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Are Curtains Cheaper Than Blinds?

Curtains and blinds are two popular window dressing options, and cost is often a major factor when deciding between them. This article provides an in-depth comparison of curtain and blind prices to help you determine if curtains are cheaper than blinds.

Are Curtains Cheaper Than Blinds?

Curtain Prices

Curtain prices vary greatly depending on the fabric, style, and customization options you select. Here are some average price ranges:

  • Basic ready-made curtains – $20-$60 per panel. Made of inexpensive fabrics like polyester or cotton.
  • Custom curtains – $50-$500+ per panel. Endless custom options for higher-end fabrics, linings, trims, sizes, etc.
  • Blackout curtains – $30-$100 per panel. Made of thicker, layered fabrics to block light.
  • Curtain panels – $15-$30 per panel. Single panels meant to be used individually.
  • Curtain sets – $50-$300+. Matching pairs or sets of panels. More cost-effective than buying individually.
  • Thermal curtains – $40-$120 per panel. Made of insulating fabrics to improve energy efficiency.
  • Motorized & automatic curtains – $200-$2,000+ per window. Advanced opening/closing via remote control or sensors.

Blind Prices

Like curtains, blind prices depend on materials, operation, quality, customization, and more. Here are typical blind price ranges:

  • Vinyl/PVC blinds – $5-$20 per square foot installed. Inexpensive, easy to clean.
  • Aluminum blinds – $15-$35 per square foot installed. Affordable, durable metal slats.
  • Faux wood blinds – $25-$50 per square foot installed. Mimic wood look for less.
  • Wood blinds – $50-$150 per square foot installed. Natural beauty of real wood.
  • Fabric blinds – $30-$100 per square foot installed. Stylish material options like jute or sailcloth.
  • Roller shades – $20-$50 per square foot installed. Simple design for basic shading.
  • Roman shades – $50-$200 per square foot installed. Sophisticated gathered fold look.
  • Cellular shades – $50-$150 per square foot installed. Excellent insulation.
  • Motorized blinds – $200-$1,000+ per window. Remote and/or voice activated.

Curtains vs. Blinds Costs

Based on the price overview above, basic curtains from big box stores are generally cheaper than basic blinds. However, custom or high-end curtains with details like trims, embellishments and floor-to-ceiling heights run comparable or more than premium blinds.

For the best value overall, vinyl, aluminum and other budget-friendly blinds are likely the most affordable window covering option starting at around $5 per square foot installed. Ready-made or discount curtains can compete with low-end blind pricing, but usually aren’t as cost-effective for whole-home window treatments.

Yet curtains provide more bang for your buck in certain situations. Long, floor-to-ceiling designs and safely blackout capabilities are easier and cheaper to achieve with curtains. And you can sew DIY curtains for much less than professional blind installation.

Key Price Factors

Prices for both blinds and curtains depend heavily on:

  • Window size – Larger windows require more yardage (curtains) or square footage (blinds).
  • Customization – Unique shapes, motorization, automation and measurements increase costs.
  • Features – Special linings, insulating or room darkening fabrics, headrail valances, etc.
  • Brands/quality – Higher-end brands have better materials, construction and durability.
  • Styles – More panels, layers, embellishments, and seamless floor-length curtains impact pricing.
  • Professional installation – DIY is cheaper than installer measurement and mounting.

Professional Installation Costs

Speaking of installation…curtains have a clear advantage in the labor costs department as well.

Blind installation costs average $3-$7 per square foot. That’s $90-$210+ to install basic blinds in a 3’x5′ window! And headrails, motorization and customization will run even higher.

With basic DIY skills, you can install ready-made curtains yourself for little to no labor costs. Hanging curtain rods is beginner-friendly, though tall ceilings may require an extension kit.

For custom floor-to-ceiling curtains that require perfect measurements and flawless hanging, professional installation gives beautiful results for $60-$100 per window on average.

Key Takeaways

Here are the key points to weigh when deciding if curtains or blinds are cheaper for your windows:

  • On average, basic ready-made curtains beat basic budget blinds on price when comparing entry-level models.
  • But quality, custom blinds with better materials and operation systems run comparably or cheaper than high-end, customized curtains with added details and floor-to-ceiling lengths.
  • Complete blind installation with fitting and mounting costs significantly more than DIY curtains or budget-friendly professional curtain installation.
  • Your window type, size, design style and customization preferences will dictate whether curtains or blinds make the most financial sense.

Evaluate your priorities, from cost to aesthetics to ease of use, before deciding. And utilize handy online cost calculators from top brands during the planning process.


Determining if curtains or blinds are cheaper depends on the type, quality and customization involved. But overall, basic ready-made curtains represent exceptional budget value over basic blinds. Just remember installation and labor fees make a big difference as well.

