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Do Upgraded Blinds or Curtains Help Sell a Home?

Another article in this New York Times "Market Reay" series --

December 14, 2011

Market Ready

Q. We have cheap temporary blinds. Is it worth investing in better window coverings before selling?

A. Unattractive window coverings do little to create a positive impression of your home, and may actually do more harm than good when it’s time to sell.

“If you have something that looks kind of tacky and cheap, well, it’s funny the little things that can steer buyers away from feeling comfortable in a home,” said Jennifer Ferland, a real estate agent with A. C. Lawrence & Company in New York.

If your blinds are lackluster, “You should absolutely invest in new window shades,” she said. Adding upgraded window coverings would help it show better.

“But it’s an investment,” said Celerie Kemble, a Manhattan interior designer. “To elevate a space, you obviously need to pick something that’s a step up, which usually means that you’re going to be contributing a significant amount of money even if you’re buying ready-made curtains.”

For most apartments, Ms. Kemble estimated that such an upgrade would cost more than $1,000.

If you don’t want to make the outlay, she recommended at least removing the existing blinds. “You don’t want to be selling flimsy, junky anything,” she said. If you leave them up, “You’re just advertising that the place is only worth halfhearted practicalities.”

Should you decide to replace them, Ms. Kemble said, something as simple as quality roller shades, roman shades or wooden blinds from a source like the Shade Store, Smith & Noble or Janovic would help, especially in a home with a modern design.

The next step up would be full-length curtains, which she said have a more traditional look but also offer opportunities for visual tricks that can significantly improve a room’s appearance. For instance, “You can create artificial symmetry if you have a window that’s a little bit off-center,” Ms. Kemble said. “You can use fabric to direct the eye to a new center.”

Another trick is to make a window appear larger than it is by extending curtains out from both sides, over the wall.

If you have a particularly nice view, drapery treatments can act “like a lens,” Ms. Kemble said, and draw attention to it, while simpler sheer curtains can help hide less desirable views, like an air shaft or an adjacent building.

Although high-end custom drapery can be expensive, Ms. Kemble said, stores like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and Anthropologie sell prefabricated drapery panels that can create these effects at lower prices.

But whether you upgrade with new blinds, shades or curtains, she said, replacing window coverings can go “a long way to changing how a space feels, which might move a prospective buyer emotionally into thinking something just feels better.”

Questions about repairs or redecorating done in preparation for putting a home on the market may be sent to marketready@nytimes.com. Unpublished questions cannot be answered individually.