Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by Berkeley Parents Net subscribers. Your
own experience may be different. Please always check references before hiring!
Berkeley Parents Network >
House & Garden >
We are finally ready to deal with the ugly slat blinds that
came with our house, but I have no idea how to go about it.
Do I measure the windows and go buy curtains (at Target?
where?) that fit? Is the hardware separate? Is it better to
just go with a company like 3-Day Blinds? Is there one
around here that people like? I am not sewing-enabled so
can't make anything myself. My husband is handy and could
install something. Although, we don't even really know what
we want. Would appreciate any advice regarding a starting
point to tackle this project!
Blinds.com! They are inexpensive, give lots of choices, and even had idiot-proof
measuring tips, including video! It was the BEST!
After I got our blinds, my SIL who is a ''house manager'' for an EXTREMELY
wealthy family, said, ''I hope you used blinds.com!'' when I mentioned that we
had just put in new blinds. Very gratifying!
I know I may sound overly enthusiastic, but seriously; they were great.
P.S. I went to 3-Day Blinds before discovering blinds.com, and they could not
have less helpful, and it really should be called 3-Week Blinds, based on waht
they told me. Buyer beware for them.
I love my blinds!
I used Justblinds.com. I was reserved about ordering anything I could not return
online but it worked out well. They will send you samples, and if you prefer not
to measure yourself, there are contracted workpeople in the area who can assist
you for a fee.They can also hang the blinds for you. I found it to be a painless
and fairly inexpensive answer to my window needs. I checked out Home Depot
and found them sorely lacking.
For inexpensive options, try Ikea for curtains or
orientalfurniture.com for inexpensive bamboo, cloth, or
paper shades, which, at $15-$20 each, can look very nice,
come in different colors or patterns, and include hardware.
This could buy you time until you have a clearer idea of
what else you might want.
windows are important
We just finished doing window coverings for our whole
house all at once. The first decision you will need to
make is shades vs. curtains. We did a mix of both -
curtains in the rooms that we wanted to look a little
more ''decorated'' (e.g., DR/LR) and shades where we wanted
to be sure of more privacy (kids' room, office) and didn't
care so much about the look. Curtains are cheaper, but
probably won't last as long. Easier to switch out though
if you change your mind.
For windows with curtains, yes, the hardware is separate.
In fact, you can go ahead and buy and install it now while
you shop around for the exact curtain you want.
Installation is mostly a matter of getting the curtain rod
level, and the rest is simple drilling and screws. Then
find the curtain. Measuring is pretty easy, because it's
mostly the length measurement that will vary. Just decide
how long you want it and go from there. There are just a
few standard sizes. Yes, Target (and Target.com) does have
a good number of curtains - we bought a couple of ours
there. And many other online and brick-and-mortar stores
will have them too.
Shades have the advantages of increased energy efficiency,
greater privacy (you can make sure it covers every inch of
the window), and permanence. We ended up going with Home
Depot and used their installation services, which worked
out well, but there are other companies where you can just
buy them online and do the installation yourself if you
feel confident. We did our ''main'' window in wooden
shutters (expensive) and the rest in honeycomb shades,
which provide a decent amount of insulation. We got
the ''cordless'' and ''up-down'' options which mean that you
can raise it from below (like a traditional blind) OR
lower it from above if you just want to let in some light
but still have privacy. And there are no dangling cords.
We have been quite happy with the way they turned out.
I found this to be a somewhat overwhelming process given
that window coverings weren't something I thought I cared
much about (par for the course in homeownership I guess!)
but if you take it one step or one window at a time it
will be ok!
The window coverings thing is overwhelming, isn't it? And
if you have non-standard windows like we do it gets $$$. We
own a 1922 craftsman which still has all of the original
windows, complete with beautiful woodwork at the top. Here
is what we did:
Bedroom - top down bottom up Roman Shades from the Shade
Store - http://www.theshadestore.com/ They have a showroom
on Fillmore so you can look and feel the materials. Somehow
I gt at 25% coupon from them
Living Room - top down bottom up honeycomb blinds from Smith
+ Noble -
wanted extra insulation in that room, and while I don't love
the look, Honeycomb does provide that. For how much these
were, I am disappointed in how they are holding up. They
are already really stretched out, and we've only had them a
A less expensive option is American Blinds -
http://www.americanblinds.com/ We got a bunch of woven wood
shades from them which are very good looking. The finish on
the top leave a bit to be desired, but who, other than me,
All of these folks will send you free samples.
