How Much Will My Design Project Cost?

 Photo Credit and design by Sanderson Home

Photo Credit and design by Sanderson Home

How much will my design project cost? 

There are many factors that go into a custom project and for that reason there is no generalized or standard ballpark price. Why, you ask? A Custom Project is just what it sounds like, items made just for you the way you want them to be made. This requires your input in a big way! 

To tell you how much your project will cost requires us to ask a lot of questions and factor in many moving parts. Starting with the breadth of your project; is it the whole house, one room or just one item? Then we have to factor in the design fee; an in-home consultation with a Designer, cost of fabric, shipping fees and vendor costs, fabrication/labor cost, and installation.  

What we hope to do in this article is break down what goes into your custom project, so you have a clear understanding of the costs involved. 

One of the first questions we ask is, what’s your budget; how much do you want to spend on this project? “Window treatments are not the least expensive thing to do in your room, but there are ways to save money,” says Teri Cardinelli, Cloth Interiors founder and master seamstress, who makes many of her client’s window treatments. “A consultation with a window treatment expert may well be worth the cost ($125.00 for 1.5 hours) if it helps you avoid mistakes,” Teri says. Be realistic about what you can afford. 

Budgets are not just a good practice, they help a designer lead you down the right path on fabric or product choices. 

If you were hoping to spend $100 or $200 a window, then “custom” may not be the right fit. Basic blinds or ready-mades are really the only products in today’s market place that will fit within that price range. 

The next questions we will ask are: what style are you going with, how do you live, what do you do, how much time do you spend in the room? Do you have a project schedule; how much time do you have to spent choosing your fabric? 

Once you have made some decisions we will look into fabric availability and vendor pricing, including hardware, as well as any shipping costs that are involved. Next is the fabrication cost and the time and cost of the installation. 

After putting all of these factors together we spend time putting together an estimate for you. It usually takes us about 72 hours once you have made your final decisions until the time we have a proposal for you. 

The following are some suggestions and what you can expect when working on a custom project with the Design Team at Cloth Interiors. 

Set Priorities 

What rooms and what windows are the most important for you to dress? At Cloth Interiors we suggest you do the rooms you really live in first, such as the bedrooms and the family room. Setup a project schedule for doing other rooms, so you don’t end up six years down the road with the same inexpensive aluminum blinds on the windows that you first threw up there for privacy’s sake. 

How Do You Live? 

Do you have kids? Do you entertain a lot? If your window treatments will go in a high traffic area such as by a sliding glass door, opt for durable, washable materials (nylon, acetate, acrylic, cotton) and save the silk for another window. Similarly, if you cook a lot you don’t want delicate fabrics in the kitchen, where they’ll absorb splatters. 

Next, “think hard about function,” says April Powell, Interior Designer for Cloth Interiors. “Do you want your window treatments to provide privacy? Control the light coming in? Frame a beautiful view? Insulate against cold and noise?” 

Some basic guidelines: For light control, blinds, roller shades and shutters offer the most options, since you can choose your opacity, tilt slats or louvers to allow in just the amount of light you want. If it’s a bedroom that needs to be totally dark at times, opt for blackout shades or blackout lining for draperies. For energy efficiency, honeycomb blinds trap hot or cold air in cells, keeping the room cooler or warmer with the season. 

To block noise, "the more fabric you put up, the quieter it is," says Powell. Consider layering window treatments such as a shade, then sheers, then lined floor length draperies (add a fabric-covered cornice at the top). 

Find Your Style 

“There are no hard and fast rules in choosing a style,” says Powell. Currently, there’s a trend toward cleaner, urban looks – less fussy. That translates into natural woven wood shades, roman shades, roller shades and new flat panels that run on a track inspired by Japanese shoji screens. We also cater to a large seacoast lifestyle population and Victorian period style homes in in Kennebunk, Maine. 

April suggests clipping inspirations from magazines, your favorite online portal or books. "If you can’t make up your mind, then narrow the focus and just pull things you don't like," she says. "If you show me a pile of tailored cornices and roman shades that you hate, that’s one product category we can eliminate." 

Think about the feeling you want in any given room. "If it’s a family room and you’re only in it at night and you want a cozy, comfortable feeling then you need some layers and softness at the window, not just blinds," says Teri. Window treatments can reflect both your home’s architecture and your personal style. This means that maybe my minimalist approach to our living and dining rooms (white solar shades) may be just fine — they’re simple, uncluttered rooms with clean lines. 

Measure Properly 

Measure twice and install once, have a professional make sure you cover all your bases. Even we have our installer double check our measurements before ordering. And lastly of course, install them correctly. 

To summarize; because we are making something custom for you it, your project is not something we can just look up in a catalog and tell you the cost. So be prepared when you call us and ask, "What will it cost to do, XYZ," that it will take some time to get that answered for you just right. 


  • Do a little homework in stores to get an idea of fabric types, or ready-made products and their costs to see which direction seems like the right fit for you. 

  • Find professionals through trusted friends who have experienced custom work, quality furniture companies and designer fabric stores and learn about fabric types required for your type of windows or upholstery project.  

Written by: April Powell, Interior Designer, ASID, MIDA