How to Reduce Window Treatment Light Leakage and Side Gaps

Whether our customers order window treatments to completely block out sunlight or to simply diffuse it, we know that they often want a uniform look and design that covers their entire window. However, small light leaks are common with certain types of blinds and shades, especially depending on how they’re installed. Although it may seem difficult to eliminate this issue, it’s possible to significantly reduce it by choosing certain window treatments and installation options.

Eliminating light leakage not only protects your privacy and further reduces glare, heat, and light from entering your home, it also gives your window treatments a more matte and low-profile appearance—which can be appealing for many home décor styles. To find out how to reduce and even eliminate light leaks in your blinds and shades, check out Blindster’s tips below:

  • Carefully measure your windows before placing your order.

The first step toward getting a uniform and light leak-free window treatment is taking precise measurements of your windows. If your measurements are off by even a small amount, your blinds and shades may not completely cover your windows, resulting in small light leaks along the edges.

 

In addition to taking careful measurements, you should also take into account any size deductions that occur during the manufacturing process by consulting our measuring guides. Blinds and shades that are perfect or near-perfect fits for windows are much less likely to allow large amounts of light to leak into homes.

 

  • Carefully install your window treatments.

Blinds and shades that are installed haphazardly and incorrectly are often subject to huge light leaks that can defeat the purpose of having them in the first place. In order to get the maximum effectiveness from your window treatments, it’s important to make sure they are installed correctly. Before attempting to install your new blinds and shades, always consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions or the step-by-step installation guides found on our website.

 

When installing your new window treatments, make sure the headrail is level and flush with the top of your window. Many light leaks occur at the top of windows due to small gaps between the molding and the headrail. In addition, make sure you install the correct window treatments on the windows they were specifically created for, as your windows may vary in size.

 

  • Choose an outside mount installation option.

Even the most carefully measured blinds and shades can be susceptible to light leaks when they are installed inside window sills. Because window treatments must fit directly inside the window frame, they must be slightly smaller than the casing itself, which can result in small amounts of light entering the room on the edges of the window.

 

An exterior mount option places window treatments over the entire window, making light leaks much less likely to occur. Before ordering blinds or shades for an exterior mount option, keep in mind that you’ll need to provide measurement specifications that are a few inches beyond the actual size of your window in order to get adequate coverage.

 

  • Consider purchasing shades instead of blinds.

Although blinds are highly effective at blocking out light and insulating your home, they are more susceptible to light leaks than shades due to their slats. Shades are made with a single piece of continuous material that serves to block out light as uniformly as possible. Blinds are made of many individual pieces of wood, faux wood, or aluminum which can allow small amounts of light to enter rooms.

 

However, if you prefer blinds over shades and still want the benefit of no light leaks, you can’t go wrong with our 2” Privacy Wood Blinds or our Privacy Aluminum Blinds. These blinds are designed to be operated without the use of traditional route holes, which means they have a shade-like appearance when closed. Because these blinds don’t have standard route holes, you get increased privacy, glare reduction, and light control in your home.

 

  • Get a blackout liner.

Blackout liners not only significantly reduce the amount of light that enters your home, they can also help stop light leaks at the sides and bottom of your window treatments as well. The extra layer of blackout fabric creates an additional barrier between the hot sunlight that’s hitting your window and the inside of your home. This is especially true for shades that are installed inside windows and have very small, but noticeable, light leaks due to small differences between the measurements of the shades and the measurement of the window frame.

 

  • Adhere foam, thick fabric, or aluminum foil to the edges of your windows.

This last tip may not be the most glamorous, but it’s highly effective in a pinch. Aluminum foil cut to match the outer edges of your window is highly effective at blocking out light and eliminating light leaks, but it can be unsightly and detract from your home’s appearance.

 

Another option is to purchase thick foam at a hardware store or large strips of fabric and cut it to the exact dimensions of your windows. As with the aluminum foil, you can adhere it to your windows and help reduce or eliminate any light leaks from entering your home.

Shop our full selection of blinds and shades here

Wood Blinds vs Faux Wood Blinds

When it comes to elegance, beauty, and a timeless style that complements virtually any home décor, you simply can’t go wrong with wood or faux wood blinds. And whether you prefer 1” blinds, 2” blinds, supersized 3” blinds, cordless lift, or dark or light wood stains, Blindster has the perfect wood window treatments for your home.

But what if you’re having trouble deciding between wood blinds and faux wood blinds? At first glance, it can be difficult to tell them apart. Although they may look extremely similar, real wood blinds and faux wood blinds have unique pros and cons that all homeowners should understand before they place an order.