If you want to install blinds I would NOT recommend 3-Day
Blinds. Terrible company to deal with. Check out Alcatraz
Shades or Berkeley Shade Co. Both have been in business
for many years and are real pros.
Depends on where your slat blinds currently are. We have
curtains in each of our 3 bedrooms and love them - they're
pretty and add a nice design element to the rooms.
However, our living room is curved and has six windows, so
we went with honeycomb shades for a more tailored, unfussy
look. We got the top-down option so that we could retain
privacy but still get the sunlight we wanted.
I love the look of the top-down shades in our living room...
however, we bought ours from 3 Day Blinds 5 years ago, and 1
blind broke a year ago, while 2 others just recently kicked
it. So I DO NOT recommend using 3 Day Blinds. They are very
expensive and if you do a Yelp search, you'll see that they
have very poor ratings from other customers, as well.
We just ordered new top-down honeycomb shades from
Blinds.com, and while we have not received them yet, their
website is easy to use and gives clear instructions on how
to measure your windows to get the right fit. Also, the cost
was way cheaper than 3 Day Blinds, and reviews on the
company seem to be excellent. So maybe check them out, if
you want to do shades.
As for our curtains, we bought simple, colorful curtains for
our sons' room at Target - they were very cheap and have
lasted for years, so we're happy. We have IKEA curtains in
the remaining 2 bedrooms, and they're very nice, as well
(though I wish the ones in the master bedroom were a bit
heavier - they let in too much light in the morning -
something to consider, as well).
IKEA has a good selection, but be aware that you will
probably need to cut the curtains to size, as I believe IKEA
only sells one (very long) length. They do provide an iron-
on tape so that you can fold the curtains to the size you
want, iron on the hemming tape, and then cut the excess
away, but I have found that this only works in theory... our
daughter's curtains were very thick and the hemming tape did
not work on them, so I ended up having to take them to a
seamstress. It was not cheap, but still worth it, I think,
because the curtains are beautiful and high quality, and
would have probably been 2x as expensive at Pottery Barn or
Good luck, and have fun!
Window Coverings Can Be Fun
I'm sure a dozen others will tell you the same thing: Go
visit Alcatraz Shade Shop.
They're local. Really nice people. They know their stuff
(wander through their shop and you can find shades from 50
years ago and 5 days ago - it's a real Berkeley treasure)
You can see, touch, try, and understand shade, curtain, and
blind variations. They'll tell you how to measure your
windows (or they'll measure and install).
They're at Telegraph and Alcatraz.
i'm trying to choose window treatments for our windows and
glass doors and had decided on honeycomb cell shades for
energy efficiency & appearance.
however, now i am not so sure because-
1. i wasn't sold on verticals for sliding glass doors, but
didn't know what else to do and 2. will likely be torn up
easily by small kids.
i still would like cell shades on the windows but would
love alternative ideas for the doors. i thought about
window panels (like at ikea) but again, my 2 yr old will
definitely hang all over those. would it be weird to have
cell shades and another type of window treatment in the
same room? maybe just waiting till kids are older?
I have honeycomb blinds too on my windows and they are great
- but expensive and delicate. A glass sliding door gets a
lot of wear! my advice is go to Ikea or Target - buy some
inexpensive long drapes - put them on rings with clips so
they slide on the curtain rod. Presto. They work and if
your kids get them dirty or something bizarre you won't have
a fit as they were cheap. Save the fancy things for when
your children are older!
I am a renter in a cute rental house in Oakland. I figure
that my family will be here for a while so I want to
invest in some home improvements to make it more
comfortable and appealing to me. First on the list is
wall coverings. Like many rentals this house has the
dreaded venetian blinds that are tattered and bent. You
know the ones? The formal dining room and living room -
where I'd like to start - each have lots of windows
(covering 1 full wall each) that are not traditional
sizes. I'd like to spend some money for attractive window
coverings - but not go overboard since its not likely that
I will be able to use them in future homes. I like the
blinds that open from the bottom up (versus the pull down)
to give some privacy but also sun light (house is a one
story bungalow) - but I am open to other suggestions as
well. Thanks for any suggestions about types of coverings
and places to buy them inexpensively.
I have just spent a ton of time researching cellular
blinds, so I thought I'd share my findings.
