Blinds and Valances: Can You Order Cassette Valances Later?

Don’t want to look at the tube and hardware at the top of your roller shades? Cassette valances conceal the top of your roller shades and give your home a much more beautiful look. The pleasing curved face of the cassette valance is covered with the same fabric used on your roller shades.

Also, the cassette valance was specifically designed for homeowners who are doing their own installation. Mounting a shade with a cassette valance is much easier than a plain roller shade. The hardware is mounted to the top of the window and the cassette valance just snaps into place.

But what if you don’t have the budget to buy them now? Or what if you have already ordered and installed your roller shades and want to add cassette valances?

Can You Order Valances Later On?

Unfortunately, no, because the roller shades actually mount inside the headrail. The components and deductions are totally different from a roller shade without a cassette headrail.

So if you want cassette valances, get them right away.

If you buy roller shades without the cassette valance and later want to cover them, there is another option: Fascia Valances. However, fascia valances are tricky to install and cost more than the Cassette Valances. You will need to contact our customer service team to discuss this option.

In fact, anytime you don’t see what you want on our website, please contact our knowledgeable customer service team. We love to solve problems for customers who have unusual window covering needs.

What are Spacer Blocks? Do Your Blinds Need Them?

You only need spacer blocks if you have trim or molding around the window where you are mounting the blinds outside the window. Spacer blocks push your blinds away from your wall or door. You need spacer blocks when your trim or molding might keep your blinds from hanging straight down when mounted directly on the wall or door.

So, you insert a spacer block between the wall and the installation brackets to push them away from the wall enough so your blinds can hang straight. One spacer block will push your blinds or shades about 1/4-3/8 of an inch away from the wall. You can stack 2 spacer blocks on top of each other to get 1/2 to 3/4 inch.

Remember, you only use spacer blocks with outside mount blinds. Inside mount blinds do not need spacers.

Sound a Little Confusing? That’s Because It Is! But We’re Here to Help

Blinds have all sorts of intricacies when you get right down to it. What you have to do is prioritize what’s most important to you in your new blinds, and then buy accordingly.

And if you have any questions, remember our customer service team is here to help you.

Just call 1-888-256-8672 8 AM – 5 PM CST Mon-Fri, or visit our home page and chat with us live online.

You can also visit our contact page and send an e-mail, letting us know a convenient time to get back to you.

Can You Cut Your Own Blinds?

Quick answer: yes, you can certainly cut your own blinds.

BUT it does void your warranty. We have a better solution with our “Fit or FREE Guarantee.” It’s generally better to have us do the work. Here’s how it works:

• Say your blinds don’t fit
• Contact us with the correct sizes you need
•We will remake up to 5 blinds under our FOF Guarantee. We pay for the blinds, you pay for the shipping, $15 per blind plus the price difference (if your replacement blinds cost more than the original blinds).
• If you have more than 5 blinds, we will give you a significant discount to remake the additional blinds at the new sizes
• We ask that you don’t throw out the original blinds. Either give them to a friend or donate them to a local charity.

If You Really Want to Cut Your Own Blinds, you need a power saw and a pair of tin snips

Just remember, cutting down your own blinds will void your warranty. Here’s a simple process for cutting your own blinds to the right size:

1. Cut Your Headrail

The headrail is usually made of aluminum. You can cut it with a pair of tin snips or a hacksaw. You get a cleaner, easier cut with a hacksaw.

If you’re not experienced with tin snips, do be aware it’s more difficult to cut accurately. Tin snips also leave behind metal burrs that can cut you. Use a metal file to remove those burrs.

Don’t worry a ton about the looks of the cut – it’ll be hidden by the brackets.

Mark the headrail with a line where you want to cut. Then remove the end stiffener and cut along your marks. Bend the cut portions out as you cut to make cutting easier.

Put the end stiffener back on when you finish.

2. Cut Your Slats

You really need to use a power saw if possible. If you’re not comfortable with one, you can use a hacksaw but we don’t recommend it because the edges will not be smooth. Make sure you have a new blade in either saw.