If you’ve got your heart set on wood blinds, but can’t decide on real vs faux, check out our comparison guide below:

 

Wood Blinds

 

Faux Wood Blinds

  • Made from real wood

As the name suggests, wood blinds are made from real wood. For many homeowners, there is simply no substitute for the real thing. The texture and fine details are exactly as you would expect in a product made from real trees.

 

  • Great at insulating rooms

Real wood is thicker and denser than faux wood, which also means that it’s more effective at insulating rooms. Installing wood blinds in your windows can help keep cold air out during the winter and cold air in during the summer, making your home more eco-friendly and helping to reduce your utility bills.

 

  • Manufactured using North American wood

If you’re concerned about purchasing products that are made using local materials and supplies, you’ll love our wood blinds. They’re manufactured using wood harvested from forests in the Eastern United States and Canada.

 

  • Natural wood grain patterns

Although faux wood blinds are designed to look like the real thing, there are some subtleties and intricacies of real wood grain that simply can’t be replicated, especially upon close inspection. Our wood blinds feature beautiful wood grain patterns, textures, and colors that will add beauty and luxury to any room in your home.

 

  • More color options

The color and stain of blinds can make a big difference in how they complement a room and match furniture and décor. If you’re looking for the most color and stain options for your home, you’ll want to stick with real wood blinds. Our 2” Premium Wood Blinds are available in 28 unique colors, while our 2” Privacy Wood Blinds are available in 17 colors.

 

  • Lightweight and easy to raise/lower

Weight can become an issue when blinds are manufactured to oversized specifications in order to cover large windows. Real wood blinds are relatively lightweight and are much easier to raise and lower, even at their maximum size limits, than many types of faux wood blinds.

  • Made from composite materials

Faux wood blinds are made from a blend of materials, including a composite wood material, PVC, vinyl, and vinyl compounds. Although they may contain very little in the way of real wood, they are designed to look and feel extremely similar to the real thing. For many homeowners, it’s virtually impossible to tell the difference unless they are inspected up close.

 

  • Highly resistant to warping and fading

Not being made from real wood gives faux wood blinds an advantage in harsh conditions, especially in areas with high humidity, sunlight exposure, and heat. Because they are manufactured using highly durable composite materials, faux wood blinds are much less likely to warp, fade, or discolor, even after years of exposure to harsh elements.

 

  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cleaning real wood requires care and special solutions that won’t damage the wood or soak into it, causing potential warping and fading. Faux wood blinds are much more resilient to a wider variety of cleaning products and solutions, making them much easier to clean and maintain.

 

  • Lower price point

Although our real wood blinds are priced competitively, faux wood blinds are even more affordable. If you’re looking to outfit an entire home or business with new wood blinds, choosing faux wood is a great way to save money without compromising on the look you want.

 

  • Available as shutters

In addition to our wide variety of faux wood blinds, we also offer a beautiful faux wood shutter that’s perfect for any room in your home. Lightweight and durable, our Fauxwood Plantation Shutters are manufactured with a hollow-bodied structure, making them easy to install yourself. Like our other faux wood blinds, these shutters are resistant to moisture, heat, and sunlight, making them ideal for rooms with high humidity or that receive frequent sun exposure.

Blindster Gives Back

There’s nothing better than seeing hard work pay off, except maybe seeing your hard work truly help another person. It’s rare in life to see the immediate result of one’s labors.

This weekend the Blindster team experienced one of those rare moments while volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. We were able to see how a simple day’s worth of work could directly impact the less fortunate within our community.

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You would think it would be hard to convince a group of busy adults to get up and out at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning to do physical labor and in most cases, you would be right.  hfh7

But when offered the chance to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, our employees jumped on it. We easily had the largest corporate group on Saturday, September 17, 2016, with 14 volunteers. We only have about 20 employees in the whole company!

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Everyone showed up on time, smiling and ready to put in a good day’s work. The neighborhood we were working in was filled with Habitat houses that would be sold to underprivileged families at an affordable mortgage rate, without interest.hfh5

As the volunteer leader explained what we were going to accomplish and introduced one of the families that were going to be living in these houses, we began to realize the impact of what we would be doing that day. And with their smiling faces as encouragement, we picked up our ladders and paintbrushes with exuberance.

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Even though only a few of us were experienced in building work, each of us was able to help with the task at hand. The house we had the privilege of working on was in its twelfth week of construction.

