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How do you calculate cost of curtains?

Buying new curtains can spruce up any room. As you start shopping, calculating the total cost helps determine if selections fit your budget. Follow these steps when tallying expenses:

How do you calculate cost of curtains?

Measure Windows

Know measurements before perusing options. Jot down:

  • Window height and width
  • Desired length – sill, floor, or custom
  • Preferred fullness – sheers necessitate more material

Measure precisely and round-up for hems, shrinkage and additional detailing like corner tabs or buckram weight pockets.

Select Fabrics

Fabric type and pattern intricacy dramatically impact expenses. Go basic with muslin or splurge on elegant dupioni silk with an elaborate embroidery for upscale decorative allure. Mid-range polyester blends like faux silk suit most needs.

Compare fiber contents for variation in quality, feel and durability. Account for sun fading, cleaning requirements and texture preferences too.

Choose Style Elements

Embellished styles cost more than streamlined looks. Handcrafted details like smocking, intricate pleating, added trim or contrasting bands bump up pricing rapidly.

Simple rod pocket tops keep spending lower versus tab tops, back headings with corner buckram for crisp fold lines or shaping via French pleats. Unlined window treatments saving money over interlined or blackout-backed versions as well.

Factor Treatments

Layering windows builds visual interest and insulates better, albeit at a higher price tag. Sheers filter light and privacy panels or insulating liners provide functional enhancements too.

Estimate each layer separately then add together. This ensures adequate funding for the complete custom curtain design envisioned. Consider hardware additionally if rods and finials wanted beyond basic needs.

Allow for Labor

Handcrafted styles warrant seamstress fees for pattern drafting, cutting and sewing unless tackling treatment creation solo. Interview workrooms for quotes based on detailed specs to compare rates.

Price do-it-yourself options by adding thread, sewing notions, iron-on tape, fabric glue and tools like pinking shears. Watch tutorial videos to gauge skill necessary beforehand. Being realistic with abilities keeps rework minimized.

Pad for Wastage

Pattern matching, one-way prints, railroaded layouts or large florals necessitates purchasing extra yardage.iterkeys So does utilizing higher-end designer fabrics as printers limit repeat variability. Consider adding 15% overage minimum to compensate if coordinating directionality matters for the curtain concept.

Summary Equation

Tally all costs above to estimate the total spend for making budgeting, saving and shopping simpler when wanting new curtains made-to-order or ready-to-hang. Being prepared eases decision-making during final fabric selection too.

Follow measuring guide specifics accurately when tallying window treatment needs for the most accurate quote. Use the summary equation as a checklist prompting inclusion of every expense aspect from hardware to notions prior to purchase. This helps curtail upgrades down the line to stay on budget easier.

Key Takeaway: Carefully measure windows, choose design elements, calculate layers and fabric yardage when estimating curtain costs. Preplanning details prevents mid-project surprises exceeding original budgets.


Adding up window sizes, style and material variables gives home sewers and workrooms an accurate quote estimate for custom curtains. Tally all math precisely during initial planning and add at least 15% overage padding for best results making or ordering window treatments. This keeps makeovers affordable and on schedule from start to finish.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the main costs of curtains?
    The main costs are fabric, lining, hardware, embellishments like trim or fringe, structural elements like corner buckram and tabs, plus labor for measuring, cutting and sewing if not making them yourself. Yardage determines bulk of expense.

  2. How much fabric do I need for curtains?
    Measure window height and width, then calculate desired lengths. Multiply the total linear inches by fabric width (typically 54″) allowing 15% extra for matching patterns, errors and shrinkage. Compare estimates of different densities to see pricing differences.

  3. Why are some curtain fabrics so expensive?
    High-end textiles like silk, velvets or embroidered detailing necessitates special manufacturing equipment and artisan craftsmanship which increase expense. Limited production yields also drive up designer prices per yard. Durability affects long-term value too.

  4. Can I make affordable blackout curtains?
    Yes. Use tightly woven fabric like basket weave cotton, polyester sheeting or marine vinyl then interline with thick flannel. Lap edges 4″ minimum and seal with Velcro or snaps. For a no-sew option, buy blackout film online and mount securing top and bottom edge to wall/window frame instead.

  5. What curtains are cheapest?
    Ready-made, unembellished panels from mass retailers offer lowest pricing. Consider mix and match pairs from discount or inventory clearance sales online and in clearance sections of home goods stores. DIY kits and big box shops provide very affordable options too.