The cellular fabric style blinds/shades also provide extra
insulation for your windows, so you might save $ on your
heating bills too. The best quality for the price that
I've found is at Lowes. They carry off the shelf Levolor
brand in 2 neutral colors. You can have them cut in store
to any size width between 18-60'' and they go up to 72''
long. They are called trim&go cellular shades. Here is a
link to compare price of trim&go to custom Levolor. For
example, custom 32'' wide x 72'' high runs about $106/panel,
but only $41 for the trim&go. The trim&go are also
cordless, which is great if you have kids or pets.
However, you can't get the trim&go with the top down
feature--you'd have to buy custom for that and there is an
extra charge for that option. Here's a link w/ more
If you want to go the custom route, the home depot website
is pretty user friendly. Some of the filters are a little
weird with the results they generate. But lots of good
instructions for how to measure. They have several brands
to choose from and you can look at the in store sample
books for fabric swatches, then order online free swatches
of the ones you like the best. They also offer various
Best of luck!
I recently decided on levelor honeycomb shades, the ones
that can be open either from the bottom or top. I didn't
have alot of $ and checked out the ones at Home Depot.
They could not be bothered with me, and I decided to try
Justblinds.com. I requested samples twice, as I knew I
wanted one white and the others green. There was no charge
and they arrived within 3 days. I used one of their
installers to take the measurements, although now I would
do it myself. There was a $75.00 fee. I ended up getting
one large shade plus 5 36x60 shades for a total of
$477.00, plus install fees of $125.00. If you are handy
you can also do this yourself, but I will say the
installer is courteous, and professional and it's done in
no time at all, under one hour. I am quite happy with
them, especially the lower from the top feature as my home
is on street level and now I get the light but retain my
privacy.I normally prefer to purchase in an actual store,
but I would use this company again. You can check out
their website as sometimes they have discounts avail.
sees the light
I'd recommend that you talk to Kristina Wolf 510-848-8773.
Her website is www.kristinawolfdesign.com She's that great
combo: imaginative & practical, and I love everything she's
done that I have seen. Plus, she's fun to work with; great
sense of humor & reassuringly professional and competent.
(Window coverings can be nerve-wracking.)
We've also struggled with our large and varied windows--we
removed and washed our blinds and put them back up for
now--that really helped. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and
got the paper honeycomb blinds for my son's room with a 20%
off coupon, very nice. They take returns, too, if something
is not a good fit.
I also got one Chinese paper shade for the kitchen from an
online importer called Oriental Furniture.
Remember if a window is a non-standard size, you can buy two
blinds to cover the window. You need to keep the original
window coverings for when you move or you may be charged by
your landlord. Remember, anything installed in a rental
(including wired-in fixtures) becomes the property of the
Try Home Depot. We bought some inexpensive shades that you
trim to size, and are happy with them, especially
considering how cheap they were compared to custom shades.
I purchased blinds for my home on blinds.com on two
separate occasions. They have a good range of quality and
price and selecion of colors and styles. One was a bedroom
so I chose the ''blackout'' style which is great for kids'
naps. The other was for my home office and I'm very happy
with both purchases. Makes the house warmer/cooler!
I chose double-honeycomb blinds (not exctly what they call
it) with the up/down function. They are very private and
let in lots of light. I think I ended up with a Bali brand
product both times. You need to measure yourself (& double
check!)and they explain how to do that. My husband
installed them. You can order swatches but I actually
looked carefully at the selections at Home Depot and got
quotes for both and the on-line was less. Home Depot will
measure & install for a fee. good Luck!
Happy & Private
We have 4 large (85'' x 60'') south and west-facing windows for
which we need window treatments. When time and budget allow, we
will install drapes, but in the meantime, we need advice on how
to get some privacy from the street and light filtration.
Energy efficiency would be a big bonus. Needs include 1) we
love natural light and would like to get it filtered into the
house 2) avoid glare on television 3) provide some privacy from
street traffic during day and night 4) allow us to look out and
see outdoors, preferably when others cannot see in at the same
time. Of course we would also like an eco-friendly and
economical solution. It looks like neighbors have sheers or
honeycombs or horizontal blinds. Any advice on sheers (types,
brands, stores) or honeycombs or a solution we might have
missed? Thoughts are appreciated. --The Inept Decorator
A few years ago a bought a house that needed lots of large
windows covered. Check out Ikea. They have cool sheers, and
heavier drapes (I do double rods on most of my windows). You
will need to hem them, but that does mean they will fit any
sized window. We also needed drapes to cover a wall of windows
in a bedroom - I discovered that JC Penny has a great selection
of good quality drapes, at a fraction of the PB price.
