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karyn_gw

Horrific window treatments - what to do?

karyn
last month

We're house shopping and I'll occasionally run into really unhinged decorating in what might otherwise be a decent house. Usually these really awful window treatments are also accompanied by tacky wallpaper everywhere on top - making it a very expensive undertaking to repair.


In this case I'm just asking about ripping out all these window treatments - the sheer seems maybe OK but what would one replace it all with? It's so overwheling at the moment it boggles my mind.




Comments (28)

  • decoenthusiaste
    last month

    If you buy it (and the owner doesn't take them away) rip them down, photo all the windows, give us the measurements and we'll help you

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    last month

    Keep your thought to the fact you are buying a house - not the drapes , the rugs, the furniture or even the paint colors. All that can be stripped out and changed to whatever you would like. Those are just box cornices over the windows - remove them and start from scratch based on your furnishings, rugs, color pallet.

    I would never even give them a second thought - especially if it is a great house!

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  • kandrewspa
    last month

    Unless your style is traditional you would probably remove the sheers also, although they can be functional if the room faces west or south and you have privacy issues. I know when you're looking at houses to buy looking past peoples' decor is sometimes challenging. This is how I look at it (I have moved many times during my life and have looked at literally hundreds of homes for sale, in person and online). The most expensive rooms to update are kitchens and bathrooms. So what is the style and condition of those rooms? Do you like them? What is your tolerance and budget for major remodeling? Some people want everything to be just right because they don't want to have to change anything. Other people don't care if the kitchen is dated because they prefer to be able to remodel it to their taste. If you feel you are going to have to remodel the kitchen and/or bathrooms after moving in you should be factoring that into the cost of the house. Personally I take the approach that it is OK if either the kitchen or the bathrooms need to be remodeled, but I don't want to have to do both.


    You are almost always going to want to paint the whole house after you move in. So removing window treatments, patching small holes and repainting is not a significant barrier to your enjoying a house that is currently decorated in a style that isn't yours.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    Is the home within your budget?

    Is the home in a good neighborhood?

    Is the home in a good school district (even if you don't have kids it will help you when you sell)?

    Is the home in a higher or lower tax area? (The houses a block away from me pay a few thousand a year less in taxes because I am within city limits and they are just outside of the city).

    Is the home well maintained - Roof/Electrical/Plumbing/Foundation/HVAC? How old is everything?

    Does the basement get water or smell musty? Water is an expensive issue to solve

    Does the house have enough bedrooms and bathrooms?

    Does the house have a functional kitchen?

    Does the house have functional bathrooms?

    Do the windows/doors need replaced?


    These are the most important things you need to know.


    The next thing you want to look at is the kitchen. Can you live with the kitchen as is? What needs update? Kitchens that need to be gutted can run $50-$100k. Simply changing the countertop or painting the walls is much easier to afford. The next thing is the bathrooms. Moving things around costs big money. Keeping the footprint the same and just changing out the vanity and mirror - no big deal. Can you live with the shower, tub, toilet and sink where they are?


    How someone decorates or what colors they painted the walls doesn't matter at all. They are taking most of it with them. What doesn't go with them can be pulled out and replaced without breaking the bank.


    Wallpaper/paint are the last thing you want to consider when you buy a home. It is easy and comparatively inexpensive to paint.

  • ptreckel
    last month

    Removing window treatments and stripping wallpaper “very expensive” to repair???? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Cosmetic. The easiest of the many tasks I have had the pleasure of doing in the renovation of several homes over the years. I WISH that were the most difficult and the most expensive things I have had to do or pay for. Good luck with your home search. And do school yourself to look beyond the surface. Focus on the bones of the places you are exploring. And…enjoy the journey!

  • chispa
    last month

    The only time I would care about drapes in a house I was buying, would be if they looked like high quality custom drapes that I really liked and would work with my decor. I would then negotiate to include them in my offer.