To keep the ladders centered, you will need to cut equal amounts off both sides of the blinds.

Here’s the rest of the process:

• Align all slats so they’re even
• Clamp or rubber-band them together
• Wrap the end in masking tape so your slats don’t chip (make sure it covers your entire cutting area)
• Make your mark
• Keep the headrail out of the way
• Start cutting – and cut slow so you don’t cause any chipping
• Remove the tape, clamp or rubber band

3. Cut Your Valance

•Your valance should be 1/8 inch less than your window’s width, so measure and mark accordingly
•Cut your valance with your saw, again making sure to cut slowly so you prevent chipping

Always Measure Twice!

Do this as when you order your blinds from us or if you want to cut down something. Mistakes happen, but by double-checking your measurements, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary hassle.

Do you really want to cut your own blinds? No – you probably just want to mount them and enjoy their beauty. Plus our Fit or Free Guarantee is the much better option.

But, if you take all appropriate precautions and still end up with a mistake, now you know how to fix it.

Do Solar Shades Block Heat, Or Just the Sunlight?

The quick answer – yes they do block both. But you’ll want to keep reading because there are different types of solar shades that work better in various situations. solar shades

Solar screens are typically made of a polyester weave, and sometimes with PVC coating for more durability. Most solar fabrics are a simple basketweave fabric. However, our Exotic Collection is woven specifically to add style and design to the home.

Some fabrics can even be mounted outside on your porch or patio. However, exterior shades do also require special cord clutches and mounting hardware to resist exposure to the elements. Be sure purchase in our Exterior Solar Shades selection for exterior use.

Let’s take a look at some of the ins’n’outs so you can make the best decision for your needs.

Openness Factor

This number refers to the tightness of the weave of your solar shades. The higher the openness factor, the easier it is to see out of your solar shades. But, the tradeoff is you let more heat and UV light in.

For example, if you buy shades with an openness factor of 1%, 99% of UV light is blocked. It’s harder to see out of them, but they help you conserve more energy.

So you’re going to have to make a choice right away there. What’s more important to you – privacy or heat/UV light reduction?

Remember, we offer free samples of all our solar shades. You can order fabrics in several different openness factors. Tape them to your windows, stand back and choose the openness factor that works for you.



Dark Versus Light-Colored Fabrics

Another choice you’ll have to make is whether to use dark or light-colored fabrics.

Pros and cons of dark fabrics:

• Pro: They control glare well because the fabric absorbs more light
• Pro: You also can see out better because of the glare reduction during daylight hours
• Con: They do reduce cooling costs, but absorb more heat and light than light fabrics, so your costs don’t reduce as much as they could with light fabrics
• Con: The trade-off of being able to see out better is that darker colors also give you less privacy at night because you can see in better when the lights are on in the house.

Pros and cons of light fabrics:

• Pro: They reflect heat better than dark fabrics, reducing your cooling costs slightly more
• Pro: They provide more privacy at night than dark fabrics because they do not absorb as much of the light and, therefore, reduce the visibility when looking inside when the lights are on in your house.
• Con: They reduce your ability to see outside during daylight hours
• Con: They reduce the glare slightly less than darker fabrics.

There are a Couple Hidden Benefits of Both Too!

In case you’re wondering why you might want to block out UV light (besides keeping it off your skin), it also helps keep your furniture and carpet from fading over time. All solar fabrics reduce glare so you can see your television and other electronic screens better. They also save on cooling and heating costs by reducing the heat transfer (both ways).

So anyway, solar shades make good sense for your home. And now that you know the benefits and drawbacks of each, you can make a good decision for your own needs.

Browse our selection of solar shades and exterior solar shades here.

What are the Best Insulating Blinds?

Believe it or not, your blinds do have an insulating effect on your home. You probably don’t think of that when buying them, but they do have energy-saving benefits because of their insulating property.

