As first time home owners, we’ve learned a few things about blinds.
After moving into our new house, we realized we forgot to take a few things into account. For example, all of our windows lacked coverings.
So as not to be on display for the entire cul-de-sac to see, we wanted to cover our windows immediately. For a quick fix, we bought cheap, black curtains and attached them above our windows with thumb tacks. We hoped our neighbors didn’t think Walter White moved into town.
We had no clue how to find window coverings or what to expect in regard to pricing, so we called a local company for a quote. They mentioned that as part of their free quote, they’ll come to your home and measure your windows.
We visited the store soon after and the sales person recommended a couple options. I had a meltdown when they ranged between $2,600-$3,700. We borrowed the blinds samples and returned home to think.
The next day, we shared the quote with a friend who balked at the prices and provided a crash course in blinds installation. Fortunately, the blind store sent us home with a quote that included all of the measurements. I learned how to use a drill by installing a couple brackets and realized it wasn’t worth $300 of someone else’s time.
I felt sheepish as I went back to the store to return the samples because our intention was not to receive free measurements. Instead of giving the employee a line, I frankly stated, “We can’t afford you. Your services will push us significantly over our budget.”
In the end, we decided to install them ourselves. I may be savvy in the kitchen, but this competence doesn’t extend to any other room in a house. We custom ordered faux wood blinds from Menards and they look exactly like the product in the specialty store. Menards will custom cut the blinds they stock in their store. However, you will need to special order sizes that are smaller or larger than average. For example, they could not cut blinds smaller than 18 inches wide.
You can also custom order the same type blind for a similar price as the generic ones Menards stocks in the store, but they aren’t all available in extra wide sizes. I had to choose a more expensive brand so everything would match and they were still significantly less expensive than a blind store.
Here’s a cost comparison for a single, 54X45 inch window:
Local Store: $284 + $40 for installation
Budget Blinds: $182 including installation (includes one free replacement if you own the home)
Menards: $80 not including installation
Least Expensive Versions That Did Not Come In Extra Large Sizes: $30-40.
This afternoon, I’m proud to say I actually installed a few by myself. Admire my handiwork.
The smaller blinds were not difficult to install with just a ladder, drill, drill bits, and a writing utensil to mark the holes. They may not look as perfect as if a professional had installed them, but I’m not sure they have been worth the $2,000 difference.
Lesson Learned: Unless you have a huge budget or your windows are complicated, install your own blinds. If I can do it, anyone can.