Establishing a budget for curtains

sconwayFebruary 5, 2014

Please help me. I need to replace my valances in the kitchen and get new shutters and curtains for the master bedroom. I have selected the fabrics and style I want. Now I need it figure out how much I should reasonably spend.

For my kitchen, I am replacing my existing valance with a different fabric. Queen Anne style with buttons and contrasting band. This consists of two valances 81"wide x16", two 36x16 and one 30x16. The fabric costs $20/yd. I paid $1200 for the ones I have 10 years ago. How much should I pay in today's market? I got a quote for $4500!. I told the store no way. My budget was $2000 for labor, materials, installation. Is this reasonable?

For my bedroom, I'm installing plantation shutters and I want to add some non-functioning panels to warm it up since I have lots of windows. This is what i have:
1) 2-Triple windows about 103" wide on the same wall (northern exposure)
2) 2 windows at 38" wide on wall next to bed (east)
3) and one 30"wide window a I want the panels to look full. S (north)
4) fabric selected costs $35/yd
5) budget of $8000.00

Should I;
1) get european or trad pinch pleat.
2) 1.5 or 2W - I don't want the panels to look skimpy. I do plan to have them lined and interlined
3) single or double panels on single windows? I'm leaning to single panels pulled to a side
4) how much to pay? I got a quote for $1500 per panel. I think this is way to high.
5) I estimate shutters will cost about $5k.

I have had all my curtains professionally done but these prices have all exceeded what I have paid previously by a lot. Unfortunately my professional drapery maker retired and closed shop! So, any help would be greatly appreciated. My total budget for both rooms is $10k. Reasonable?

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I guess, and this might sound odd, I don't understand why people establish a budget unless they already have one.

What I mean is, unless you know the limit you want to spend or personally feel comfortable spending, I am not entirely sure why a budget needs to be established.

Instead, I would decide on a look, and then shop around for the best prices on that look. Can you find fabric that is similar for less? Can you find anything ready made? Can you do fewer windows, or one panel to each side? DO you need buttons and contrasting band? That ups the labor a bit.

I will say, that at least here in CT, that does not sound expensive. The fabric seems reasonably and well, custom WT are pricey.

That may have been no help at all. : )

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Mtnrdredux, I hear you. But I have not purchase wt in awhile. It is not a matter of sticking to a budget as much as not being ripped off! I want to support local businesses and I am willing to pay a bit more. I am not willing, however, to open a checkbook and fill in the blanks.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:22PM
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And Sconway, I hear you! I feel ripped off about 80% of the time I buy decor! It's awful.

I guess the best way is to get more than one quote. Maybe try Calico Corners? They just sub out to the same person you might use, but they probably negotiate a better price that you would, before they mark it up again! I would expect them to be something less than egregious, though.

But the numbers you are saying do not sound too rip-offy to me. Not for the NYC metro at least.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:38PM
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Those types of labor charges, even for an elaborate treatment, sounds high relative to our local workrooms, let alone large, non local retailers (like Calico Corners). $1500 for a single double width, interlined pinch pleat 96" high panels with $35/yd fabric also sounds very high, even with an installation charge. But that may be the price of going to a full service design firm.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 12:47PM
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I just paid $1,600 for 4 single window kick pleat valances at Calico during their 20% sale. Also added a bobble trim along the edge. Price included fabric, trim, labor and installation. They have several workrooms they use, but I asked that they use the same one that had done my drapes through the Designer. The price felt "cheaper" compared to what I have paid with the designer!

I just looked at some invoices from last year and roughly I paid about $2,500 per panel. That included labor, material, trim, rods and installation. The fabrics were expensive, in the $200+ range. This doesn't include all the additional hourly fees from the now ex-designer! I'm in the Los Angeles area which is expensive ... our sales tax is close to 9%.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:16PM
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I think you need to get more quotes to see how they compare. It will make you feel better about paying the above or you might find a better deal!

I have had several sets of curtains made in the past three years. Most recently I had 4 panels made, french pleats, and lined (but no interlining). I purchased the fabric myself, which I found at the bargain basement price of $14/yd. For the 4 panels I needed 14 yards. I got a few quotes and went with a great guy. The only thing I didn't like about the final product was the lining - it was a little thin. But I should have specified cotton sateen or the like, or purchased myself, so I take responsibility for that. Cost of labor and installation was $600. From my perspective that was a great deal. I think he did a fantastic job.

Since I am new to town, I just did a ton of internet searching and took a chance on this guy. He was a couple of towns over but much, much cheaper than anything in my town. I am in the NYC area.

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Thank you all. I realized it was a long time I bought WT but I used designer services and never paid as much as they are asking. Good to know I am not loosing my mind. I'm not a big fan of Calico Corners- I had a purchased order ready to go except for the measurements to install. The guy came to my house and quoted $800 to install 3 rods and the 3 panels. I was so mad I cancelled the order. Two months later I saw some nice curtains at pottery barn so I bought them, purchased the rods at JC Penneys, and installed them myself. Since then, I stay away from Calico Corners... They price the neighborhood and not the job.

I like good things but I felt like gooster...the price for labor seemed way too high. I'm definitely shopping around. Gooster, we are you located? I'm in a Northern VA.

I'm glad I don't live in NYC!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 5:16PM
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sconway: I'm in Northern California.

My last (Nov 13) set of drapery (inverted pleats, lined, in Dupioni silk) were not local, however. I went with the Village Workroom, a great place many on the site have used. My four panels (2, 2, 2.5, and 3.5 widths) were $1160, fabric, tax and shipping included. Unfortunately, they don't do COM, I think.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Speaking of Calico Corners...I went there a few weeks ago to buy fabric to make a slipcover for an ottoman. Silly me, I thought I would actually walk out with the fabric! Seems they don't do that anymore - it has to be ordered and sent via UPS. Granted they only charged $5 to ship it to me and I had it a week later, but I was so surprised they went this route. Had I known, I would have just ordered from JoAnn's with a 40% off coupon.
I do have a Country Curtains near me but unless they are running a sale it can get pricey.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 8:17PM
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justsaying, most of the businesses seem to be operating this way now. Even many online retailers don't have the products in stock and you have to wait months for items to be shipped from the manufacturer. Nobody wants to take on the cost of inventory!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:18PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

We have a few independent fabric stores around here where you can buy the fabric and they tell you how much labor is to create the drape you wish. You might want to shop them. To me the important thing is the labor can then choose on your own if you want fabric that is $20/yd or $80/yd. I was doing that with reupholstering my club chair and found the prices quoted were all pretty much in the same ball park. I know my GF bought her fabric from ethan allen at $42/yd and then we found the exact same fabric at the independent store for $18/yd...but of course, by then, it was too late for her.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:39PM
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I had panels made by a local person at a cost of $50 per panel plus fabric. All panels are lined and weighted. My interior designer recommended we go to a workroom for the fixed roman shade valances "because they do superior work." Well, I wish I had gone with the local person. Two windows (7' and 4') cost almost $1,000. To me that is pricey. Overall, the cost was about $1700 for everything. I am moving onto the master bedroom and trying to find an inexpensive tone-on-tone fabric is turning out to be a challenge.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 11:47PM
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Try The Upholstery Shop in Herndon. They do draperies and shutters, as well as upholstery.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 4:34PM
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I have used Window Fashion Treatments. com a few times for semi- custom stuff. They send all your fabric samples free, they have some nice fabrics as well. My orders all came fairly fast. They are not inexpensive but not over the moon either and they do nice work.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 5:38PM
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