According to Alliant Energy, cellular shades can reduce up to 62% of the heat that transfers through a window. So with the right blinds and shades, your savings can be significant.

First Thing’s First: R-Value

“R-Value” measures the resistance of a particular material to heat flowing through it. The higher the R-value of any given insulator, the greater its heat resistance. Blinds with lower R-values don’t insulate as well.

To give you an idea of what a high or low R-value for blinds is, a higher value would be around 5 or so. On the lower end, you’ll see blinds and shades with R-values around 3.33.

To calculate the R-value of a given material, a test is conducted inside a heat flow meter apparatus. The material is placed between a cold and hot plate. Heat then flows from the hot to cold plate via conduction, convection, and radiation, and the testing device measures the flow of all three. The R-value is then calculated after the test completes.

Let’s Get Down to It: The Best Shades and Blinds for Insulation

Overall, you’re always going to be looking at cellular shades. They’re always the best insulators. And they insulate well both during the summer and winter.

Here are some of our top insulating blinds and their R-values:

1.Premium Blackout Double Cellular Shades (R-value: 5.0)
2.Premium Blackout Single Cellular Shades (R-value: 5.0)
3.Premium Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades (R-value: 4.6)
4.Premium Light Filtering Single Cellular Shades (R-value: 4.35)
5.Deluxe Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades (R-value: 4.5)

But these aren’t the only shades that are good for temperature control. Solar shades with lighter fabrics can also be excellent for keeping the sun’s light and heat out while reducing glare. They also allow you to see outside during the day. So if you live in a sunny area, they may be a better option than cellular shades.

However, they don’t provide the privacy of a cellular shade. Others can see inside at night when lights are on.

What you’ll want is solar shades with is to choose the right “openness factor.” The lower this number is (range from 1% to 14% openness), the more light the shades reflect out. A 1% openness factor, for example, means 99% of natural light gets blocked out. However, the lower the openness factor, the harder it is to see outside (so there’s a little sacrifice in return for the insulating effects).


Here are some of our top solar shades:

1.Premium Solar Shades – Exotic Collection – 3%, 5%, 7% & 10% openness available, R factors range from 3.27 to 3.62. – This fabric series is our best-seller and was designed to add beauty to the home. Most solar fabrics are woven to a preset openness using a basketweave style. Instead, the Exotic Collection fabrics are woven for their beauty and the openness factor varies based on the result. Exotic fabrics are also made in the U.S.A. The fabrics are treated with Microban© which works continuously to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. The fabrics are also Greenguard® certified to have low emitting properties for indoor chemical emissions. R factors range from 3.27 to 3.62.
2.Premium Solar Shades – 1%, 3%, 5%, 10% & 14% openness available, R factors range from 3.27 to 3.62 – These shades are made with fabrics made in the U.S.A. The fabrics are available in a wide variety of solid and fashionable 2-tone colors. The fabrics are treated with Microban© which works continuously to inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. The fabrics are also Greenguard® certified to have low emitting properties for indoor chemical emissions.
3.Deluxe Solar Shades – 1%, 3%, 5%, 10% & 14% Openness available – These shades come in a variety of basketweave fabrics at a very economical price.

Anyway, now you have an idea of the best blinds and shades for keeping your home cool in summer and warm in winter.

Enjoy the new look…and the energy savings!

What are the Best Total Blackout Blinds?

Is there anything more annoying than having those little light gaps on the sides of blinds?

You have your whole room set up just the way you want. Each piece of furniture is in exactly the right place. You couldn’t possibly be any more comfortable.

But, out of the corner of your eye, you notice this little light gap on both sides of your blinds.

Maybe it shines on the television, or maybe it just leaks through and into your room. Whatever happens, those light gaps drive you absolutely insane!

So, it makes sense to get total blackout blinds. But which blinds should you get?

Best Types of Blinds for Total Blackout

With blinds, one of your first decisions is whether to mount your blinds inside or outside the window. If you do not want to have a light gap, outside mount blinds are the better choice.

