True Confessions: My Biggest Home Decor Money Savings

It’s another day for true confessions.  Do you see a pattern here?  Yes, I know it’s fall, and we’ve got decorating to do, but I’m pausing all of that for a week to share a few more of my truthiest confessions.

Who am I to talk about money, right?  Could someone who has too many sets of dishes really know anything about saving money?

Please allow me to explain.  If I were to quit blogging today, I’d sell most of my dishes.  That’s right.  It’s all been fun, but the purpose was to inspire you.  Ha!  If it hasn’t worked, please tell me now, and I’ll clear out my cabinets.  Any takers for a set or two – or forty?

HH and I have always lived frugally.  That’s why I learned to make my own window treatments early on…to save money.  And, truly I did save a lot of money!  I knew it in my heart, but I never put a pencil to it until recently.

It would be down-right mean for me not to tell you.  So here it is:

Did you know you can save thousands on home decor over your life-time?

When HH and I decided that I would stay home with our kids after the first one arrived, I had a sense that things would change.  I didn’t realize how much, though.

A couple of rooms of window treatments completed, and friends found out.  The rest is history.  Sewing home decor for others was a great way to make extra money to support an otherwise non-existent decorating budget.

Enough already about budgets.  By sewing for others, I made play money.  Not fake money, but money to play with for creating the home we love to live in.  Much of it went towards fabric deals, garage sale items, junk shop redo projects, stuff like that – oh, and at least one more trick.  I head straight to the back of every store, every time.  Why?


Now we’re back to today’s topic.  When I calculated how much I saved over the years by sewing for our home, the results come to thousands of dollars saved.

Big $ Savings

If you are in your mid thirties, you’ve got the most advantage of time on your side!

The average home has seven to eight rooms, so we’ll use seven for a conservative number.  Each room normally has two windows, so that’s fourteen windows in the average house.

It costs $300 for each layer of custom  treatments for each window, which is high quality with fine detailing.  While you may shop deals and buy off-the rack, when you sew your own curtains, you can add lots of nice detailing with quality fabrics and supplies.  So, I’m comparing apples to apples here.

Privacy is layer #1, and beauty is layer #2, so that’s at least two layers.  Now we’re at $600 per window – $1,200 per room in our conservative seven room house.

That’s $8,400!  Each time we move, that’s what it costs for custom window coverings in the average home.  So, how often do we move?  The national average is every seven years.

At 35, a woman will move another 5 times (on average) before age 70.

So, what’s our total?  Yes, it’s $42,000 she’ll save on window treatments if she sews them herself.

Does she have time?   Stay tuned for tomorrow’s true confessions about time…

Count the rooms in your house.  How many?  How many windows?

How does the math work for you?











  1. robin says

    And don’t forget about sliding glass doors!!! Modern homes seem to have at least one set! We have a 3BR rancher and have 8 windows plus sliding glass doors in our DR, which is an open plan with our kitchen and LR. Lots of light in there. We have plenty of room with a full basement and garage. I wish we had REAL windows down there…not those dinky basement windows. And why no window in the garage? I like LIGHT.

    I could never see paying for custom window treatments after seeing the prices when I was curious many years ago!!! I was like OH HECK NO! Highway robbery. hahaha

    But…being a sewer it was a no-brainer. I would go to Philadelphia to FABRIC ROW on 4th street….a sewers dream! You could get high end fabrics of ALL kinds for so little. And then when you found CLEARANCE there…well…HELLO! LOL AND you could bargain!!! whoohoo! The more you bought the better the deal. I got the fabric for my 1st wedding gown over there…and many other projects over the years. I like to reupholster so that was the place to go. Unfortunately a lot of those stores are gone. There are just a few left. Their prices are now not as low as one would hope…but that is retail for ya. High overhead, etc. There are more fabric stores somewhere further away in PA…bigger ones…but I have not been there. Too far to drive and the highways are nuts. PA drivers are known to be insane on the highways. LOL

    I worked at JoAnn fabrics while in college and a bit after. All the associates dreaded the question….How much fabric do I need for drapes? They’d look at me like….OH NO! So I’d do it. It was very easy actually. I like math. We did have a printed guide for all types of window treatments and…I read it. DUH. LOL I don’t know why it was so hard for them. Math haters. LOL Back in the mid to late 80s most people still wanted pinch pleated drapes more than anything else. That was not too hard to calculate. And if they just wanted fabric on a rod….2.5 times the width of the window. (That one I still remember. LOL)