Costco (yes Costco) has a window treatment/design company that I
worked with to cover the majority of our windows. It is
definitely an investment but really a detail that, if done on
the cheap, probably will need to be redone in 5 years. We have
beautiful drapes in our front room and a variety of shades in
our bedrooms and office. There is a design consultant that
comes to your home and an installer who installs the custom
window coverings. I believe the Costco designer said their
prices were competitive if not better than Smith and Noble's.
We did have one large fabric roman shade installed by Smith and
Noble because they had a special where the designer fee was
free. The quality of that shade seems equally good. It was a
custom shade too, the material and dimensions would fit your
window precisely and you can choose the hardware for the window
treatment that you like. With both companies, having the
designer come to my home was the biggest plus ever. They were
able to guide me through the pluses and negatives of different
window treatments, there are just so many choices. What you are
drawn to may not fit the makings of your space. And they
offered simple but effective design advice. For example, I
thought I'd put different window coverings in the bedrooms that
face the street. My designer suggested we choose one window
covering that would work in both rooms so the view from the
street would be more harmonious. Who would have thought? Not
me, but it looks simple and great from outside too, which I
wasn't even considering. And then once you choose your window
covering, there are thousands of colors and textures to work
through, and depending on your personal style, the designer can
help guide you through all of that. With both designers, we
were able to talk, make decisions and close the sale in about 2
hours. I hope to keep these window coverings for a good 20
years! They are simple but really make the rooms they are in.
I didn't see your original post - I hope this information is
We have honeycomb shades in some of our windows and really like
them. They help keep heat in/out, provide great privacy, open
completely when you want windows ''open'' and are affordable. We
got ours at blinds.com because the prices were better than in
local stores. (I didn't compare with Costco prices though). We
were able to get name brand (Hunter Douglas) with upgrades for
less than a cheaper model would have been at a store. Now we're
looking into ordering some for the kid's bedroom and are getting
a cheaper brand to economize.
You did say you wanted to allow light in but provide privacy
during the day though and I wouldn't say the honeycombs we have
are very good for that. But there is a style of honeycomb shades
called Day/Night that basically have 2 parts, a sheer shade for
daytime privacy but allows light in, and another part for
nighttime that provides more privacy and light filtering.
When we were first considering honeycombs we went to Alcatraz
Shade Shop to see the floor models and figure out what the
different styles/features/etc were. Then we ordered color
samples from blinds.com and made our decision.
I need to replace the window coverings in my family room and
kitchen. It is a very high traffic area. I would like
recommendations on an individual/company that provides great
quality and especially AFFORDABLE window coverings. It is
frightening how expensive they can be!
This review was posted on Yelp and I was asked to share it with
your community. It was summer 2008, I met designer Victoria Bochat
and invited her to come to my home for a consultation that would
help me change the appearance of several rooms and revitalize dated
dC)cor. We immediately hit it off. She asked me to tell her about my
preferences and had me compile a folder of pictures of designs,
colors and styles that I liked. >From the very first it was
apparent that she was eager to make my home unique and fresh and up
to date. Victoria worked efficiently and creatively within the
budget I set for her. She assembled a wide range of resources for
carpeting, paint, fabric, furniture and accessories that created a
unique look . Her affiliation with Studio D offered designer
discounts for classic, contemporary and affordable furnishings that
were perfect for me. She brought creativity to the project in many
different ways that I could never have imagined What a wonderful
experience. Victoria has amazing insight. I would not dream of
doing another design project without consulting her. Her intuitive
eye brought my home together, mixing existing with a more stylish
and contemporary look. Her influence can be seen in my beautiful
and elegant living room. It deserves to be on the cover of ELLE
DC)cor. I love the new look of my home. Thank you Victoria Her
number is (510) 326 9682 Victoriabochatinteriors@gmail.com Judi
For window covering (and interior design in general), Barbara
Eddy was fantastic. Her business is ''Superior Interiors.'' She
brought a van load of possibilities to our home and helped us to
narrow the choices by color, price, etc. She has fabulous taste and
a great sense of design. She helped us replace old window coverings
in several rooms and also re-designed a bedroom and den--complete
with upholstery fabric, soft fabrics and carpeting. She is very
easy to work with and has great vision about interior design. She
took care of ordering everything and hung the window coverings
herself. Also, her prices are very fair and she carries a variety
of companies that will fit different budgets. I can't recommend her
enough. We (and many people we know) have worked with her for
years. She can be reached at: (510-787-3800) firstname.lastname@example.org
I just had a large roman shade installed by Smith and Noble.