This meant that we were responsible for doing outside detail work, like painting the trim and caulking windows. Working outside in the Houston heat could have easily been grueling, but everyone stayed positive and kept the jokes flowing.

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By the end of the day, we had finished painting the trim and gained a new sense of achievement and camaraderie. There’s just something about being able to look up and see exactly what you have been working for accomplished. hfh-group

Even though this is just a small part of the entire home building process, we felt we made a difference. We hope the family who gets to live inside this home creates wonderful, lasting memories and feels the love and teamwork that was poured into the creation of it.

 

Best Blinds and Shades for Dining Rooms

Dining rooms are often the most lavish room in a home. Chandeliers, stately and antique dining tables, elaborate place settings, and fine china are just a few hallmarks of dining rooms where families gather to share meals and celebrate special occasions. Due to their reputation as being the centerpieces of many homes, it makes sense that every aspect of dining rooms carries an air of elegance and beauty—including the window coverings.

For many homeowners, choosing low-profile and no-frills options for window coverings is perfectly suitable for bedrooms and bathrooms, but their tastes often change when it comes to their dining rooms. At Blindster.com, we know that homeowners often need window treatments for their dining rooms that are not only beautiful to look at, but are also versatile in both operation and light control functionality.

If you’re looking for the perfect window treatments for your dining room, look no further than these elegant, practical, and affordable blinds and shades:

roman-shades-dining-room

From a visual standpoint, it’s hard to beat the beauty and timeless design of classic Roman shades. Our selection of Premium Roman Shades is divided into four distinct groups: A, B, C, and D. All the shades in these categories feature a wide variety of options and customizations, including pleated and hobbled fold styles, optional cordless lifts, top down/bottom up functions, and blackout liners. Each category also features a wide variety of colors, with all four categories offering more than 200 unique colors to choose from.

 

shutters-dining-room

Whether you have a country-style dining room, a formal dining room, or anything in between, you can’t go wrong with our Faux Wood Plantation Shutters. These window coverings combine the look of real wood, with the versatility and durability of faux wood, giving them an elegant appearance and an exterior that’s easy to clean and maintain. Another benefit of the faux wood manufacturing process is the lightweight materials. Because these window coverings are hollow, they are quickly and easily installed in even the most hard-to-reach dining room windows.

 

wood-blinds-dining-room

Many homeowners want the utmost in privacy in their dining rooms. Thankfully, emphasizing privacy in your search for window treatments doesn’t mean you have to compromise on looks or style. Our 2” Privacy Wood Blinds have all the beauty and elegance of our entire selection of real wood blinds, but with one key difference: no route holes. That means that these blinds are not only more effective at protecting your family’s privacy, but they’re also great for blocking out the sun’s harsh UV rays and glare, giving you the ultimate control over the lighting in your dining room.

cordless-woven-wood-dining-room

With their all-natural materials, cordless operation, and beautiful array of wood stains to choose from, our Cordless Bamboo Woven Wood Shades are the perfect complement to any dining room suite or décor. No lift cord or chain means easy up and down movement, as well as a peace of mind if you have small children or pets. While the all-natural construction process is perfect for eco-friendly and eco-conscious homeowners. Choose from colors that are certain to bring out the beauty in your dining table and place settings, such as Key West Camel, Waikiki Tortoise, and Maya Camel.

 

woven-wood-roller-shades-dining-room

Roller shades are highly effective at blocking light and protecting privacy, but some varieties may feel too plain or low-profile for dining rooms. If that’s the case for your home, our Premium Woven Wood Fabric Roller Shades will definitely be enough to make you reconsider this type of window covering. Designed to look like real woven bamboo and wood, these roller shades are manufactured with a high-quality polyester fabric that filters light and cuts down on glare and heat from the sun. These shades can be ordered with a continuous loop lift cord and come in a huge variety of colors and textures, including Highlands Bark, Woodland Nile, and Savannah Sand.

 

3-inch-deluxe-sheer-shades

While maximum light control is a high priority for many homeowners, others may prefer to simply reduce the sun’s glare and UV rays, while still allowing ample natural light into their homes. If that’s your idea of the perfect window treatments for your dining room, you’ll love our 3” Deluxe Light Filtering Sheer Shades. The 3” light filtering vanes float between two soft pieces of sheer fabric, giving these shades the combined functionality and beauty of both shades and blinds. Choose from four distinct colors to match the color scheme in your dining room, including White, Ivory, Beige, and Chocolate.

