Let Me Share A Few Things I Learned About Blinds

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.


  1. Carol

    Thank you, Jeni, this is very helpful. By the way, your blinds look beautiful!

    • Jeni


  2. Susan Higgins

    Is the Budget Blinds cost you speak of through the company budgetblinds.com?
    Was the $182 price for what type of blinds?

    • Jeni

      I believe so, but a MN franchise-it was so long ago I can’t remember what type. They were very plain.

  3. BillyB

    Thank… need to measure and remeasure the area so we can accomplish what you completed within budget. 🙂

  4. Laura S.

    I had called Budget Blinds to give me an estimate on a home I am buying (not there yet) and then my realtor told me of another local company that I would never have probably called otherwise and they charge $70.00 per window, $50 for smaller bathroom windows. This is for a nice, white, faux wood blind with valance and includes installation. I am thrilled and cancelling my appt with BB.
    I’ve installed my own blinds many times over the past but with all on my plate moving, right now I prefer to pay someone else to do it.

  5. Alice

    Thanks Jeni! I’m in the same boat over in Ireland. New home owner and have learned about the ridiculous prices for blinds and installation. We are doing them ourselves. Will probably save AT LEAST 2000 euro.

  6. Jamie

    I am going through this right now and would like to install myself. The problem is I was using my drill and realize there is metal, so I’m not able to drill through the metal.. What else do I need to continue moving forward with doing the installation myself?

    • Jeni

      We didn’t run into this-sorry I can’t offer more help. Hopefully a handi person can help you!

  7. Wish I could Say

    The only problem is when cost gets that low…it’s a cut- down premade at increments with the ladders holding slats pushed inward to leave space to be “cut down” to your size. This is not a custom blind anymore…most are China made and will have cheap plastics for tilts that will yellow and crack apart in no time! Custom blinds means every blind has equal spacing on ladders for proper placement . If you have ever seen a blind sag on the ends or look like a roller coaster that’s your lesson on cheaper similar looking versions so the sale is not lost! I have more than 25 years in the field and have always spoke truth with the best pricing. The prices are sickening and some people just want that name brand although there is also the lesser of all which is cutdowns. Don’t purchase them and have to replace them again in a year!

  8. Caroline Miller

    Thank you, Jeni, this is very helpful and lovely blinds. Excellent post it really is a good and useful piece of information. Great job

  9. Patricia A Meverden

    Does Menards charge a fee to custom cut the blinds to size needed? Nothing is mentioned on their site about a fee. Thank you.

    • Jeni

      I think so, but I can’t remember anymore.

  10. Chris

    You left out so many issues. Warranty, miss measures, material of covering. Gases that come from some materials. Do it your self you can pay the price.

  11. Erica Williams

    I just had mini blinds cut at menards and the ends look really “messy”, sort of jagged and uneven. Not a really clean look. Was wondering if this is normal?

  12. Erica Williams

    I just had mini blinds cut at menards and the ends look really “messy”, sort of jagged and uneven. Not a really clean look. Was wondering if this is normal?

    • Erica Williams

      By “mini blinds” I am actually referring to the 2 inch faux wood blinds.

  13. Greg Sonata

    Thank you for all the information you provided related to blinds in your article, and also, thank you for the comparison. I will for sure share this with my friends as well who needed this.

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