Today Rhea writes:
Dear Diva, I need to replace all the window blinds in my house but I don’t want to spend a small fortune. Where can I find cheap window blinds, and how do I know if what I’m getting is going to last.
Rhea, unfortunately when it comes to home improvement items the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ applies to window treatments. Fortunately for you however, I’ve learned a few tips that will help your window blind budget stretch a little further. I’m positive that not all of these tips will apply to every situation, but I’m confident that at least one of these tips will help you lower the price of new blinds for your home. First thing you need to do before shopping for window blinds is to measure your windows. This way you’ll know what size blinds you’re shopping for before you begin. If you are unsure how to measure for new blinds, then check out this how-to article on measuring and installing window blinds. Once you’ve taken and written down your window measurements, you’re ready to shop around for the best deal!
1- Check what’s in-stock. Big box home improvement stores usually a keep a variety of different blind types in stock. Often times these in-stock blinds are also available to be custom cut to fit your window opening. While these blinds aren’t top quality, I’d say they are worth what you pay for them. Typically speaking you’ll find 2″ faux wood and real wood blinds, as well as 1″ aluminum and/or vinyl mini blinds in stock and ready to customized to fit your windows.
2- Think outside the window frame. If you’ve found a blind type that isn’t customizable and your window sizes aren’t standard, consider mounting them as an outside mount. Meaning that you hang them outside the window frame instead of inside it. This can actually save you big bucks. Keep in mind before going this route that you will need to measure differently for outside mount blinds than you do for those that go inside the window frame. This is because you’ll have to make sure you don’t have any extra obstacles, such as cabinets, walls, switches, and more. You’ll need a minimum of 3″ extra on either side to maintain optimal privacy. So if your window is 48″ wide, you’d want a blind that was 54″ wide. The image below shows how an inside mount looks inside the window frame, as well as how an outside mount would look on the same window.
3- Look for sales. Most of the big window treatment companies (Hunter Douglas, Bali, & Levolor) offer specials monthly or bi-monthly. Check with big box, as well as any local window treatment retailers to see what’s currently on sale. If the blind type you are looking for isn’t on sale now, give it a few months and see if that changes. Some companies alternate sales between a specific blind type being on sale and offering their entire line at a discount. If you are patient odds are, that what you want will go on sale with in a few months time. Not only will you find that custom window blind companies run specials almost monthly, but every once in a while in-stock blinds also go on sale at the local big box stores. And it never hurts to ask, if they have any group pricing if you purchase all of your window blinds at once. The worst that could happen is they say no!
4- Compare prices. As with any other major purchase, shopping around will help you find the best price for cheap window blinds. If you are looking at a custom option, don’t just expect that you will be getting the best price based on percentage off. Get a quote from each place you are considering instead. The base price of a blind could be more expensive at one place over another. So even though they are offering a higher percentage, the price could be the same or even more expensive. I encountered this a few years ago with Home Depot and JCPenney. Home Depot’s sale of Bali blinds was 20% off, while JC Penney was a whopping 70%! When I got a price quote from both places, I realized that they were almost identical in price. JCPenney wasn’t pulling a fast one, it’s because Home Depot, Costco and Lowe’s have what is commonly thought of as ‘wholesale prices’ on custom window treatments because of their volume. JCPenney, as well as local blind companies have retail prices. Now, this doesn’t mean that the prices can’t be similar. It just means you should shop both to find the best deal!
5- More for less. If you have some very long windows, consider multiple blinds instead of ordering one large custom one. The longer the window the more expensive the blind could be. Depending on the size of your window, you may want to break it down into 2 or 3 individual blinds instead of 1 large one. Visually, I would base this decision on what type of window you have you. If your large window consists of a bigger center section and 2 smaller sliders on either end, then I would install 3 window blinds. And, I would measure for the blinds so that the gap between them lines up with the sections of the window. That way you could still maintain privacy, despite separating the window into 3 blinds. See the above image for an example of what this looks like. Additionally, if the window was solid glass or separated into 2 sections, I would instead opt for only 2 blinds. Because visually 2 is less ‘busy’ than 3, when the window is in 1 solid or 2 separated sections.
As you can see, there’s no real secret to finding the cheapest prices on window blinds. But if you’re prepared, spend the time doing a little leg work and have patience, you’ll be sure to find a great deal on new window blinds for your entire home. It just comes down to how much work you are willing to do and whether or not you are willing to compromise. If you don’t mind shopping around and thinking outside the box, then you are sure to find the cheapest options in your area!
Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe (diva(at)homemakeoverdiva.com) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog!