Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about Custom Window Treatments
We understand that buying custom window treatments can be a daunting task. That's why we have put together some frequently asked questions we've run across throughout our many years in the window treatment industry. We hope some of these answers will help give clarity into purchasing window treatments. If you find your question hasn't been answered below, please feel free to contact us
Where do I begin?
Q: What do I need to know to make an intelligent selection?
A: Making proper window treatment selections is
not as simple as you might think. Sure you can do your homework,
but the results you end up with can range from ho-hum to stunning!
Establish what you need from window coverings whether it's for privacy, energy efficiency, aesthetics or a combination. Now more than
ever, you have the ability to educate yourself in order to make the most of
your investment - whether it be modest or major. You’ll need
to consider your lifestyle, light issues, privacy needs, budget
constraints, how long you’ll be in your home, energy needs
as well as the design desired. Asking a professional Window Covering Consultant to explain details research just can't uncover is an excellent way to help you make the best decision for you.
Q: What is a hard treatment?
A: A hard treatment refers to mini blinds, verticals, horizontal blinds,
cellular shades, woven wood shades, roller shades and shutters.
Q: What is a soft treatment?
A: A soft treatment is a window treatment that
is fabricated from fabric; a drapery, a valance, sheers, a roman shade and
any other treatment involving fabric.
Q: What does private label mean?
A: Private label is the name a retailer has given
to a line of products, and these are generally lower in price than
a name brand.
Q: Should I choose name brand versus private label?
A: You will want to inquire about the guarantee
the retailer is offering with the product. This might be a one-year
or lifetime guarantee, but you will always need to deal with that
retailer, so consider how long the retailer has been in business.
A private label does not suggest low quality.
Q: What’s the difference between a blind and a shade?
A: A blind generally refers to a slatted treatment
that offers light control; a shade is typically a style that operates
up and down, either exposing or covering, but not offering as much
light control as a blind.
Q: What is a custom window treatment?
A: A custom window treatment is designed, fabricated
and installed specific to a particular window, allowing for the
proper projection, proportion, operation not to mention beauty.
Q: Why should I have window coverings?
A: Window coverings can offer the following: privacy,
light control, insulating factors and energy efficiency, and aesthetic beauty.
Q: What factors should I take into consideration when deciding on window treatments?
A: You’ll want to consider both function
and beauty. Consider your lifestyle, the look you want to achieve,
your budget, how long you intend to stay in the home, light and privacy needs
and special challenges, if any.
Q: How much should I budget?
A: This varies widely and with so many window treatments options now available,
you can spend from just under a hundred to cover a basic window,
but you can also cover that same window and spend thousands of dollars!
Being realistic though, you’ll fall somewhere between. So
many variables play into covering your windows depending on how
many layers you have, the products you choose, and whether you do
it yourself or hire someone to help. This even varies from region
to region, so it’s really not easy to say! The best way to
determine your comfort level is to do your homework and investigate
Q: How do I find out prices of different products?
A: Visit your local retailers; check online, check
out the ads in the newspapers. Be aware that custom soft treatments
will vary greatly from retailer to retailer.
Q: What is the price range I might expect to have to pay?
A: At the risk of being vague, this is a hard question
to answer! Expect to pay from $20 a foot for an inexpensive solution
to $200 a foot for a more elaborate treatment. Again, this depends
on the route you take…the “do-it-yourself” path
or the “do it for me” path.
Q: What’s the difference between ready-made, made-to-order
A:Ready-made treatments are select sizes a manufacturer
offers the retailer. You just purchase “off the rack”.
With made-to-order, you are limited to select styles, fabrics and
options, but this offers something better than the in stock program.
You might consider that “semi-custom.” Custom window
treatments are made specifically for YOUR window, taking into consideration
proportion, projection, fabric selections and the overall design
intent. The sky is the limit (as long as your budget holds out!)
Q: What products are the least expensive, and which are
A: When talking about hard treatments, your least
expensive products will be mini blinds, although there are varying
degrees of quality, even within that product. On the higher end,
you’ll find custom shutters and custom drapery. Wood blinds offer a more modest
price point; even faux wood blinds are available if wood is not
Q: How can I get a look that doesn’t cost a lot,
yet looks nice?
A: This is where you will spend time determining
the look you want. Study magazines and look at design books. Visit
model homes (those decorated by a builder in a new housing tract.)
You’ll find lots of ideas, but whether you can pull it together
yourself or you hire out will depend on your level of expertise.
If you don’t trust yourself, hire out before you make some
costly mistakes—you may find this a wiser route.
