Think of window treatments as the chameleons of your home. On the one hand, Roman shades, silk curtains, or plain old blinds serve very practical purposes: blocking streetlight glare or blazing morning rays, helping insulate against heat or cold, even shielding you from prying neighbors. (Yes, I mean you, Ethel.) But window treatments also serve as decoration, volleying your home from just-out-of-college bare to décor-magazine beautiful.

There are many choices—and many price ranges—when it comes to decking out your windows. Our guide to getting good products and good deals will pull back the curtain on the process.

Click here for ratings of local retailers. Below, in our article on getting a good price, you'll find costs quoted to Checkbook’s undercover shoppers when they sought prices for window treatments for four windows—including cellular shades, blinds, and Roman shades—at a sampling of local stores and online outlets. We found big price differences from store to store.