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Window Treatments: Should You Hire a Professional Or Do It Yourself?

Aug 31, 2008
When outfitting a home with window treatments, homeowners have two different options. The first, and where most begin, is to design and purchase window treatments themselves. The second is to hire a designer. Many homeowners are uncertain about hiring a designer or decorator when they decide to put in new window shades or window treatments because they are unsure of the process or the cost. However, if you've been 'meaning to' dress up your windows for years but have procrastinated because you're not sure exactly what you want, it might be time to call in a designer.

Don't Be Afraid of Designers
Some homeowners think that professionals charge exorbitant fees that only your average mansion owner can afford. Although there are a few that cater to the rich and famous, most of them have fees well within the reach of the average person.

Others see television home improvement shows that show designers imposing a bizarre design on a homeowner, much to the latter's horror when presented with the finished product. Like almost everything on TV, this isn't how it works in real life. Designers for hire understand that they work for you and that their job is to make your vision a reality. To get the most out of a decorator or designer, you need to do your homework beforehand.

Know What You Want
As a homeowner, you may not know how to answer when a designer asks, "What are you looking for?" Many times we know what we don't want, but aren't sure exactly to express what we do want. A good designer will ask questions to get a feel for your style and how you want to feel in your home. Although a designer can help you clarify a vision, it's a good idea to do some brainstorming before you call in a designer.

Think about the purpose of the window and the function you want from the window treatments. A small bathroom window would take a treatment that allows light without compromising privacy. On the other hand a west-facing picture window would be better served by window treatments that provide good light control to block the setting sun, but that that won't block the view when they are open in the morning.

Talking About Money
If you do choose to go with a designer, don't be afraid to discuss money. That's what a professional is - someone who charges money for a service. A designer expects to discuss money and you shouldn't feel awkward or uncomfortable bringing it up.

Have a clear budget in mind. Otherwise you may find yourself spending a few dollars here and a few dollars there and suddenly you've spent a lot of dollars! Having a budget makes the designer's job easier because it helps focus on window treatments of certain material, quality and features.

To ensure that you stick to the budget, give yourself some flexibility to consider a variety of window treatment options. For example, if you find window shades for your picture window that are a little pricey, you might choose less expensive treatments for the other windows and still stay within your budget. If you're having trouble getting everything you need within your price range, consider doing only a few windows now and the others later.

The more research you can do up front, the happier you will be with the final product. The designer can than help you polish the final details of your design to give you a room you will be happy with for years to come.
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