Q: I can’t afford to do everything at once. Is that
A: Sure! Of course, you’ll want to address
your privacy issues first, and then as your budget allows, continue
with the next phase.
Q: There are so many options. How do I select what’s
right for me?
A: Determine your needs and desires by listing
your privacy needs and lighting issues. Thumb through magazines
and books. Keep a design file with styles you like (tear out magazine
pages.) You’ll soon realize what styles are pleasing and those
that you dislike. If you really feel unqualified to do this, this
is the time to seek the help of your local retailer, decorator or
Q: Where can I purchase window treatments?
A: You can purchase ready-mades from a retailer
or online, made to measure from a catalog, local retailer or online,
and custom treatments from a retailer, decorator or interior designer.
Q: Should I buy online?
A: You can, however there is always that risk you
take if something goes wrong—either on their part or on your
end. Even if you choose to buy online, you may want to evaluate
the experience by dealing with an expert on the phone. Remember you will not be able to touch and feel the fabrics and workmanship to determine quality. Also, taking your own measurements can get tricky.
Q: How do I know I am getting a fair deal?
A: Only you can determine that by comparing prices,
guarantees, customer service, etc. You want to do your best to compare
apples to apples.
Q: I keep seeing ads for 60% and 70% off retail for blinds.
How do I find the best deal?
A: Try to ignore the discount pricing. Instead,
find out the bottom line price—and do calculate the installation
aspect of the deal. Also, you want to consider the guarantee and
customer service the retailer will offer.
Q: Why is custom so expensive?
Custom is not an assembly line type of treatment.
Attention to details must be considered whether in the design and
fabrication stages. Proper proportion, projection and placement of fabric
are carefully specified to achieve stunning results. No one else has the same treatment as you - they're fabricated to your home's specifications only!
Q: I want to save money. Should I opt for unlined draperies?
A: By all means, NO! Linings serve a purpose;
they protect your face fabric, add body and enhance
the overall look of your draperies. Not to mention, viewing a neutral or white lining from the
street looks much better. (Some HOA's now require you to have a white or cream color facing the street). Of course, some draperies (such as sheers) are not intended to be lined.
Q: What kind of guarantee can I expect?
A: Hard treatment companies will offer different
guarantees, some one-year, others lifetime, or limited lifetime.
(Kitty chewing on the cord does not qualify!) You’ll want
to get your guarantee or warranty in writing.
As far as soft treatments are concerned, this will vary, and to varying extents.
Workmanship is generally a given, however, fabric durability usually
isn’t guaranteed. You’ll want to address this with your
retailer, decorator or designer.
Q: What happens if something breaks?
A: Your best bet is to call the retailer, decorator
or designer to discuss your options. It may or may not be under
warranty. You may be on your own for this one if you opted to do-it-yourself.
Q: Can I cancel a custom order?
A: Typically the 3-day cancellation rule applies,
however you may want to clarify this with the salesperson you placed the
order with. Custom orders are usually not able to be canceled, but exceptions
Protecting your investment/Caring for your
Q: How long will my window treatments last?
A: With proper care, they can last for years. Usually
you will opt to change them before they “wear out.”
Q: How do I care for my window treatments?
A:Gentle vacuuming (with proper attachment) and
feather dusting will prolong the life of your treatments. Typically,
designer fabrics are dry clean only, but not all treatments can
be removed. You may want to consider a company that can clean in
your home without the need to remove your treatments. Any time you
have your draperies treated, you can expect some change, for example
shrinkage or even a slight color variance.
Q: What about fading?
A: Window treatments can protect your floors, furniture
and upholstery from fading, however, you’ll find the drapery
fabrics will fade as well, even if the sun isn’t hitting the
fabric directly. Lining your draperies will certainly help. You may find a good solution is to professionally
tint your windows.
Q: What are the benefits of professionally tinted
A: Professionally tinted windows reduce the harmful
UV rays that cause fading, your home stays cooler; and your outside
view is enhanced, as if you were wearing sunglasses. This will certainly protect your window treatment investment.
Q: How long does it take for custom treatments
to be made?
A: It varies from treatment to treatment. With some it may be 2-3 weeks, others such as shutters expect 8-10 weeks. In regard to draperies, once a fabric arrives to the workroom, expect
a minimum of 2 weeks to 8 weeks. Some workrooms may have longer
lead times, but custom requires extra care, and typically workrooms
have many jobs lined up. Remember to ask your Window Covering Consultant about American Made treatments - these usually have a much shorter lead time.
