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What is the cost of curtains?

Choosing new curtains for your home is an exciting way to update any room’s style and ambiance. With so many fabrics, styles and sizes available, curtain costs can vary widely depending on your needs and budget. Getting an estimate ahead of time will ensure the project fits comfortably within your plans.

What is the cost of curtains?

When considering curtain costs, the primary factors include:

  • Curtain fabric
  • Curtain style
  • Curtain dimensions
  • Additional features and accessories

Understanding these components and estimating their cost per window will help provide an accurate overall budget.

Curtain Fabric

One of the biggest influences on price is the fabric itself. More lavish textiles like silk, linen and high-end faux silks cost more per yard than casual cottons and polyester blends. Some typical fabric yard costs are:

  • Cotton – $5-$20
  • Polyester & poly-cotton blends – $7-$25
  • Linen & linen blends – $15-$75
  • Silk – $25-$100
  • Velvet – $25-$75
  • Faux silk – $20-$60

Consider room purpose, traffic, sun exposure and personal taste when choosing fabrics. Light filtering linens or room darkening heavy draperies both have attractive durability for their purposes. Know approximate window sizes to budget total yardage required.

For more uniform windows like patio doors, calculate linear dimensions. Gathered styles need about 2-3 times window width. Floor length allow extra yards for puddling. Add yardage for pattern matching and embellished headers too.

Curtain Style

Common curtain styles range dramatically in sewing complexity and thus cost per panel. Hand crafted details, pleating, trims and fullness add expense.

Basic styles:

  • Rod pocket – $15-$30 per panel
  • Back tab – $25-$50 per panel
  • Grommet top – $25-$50 per panel

Elaborated styles:

  • Pinch pleat – $50-$100 per panel
  • Goblet pleat – $75-$150 per panel
  • Swag – $75-$150 per panel
  • Tailored panels – $100-$300 per panel

Consider room decor when choosing style. Formal spaces suit timeless details like shapely pleats or elegant swags. Simple shapes work well in casual rooms.

Panel cost also depends much on size which brings us to dimensions.

Curtain Dimensions

The cost per panel is higher for larger window sizes demanding more fabric and sewing. Typical panel price ranges:

Small window panels:

  • 18″ x 36″ – $20-$75
  • 36″ x 36″ – $25-$100

Medium window panels:

  • 50″ x 36″ – $50-$150
  • 50″ x 84″ – $75-$200

Large window panels:

  • 90″ x 84″ – $150-$400
  • 108″ and wider – $300+

Measure windows carefully, accounting for ideal overlay, stackback space and puddling length. This helps determine true panel dimensions for budgeting.

For even more accuracy, get bids for custom seamstress sewn panels tailored to your exact window measurements.

Additional Features & Accessories

Supplementary decor details impact the total budget for outfitting windows attractively:

Valances match window style and width, averaging $25-$100 each.

Tiebacks dress up tailored panels at about $20 per pair.

Tassels and trim cost around $10-25 per yard.

Decorative metal grommets often add $4-$8 per panel.

Additional lining improves light filtering, insulation and padding stackback bulk at around $15 per lined panel plus fabric yardage.

Curtain rods, decorative or sleek functionals, cost $20 and up per window depending on size and styling. Don’t forget essential hardware!

Factor in these enhancing touches deciding initial project scope. Quality basics have versatility to dress up over time.

Total Cost Estimate

Drawing all the elements together, a hypothetical medium window example helps demonstrate calculating total budget:

  • 2 Panels at 50″ wide x 84″ long each
    • $125 labor per panel
    • $75 fabric total
    • $250 panel pair
  • 1 Matching cotton valance
    • $60
  • Metal grommet headings
    • 2 Panels at $6 per panel = $12
  • 1 Curtain rod
    • $25

Total estimated cost = $347

Having an overall estimate from measured details helps anticipate complete costs for budgeting.

Work Within Your Budget

Cost needn’t prohibit beautiful window upgrades. Scale project scope to affordability:

  • Refresh with bargain panels as budget allows over time
  • Mix expensive focal panels with basic sides
  • Save on labor sewing DIY curtains
  • Use rod pockets for quick installs
  • Choose lower cost hardware and trim

Little touches like new rods or valances refresh old curtains affordably. Simple panel styles help tailor costs perfectly every budget.

With some measuring and planning, attractive new window treatments can fit reasonably within reach. Now that you know what goes into curtain costs, you can better estimate your own project budget.

