Ready-Made vs Custom Shades: What’s the Difference?

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When it comes to window shades, you have two main options – ready-made or custom. But what exactly is the difference between ready-made and custom shades? And how do you decide which is the right choice for your home? Know more about the key features of ready-made and custom window shades, including their differences, pros and cons, as well as factors to consider when choosing between the two types of shades.

Ready-Made Window Shades - An Overview

Ready-made shades, also known as ready-to-install or off-the-shelf shades, are pre-assembled window treatments that you can purchase “as-is” and install right away. Here’s a quick rundown of what ready-made shades are:

  • Sizing – Ready-made shades come in a range of standard window sizes such as 24” x 36”, 36” x 72”, etc. Measurements are approximate and generic.
  • Materials – Most ready-made shades are made from affordable materials like vinyl, polyester, faux wood, and basic woven fabrics.
  • Styles – Choices are limited to basic styles like roller shades and cellular shades in flat, single-fold, or double-fold options.
  • Features – Minimal options beyond basic roll-up functionality. No motorization or automation features.
  • Top Treatments – Typically just a simple fabric valance or basic plastic/metal casing.
  • Colors/Patterns – Very limited color and pattern options in neutral palettes and generic prints.
roller shades

Benefits of Ready-Made Shades:

Affordability
Ready-made shades are the most budget-friendly window covering option, usually ranging from $20-$100 per shade depending on size and style – which makes them accessible to most budgets.

Convenience
With ready-made shades, there is no need to measure, customize, or install anything. You can simply pick out a shade in a standard size and install it right away. The shades’ simplicity is appealing to many homeowners.

Quick Installation
Ready-made shades are designed for easy “DIY” installation, typically using simple brackets or tension rods. You can put them up in minutes without any special skills or tools.

Wide Availability
You can find ready-made roller, cellular, pleated, and other basic shades at big box stores, online retailers, and window covering outlets. Sourcing ready-made shades is easier due to its mass availability.

Drawbacks of Ready-Made Shades:

Limited Size Options
With ready-made shades, you need to try and find a standard size that “mostly” fits your windows. If you have unusually large, wide, or oddly shaped windows, a pre-packaged shade likely won’t properly fit without light gaps or other issues.

Minimal Customization
Beyond picking a color/pattern from a limited selection, there is no room for customization with ready-made shades. You can’t specify special materials, textures, features, or top treatments. What you see is what you get.

Lesser Quality
As an inexpensive mass-produced product, ready-made shades tend to be made from lower-grade materials without the same standards of durability and performance as custom shades.

Lack of Features
You miss out on features like motorization, automation, remote control, insulation, and more that can be added with customized shades.

Overview of Custom Window Shades

Custom shades are made-to-order based on the exact window measurements and specifications for your home. Here are the key qualities of custom shades:

Sizing – Precisely tailored to the dimensions of your unique windows.

Materials – Endless options from fabrics like silk, linen, cotton/poly blends to woods, faux wood blinds, synthetic materials.

Styles – Choose from roller shades, Roman shades, cellular shades, wood blinds, and many more specialized styles.

Features – Add functionality like motorization, automation, cordless lifters, top/bottom channels, insulation, noise reduction.

Top Treatments – Customize the head rail style with covered casings, fabric valances, ornate pelmets, crown moldings.

Colors/Patterns – Unlimited colors and patterns like solids, stripes, floral, geometric, graphic prints.

custom made shades

Benefits of Custom Shades

Perfect Fit
Custom shades are made to your exact window measurements, ensuring a flawless fit without any light gaps or size issues. Precise measurements and tailored production achieve a perfect fit.

Design Personalization
With made-to-order shades, you control the materials, textures, patterns, colors and accessories. You can match your décor and style needs perfectly.

Quality Craftsmanship
Custom shades utilize higher-end materials and meticulous construction for superior durability and performance. The guaranteed quality and longevity of use is a worth it investment.

Functionality
You can customize features like motorization, automation, remote control, voice activation, insulation, and more based on your needs.

Light Control
The combination of impeccable fit and layered light-filtering fabrics gives you ultimate control over privacy and light entry.

Noise Reduction
Insulating shade materials and a tight fit help minimize outside noise entering your home.

Drawbacks of Custom Shades

Higher Cost
Made-to-order shades usually range from $150 up to $1000+ per window depending on materials and features selected. The investment pays off long-term – a bang for your buck!

Longer Lead Times
You need to wait 4-6 weeks for custom shades to be produced and installed. Careful measurement and production cannot be rushed.

Professional Installation
Custom shades should be installed by window treatment specialists, unlike ready-made shades that are DIY-friendly. This adds to the overall cost.

Key Factors to Consider: Ready-Made vs. Custom

When deciding between ready-made or custom shades, consider:

  1. Window dimensions – Ready-made works for standard sizes. For unusual sizes, custom is best.
  2. Features needed – Ready-made offers minimal features. Choose custom for options like motorization.
  3. Budget – Ready-made is more budget-friendly. Custom costs more, but offers quality and features to match.
  4. Timing – Ready-made provides an instant solution. Custom takes 4-6 weeks but is worth the wait.
  5. Design scheme – If you want to match your décor flawlessly, custom is the way to go for color, pattern, and texture.
  6. Future plans – Custom shades are built to last, making them a smart long-term investment for your home’s windows.

The Final Word on Choosing Shades

At the end of the day, ready-made shades present an affordable and convenient option for basic window coverage needs. But for homes wanting a truly customized solution, a tailored fit, and advanced functional features, custom shades are well worth the higher price tag.

If you’re looking to upgrade your windows with shades, contact Desert Window Wear today to explore your custom and ready-made shade options! Our experts are happy to help you choose the perfect shades to match your needs and style.

Picture of Danya Cole

Danya Cole

Passionate owner of the Desert Window Wear, leading a dedicated team to transform Tucson homes with top-quality window coverings and exceptional service.

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