By Jennifer Noonan
When we moved out of the city and into our new home, we increased our window inventory more than three-fold. The windows we have are big and beautiful, but complicating matters is the fact they are custom sizes.
The thought of having a professional come to measure, order, and install window treatments made our wallets run for cover. Don’t get me wrong — measuring and installation services are well worth the money you pay, especially if you have a lot of windows. But if you don’t have a lot of money to spare, this is a job you can do yourself so long as you prepare properly and pay attention to detail.
There are a wide selection of vendors who will make window treatments to order for you. You can measure yourself (with their online or over-the-phone guidance) and order through their catalogs or websites. Once your window treatments arrive, here are some top tips for getting those beautiful new shades or drapes up and looking gorgeous:
No. 1: Have your tools and hardware ready
You will most likely need most or all of the following: a drill, screwdriver, anchors, level, measuring tape, and a ladder or step stool. (Optional is a friend for extra hands and moral support.) Have everything at your side, so you won’t get distracted in the middle of the installation process. It’s not rocket science, but it’s best to keep your concentration.
No. 2: Read the instructions
Open your box of window treatments carefully (do not use a razor blade or utility knife to avoid damaging them) and lay everything out to make sure you have all the pieces you need. It’s so exciting, you’ll want to dive right in, but resist the temptation. And, first things first, read through all of the installation instructions. They are generally not very long, and sometimes the order in which you do things makes a big difference.
No. 3: Measure twice, drill once
Employ your measuring tape and level here. And, definitely use a ladder or step stool for assistance. There is no need to strain — you want to see everything clearly. Make sure your shade or treatment is centered with the window or window frame. Most brackets and hardware from online vendors come with pre-drilled holes. Use those when measuring, and before drilling, mark the holes with a pencil.
No. 4: Use proper anchors
If you are not drilling into a stud, then get the appropriate type of anchor for your wall type, rated for the weight of your window treatments. You may be tugging and pulling on these treatments several times a day, so you want to make sure the fasteners can handle the stress.
No. 5: Don’t be afraid to ask for help
The customer service staff at the vendor can help you if you have questions. They have talked people through all of this before. Do not hesitate to reach out for their expertise.
If you have the time and fortitude to spare on a weekend to install window treatments yourself, you can save a boatload of money. And you’ll have the grand satisfaction and rewarding confidence that comes from knowing you are a totally capable DIYer. Once you’ve mastered hanging window treatments, you can move on to hanging cabinets! The sky’s the limit.
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Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.