Carefully assess your style priorities, budget and window specifics. And utilize online tools to estimate costs for the perfect custom curtains or tailor-made blinds. This ensures you get the ideal window treatment aesthetics within your preferred price range.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are ready-made curtains cheaper than blinds?
    Yes, basic ready-made curtains from big box stores generally start under $25 per panel. That’s cheaper than even economy vinyl or aluminum blinds starting around $5 per square foot installed.

  2. Should you choose curtains or blinds based on cost?
    Cost should be one factor in your decision between curtains vs. blinds but not the only one. Also consider privacy needs, light filtering preferences, design style, ease of use, cleaning requirements and more.

  3. Should you choose curtains or shades based on sunlight needs?
    If your main priority is maximum darkness, choose thick, layered blackout curtains over any shade or blind. For dimming bright light rather than total blackouts, dual roller shades work excellently. Light-filtering curtains or wood/bamboo shades offer partial sun blocking as well.

  4. How much do custom curtains cost?
    Custom curtains range drastically in price starting around $50 per panel. Costs increase based on larger sizes for tall windows, upgraded fabrics like silk, embellishments like trims and tassels, intricate pleating and precise hemming, permanent floor-to-ceiling lengths, motorization and more custom details. Expect to invest $150+ per curtain panel for high-end details and flawless floor-length styles.

  5. Are motorized blinds cheaper than curtains?
    No. While budget vinyl or aluminum blind prices may beat ready-made curtains, adding motorization makes blinds far more expensive. Motorized systems require programming plus wiring and electricity access for remote control operation. That brings the cost to $200+ per motorized blind. Motorized curtains cost slightly less, starting around $150 per window.

  6. Should I choose blackout blinds or curtains?
    For maximum light blocking, always choose thick blackout curtains over any blind. Even blackout roller shades with dense fabrics cannot fully prevent light gaps. But multilayer blackout curtains with side attachment options remove 100% ambient light, including the edges.

  7. Can you install curtains without drilling holes?
    Yes! Adhesive curtain rod brackets securely attach to walls and windows without screws or nails. Or opt for decorative ceiling hooks, holdbacks and tying systems to hang curtains from above versus drilling into walls. Use weights or hem tapes in curtain bottoms rather than drilling curtain rod brackets.

  8. How much does it cost to automate curtains or blinds?
    You can automate almost any curtain or blind for $200-$500 per window using WiFi-connected smart home hub and motor systems. This allows app and voice control to easily open and close window treatments without pulling cords or pushing blinds. Higher-end systems with additional sensors to automatically adjust throughout the day cost $500+.

  9. Should soundproofing factor into curtains vs. blinds?
    Yes, curtains offer noticeably better sound dampening and noise reduction over any blind. Thermal blackout curtains with thick backing fabrics excel at reducing outdoor noise like traffic. For indoor soundproofing, choose lined stage curtains hung floor-to-ceiling to prevent echo and muffle sound transmission between rooms.

  10. Can you make DIY custom curtains?
    Absolutely! With basic sewing skills, you can create customized curtains in any size, shape, length, fabric and style. Watch online video tutorials to guide you through measuring windows properly, cutting precise panels, and picking easy hemming or heading methods. Make DIY curtains truly one-of-a-kind while saving substantially over custom drapery workroom costs.

  11. Should window type impact curtains vs. blinds?
    Yes. Consider your window type – like bay windows, corner windows, French doors, sliding doors or skylights – when weighing curtains versus blinds. Blinds come in more specialty shapes and sizes to perfectly fit unique windows. But curtains offer more coverage flexibility with their flowing fabric to adapt to different profiles.

  12. Can you put blackout lining in custom curtains?
    Definitely. Many high quality custom drapery workrooms offer blackout lining as an option for almost any custom curtain. Or add your own DIY blackout curtains lining during sewing projects. Choose tightly-woven opaque or thermal fabrics in darker hues. And request side curtains, overlapping side hems or attached valence borders to prevent ambient light gaps.

  13. What home style works best with curtains vs. blinds?
    It depends on your interior design tastes. In general, blinds fit sleek modern, contemporary, Scandinavian and industrial spaces well. Flowing curtains pair beautifully with French country, boho, cottage, romantic and traditional decors. Though dark tailored curtains or woven wood blinds provide style flexibility to work across multiple aesthetics.

  14. Should pet owners choose curtains vs. blinds?
    Yes, consider pet ownership when selecting window treatments. Pets can easily damage blinds by batting at slats or cords. But most curtain fabrics withstand claws, chewing and pet accidents better. Use metal grommets rather than pull cords to operate curtains out of pets’ reach. And keep cats away from eaten curtain trims or tassels.

  15. Do blackout curtains increase energy efficiency?
    Thermal blackout curtains can reduce heat loss in winter and block solar heat gain in summer to cut HVAC costs 15% or more. Effective options include dual-layer curtains, thermal linings, closed curtain borders and floor-length styles without ambient air gaps. Energy efficient curtains complement weatherstripping and insulation efforts.

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