When it comes to a Do-It-Yourself project that just about anyone can do in just about any home (or office, or home-office, for that matter), hanging interior window shades is very popular. Keep reading for easy, DIY pro tips and help for making window shade installation a breeze.
Tools Needed For Window Shade Installation
One of the reasons installing your own window shades is an easy project is that it takes very few tools, and not a lot of technical skills. Generally speaking, you’re going to need the following for your installation work:
- Screwdriver (flat-headed or Phillips, depending on the installation screws that come with your shades).
- Measuring tape. Pro tip: It’s best to use a metal tape, especially if you’re doing the job yourself. That way, you won’t need an extra pair of hands to hold up a not-so-stiff cloth tape for long-reach measurements.
- Power drill. For pre-drilling holes for mounting screws and brackets. You’ll also need the proper-sized drill bits to create those holes. Usually, that means a 3/32” bit for pre-drilling screw holes, and a ¼” bit for the wall anchors.
- Pencil. For measuring and marking as needed.
- Optional (but probably needed): Set stool or ladder to reach higher window-tops. Using proper caution, of course!
First Things First – Placement and Measuring
Window shades can be installed either inside the window frame, or outside. The good news is that the same brackets can be used, no matter where you want the shades to go in your windows.
Keep in mind, the size of the window shade you order for your project will depend on that inside / outside decision. If you’re still shopping for size and color options, check out Mazer Wholesale’s huge selection at our online catalog. Click here to start your shopping journey.
Of course you have many, many choices when it comes to where you buy the window shades for your next project. Many of the big-box department stores, and of course the giant-sized home improvement stores carry window shades. Yet it’s been our experience that most brick-and-mortar stores usually only carry the most popular sizes and styles. That can be a problem when you’re trying to find shades for an older home with non-standard-sized windows (too long, extra-wide, etc.). And it’s not just older homes that may have size “issues.” Many new homes have custom-sized windows that may also need a specially-sized window treatment.
Here’s another important factor to consider: Will the shades by hanging inside the frame of the window, or outside? That’s important, since it will determine the sizing of the shades you buy. For inside shades, you’ll use that steel tape measure to check the dimensions inside the frame of the window, and leave a little extra room for proper fit, too.
Here’s where to measure for inside-the-frame shades:
On the other hand, outside measurements are taken here:
No matter if the shades are going to be installed “inside” or “outside,” it’s going to be very important to have enough extra room between the sides or top of the window and the shade. Fortunately, the brackets that come with most shades are shaped so that you’ll have enough room to fit a fully rolled-up shade at the top of the window. However, you will need to be sure to space the brackets out – width-wise – to have a not-too-tight, not-too-loose, just-right fit. This will leave enough “wiggle room” for the shade to slide easily into place when installing… and if you ever take it out to replace or clean it.
Best Practices for Installation
Inside Mounting: Allow 1/4″ clearance between top of frame and fully rolled-up shade. This will provide enough clearance to lift the shade into the slotted bracket. Most shades have a spring-loaded tip that can provide up to 3/8″ extra width if needed. That means it can be “squeezed” into place, if things are tight.
Always insert the pin end into the right side bracket first. As you’ll see with the hardware brackets, they can be flipped around to face in or out… to either allow for a little more or a little less room for the shade. If the brackets are installed facing out, place the pin into the inner hole of the right bracket. If the brackets are installed facing down (as you might do for mounting on the ceiling), place the pin into the outer hole of the right bracket. Push the bracket in to compress the spring, then place the metal tab on the left side of the shade into the slot of the left bracket.
For Outside Mounting / Ceiling Mount: Hold shade to desired position,making sure it is level, and place pencil marks at each end of the roller. Secure brackets. Insert the round pin end into the inner hole of the right bracket. For ceiling mount, insert the pin into the outer hole. Then insert the other end of the shade into the slot of the left bracket.
Keep in mind that no matter if you’re going to be installing the shades on the inside of the window frame or on the outside, the same brackets will do the job of holding them in place. Andrew Mazer of Mazer Wholesale talks about installation options and brackets in this video:
How to Install Inside Mount Shades
The installation process for inside mount blinds may vary slightly depending on your particular shade. These general steps provide an overview for installing inside mount blinds, but always refer to the manufacturer instructions for details specific to your product.
- Position the first bracket in the upper corner of the window frame so that it’s level with the wall’s surface. Always check your specific product instructions for the exact placement of the brackets. If your blinds came with a decorative valance, you will need to set the brackets further back into the window opening to allow room for the valance.
- Mark the screw locations with a pencil.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the second bracket in the opposite corner of the window frame. If you’re mounting into drywall with no studs behind, you will need to use drywall anchors.
- Use a steel tape measure or a level tool to ensure the two bracket locations are even.
- Use a drill bit – smaller than your screws – to drill pilot holes through your bracket marks.
- Screw the brackets in place.
- Insert the pin end of the shade into it’s matching bracket, and then the flat-sided end into the open-ended bracket on the other side. You may need to twist / rotate the shade to get the flat “pin” into place.
- Be sure to test that it works properly!
How to Install Outside Mount Shades
Outside mount window treatments are mounted on the window molding, wall, or ceiling above your window. Outside mount blinds or shades can make your windows appear wider and longer while also providing better light control and privacy options. You might also have to mount using the “outside” method if your windows are not “deep” enough in the frame to allow inside mounts.
Most of the same instructions from “inside mount” shades (above) apply here, with some special notes on measuring, sizing and spacing:
- Measure above the window first to make sure you have at least 2″ of flat space on the molding or wall.
- Next, measure the width you want covered. You should aim for at least 1.5″ of overlap on each side of the window for blinds and shades. The extra width provides more privacy and light blockage.
- Determine the location of the headrail – or top – of the window treatment. This could be installed on the window molding or wall. Mark this spot with a pencil.
- Measure the height of each window from the mark you just made to where you want the bottom of your window treatment to rest. Consider if you want your window treatment to extend to the sill or lower. If you have a protruding window sill, it is recommended that it be your bottom placement.
- Be aware of obstructions such as doorknobs or molding. If you have obstructions, spacer blocks or extension brackets are available to help your blind or shade extend far enough to avoid protrusions.
Installing window shades on your own may – at first – seem like a big job. And where there are some skills involved, most of the work is in the setup – making sure you’ve measured everything accurately, and purchased properly-sized window shades. There are lots of great resources online (including the Mazer Wholesale YouTube channel) that offer instructions and guidance on how to do the job right.
Don’t forget that Mazer Wholesale offers great prices on a huge selection of window shades. If you have a special size or other challenge, please feel free to get in touch. We love helping people get the job done right!