The Landlord’s Guide to Inexpensive Draperies and Curtains

Now that my husband and I own a few rentals, we’ve discovered that landlords are typically responsible for assorted odds and ends that make the place more livable and rentable. These odds and ends include such necessities as door mats, garden hoses, refrigerators, and window coverings.

Window coverings are one of those things that renters need in order to have some privacy. Landlords who don’t provide curtains run the risk of their renters nailing sheets and blankets into the wood casing or drywall, resulting in extensive repair work.

For low cost rental curtains that are durable without derailing a budget, here are several solutions that may work for you.

Faux wood blinds

Faux wood blinds are a relatively new product that looks like wood but without the high cost typically associated with wooden blinds. Faux wood blinds are made of wood composite or vinyl PVC and resist bending like the old fashioned metal or vinyl mini-blinds. These study window coverings come in a wide range of colors in both 2″ and 2.5″ slats, and can be custom ordered to fit any window.

While discount home improvement stores do carry a limited line of faux wood blinds, we discovered that a local discount blind store had the better bargain. Local shops will often pass the sale prices to their customers and may even throw in a free installation to sweeten the deal. We found a local faux wood blinds dealer who charged us a mere $1050 for 15 custom blinds and installation for the bedrooms, kitchen, and living room of our new rental.

Roller shades

Only slightly less expensive than faux wood blinds are roller shades, those spring loaded pull shades that block out light as well as provide privacy to a room. These shades attach to a bracket located in the window casing, and are both sturdy and practical.

Roller shades are available in a wide range of colors and sizes, and start at $40 for a 24″ x 36″ window.

Thrift store drapes

One of the best places I’ve found for fabulous old draperies are the thrift stores, where truck loads of Grandma’s old pressed-and-dry-cleaned draperies and curtains arrive every week. If you aren’t in a hurry, it’s not at all difficult to assemble a nice collection of clean, some what coordinated thrift store drapes and curtains for less than $25 a window. While these old fashioned window curtains won’t work in a modern home, they look very stylish in a vintage rental home.

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