H&R Drapery exhibit at recent ASID trade show at the International Design Center in Estero, Florida

Friday, August 15, 2008

Looking into Windows

With holiday entertaining only a few months away, it’s a great time to start thinking about replacing outdated window treatments. With so many choices available today, there’s something to please every taste and budget.
Where do you begin? There are three basic categories of window treatment purchasing options. They are: ready-made, semi-custom, and custom. The one that is right for you may be determined by what is most important to you: quality, style, convenience, cost, value, or some combination of these.

Ready-made

Ready-made blinds and draperies come in a limited variety of materials, fabrics, styles and sizes. While quality and price vary depending on the manufacturer, ready-mades are the most economical and convenient for do-it-yourself homeowners. If you like what you see and it fits your window, you can select what you want, buy it, and hang it that day.

Semi-custom

What I call semi-custom is what you find in catalogs, on the internet and at some retail stores. You select a fabric and a style from their collection. Several popular sizes, designed to fit most standard windows, are offered. They are usually priced higher than ready-mades and below custom treatments. Some stores offer installation; some do not. You get a larger selection than ready-mades offer, but not every size and style will fit every window and d├ęcor.

Custom made

Custom treatments are designed specifically for your windows. You choose the design, the material, the fabric, the trim, and the hardware. If one window is a half inch longer than another, allowances are made for that. These window fashions are fabricated one at a time to your exact specifications, and include many details considered to be industry standards. For example, if you are buying draperies, expect to get double side seams, double 4” bottom hems, seams hidden in the pleats, and pattern matching. Custom treatments are almost always installed by a professional installer. Service and attention to detail takes time—expect to pay more and allow at least 4 to 8 weeks for fabrication.

Mix and match options

All three categories offer viable choices for today’s homeowner. You can mix and match, putting ready-made in a room you expect to change the look often, and custom treatments where you want to make a lasting statement. As with any home improvement project, it’s an investment that requires some planning. Start now and enjoy beautiful windows this winter.

Have a question about your windows?Have a question about a type of treatment or a problem window you’re not sure what to do with? Post a comment and I’ll try and address as many as I can in future columns. http://www.hr-drapery.com/

Just for fun, check out these MIT grads demonstrating the workings of a sewing machine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAhmYzmkvcY