With so many choices available, what are some things I may want to consider before shopping for drapery and window coverings?

Following is a comparison of some of the various window covering options that may prove useful:

Ready-Made Drapery

An entry level, better than nothing approach to window coverings. Because they’re mass produced, drapery purchased “off the shelf” is available in a limited selection of styles, fabrics and sizes. To keep pricing low, the quality of materials and workmanship is minimal, and by definition they won’t actually fit your windows. This product is geared towards the price driven shopper in search of a temporary quick fix, or one who may be just starting out.

Semi-Custom Drapery

Quality and Selection

“Semi-custom” drapery would be the next step up from “ready-made”, and is typically offered by the”big box” stores, chains or franchises. These sources often rely on a standardized selling system for their product. You’ll choose from a limited “menu” of styles to be paired with a limited selection of fabrics included in their program. The design consultant you’re working with may not have the freedom, flexibility or experience needed to allow you to order “off the menu”, hence the term “semi-custom”.


After completion of your purchase, when using a semi-custom service, your design consultant may be put out of the loop, leaving it to customer service to oversee the production and installation of your drapery. If that’s the case, it will fall upon you to work it out with customer service should any issues arise at the installation of your window treatments. Lead times working with these types of services are typically much longer than when working with a smaller more personalized design service.


Drapery design and window covering services offered through the “big box” stores, franchises or chains are at times mistakenly assumed to be so well priced that shoppers are willing to forgo top quality, selection and service. What they may not realize is that these entities often contract out their window covering services to a third party so that shoppers actually pay a premium to cover that extra middleman. In retrospect, the “big box” shopper might be surprised to learn, they could have had fully customized window treatments for about the same money.

Custom Drapery and Window Coverings

Quality and Selection

Working with a design professional who specializes in drapery and window treatments, is the best way of making sure you end up with what you really want; customized window coverings designed especially for you that will truly enhance and define your home, giving it that finished quality that makes a house a home. You’ll have access to virtually everything currently available to the design trade in the way of fine fabrics, trim, hardware as well as hard treatments by working with this type of professional. A good drapery designer will be able to translate your inspiration and apply it to your space so it addresses your needs. If you don’t have a design inspiration of your own, a good designer will come equipped with plenty to share.


Peace of mind is an important feature of working with an experienced professional. Knowing that your designer will focus on and specify to the workroom not only the initial design concept, but also the technical aspects of your project and finer nuances having to do with balance, scale, proportion and construction techniques, relieves you of concerns that these design decisions will be left to the workroom professionals who’ve never had the opportunity to meet you or visit your home. In addition to overseeing these details of the production process, a good designer will follow through to make sure every last detail of your installation goes according to plan.


Value is an inherent part of working with an interior designer who specializes in custom drapery, since they’ll know how to negotiate the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of your project, to avoid mistakes. A specialist will also know how to appropriately select materials and accurately calculate quantities to eliminate waste, and where to receive the best pricing. As a result of maintaining a close working relationship with the local workrooms, they’ll be able to distribute the workload in a way that ensures you’re receiving optimum quality, value and turn-around time.

Investing your decorating dollars in customized drapery and window coverings designed to truly compliment your home, adds value to it and saves your hard earned energy dollars by lowering utility costs, and protects your furnishings, flooring and art from sun damage. Not to mention the enhanced lifestyle that goes with living and entertaining in a well appointed space.


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