Inside mount blinds, which mount inside of your window’s case, look neater. But you will always have at least a little light gap of between 3/16 inch and 3/4 inch on each side. Inside mount blinds are ordered using the actual window opening width (smallest of the measurements at the top, middle & bottom of the window). The factory then makes the width at a smaller size (deduction varies by product and is listed on the specification page on each product on our site) so the blinds will fit inside the window and move freely. So, all inside mount blinds/shades have gaps on each side. Cellular shades and roman shades usually have the smallest width deductions.

Outside mount blinds will block light better than inside mount blinds because they can cover the entire window opening. You need to make sure to add at least 2 inches to your window opening width measurement and at least 3 inches to the window opening height measurement to get the best coverage. Even when you add to the width and height measurements there may still be some light leakage around the edges. However, when the fabric is 100% blackout, outside mount blinds will block approximately 99.9% of all light. With outside mount blinds, you have a few options for total blackout:

1.Single-cell/double-cell cellular shades – We have single cell blackout honeycomb fabrics and double-cell blackout shades that work very well. The fabric for both of these shades will block 100% of light. Be sure to add to your width and height measurements.

2.Roller shades – Roller shades are also available in 100% blackout fabrics. However, you have to make sure to add at least 3 inches to both your width and height window measurements. Roller shades are ordered using the width at the top of the shade. The top of a roller shade will be 7/8 inches to 1 1/2 inches wider than the fabric (varies by factory, fabric deductions are listed on the specification page on each product on our site). Our customer service team can help you make these measurements accurately if you have questions. Also, remember we have a “Fit or Free Guarantee.” That means that if you make a mistake when measuring, we’ll remake your blinds at no charge. All you pay for is the price difference (if any), and shipping. Learn more about our Blackout roller shades.

Roller Shades

3.We even have a combination shade called a Deluxe Cordless Day/Night Single Cellular Shade that has a light filtering shade at the top and blackout shade at the bottom. You can then use the light filtering fabrics when you want light and the blackout fabric when you want to darken the room.

Deluxe Cordless Day/Night Single Cellular Shade

4.You can get a blackout option with just about any of our shades – We’re not joking around here. Most of our products (i.e., roman shades, bamboo shades, etc.) can be ordered with a blackout liner. You can check out the total selection of blackout shades here. However, these products still have a light gap on either side so to get the best coverage add the 2 to 3 inches to the width and height measurement of your window opening and mount outside the window.

Enjoy your Totally Dark Room!

And remember we have a 60-Day Satisfaction Guarantee in place to protect you. So if you don’t like your blinds for any reason, we’ll do whatever we can to make you happy, or you get a refund. And if you do return your blinds, you can feel good about it because all returned blinds get donated to a local charity.

What are Privacy Blinds? Do They Shift Easy?


Privacy blinds, or “routeless” blinds, do not have a lift cord that passes through the center of each of the slats. Because they don’t have holes allowing this cord to pass through, they give you additional privacy and control the light a little better.

You can still lift privacy blinds. Instead of having holes where the lift cords pass through, the lift cords instead are attached to the ladders and go through notches on the back side of the slats.

Common Questions We Get about Privacy Blinds: Do They Shift Easy and Are They Best Left Down?

You like that nice, neat look you get with routed blinds, right? You know, the lift cord goes straight down without any zigs or zags. And then all the slats line up evenly on both ends, don’t they?

The answer is that the slats in the routeless blinds do shift and may need to be adjusted after you tilt or lift the blinds. The notch that holds the lift cord does a lot to hold your blind’s slats in place. Most of the shifting will occur when the slats are tilted so that the front edge of the blind moves down. This causes the notch to disengage from the back ladder. When you tilt the blind open again, you may have to adjust the slats. In general routeless blinds work better when mounted inside the window because the window frame helps to hold the slats in place and protects them from being bumped.