    I have been trash picking since I was a little kid. It is in my blood. My grandfather owned a junk yard in Philly when I was a kid….and was always finding all kinds of stuff in the back of trucks that came in there. The man was dumpster diving in his 80s…..the one card/gift store (like Hallmark) would throw out GOOD stuff. He’d give it to my dad and say, “Robin can fix this up.” My dad would roll his eyes and say, “Daaaaaad.” But he never spoke back to him. Lucky for me! hahahaha

    When my kids were younger and I would see stuff out on trash day I’d sing …TRAAAASH PICK-ERS. I’d use a voice like Bill Murray used on Saturday night live when he was singing. (It was awful. LOL) My kids would say ….NOOOOOO. PLEASE NO! My son hated to get out of the car to help. LOL I’m laughing as I type this. I would even clean up stuff and sell it at a yard sale. We got 90% of our Lil Tykes and Step 2 kids play stuff from the trash cuz it had berry stains or was dirty. Scrub-a-dub-dub! LOL

    I got a sweater at Goodwill yesterday for $2.50. It has fall leaves all over it. I LOVE IT! Super Teen said it is a bit “old lady-ish” but she likes it and would wear it.

    My daughter has followed in my footsteps. Clearance Queen Junior. Thrift Shop Teen. She makes her own styles.When she gets odd looks she knows they are jealous and just laughs. My son Wes is the wheeler-dealer. He deals mostly in cars and parts (hmmm….my grandfather’s frugal genes are strong! LOL) I should call him Car Part Charlie. hahahaha

    I can’t even imagine what I have saved over the years sewing, thrifting, and trash picking!!! BILLIONS I TELL YA! hahahahaha

    I go thru all SuperTeen’s stuff when she is purging her closet. I get something every time, then go thru and give some things to people we know from church (for their grands) and donate the rest. God loves a cheerful giver.

    Time to go lay paper on the basement floor in the section we moved furniture out of (about 1/6 of the basement) then staple the plastic to the ceiling on 2 sides. (THEN I am taking a NAP. I have not been getting enough sleep. SEE BELOW.)

    The “heavy latex” tip and the extension are coming for my sprayer today, so tomorrow I start painting the ceiling and that 1 foot section of wall on top of the cinder block walls. I’m hoping to get a 5 gallon jug of Drylok Clear for the floor, and as soon as the 2 white coats are dry on the ceiling, rip off the floor paper, wash it with vinegar, let it dry, then Drylok it. Might as well, since there is no furniture there. Killing 2 birds with one stone here. LOL

    Then on to the next section. Each section might take a few days. As my hubby says repeatedly “Tomorrow is another day.” I need to be reminded of that often….I tend to try to fit too much into a day. (The reason I don’t get enough sleep…staying up too late doing stuff. LOL)

    Frugal Franny out. 🙂

    • says

      Yes! I knew you’d understand, Robin. Same here with Spunky Daughter. My kids were raised going to ATL garage sales, and I outfitted SD in “designer” kids cloths for cheap-cheap! She still can find anything she wants at thrift stores because she’s a small size, and the large, more average sizes, go quicker. Whew, you make me tired with all your physical work you’re doing each day. It’s so great that you do those things to improve your home, save money, and a work-out all rolled into one! 🙂

  2. Heather says

    We have a great room (living,dining and office combined) so we have less rooms, but 13 windows (I had to count them). I have made coverings for four of the smaller windows. I wasn’t able to find thermal backed material so I had to buy drapes (on super sale) for the three largest windows and the rest have blinds.

  3. Ellen says

    Yes!!! When you sew them, you get to elevate the term from “home made ”
    to “custom”window treatments!!! Your inspiration will give sewists the confidence to achieve so much! Custom designs were about $100 a foot retail in Atlanta! Thanks so much!!

    • says

      I hope so, Ellen! It really saves so much money to use a few easy techniques. My calculations were on the conservative side since I didn’t want it to sound puffed up to make my point. Thanks for sharing your price experience! 🙂