 

faux-wood-dining-room

Finding the perfect window treatments to match your dining room décor and furniture doesn’t have to break the bank. Our 2 ½” Premium Faux Wood Blinds are attractively priced and beautifully designed. The large 2 ½” slats have the appearance of real wood, but the composite materials used in the manufacturing process makes them easier to maintain and clean, as well as more durable throughout their lifetime.

 

solar-shades-dining-room

If your dining room has a beautiful view that you want to preserve at all costs, solar shades may be the ideal option for your home. Solar shades are unique in that they can significantly reduce heat and UV rays from entering your home while preserving your view of the outdoors. Our Premium Solar Shades Exotic Collection is manufactured using high-quality Phifer Sheerweave® 5000 solar screen fabrics, which makes them extremely durable due to the vinyl coated polyester materials. Choose from four openness factors: 3 percent, 5 percent, 7 percent, and 10 percent—to get the perfect balance between light filtering and view of the outdoors.

Back to School Tips for Kids’ Rooms

Back to school is always a hectic time for both kids and parents. Children have to adjust to new classrooms, new teachers, new subjects, and new schedules, while parents have to adjust to added demands on their time.

This can be a stressful time of year for families, but it also represents a fresh start. New clothes, new haircuts and new backpacks can help kids start the school year off right, but it’s also a great time for kids to get fresh starts in their rooms as well.

With kids often having schedules just as demanding as their parents, it’s essential that their rooms are well-equipped to handle all of the challenges of a new school year.

To get your child’s room up to speed for the 2016-2017 school year, check out Blindster’s tips below:

  • Make room for a desk

Make Room For a Desk

Via Pinterest

 

The value of your child having access to a study or work desk in his or her bedroom can’t be stressed enough. Homework and long study periods are the norm for students of all ages and grades in 2016. Having a place to focus and complete assignments and study before an important exam can make a big difference in grades and test scores. Desks are also essential for long writing or reading assignments, as prolonged work sessions on the couch or dining table can lead to discomfort and difficulty focusing.

  • Upgrade to a comfortable and size-appropriate bed

Upgrade to a comfortable and size-appropriate bed

Via SG Style

 

For most elementary school-aged children, single or twin-size beds are more than adequate to provide comfortable rest and relaxation. But as children grow to reach middle school and high school age, their sleep patterns change and getting a full night of rest can become more difficult. Larger beds, such as full or queen-sized beds, make it easier for older children to fall asleep and stay asleep longer, which can significantly improve their academic performance and ability to stay focused throughout the day.

 

  • Install blackout and noise dampening window treatments

Install blackout and noise dampening window treatments

 

Bright sunlight is great for lighting up your home, but it can be a kid’s worst enemy in the morning or while they’re attempting to study and finish homework. To help your child sleep better and focus after school, consider installing window treatments that are designed to block sunlight and reduce outside noise levels. Our Premium Blackout Double Cellular Shades not only block 99 percent of the sun’s UV rays from entering your child’s room, they’re also great insulators, making them ideal for climate control and noise reduction.

 

  • Paint the walls according to your child’s personality

paint the walls according to your child's personality

Via Pinterest

 

It’s well known that colors have a profound impact on mood and energy levels. If your child tends to be hyperactive or has difficulty sitting still and focusing on homework for long periods of time, consider painting his or her room a cool and calming color, such as light blue, green, or yellow. If your child has difficulty waking up in the morning or getting motivated to study, choose energizing colors like red, orange and purple.

  • Create space to showcase your child’s accomplishments

Create space to showcase your child’s accomplishments

Via Pinterest

 

Displaying your child’s accomplishments can be a great motivator to keep him or her striving for more success in the future. A few prominently arranged shelves serve as the perfect displays for your child’s achievements, and you can continue adding to it as he or she grows in both academic and after-school activities throughout the years.

 

  • Make sure there’s plenty of storage space

Make sure there’s plenty of storage space

Via Pinterest

 

Kid’s rooms can go from neat and tidy, to total disaster areas in the blink of an eye. Trying to keep your child’s room 100 percent clean day in and day out is often a losing battle, but you can cut down on the mess by supplying him or her with plenty of storage spaces. Label crates or tubs and keep each separate. Then use one for sports equipment, one for art supplies, and one for instruments or music-related equipment, etc. When everything has its place, your child will find it much easier to keep his or her room tidy without your help.

