top of page

The Ultimate Window Covering Guide

Modern California casual primary bedroom by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

If there was one thing that was responsible for a room feeling finished and yet SOOOOO underestimated in terms of budget, it would be window treatments. Not only are they functional for a myriad of reasons, but they also soften a space and make it feel lived in, not to mention they add pizazz with color, pattern, and texture.

When you're shopping for window treatments, trust me when I say that you get what you pay for. You could spend anywhere from $50 for cheap window blinds from a local big box store to hundreds or even thousands on custom window treatments and hardware. The last time I checked, the national average for new window treatments (for a normal sized window mind you) was about $450 per window. When you consider that you could have, say, 40 windows in one house if you really counted them all, using the $450 average, one could expect an estimate to start at $20,000. I usually forewarn our clients, for a new build or whole house renovation, to budget in at least 30k for all new window treatments, which may sound high, but truthfully it isn't that ludicrous when you consider the cost of quality materials and how much custom work goes into window treatments. But that line item cost of $30,000+ can be daunting for sure.

With something that can cost so much, it's hard to know what is right for you, your budget, and your space. Today we're talking through our ultimate guide for selecting the best options for you!

Understand Function First

Ask yourself whether you need privacy in the space you're creating treatments for. Does the room get a lot of sun throughout the day? Will you primarily watch TV or movies in the room, and therefore need to reduce glare and light leak? The answers to these questions identify certain window treatments as the best solution, and each room's treatments should coordinate, but still function specifically for its intended use.

It's All About The Layers

My favorite way to cover windows is with layers, and I'm particularly a fan of natural woven blinds layered with custom drapery panels and hardware. The look is so elegant and stylish. Chef's kiss for these treatments we designed in a favorite client's bedroom - signed, sealed, and delivered!

Something to consider is whether you want your window treatments to stand out, or serve as a neutral backdrop. In this case, the blue velvet chairs are the stars, and the drapes are a soft backdrop that also are blackout lined for sleeping, paired with the woven shade for daytime privacy.

Modern California casual primary bedroom by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

In our studio office, you'll see more layers, but note the hardware. We chose a custom French return rod in soft gold finish, which is classic, timeless, and modern at the same time. Perfection!

Modern studio space of Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

You can barely make out the black drapery hardware below, but in this young tween's bedroom we did an uber-traditional rod with heavy acorn shaped finials on the end.

Colorful teen tween boy bedroom by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.


Plantation shutters are also a favorite of mine for traditional houses. They give you a clean look from the outside, so that leads to increased curb appeal. They also filter sunlight, yet allow for privacy. In this example below, we layered patterned drapery panels to add color and softness to the space.

Colorful teen tween boy bedroom by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Here is an example with no layering - clean and unfussy in a modern traditional dining room. Could we have added custom panels? Of course, but with three little ones under three in this household, we agreed to wait. It's not all about the looks for us - we also take your phase of life and lifestyle into account when we design for clients.

Modern traditional dining room by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Roman Shades

A great way to add color and pattern to a window, roman shades are always in, in our book!

Modern traditional blue and white kitchen featuring Schmacher Chiang Mai Dragon custom roman shade and Visual Comfort's Hicks pendants by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Kids game room updated by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Colorful transitional breakfast area updated by Houston interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Motorized Roller Shades

If you're a fan of a minimal look that is the epitome of function, motorized roller shades like these might be your best choice! This is a video from a recent install, and there's still much to do, but I love a good motorized install that goes so well!

Café Curtains

I have to laugh because I keep seeing posts about the "new emerging trend" of café curtains. I say café curtains never went out of style. On the contrary, I consider them to be timeless and classic but more importantly they're quite functional, offering privacy when you need it, like in this primary bathroom below, while allowing light to come pouring in.

All marble yet modern traditional primary bathroom updated by Houston area residential interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Bold blue modern transitional dining room by Houston area residential interior design firm Nancy Lane Interiors.

Quality Will Save You Money in the Long Run

What if your window treatments were not only an aesthetic and functional choice, but a cost saver as well? Choosing correctly can have a drastic impact on your heating/cooling bills month after month, and can even extend the life of your interior finishes! Sun fading is a normal occurrence for flooring and fabrics over time, but selecting drapes or shades with UV protection (as well as well glazed windows) can lessen this impact dramatically. And if you've ever lived through some Texas heat, you know that the right drape can really keep the sunlight out and the temperature down over the course of a day!

And not every window is made the same, even if they're ordered that way! Always leave it to the professionals to measure for your window treatments - being off by 1/8" really does make a difference. You don't want to be ordering anything, trying to install it, and having to order it all over again, especially with the wait times we're still seeing!

Do you have window treatment horror story? Let's indulge in the comments - I've heard plenty myself, so you're not alone!


bottom of page