Key Takeaway

The main factors that influence curtains costs are:

  • Fabric type: More lavish fabrics like silk, linen, and faux silk cost more per yard than casual cottons and polyester blends.
  • Curtain style: Styles with hand-crafted details, pleating, trims and fullness are more expensive to sew than basic rod pocket panels.
  • Size: Larger curtain panels require more fabric and sewing work so they cost more per panel than smaller window treatments.
  • Features & Accessories: Supplementary decor like lined panels, grommets, tiebacks and decorative rods increase the overall budget.

Carefully calculating cost per window using these primary components will help estimate an accurate overall budget for your unique space and needs. Combine this with budget-friendly tricks like choosing lower cost panels and simple hardware so beautiful new window treatments can fit reasonably within your plans and reach.


Updating any room with new curtains makes an impactful style statement. Knowing important cost factors like your preferred fabrics, styles suited to the space, dimensional measurements and accessory details helps provide realistic budget estimates for customizing your home beautifully and affordably.

With some advance planning and estimation, achieving gorgeous windows for any budget is an exciting possibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the most affordable curtain styles?
    The most budget-friendly curtain styles are basic rod pocket panels and back tab or grommet top panels without added embellishments. These simple styles have the lowest sewing costs per panel.
  2. Should I get quotes from a professional?
    Getting quotes from interior designers or professional seamstresses is wise for larger or elaborately decorated window treatments. Experts can help you tailor costs efficiently to your budget.
  3. What dimensions do I measure?
    Important measurements for curtains include your exact window width, desired overlay width for coverage, ideal side stackback space based on layout, and preferred total length including headers and bottom puddling. Account for clearance beneath window sills or baseboard trim too.
  4. How much fabric do I need?
    Each style requires a different amount of width fullness so consult sewing guides, but you’ll generally need 2-3 times the window’s width. Allow at least 8” more width than treatment for side stacking and additional yardage for pattern matching or embellished headers.
  5. Should I line curtains?
    Lining adds expense but improves light filtering, insulation and padding for an enhanced look. Consider noise reduction and opacity needs too.
  6. What length should curtains be?
    The most common lengths are sill length just covering window trim, apron length just brushing floor, and puddle length pooling extra at floor. Choose based on personal style preference and room function.
  7. How do I save money on hardware?
    Opt for basic metal curtain rods and rings rather than costly decorative poles for significant savings. For embellishments, add low cost decorative holdbacks or trim accents.
  8. Should I make DIY curtains?
    Sewing your own curtains is a great way to reduce labor costs significantly. Use simple rod pocket panels or buy ready made panels then tailor to custom lengths and headers.
  9. Do I need a valance?
    Valances are optional but they lend a decorative polished touch. Tailor valance costs by using rod pockets, contrasting bargain fabrics or DIY projects.
  10. Should I buy in sets?
    Purchasing coordinating panels sets or whole room lots helps ensure perfect color and texture matches while maximizing value per panel. Mix matching sets with coordinating solids for windows varying in size.
  11. What are the most expensive fabrics?
    The most costly fabrics for curtains include silk, linen, velvet or embroidered textiles. They offer unmatched beauty and luxury but use them sparingly.
  12. Should I just upgrade Hardware?
    A simple and affordable refresh is new stylish hardware like decorative rods or finials. Also consider adding tiebacks, trim embellishments, tassels and grommets or luxe lining.
  13. What if measurements are custom? 
    Having your own custom specifications met exactly using professional measuring services may be worthwhile for unusually sized or shaped specialty windows for a tailored set.
  14. Are blackout linings worth it?
    If room darkening is important to limit light or ensure privacy and insulation, the added expense for full blackout lining is often warranted, averaging $20 more per panel.
  15. Can I machine wash curtains?
    Check fabric details to see if machine washing is possible or if dry-cleaning is required. Low maintenance machine washable curtains offer better long term value.
  16. How often should I replace curtains?
    With proper care most quality curtains last 3-10 years depending on exposure, cleaning methods and whether fabrics or colors remain appealing as decor tastes evolve. Adding liner protects curtains.
  17. What width should curtain panels be?
    There is no standard width. Panel widths are determined by specific window dimensions, calculating ideal overlay and stacking needs. Widths range dramatically from 18 inches to over 108 inches wide in custom home settings.
  18. Should all windows in a room match?
    Having cohesive designs adds harmony and visual flow in shared spaces though varied panel shapes and sizes can help emphasize architectural features like bay windows for dimensional beauty. Mix textures or layer sheers with solids.
  19. Should I make two separate purchases?
    Purchasing essential functional panels initially then adding optional decorative accessories in a later second purchase helps split project costs conveniently over multiple phases.
  20. Where is the most economical place to shop?
    Ordering custom panels and fabrics at direct wholesale prices from discount decor sites can offer substantial savings over general retailers. Scope sales or negotiate added volume discounts. Consider group purchasing co-ops too!

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