    The drapes you show, I would just ignore and hope the seller takes them! If they don't, they will be ripped out soon after moving in and then, if they are in decent condition, donated to Habitat Restore or similar place. If they are faded/damaged, they'll go in the trash.


  • chispa
    last month

    As far as replacing ... just be prepared that window treatment are expensive and are also impacted by current supply chain issues, so they might take months to receive.

    When moving into a new house I have used temporary pleated paper shades found at Lowes/HD. They come in different sizes and the width and length can be cut. You stick them to the wall or window frame and they work great till you decide what you want for permanent blinds, shades, drapes, etc.

  • judianna20
    last month

    But you are not buying this house, correct?

  • karyn
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Wow, thanks for all the feedback. Very few answered the actual question - "what would one replace it all with?"

    We've bought/sold/moved properties 10x in the last 21 years so of course we can "see past" such things when considering a house - that was never the question. Though some may scoff at this - the actual expense involves the crew to remove them, patch the holes - probably repaint entirely since matching isn't likely - and then purchasing replacement window coverings - not just this one room, but in these kinds of nutty houses it's in every room of the house along with hideous wallpapering that requires tons of labor to fix as well. Guessing maybe $20K (3000-4000 sqft) to fix/replace - and weeks of messes unless we found a company that dispatches 10 people at a time to the jobsite.

    We might not offer on this particular house, but it's still on the "maybe" list. As I noted before it's not the only instance of seeing this kind of thing. This particular one was way over the top though so a good illustration. On the good side, not too many people will be interested in it.

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting
    last month

    Honestly drapery is easy to remove I have no clue what your issue is there are lots of things you will probably want to change in any new to you house

  • einportlandor
    last month

    I'd take down those drapes the day I closed escrow (and leave the sheers until I was ready to do something different). Next I'd head to the paint store. New paint and simple window treatments will transform that room. Oh and you might need new light fixtures if those aren't your vibe. But that can wait.

  • functionthenlook
    last month

    The drapes are a non issue, cosmetic. This is a perfect example why you shouldn't spend big bucks on fads. These drapes were extremely popular at one time.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    There is always some give and take with any home you buy. You either spend more up front and get a home that has been built and decorated precisely to your taste or you spend less up front and have to make it yours.


    Either spend more or do more.


  • freedomplace1
    last month
    last modified: last month

    The window treatments are a classic, traditional style that is not a ”fad” and not outdated. There are variations on this traditional style theme - some may be more sedate than others... but it is still in any and all cases a valid style. https://www.oldhouseonline.com/interiors-and-decor/5-ideas-for-historic-window-treatments/?amp


    But if it is not ’your’ style, then you include the costs of bringing in your own window treatments. That is all that it is.

    If you are negotiating to purchase the house, you stipulate that you would like the house delivered empty of furnishings, as well as window treatments. So you can try to negotiate all that as a part of the deal.

    Or... purchase a house that has window treatments that you like... But decor such as window treatments is fully expected to not be passed down from owner to owner to owner... In most cases, people bring in their own window treatments.

    You can put up shades from Home Depot or such - cut to size - until you decide on your specific window treatment preferences - based upon your furnishings, decor, privacy and light filtering requirements, etc. Some of the rooms may end up just remaining with the shades - so get relatively nice shades.

  • PRO
    Debbi Washburn
    last month

    Trying to tell you what to hang there is difficult because it depends on the furnishings. It would also depend on what is outside those windows - do they even need window coverings?

    If you are flipping these places, it is worth every dime to strip all that out, clean and paint. You would probably make a profit just doing that. If you are going to be living there, then work on it a little at a time so it's not such a big chunk.

    Good luck!

  • latifolia
    last month

    That house looked very stylish in the late '80s, early '90s! It sounds like you would prefer a house where you didn't need to paint, whereas some buyers assume they'll be painting everything.


    Unlike years ago, many wallpapers today can be removed easily. The most froufrou part of those window treatments is the valance. Just removing that and the tiebacks would be a big improvement.