  6. How much do custom curtains cost per window?
    Custom curtains range $75-150 per window using mid-weight woven fabrics. Embellished, blackout and layered looks increase pricing $200-500 depending on detail and location complexity. Budget $125-200 minimum per window for professional custom workroom sewing services factored in too.

  7. Is it cheaper to make or buy curtains?
    It is typically 50-75% cheaper to make curtains if you have intermediate sewing skills and necessary tools. Consider value of time invested to construct versus convenience of store-bought when deciding. Custom workroom sewing offers middle ground, with transparency on fabrication pricing.

  8. What thickness of fabric is best for curtains?
    Medium-weight fabrics around 10-16 oz/yd square footage suit most curtain needs well. Sheers use chiffons 2-6 oz for light filtration. Blackouts require interlining hefty fabrics upwards from 16 oz/yd density to prevent light gaps. Assess durability, hang and opacity desires when choosing.

  9. How much does it cost to dry clean curtains
    Professional drapery cleaning averages $100-200 per window based on dimensions and fabric structure. Prepare for higher quotes on heavier window panels like velvet, brocade or lace overlays. Ask for student or senior discounts to reduce costs if available.

  10. Can you put blackout lining in existing curtains?
    Yes. Buy blackout lining by the yard and hand-sew into the reverse side of existing curtain panels using a blind stitch to keep the update hidden. Or use iron-on blackout tape to seal any seams, hems or header edges that could allow light through. Both require some sewing but offer affordable darkening options.

  11. What is the most cost-effective window treatment?
    Roll-up paper or vinyl shades offer most budget-friendly pricing in smaller dimensions. Layer behind existing drapes to block late afternoon sun glare without replacing curtains completely. Buy wider versions for primary windows to pair with valances economically. Manual operation saves versus motorized versions too.

  12. Should curtain length touch the floor?
    Curtain length depends on aesthetic preferences, functionality and safety considerations around pets, kids and vacuuming needs. Traditional formal style hangs curtains to the floor while modern pared-back style favors sill or below length. Pick what best suits room style intentions and daily living realities.

  13. Do blackout curtains really block out all light?
    Truly opaque room darkening requires sealing all potential light gaps. Overlap draped edges at minimum four inches, seal top and bottom hems entirely if possible and scrutinize for any pinholes letting light through the fabric weave itself during daylight testing. Absolute blackout is challenging but achievable with thorough installation.

  14. Can I put blackout curtains outside?
    Yes, utilize tightly woven canvas or exterior grade polyester instead of regular drapery fabric. Interface with a thick bumper guard liner for insulation and light blocking. Use metal grommets and rust-resistant hardware for durability facing weather elements. Make sure to bring panels indoors during high wind or storms.

  15. What are the best affordable blackout curtains?
    The Original Blackout brand from Amazon provides room darkening window treatments at budget-friendly price points in range of colors and sizes for most needs. Pair with clips or Velcro to secure overlaps instead of gap-prone rod pocket headings. Consider thermal linings from brands like NICETOWN for further energy efficiency.

  16. How do I calculate curtain costs for odd shaped windows?
    Measure across the widest point horizontally then height from top to bottom. Then measure the narrowest part side to side for essential third data point to convey irregular dimensions well when requesting quotes or purchasing retail. Provide photographs and detailed drawings to simplify tricky sloped angles that require patterning skill.

  17. Can curtains make a room look bigger?
    Yes. Uniform light colors, minimal patterns and slender sheer fabrics give the illusion of expanded space. Narrow floor length panels visually heighten ceilings. Group multiple windows together under one wide rod pocket treatment instead of separating. And draw eye outward by layering window-width panels behind wider side panels extending past the window edges slightly for a cohesive expansive motif.

  18. Do custom curtains have returns?
    Check workroom policies. Many guarantee quality and will redo unsatisfactory treatments but do not offer refunds once custom pieces are cut and constructed. Thorough planning, communicating expectations clearly and documenting agreements regarding revisions at outset prevents issues.

  19. How much extra fabric is needed for pattern matching?
    Plan an extra 20-30% yardage in addition to standard 15% overage to pattern match successfully. Provide large cutting if possible or be prepared to pay premium surcharges for railroading goods out across narrow yardages. Ensure accuracy of repeat size too. This prevents shortage which causes obvious misalignment.

  20. How much fabric do you need for blackout curtains?
    Blackouts require 4-inch overlaps at minimum along adjoining edges to seal light gaps. This means purchasing around 20% additional yardage widthwise factored into standard length calculations. Interlining, bumper guard liners or additional insulation layers also increase total yardage needs calculated.

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