|Frequently Asked Questions about Window Treatments
Where do I start?
Rooms have a personality even before you start decorating them, and you can mold and style that personality to make it your own. When decorating a room, start with something you love that becomes your focal point. It may be an architectural feature like a fireplace or window, fabric, artwork, or piece of furniture. This will set the tone and mood for the rest of the furnishings. Window treatments are usually the last things that go into a room, and the item that unites all your furnishings and accessories together. Be aware of your decorating taste. Are you traditional, country, contemporary, romantic, casual, eclectic, or artistic? Your furnishings should reflect your taste and lifestyle. How functional do you want your treatment to be? Do you need to control light for privacy or to reduce fading? Is heat loss a problem? Do you need to camouflage a design problem?Do you prefer solids or prints? Do you enjoy the coziness that a mixture of patterns creates or do you prefer the calm, soothing feeling of solids?What are your color preferences?How long will you be in this home?
How do I choose a window treatment professional?
There are many different types of professionals that sell and/or fabricate window treatments. Decorators and designers have different areas of expertise and experience, including space planning, color coordination, kitchen and bath design, even building construction and planning. The designer/decorator who helps you with kitchen planning may not be a good choice for styling window treatments. You can ask for references from your professional or ask to see samples of her work. Your window treatment professional should be knowledgeable in styles and fabrics, have experience and training in treatment fabrication and installation, and have fabric samples and hardware available to be able to translate your tastes and preferences into a design that reflects your personality and your furnishings.
What should I expect when I meet with a window treatment professional?
Your professional may charge a consultation fee for her knowledge and expertise in guiding you through the process of choosing fabrics and styles for your new treatments. After all, her time is valuable. Most will credit a portion of the fee towards your first order. It is important that the person making the buying decision be in attendance as it is too time consuming to repeat the consultation for a spouse. Should the appointment need to be repeated, the fees would likely be doubled with no rebate for the extra consultation. An in-home consultation is best; you can see how a fabric will look in your lighting and with your other furnishings. She may also show you drawings or pictures of how your treatments will look. These are important services that quality professionals provide. She should let you express your ideas and dislikes and offer guidance for the best choice according to your preferences. Sometimes personalities clash, or you may not be comfortable with the decisions you make. It is acceptable to consult with another professional. These are your windows and your home and you should reflect your taste and desires.
Be prepared for your first meeting with pictures, favorite color schemes, and fabrics that reflect the atmosphere you want to create. If there is wallpaper and fabrics that must coordinate, have samples of those available as well. If you are uncertain of what you want, your professional can help you fine-tune your ideas into workable window treatments within your budget.
Be honest in how you plan to use your window treatment professional. If you want ideas only, or you want to shop for your own fabrics, let her know in the beginning in consideration of her time and expertise. A professional should suggest first quality fabrics and materials for your project as the quality can totally change the appearance of your window treatments. Lesser quality fabrics or bargain fabrics can have flaws such as being off-grain, printed crooked, poorly woven, or missing print. If you purchase fabrics on your own, realize that your professional cannot guarantee the quality of your fabric, how it will behave with your chosen design, or how it coordinates with the rest of your furnishings. You may also expect an upcharge and disclaimer when you want to use fabrics of uncertain quality.
Let your consultant know your budget early in the discussion. On average, you can expect a treatment to cost $275 a running foot, including labor and fabric. A typical swag and jabot treatment made with fabric of average price will cost $800 to $1,100. Your professional can help you make compromises in designs and fabrics that will raise or lower the costs of your treatments.
If your home is under construction, have swatches and samples available of items that must be matched: carpet, wallpaper, existing upholstery, bedspreads, etc. Your trimwork needs to be finished before any measurements can be taken.
When can I expect delivery of my new window treatments?
Since custom window treatments take time to fabricate, you can expect the process to take approximately 6 to 10 weeks. It takes time to make your selections, to order your fabrics and hardware, and to schedule fabrication. Likewise, orders for holidays need to be placed at least 8 weeks in advance. Rush orders are sometimes available for an additional charge.
How is payment expected?
After you have made your choices and placed your order, your consultant will collect a 60% down payment on the total order payable by check, MasterCard, Visa, or cash. The balance is due upon completion of your order and is also payable by check, MasterCard, Visa, or cash.
Can you tell me more about the contract?
These are custom treatments, made to your home’s specifications; therefore the order cannot be canceled once the down payment is collected. These terms and conditions should be clearly spelled out to you in a contract that your consultant provides when she collects your down payment. The contract should include a line drawing of your treatment, specify the fabric and trims to be used, special requested techniques that you and your consultant agree on, and your final cost including state sales tax. If there is anything you are uncomfortable with or unsure of, your questions need to be asked before you sign the contract.
What should I expect when the treatments are ready?
Window treatments are usually hung 4 inches above your window facing and 2 inches beyond the outside edge, and are either mounted on rods or on a 1-inch board with L-brackets. Sometimes there will be exceptions to this rule depending on the design you have chosen or design features you want to emphasize or de-emphasize. Your window treatment professional will discuss this with you as you choose your treatment style. You may install the treatments yourself or ask your consultant to arrange a professional installation for you for an additional charge. A professional installer is highly recommended as they are trained in the many types of window treatments and their proper placement in your home. If you opt to install the treatments yourself, a disclaimer will be necessary.
How long can I expect my window treatments to last?
Your window treatments should last 10-20 years depending on their location, color, fiber content, and use. They are a great value for the money. To care for your new treatments, they should be vacuumed or tumbled in your dryer every 3-6 months. Dry-cleaning is recommended for most decorator fabrics, but the process could alter the color or texture of the fabric. Stationary treatments may require an in-home dry-cleaning service. If you know that you want a washable item, let your professional know in the planning stages. She can help you choose fabrics that are washable, and pre-treat them for you for an additional charge.