How to Save Thousands of Dollars on Custom Curtains

Nesting on 03.09.12
Contributor bio | twitter

Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez/Chateau & Bungalow

Anyone who has ever bought curtains for their home knows that it can be incredibly expensive. Even when you're buying pre-made, straight out of a catalog it's hard to get away with spending less than a few hundred dollars. And when you've got more than a window or two to decorate, you're likely spending well over one thousand dollars. But when you get into custom draperies, the price is easily several thousand dollars. The fabric alone is often several hundred dollars and labor is as much if not more depending on the look you're going for. So what can you do when you want a custom look, but can't pay the custom price?

The first step is to find a fabric that you love. Don't be afraid to hit the remnant bins too. You will need to decide whether you love a fabric enough that you don't care as much how it is worked into the curtain or if you're going for a certain look you'll really have to make sure you buy enough yardage so the remnant bin isn't always going to work. But you definitely need to decide on style before you purchase your fabric. Once you find your fabric, then you'll want to find a ready-made curtain to combine it with. Both IKEA and Pottery Barn offer a good selection of solid colored curtain panels for under $50 that work well as your base panel so just find one that coordinates well in both color and fabric weight with your accent fabric.

custom curtain shortcut styles
Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez/Chateau & Bungalow

As for styles, there are a few ways to create the custom look with your fabric and base panels. If you can sew you'll save a lot of money on the labor, but even if you can't it'll still save you a ton to have a seamstress add the fabric to the panels. I recommend either adding a large band of the fabric to the bottom of the panel or running the fabric vertically down one side of the panel. In this instance, I had the seamstress inset the band of fabric and run it down the outside edge of the panel and then across the bottom.

shortcut to custom drapes
Photo Credit: Sarah Fernandez/Chateau & Bungalow

To take the design up another notch, you can also have cornices made. If you or someone you know is handy, you can build them rather easily with some plywood and brackets. Then upholster them with some batting, fabric, and a staple gun. This element really adds that extra element of having a custom look, but even without it, you'll have beautiful semi-custom draperies at a fraction of the cost as your typical custom draperies.

Top Articles on How to Save Money on Home Decorating:
The 4-Step System to Decorating Like a Park Avenue Millionaire on a Butler's Budget
5 Easy DIY Party Decorations for Under $5
10 Genius Ways to Use Mason Jars Around the House