Q: I need privacy while my window coverings are
being made. Should I just put up sheets?
A: Hanging sheets doesn't have to be an option! Consider the temporary
pleated shades that simply stick to your windows. They look better in the meantime and are easily
removable. They are intended to last until your permanent window treatments are installed. Temporary shades are available through your retailer, decorator or
interior designer - just ask!
Q: Who should I call to help me with my window
A: You can consult your local retailer with professional and knowledgeable Window Covering Consultants, a decorator
or an interior designer.
Q: How do I know if the person I hire is qualified?
A: Do your homework first. Ask questions and inquire
about their background. When it comes to a retailer that sells custom window treatments, be sure to ask if they have a showroom. It's your best bet to avoid those "fly by night" sales people.
Q: Where can I find window treatment ideas?
A: You’ll find a myriad of styles in magazines,
design books, catalogs and TV shows such as HGTV. Visit retail stores and model homes.
Check online for the latest trends. Our Window Covering Consultants also come with portfolios of great ideas to help the creative process.
Q: What should I choose if I want to change my décor
A: Select neutral hard treatments. Your fabrics
and related accessories can change with your mood or the season.
Q: When should I call a designer?
A: If you don’t feel capable of carrying
out the project, call in a designer, but do your homework first
to give the designer enough information to help you achieve the
look that will be right for YOU. To avoid making expensive, time-consuming mistakes, a designer or a custom retailer can be the right choice. Most Window Covering Consultants are skilled in the design of custom window treatments and will be less cost prohibitive than a designer.
Q: How do I find a decorator or designer?
A: Ask your friends for referrals. Contact a retailer
in the area that might be able to recommend someone. A local upholsterer
may know someone. Check online for someone in your area and be sure to look at their portfolio!
Q: Do I pay for a consultation?
A: Sometimes yes, and sometimes no. Expect to pay
for consulting if you do not purchase; sometimes the consultation
is free with a purchase. Be respectful of a professional’s
knowledge and time. Most time with decorators or designers a consultation fee is a given. With custom retailers, a Window Covering Consultant will come to you and provide a free in-home consultation.
Q: What information do I need to provide to a Window Covering Consultant, decorator or designer?
A: The specialist will need to know your lifestyle,
your privacy needs, your light control issues, the style you hope
to achieve, your likes and dislikes. Have that design file ready
to show to the decorator or designer. The more information, the
better your chances are you will be able to communicate your desires.
Q: I found my own fabric. Will the professional accept it?
A: Most often, yes. The industry term is COM (Customer's Own Fabric). However, it’s not uncommon
for the designer to charge more for this service, only because they
have less control in this situation if fabric has to be replaced.
Check with your specialist before making purchases. Note that is your fabric has a pattern, you will need to buy extra to accommodate for repeats.
Q: What if I don’t like what the decorator/designer
does for me?
A: Make sure you hire someone you connect with—this
is no time to be intimidated by someone you don’t like! During
the design process, make sure everything is explained to you so
there are no misunderstandings. The specialist should be able to
provide you with enough visuals and information so you won’t
be surprised. If it’s a matter of workmanship, that’s
one thing, but to sign off on the order and then realize you don’t
like the results—is a whole different issue. A word of caution:
never sign off on a design if you feel pressured into buying. Don't be scared to ask for a sketch!
Q: What about fire-proofing?
A: Generally this is not necessary, except for
treatments fabricated for public areas. Some fabrics are inherently
fire resistant, while others need to be specially treated, and require
special care when fabricating.
Q: How do I cover challenging windows?
A: This is best left to the professional. Contact
your local custom retailer, decorator, or designer, who can guide you through
the entire process. Sometimes this requires a visit to observe the window and space and take measurements in order to come up with the best solution.
Q: What do I do with all the various windows in my house? They’re all so different.
A: To achieve a proportional, unified look, turn
to the professional to achieve stunning results. With certain manufacturers there are counterpart programs where different fabrics and treatment styles have been selected that will create a cohesive look throughout multiple areas with alternating window orientations.
Q: My husband loves toys. Can we motorize our window treatments?
A: Many treatments can be retrofitted with a motor. We have both hard wired and batter operated motors. If the treatments you select require hard wiring, plan in advance
with an electrician when building or remodeling.
Q: What treatments can I motorize?
A: Hard treatments, roller and solar shades, gliding panels, roman shades
and draperies are some of the major styles that can be motorized.
Q: Can draperies help with the echo problem we have?
