality curtain rods.  A wall to wall rod in a master bedroom, perhaps 150 inches wide, will cost between $350.00 and $850.00. This is a rod that carries the drapes on a carrier system, is made of metal that won’t bow in the middle and is available in almost any color.

routed rod

For that big window, plan on about 18 meters of fabric, and 18 meters of lining. Fabric prices range from $10.00/meter for budget fabric to an average of $50.00 and a high of $100.00/meter. Good blackout lining is $15.00/meter, and don’t be foolish and skip this. Blackout lining is essential in this climate.

Construction cost will be about $250.00. Remember that is the cost IN THIS PART OF THE COUNTRY.  That price will be different where you live. Probably substantially  more if you live on the Eastern coast of the U.S. or in a major city. 

So, for the 150-inch wide window, low end: $1050.00; mid-range: $2400.00, high-end: $3200.00, or $80-$250.00 per running foot. Of course these prices can vary a whole bunch but this the standard here.

And one thing about fabric: you get what you pay for. If you want a window covering to be part of a showcase room, don’t expect to get showcase drapes for a budget figure. It just doesn’t happen, I’m sorry to say.  A good rule of thumb is to budget an amount equivalent to at least 5% of your home value to window coverings.

One study I saw suggested the average Canadian home has 10 to 12 windows. If your home is valued at 500K, a reasonable budget figure for window coverings is $2000.00 average per window.

So, if you “put your money where you can see it,” and use less expensive coverings in the less-used areas of the home, the price of custom drapes to match the value of your home is actually quite reasonable overall.

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