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How To Save Money On Window DIY Treatments

Updated on October 10, 2012


The cost of decorating your home can be absolutely overwhelming. It seems today, the price of everything touched by human hands is over the top in terms of cost. Even though most of it is made overseas, the cost of curtains, drapes and window treatments is out of sight!

On a personal note, moving to Central Oregon was a bit of a climate shock for us. We have over 300 days of sun per year here and since it is high mountain desert, the sun can be your friend but it can also knock you for a loop sometimes.

We also happened to moved into a house full of windows – which I personally love. It warms your soul as well as your body. However, how to cover all those windows?

I did not want to obstruct the view because we face a wetlands but at the same time, we needed something to block the sun during the hottest parts of the year.

Come with me and I’ll show you what I did to bring down the high cost of window treatments!


  • Blinded by the light. Most importantly, we needed blinds to cover the windows to block the sun in summer and keep in the heat in winter. However, we wanted blinds that would allow us the most view and that we could actually afford for that many windows.

    It was staggering to think of how many blinds we needed. We found some plantation white blinds at Home Depot and bought them in batches. We did a room or several rooms at a time, had them premeasured and precut and then my husband hung them all himself. Beautiful solution.
  • You decorate my life. But what about the curtains? You can’t just have blinds usually to complete a room. Heavens no – what would the decorating police say? Well, obviously for that many windows, buying curtains was insane. I had several pairs of curtains from our old house that were long billowy tab curtains. I was able to use those in several rooms and then bought another set to cover or accent the blinds for the living room. I wanted something simple and that would not detract from the view or the light.

    On bedroom windows or the kitchen with the blinds, I only wanted a small valance so as not to detract from the window. I priced valances of all kinds – most were roughly about $20 for one valance! How could I possibly afford that? Well, I couldn’t.

    We also had a large odd-shaped window in our kitchen, a window that absolutely floods our kitchen with light. It can be blinding during the summer and creates its own oven. We got an estimate on a "special order" blind for this window that was $1000 – for one blind! So what to do? I ended up measuring it, looking at the curvature of it, and found a beautifully simple curtain rod in a JC Penney catalog for under $20 that would fit the curve of the window. I then ordered 2 balloon type curtains and hung them from the curved (invisible) curtain rod. Beautiful! Cost....because I got them on sale…. $40. That was the most I spent on any curtains. 


  • Come to my window. What I did before I hung those curtains though was to examine them and see how they were made. I quickly saw how extremely simple these curtains were and thought "Audrey - you can do that". I decided to experiment with only 1 curtain first to see if it was as simple as I thought – it was and more!

    How I did it
    : I measured the width of the window x2 or 3, measured how many inches I wanted the curtain to balloon or fall over the window. That helped me figure out how much I’d need to buy in order to "gather it up and balloon it". I then went to the fabric store and bought a cheap fabric to trial out my pattern and some small plastic curtain rings. I made the rod pocket, hemmed the sides, and then sewed the little curtain rings at intervals in columns down the back of the curtain. I then cut a single curtain ring for each row of the columns of curtain rings sewn to the back. This bunches the material and makes the "balloon" and simple as pie, I had made my first balloon curtain. It took me less than an hour to make a full set. I was hooked.

    My first set of curtains are now in Bob’s garage – I know – who has curtains in their garage… but Bob does. Just in case the fashion police wander by.

    I then decided which rooms I wanted to make balloon curtains for and took all my measurements. I then started watching the fabric store sales. I always had a coupon when I bought and I never bought anything that wasn’t on sale. I ended up buying some beautiful designer fabric on super sale with my coupon and never spent more than $15 for any of the rooms. That was for multiple valances – so I saved at least $50-60 per room. They are beautiful fabrics that have lasted for years and basically took me an hour or 2 per room to make.

    I even made one rod pocket curtain just to see if I could do it – that was even simpler. Took about 30 minutes.

    I also made a tab top curtain for a bathroom with some scrap material that I had left over.


In short, you can save money on window treatments.  You can also buy patterns and learn how to make drapes yourself or any number of decorative curtains. 

I’ve had many friends ask me to show them how to do it and it’s about the most simple thing you can imagine. 

If you need to make a pattern, you can do that, too.  I use freezer paper to create patterns if I absolutely have to have one.  That has seemed to work for some of my friends. 

All you need to know is the size of your window and how much extra "bunching" or ballooning you want.  Then you need to know how much extra "crunch" or fullness you want across the top.  Once you figure out the measurements of the fabric you'll actually need per curtain, you've got it made.  You buy your fabric and away you go!

Try this money-saving idea if you need curtains and can’t stomach the high price of buying them.  You can save money using this technique and you'll be so proud of yourself for doing it yourself! 


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