Replacing window shades may not be the most major of home remodels. Yet these adjustable soft-fabric coverings offer a ton of benefits: They provide privacy, protect against heat and cold and change the entire look of a room. And when it comes time to get new ones, there’s a lot to know about options and prices.
According to Home Advisor, the cost of new window shades can range anywhere from $870 to over $2,500. A variety of factors affect the cost. Some are related to the size and number of windows being covered. Others have to do with the shades themselves: From manual to motorized to smart, there are a lot of different types and technologies these days.
Before you purchase window shades, this is what you need to know.
What are the types of window shades?
Window shades date back to the late 18th century. Traditional shades, operated by hand, come in several styles. Motorized, smart and solar shades may be more limited in format, but the options are increasing every day.
Manual shades use an external cord or a built-in lift to operate. The four basic styles include:
- Roller: This is what most folks think of when they think shades. Roller shades are a single piece of fabric or soft material that rolls up into a single tube when raised all the way.
- Roman: Roman shades mimic the look of drapery, rising up into soft folds that stack at the top.
- Pleated: Pleated shades are also made from a single layer of fabric divided into sharp folds that create an accordion-like look when they move. Often, the cords that lift the shade are exposed.
- Cellular/Honeycomb: A relatively new type, dating from the 1980s, cellular shades resemble pleated shades. But they are actually made from multiple layers of insulated material, with an open air pocket between them; from the side, they look like a row of hexagonal cells, or a honeycomb (hence the name). Cellular shades offer not only shade but also UV-ray blocking while adding insulation to your home.
Cords used to be the only way to raise and lower shades. Nowadays, though, cordless is all the rage — and, in fact, the law in many states (in standard new builds). The shades have a built-in, sometimes magnetized, touch feature on the bottom and top that lets you push them up or pull them down.
Look, Ma, no hands! Battery, electric or even solar-powered, motorized shades operate via a motor and use a remote control device to raise and lower them.
The next generation in automation, smart shades also operate via motors, but they are digitally controlled, integrating with smart home systems like Alexa. Using your smartphone or tablet, you can conveniently open and close on command, set your favorite positions and schedule timers.
Solar shades are made of a coated material that blocks out light. Solar shades also reduce glare, protect against harmful UV rays and prevent fading from the sun on carpets, furniture and household surfaces.
What do new window shades cost?
The cost of window shades can vary significantly, depending on the type of shades you choose. For example, manual shades are significantly cheaper than motorized or smart shades that leverage newer technology.
Average Cost of Window Shades by Type
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What influences the cost of installing window shades?
Beyond the type of window treatment, several other factors that can impact the price of your shade project.
Obviously, the more shades you have to install, the bigger the bill. But the costs don’t increase exponentially. Discounts are often offered for multiple windows or rooms. For example, shades for one bedroom range from $300 to $350, while four bedrooms average $800 to $1,000, signifying common discounts for multiple rooms.
If you choose motorized shades, you will need a remote to control them, which typically costs between $30 and $80. You’ll also probably want a warranty, in case they break down.
Shades don’t install themselves. If you choose a professional to do it, you will have the additional cost of labor, says Isaiah Henry, the CEO of Seabreeze, a property management company that manages over 90,000 commercial and residential properties. “Usually someone comes out to measure before making your shades, which contributes to the high cost as well,” he says.
Installation costs tend to be higher for more complicated models, such as motorized shades: With more moving parts, it takes longer to correctly assemble.
Average Installation Costs for Window Shades
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Mike Baldicana of construction company TrekRoofing recommends that you also consider the time for installation. “This will help you determine if it’s worth spending your money on a professional or DIY project,” he says.
Standard or customized?
The size and and shape of windows in your home matter. Ranging from 24” x 36” to 72” x 48”, most windows come in standard sizes, and so do shades. You can opt for certain details, like color or fabric or style, but the size is set.
But if your windows are an unusual size or shape, they might require custom-fitted treatments. Or, you may opt for custom if you have particular, very specific tastes.
“The differences between standard and custom-made window shades include length, lining and width. Standard shades are mass-produced and can sometimes vary up to one inch,” Henry explains. “Custom-made shades, on the other hand, are made exactly to your specifications.”
Custom shades tend to cost much more because a representative will need to come out and measure your windows to create a customized size. And then of course, the customized shades have to be made to order. “Standard shades usually run up to $200 per window, whereas custom shades could cost you up to $1,500 per window,” Henry says. But that’s for really deluxe jobs: Customized window shades for your home typically run from $80 to $400, depending on where they are located and the type of window, according to Fixr’s figures.
New window shades can cost a pretty penny. Factors like the window size, the number of windows and the style of shade can all affect how much you pay. There is the cost of installation if you choose to work with a professional contractor or store. And then there’s the big decision of whether ready-made models will work, or if you want to spring for shades customized to your specifications.
“Anything custom is going to be more expensive, but it usually results in fewer errors or replacements, which is something to consider when building or upgrading your home,” Henry notes.