As long as they aren’t hit violently, the slats also don’t usually go more than 1/16 of an inch out of alignment. And if they do get out of alignment, you can also always adjust them back to their original position by:

  • For inside mount blinds – holding one of the ladders firmly and moving it gently side to side until the notches slip back into pace.
  • For outside mount blinds – gently tapping the slats down one side of the blind until the slats are back in place. We really don’t recommend using routeless blinds on movable doors.

Lifting routeless blinds will not cause shifting as long as the blind is lifted when it is tilted open.

If you live in a very windy area and your blinds will get blown around a lot, you might want normal routed blinds.

And when you do order, you have 60 days to install your blinds and try them out. If you’re not happy with your privacy blinds for any reason, just send them on back to us.

You Can Always Get Free Samples Too!

Buying any window covering is a little different when you do it over the internet. That’s why we offer you up to 10 samples for free – and free shipping on them too.

Interested in routeless privacy blinds? Browse our massive selection at

How to Lift Our Cordless Shades and Blinds

It’s actually amazingly simple to do this. All you do is put your hand in the middle of the shade and push up or pull down on the bar to raise or lower it to your desired height! Some of the cordless shades will also have an optional clear handle that can be snapped onto the bottom rail.

Yeah – that’s literally it.

Cordless shades still have cords that run down through the slats on blinds or the fabric on shades, they just don’t have lift cords that hang down in front of the shades causing puddles of cords when raised. Instead, they have a pulley system that allows them to raise, lower and lock in place.

Most horizontal blinds will also have a wand that will tilt the blinds open or closed. However, there are some horizontal blinds that tilt by simply turning the bottom rail.

And even though they’re in a different category than cordless shades, motorized shades do all the work with a remote control.

Now that we’ve addressed your question, take some time to learn a little more about cordless shades and blinds.

Why Do People Buy Cordless Shades and Blinds?

A number of reasons:

1. Clean look – You don’t have six feet of cords hanging down that look very messy and make a bad impression on guests.
2. Safer – Kids, cats, and dogs won’t get themselves tangled up in your blinds.
3. Easy to adjust – How many times have you spent 30 seconds or a minute trying to raise or lower your shades or blinds to precisely the right height? It’s so easy to do this with cordless shades.
4. Hold securely – Whatever position you put your cordless shades or blinds in, they stay in exactly that position. They won’t give or slack at all.
5. Always lift to an even height – Ever sit at your shades for a couple minutes, trying to get both ends at the same height? You don’t have to worry about that anymore with cordless blinds.

Good Places to Use Them

If you’re on a budget and don’t want cordless blinds for all of the rooms in your home, there are some ideal places for them:

1. Children’s rooms – We already discussed the safety issue. Don’t leave your children’s safety in question. Ever.
2. Common play areas – Again, this is for your children’s safety.
3. Your living room – You’ll want to adjust your shades depending on the light levels during the day, so why not make that easier to do?
4. Your kitchen – This is another area where you’ll spend a lot of time and may want more or less privacy and light depending on the time of day.

Cordless shades and blinds make a wonderful addition to any room. Which rooms in your home do you think they’ll help look the best?

How to Measure Blinds: Can You Measure Existing Blinds?

It would be a whole lot easier if you could just measure your existing blinds, wouldn’t it?

To order blinds from Blindster, we have you take measurements and give them to us. We realize this can be a little intimidating so to protect you, we don’t charge you to remake your blinds under our Fit or Free policy. You do have to pay for the price difference (if there is one) and shipping, though.

Now here comes the big “but” – if you are mounting your blinds, you cannot measure your existing blinds. You have to measure the window opening.

Why Can’t You Measure Your Existing Blinds?

When your blinds are made in our factory, we modify your width measurement on inside mount blinds to fit your mounting type. The type of mounting hardware used varies by-product and so does the amount of width deduction that is taken by the factory when they make your blinds. So your existing blinds may not have the same mounting type as your new blinds.

And you may not realize it, but your current blinds may not properly fit your window as is.

