Getting Good Prices on Window Treatments
Last updated May 2022
For many types and brands of window treatments, it pays to shop around. The tables below shows you the kind of price variation you’ll probably find. It reports 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.
For the cellular shades, we specified that we wanted four 3/8-inch single-cell, white, light-filtering cellular shades, 30 inches wide by 68 inches long. For blinds, we checked prices for four two-inch oak blinds (not faux wood) with regular cord lifts in any oak color (with no cloth tape). For the Roman shades, we again asked for four treatments, in white fabric. We also checked installation charges (for the local stores) and shipping charges (for online outlets).
We asked each outlet for prices for its least expensive brand that met our specifications and for three specific brands of cellular shades, if it offered them. Keep in mind that there may be big quality differences among the various brands offered by the surveyed stores.
The tables below report the quoted prices for the window coverings, not including installation costs. The last column reports stores’ installation fees.
Here are some of our findings:
- Different brands tend to be sold through different channels. For example, Hunter Douglas is sold mostly through local independent stores, Graber at local independents and a few online outlets, and Bali products are available mostly at big chains and online retailers.
- For the name-brand cellular shades we shopped for (Hunter Douglas, Graber, and Bali), the more expensive outlets offered prices that were hundreds of dollars more than those at the least expensive stores.
- When we asked sellers to provide prices for any brand that met our specifications, we found even larger differences—the most expensive local stores offered prices that were more than three times higher than their lower-priced competitors. For the least expensive brand available at each local store (not including installation), prices for the cellular shades we shopped ranged from $437 to $1,458—a difference of $1,021. For the two-inch wood blinds, prices at local stores ranged from $493 to $1,876—a difference of $1,383.
- Among local stores, price winners include the big-box operations (Costco, Home Depot, Lowe’s) that you’d expect to offer low prices, plus JCPenney. But we also found low prices at some of the independent stores.
- Don’t assume buying online will always save you a lot of money. We found that some online sellers charge low prices and some charge high prices. Plus, a few of the pricey internet retailers were more expensive than local options. Among the websites we shopped, for the least expensive brand offered for our 3/8-inch cellular shades, prices including shipping ranged from $245 to $995. For the two-inch wood blinds, prices including shipping at internet sellers ranged from $381 to $1,583. And for the Roman shades, prices at websites ranged from $487 to $3,219.
- When using our price table and doing your own shopping, factor in installation costs. At some stores, installation costs are embedded into the price of the window treatments; at others, installation charges are extra; and at a few, they’re substantially extra. Some suppliers don’t offer professional installation.
- Keep in mind that if you do your own installation work, you probably won’t get the kind of generous guarantee you’d get from a top store that does installations.
- Depending on the seller, adding special features can substantially increase prices. If you are considering things like fancy trims or top-down and bottom-up operation, be sure to account for the possible extra charges.