  • mcarroll16
    last month

    Well, some of us "scoff" at this because there's no crew to pay. We remove drapes, spackle holes, and paint ourselves. Those are all really simple jobs for most people. If you have a physical disability, then I can understand the cost concern. Otherwise, if you have the money for a crew to do the work, the cost of removing anything should be neglible. And the cost to put in new window treatments is a function of the size and # of windows, not a function of the previous window treatments.

  • chloebud
    last month

    Karyn, our house was completely full of really dated wallpaper and pouffy balloon valances on most of the windows. We had a crew come in and remove all the wallpaper and patch where the hardware was for the valances (I took them down myself). We were forturnate that all the windows also had plantation shutters, so that took care of any replacement issues. It wasn't all that expensive to have the work done. It took them 4 days but our house is smaller at 2300 sq ft. I do know replacement window treatments won't be inexpensive. If you love the house, maybe live with just the sheers (if that's do-able) until you decide on something more permanent. No way would we have passed on our house due to dated window treatments...and ours were pretty bad with floral print balloon valances and color coordinated plaid wallpaper.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @chloebud - when I bought my house it had black velvet / gold embossed wallpaper in the bathroom (1960s).

  • decoenthusiaste
    last month

    The windows you want to decorate are completely hidden behind the drapes. That is why I suggested you remove them and photo the windows for us to see. Adding your own style would have to include any furniture you'd plan to bring into the room as well. If you don't buy it, you'll have some other issue to deal with in the home you do buy. Post whatever reality you end up with and we'll see.

  • chloebud
    last month

    “…when I bought my house it had black velvet / gold embossed wallpaper in the bathroom (1960s).

    Ugh…was it just the one bathroom? Our house literally had wallpaper in every room that was ‘coordinated’ with the window valances. We had a previous home that had fake ”3-D” brick wallpaper above the stove when we bought it…lovely. You have to wonder what some people are thinking. 🥴

  • Rho Dodendron
    last month

    I'm just asking about ripping out all these window treatments - the sheer seems maybe OK but what would one replace it all with?

    Keep the sheers and think about what you want to put on the windows as you settle into the house. Says the person who waited 10 years to put up perfect window treatments because other things were more important.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @chloebud - The black and gold was just in one bathroom, but the living room and foyer had metalic gold wall paper and the the dining room and kitchen had gold grass cloth. Wallpaper on every wall, but the worst thing was the carpet in the bathrooms and an old man with bad aim living in the house. 2nd worst was the tar on the walls from the era when smoking indoors was the norm. House is still being renovated one room at a time, but the truly abhorrent issues and all the electrical, plumbing, roof and HVAC issues have been taken care of. Now I am doing more fun stuff - painting, tiling and décor.

  • lynartist
    last month

    You don’t need to replace them with anything right away. Just leave the sheers for a bit of privacy and light control. You could certainly add simple side panels after you have settled in and start decorating.

  • lynartist
    last month

    Depending on the type of rods that are under all that fabric; you could do any number of different treatments. I would keep the sheers until you get a better idea of how you want to decorate your home and not spend a lot of $$ up front on the windows right away. Sheers are usually made of fabric that is easily washed ( poly or poly blend) I wash mine and hang them wet!

  • arcy_gw
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Sounds like you are a flipper. You don't have a 'go to' for window treatment yet, that's rather surprising. Staging is an art--but simple is easiest. One rod, privacy giving panel that adds softness and life to a room. The 'crew' is silly everything you mentioned is simple DIY, and not high cost at all.

  • chloebud
    last month

    “…but the worst thing was the carpet in the bathrooms and an old man with bad aim living in the house.”

    Ai-yi-yi…you definitely had some issues! We did have to replace the HVAC but that cost was negotiated with the sellers and worked out nicely.

  • Jennifer Hogan
    last month

    @chloebud - It was in my preferred neighborhood, on a quiet street, my preferred style, a perfect size and floorplan for me, great storage space and within my budget.


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