Also, don’t use the manufacturer specifications from packaging, invoices, or other shipping materials. Those numbers could be incorrect in the first place. They may not be right for the mounting type you order, either.

Always measure your window opening and never your blinds.

How Do You Measure your Blinds?

You don’t have to be a professional contractor to take the measurements. This part you can do yourself.

As you measure, always follow the rule of “measure twice, order once.” Here’s the basic process:

1. Measure your window opening width at the top, middle, and bottom.
2. Also measure the height at the left, right, and center
3. Write the narrowest width and tallest height down, rounded to the nearest 1/8 inch. This is the height and width you will order!
4. Write down your measurements as width X height
5. When you tell us your window’s measurements, give us the exact numbers you found (rounded to the nearest 1/8 inch). For inside mount, don’t take any deductions! Deductions will be made in our factory.
6. Make sure you have a depth of more than 1 1/2 inches – most window treatments need this depth to mount properly.
7. If your depth is exactly 1 1/2 inches or less, then either:

  • contact our customer service reps to make sure the window treatment you want can mount in that space or
  • check the product specifications on our website to see if you have enough depth to mount the window treatment inside the window.

Always Be Careful When Measuring Blinds!

One big mistake to avoid is to never assume all your windows in a given area are the same size. Measure them all, and consider writing down a code for each so you know where your blinds should go when you get them. Enter the codes in the “Room” section on each item to make it easier to identify each blind when you install them. The factory will put the codes in the “Room” section on a label on each blind.

Always use a metal tape measure. Cloth tape measures are very flexible, not as accurate and harder to use.

And if you have any questions about this process, you can always ask our customer service team at Also, view our Specification (located on each individual product page) and/or Measure & Install sections of our website for detailed installation documents on most Blinds and Shades.

Can You See Through Interior Solar Shades?

Wow, who’d have thought there’s so much to shades? Solar shades are yet another option for your home.

One of the most common questions we get about them is, “Can people see in your window if you have them?”

Before we answer that, let’s talk a little bit about solar shades first.

The Primary Benefit of Solar Shades

If you live in a sunny area, or if you just like the inside of your home a little darker, you probably already have some sort of window treatment for that purpose. But, the problem is they generally let in some light.

So if you’re in your living room or bedroom trying to watch TV, you get a little (maybe a lot) glare.

Then, let’s say you want to look outside. Now you have to adjust your blinds or shades so you can do that, which sacrifices some of your privacy.

Glare, privacy loss – kind of annoying, right?

Solar Shades Reduce Glare and Solar Heat While Preserving Your View Outside

Solar shades really work their best during the daytime. And like their name hints, they’re good at combatting the sun’s bright light and heat.

Solar shades have what you call an “openness factor.” It’s indicated in a percentage, and the lower the number, the more heat the solar shades reflect. You also get greater daytime privacy as the openness factor goes down.

The common percentage range is from 1-10%.

You also should know that different colors affect the performance of these shades in various ways. Darker colors, for example, absorb the sun’s infrared heat rather than reflecting it. As a result, you get a better view outside, but warmer temperatures inside your home. Darker fabric with a low openness factor also darkens your room quite a bit so you might need to turn on some lights to make up for that.

Naturally, light colors do the exact opposite. You get better daytime privacy and reflect more heat outside, which cools the interior of your home.

What if You Want Sunlight Blocked During the Day and Privacy at Night?

There is just such a solution for you. It is possible to install two, independently operating shades in one window that have different levels of protection.

During the day, you pull the solar shade. At night, you pull the privacy shade.

So Can People Outside See into Your Home?

Because solar shades are designed for light control and not privacy, they’re not that great at giving you privacy. During the day, you get a limited amount. At night, it’s very easy for people to see inside your home.

If privacy is your most important concern and you still want the benefits of solar shades, go with day/night shades.

And That is That!

So there you have it – the benefits and drawbacks of solar shades. If you’re considering them, now you can make an informed decision that works best for your personal needs.

You can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at