A: Not only do draperies add to the beauty of your
home, they can enhance the acoustics by absorbing sounds, and eliminating
that “hollow” feel.
Q: I don’t want to block my view. What are my options?
A: If you need privacy at times, but not during
the day for instance, consider a cellular shade or solar shade that
raises completely out of the way. Draperies that open completely
off the window are another option, as long as you have additional
wall space on either side of the window. Contact your local Window Covering Consultant
for the best solutions.
Q: Privacy is not an issue. Do I need window coverings?
A: While you may enjoy the open view during the
day, having a window treatment over the window at night can provide
a more complete look to a room at night, while offering insulation
from heat and cold.
Q: I don’t want people to see in, but I don’t
like the look of blackout treatments. What do you suggest?
A: A semi-opaque treatment will be the solution—light
will filter in, and all someone can see from outside might be shadows,
but no details.
Q: I have children and pets—what are safety issues
I need to consider?
A: Safety is a major concern within the window
covering industry. Always keep cords up and out of the way from
little hands and pets, and never position a crib near a window with
a cord. Cordless blinds are an option. Window treatments with cords
should always include the child safety tag for you to read. The
tag isn’t meant to be left on, but be sure to be aware of
the dangers cords pose and be safe!
Q: Do the windows viewable from the street all have to
look the same?
A: Not necessarily, however, sticking with a consistent
neutral color is much better. A blue cell shade just doesn’t
make a positive curbside statement!
Q: I like it dark when I sleep. What are my options?
A: Consider a black out drapery, black out roller shade or room darkening hard treatment. You will always have some
light leakage around the edges, but that can be solved with over
treatments such as side panels or making sure your shade is built for an outside mount. The room darkening treatments are not completely opaque like black
out treatments are. Consult your Window Covering Consultant for best solutions.
Q: The glare on our television is terrible. What can be
done about this?
A: Usually the room darkening or black out treatments
will do the trick. Contact your Window Covering Consultant for solutions.
Q: Should I measure my own windows for blinds?
A: You can, however measuring by a professional
will yield the best results, and the responsibility will be on their
shoulders. Even if they charge for a measure, consider it insurance--a
small price to pay for a job done right.
Q: Should I measure my own windows for draperies?
A: Usually not. The designer will probably measure
but the installer will do the final measure. There are too many variables that need to be accounted for!
Q: What about installing window treatments?
A: Leave installations to the professionals. If you want to install the treatments yourself, you will most likely void your warranty. Ask you custom retailer for details.
Q: Can I save money by installing my own draperies?
A: You can, but most likely you’ll end up
with disappointing results. Having the right tools, hardware and
the know-how makes the difference. A professional installer can
make a so-so drapery look great, and the do-it-yourself installer
can make the beautifully fabricated draperies look like disasters!
Q: I live in an area where it gets really hot, and also
really cold. Can window treatments help?
A: Window treatments can offer excellent insulation properties.
Interlining draperies offers even more protection and adds to the
beauty of the treatment.
Q: I have pets. What should I choose?
A: Steer clear of treatments that “puddle”
on the floor—you may find your cat has found a new favorite
spot! Dark fabrics will show lighter pet hairs and some fabrics
will naturally attract hair more readily than others. Inform your
specialist that you have pets, so you can be advised of your options.
As with children, please make sure your cords do not pose a hazard
to your beloved 4 legged friends.
Q: Can I measure, order and install myself?
A: If you have the talent and confidence, yes. It is not recommended because many warranties will be negated if a professional does not install them.
Q: Can I make my own window treatments?
A: If you have the talent, time and perseverance.
Q: How do I determine how much fabric I will need?
A: You can solicit help from a local fabric shop,
or by following the directions in a book or on a pattern. Typically, fabric comes in 54" widths. You’ll also want to consider
the repeat of the pattern.
Q: Where can I find fabric?
A: You can find decorator fabrics at a retailer,
online, through a catalog, a designer/decorator or upholsterer.
You may come across seconds, which have flaws, but for some projects
these are just fine. Ordering cut yardage is often more expensive
than off-the-bolt fabrics.
Still have questions that weren't addressed here? Please fill out our "Contact Us" form
and we would be happy to try and answer any questions you may have!
We service the entire Greater Orlando Area!
Including: Downtown Orlando, Winter Park, College Park,
Baldwin Park, Lake Nona, Isleworth, Bayhill Area, Kissimmee, Heathrow, Lake Mary,
Oviedo, Longwood, Altamonte Springs, Apopka, Mt. Dora and more!