They have a special going right now 20% off window coverings and
the designer came to our home free of charge with ideas and samples
(very helpful, I am design challenged but want a nice home
environment for my family). I think that special goes through Feb
15. It was a bit pricey but I plan to have this shade for many
years. I have also had Costco's designers and installers do our
large front window covering and bedroom window shades. Reasonable
but still a bit painful on the pocketbook, but the service was
great. For even lower budget, try Ikea, they might have something
you can work into your space. Or Target or Pottery Barn. The new
shade I just had installed makes the room so much warmer and
cozier. Happy designing
I would like to recommend Holly Webster
(email@example.com) for window coverings. She recently did
two sewing projects for me and they both look great! She made roman
shades for our bathroom and beautiful lined curtains for our
bedroom. Her prices seems very reasonable for custom work and she
is very nice pleasant to work with. In both cases, I picked the
fabric at Joann's during one of their frequent 50% off decorator
fabric sales. The new El Cerrito store has a great selection. Holly
came out to measure and told me how much to buy (there were
patterns to match on each). She also gave me great suggestions on
what type of fabric would provide the level or light/privacy I
needed and since she did the measuring, they fit perfectly. Feel
free to email me with questions. kb
Does anyone have a recommendation for an alternative to
vertical blinds (those long, plastic blinds that slide
back and forth across the window) for a sliding glass
door? We currently have vertical blinds, but only on this
one window/door (as we needed privacy, but couldn't think
of anything else), and I don't like the look of them,
especially when closed. Any ideas? Thanks!
I saw these great vertical type panels in the Smith and
Noble catalog. You can also coordinate roller shades with
these. I have not used them but thought they looked really
nice and a nice update to vertical blinds. . You could
also do a blind that is mounted above the window. Many
blinds can be done as a two on one head rail so you can
mount two. Another option is to do simple panels made of
fabric that can be pulled off the door and then closed for
Check out www.smithandnoble.com and search for ''patio''. They
have something called window panels that's a little
different from vertical blinds. I've used this company
before for window shades and found them very easy and
friendly to work with.
My son's bedroom gets full southern exposure throughout the day.
On warm days it becomes like an oven. We can't open the windows
due to his bad allergies so we are looking into the best window
coverings to block the heat. We have a regular pleated shade
over the window and denim panels on a rod outside of the window.
Do the triple cell shades really help or am I better off trying
Baking in the Hills
I have the cellular shades and they're mediocre, and have
mildewed quite a bit. They were also expensive.
If you are a sewer, check out Warm Window quilted channel
fabric (available at Joanne's). Sewing instructions are
Also Singer's ''Sewing for the Home'' book has instructions for
Roman Shade (the style you want).
Your best bet is if you can keep the heat OUTSIDE the
window. You could try an exterior (movable?) exterior
I would also strongly recommend window shading film.
There are companies which will come out and apply the
film. Look in the yellow pages under ''Window tinting.''
I am an architect and have clients who have done this with
great results. Last time I checked into it a couple of years
ago, there are both clear and tinted films available - the
clear being more costly. I think they were on the range of $5
- $10/sf of glass installed. They also give the bonus of
keeping the glass intact in case of an earthquake.
In addition to window coverings, you can buy tinted window film
at the hardware store. It keeps the room somewhat cooler, is
inexpensive, and is not difficult to install. You apply it on the
interior. I believe you can also get professionally installed
David in Berkeley
I am surprised that you are having trouble with south windows.
Usually, south windows are wonderful because when the sun is low
in the sky in winter, the light warms the room, but when the sun
is high overhead in the summer, little sun gets into the room.
The bay area had an early heat wave this year, which may have
been a problem for you, but I doubt that the sun will be an
I think the best insulating shades are the ones made of quilted
fabric that can be attached to the window frame at the sides. It
will make a huge roll and darken the room, so that is not
necessarily what you want.
It is also helpful to open windows when it is cool at night,
and close them during the day when it is warm. If pollens are a
problem, I recommend get an air cleaner with a fan to take the
pollens out of the air.
this page was last updated: Feb 13, 2013
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Berkeley Parents Network