 

  • Encourage responsibility by hanging a large calendar or whiteboard on the wall

Encourage responsibility by hanging a large calendar or whiteboard on the wall

Via Pinterest

 

Managing an ever-evolving list of appointments, meetings, errands, and family get-togethers is difficult enough for adults, but nowadays, many children have schedules that are just as busy and hectic as their parents’. Instead of hoping that your child can rely on a small, school-issued planner, hang a large wall calendar or white board in his or her room. That way he or she can list and easily keep track of all upcoming assignments, sporting events, tryouts, and other activities.

 

  • Organize closets and dressers for fewer hassles in the morning

Organize closets and dressers for fewer hassles in the morning

Via Pinterest

 

Mornings are the most hectic time of day for both adults and kids. For kids, the hectic nature of mornings is often due to desperate searches through closets and dressers to find something to wear. Make it easier on your child by making sure his or her closet is organized and all clothes are accessible. Move clothing that’s out-of-season to another closet or push them to the back to make room for season-appropriate clothing, and be sure to regularly sell, donate, or hand down clothing that your child has outgrown to avoid overcrowding closets and dressers.

 

  • Limit distractions by moving electronic devices to other areas of the home

Limit distractions by moving electronic devices to other areas of the home

Via Pinterest

 

Technology is an essential part of life for everyone, including kids in school. However, that doesn’t mean that it should be allowed to take over their lives or create major distractions that get in the way of homework, studying, and excelling in extracurricular activities. If you find that your child is having difficulty staying on task, consider moving his or her computer, television, gaming console, or tablet to another part of the house. This makes it easier to monitor your child’s usage and set time limits if their usage gets out of hand or interferes with school work.

Decorating Faux Pas to Avoid

Decorating a home is a very unique and individual experience. There are no one-size-fits-all guides and recommendations for getting the home décor of your dreams. Many factors should be considered when decorating a home, such as its size, layout, architecture, color and geographic location.

But despite there being what seems like an infinite number of design and home décor choices, there are still a few decorative decisions that should be avoided regardless of the aesthetic you’re aiming to create.

These faux pas have the potential of throwing an entire home off-balance due to a poor fit—literally and figuratively. And in some cases, the line between bold and creative home décor, and an interior decorating disaster, can be very thin.

To avoid crossing into the home décor danger zone and unintentionally committing a flagrant foul of interior design, check out some of Blindster’s top decorating faux pas that you should avoid at all costs:

  • Placing too many decorative items in each room

Placing too many decorative items in each room

Via Pinterest

 

When it comes to home décor, less is often more. Although small touches in a room can help complete its look, too many items can be overwhelming and make your space feel cluttered, chaotic and disorganized.

 

When decorating a mantle, bookcase, accent table, or another display area, make sure to give each item its own space, without being crowded by other accent pieces. In addition to saving money, you’ll also be able to better appreciate the small decorative items that you truly love.

  • Focusing too heavily on minimalism

Focusing too heavily on minimalism

Via Pinterest

 

While the “less is more” adage is frequently true from a design and décor standpoint, it’s important to avoid accidentally turning your home into a space that feels more like a museum. Unless you’re specifically looking to create a minimalist look in your home, rooms full of bare walls and bare floors can feel impersonal.

 

Make sure to display some personal touches, like pictures of family or favorite pieces of art. Pictures of minimalist homes in catalogs and online galleries are often stunning, but they aren’t always the best look to imitate if you’re trying to create a space that’s both beautiful and comfortable.

  • Using small rugs in large rooms

Using small rugs in large rooms

Via Pinterest

 

Rugs are a great way to create clear divisions in rooms where it can otherwise be difficult to set boundaries. Large living rooms and bedrooms, for example, may feel cavernous, even when fully furnished, if they aren’t clearly sectioned off with furniture and décor. One of the easiest ways to accomplish that is to use rugs.

 

However, you should always stay away from small or medium-sized rugs in large rooms, especially if they will be placed under large furniture arrangements. A rug that is completely overshadowed by a king-sized bed or a large sectional couch looks out of place and awkward.

 

  • Hanging photos and artwork too high on your walls

Hanging photos and artwork too high on your walls

Via Style By Emily Henderson

 

 

If you’ve ever walked into a room and felt that something was off, but couldn’t quite place what it was, there’s a decent chance that feeling was created by wall hangings that were placed too high. Many people have a natural inclination to place pictures, portraits, and paintings on the upper-third of their walls and with the bottom section of the frames at eye-level.

 

However, doing so naturally draws the eye upward and away from people and other furnishings. Keeping wall hangings closer to furniture height—for example, a landscape painting just a few inches above your couch—means less movement for your eyes and a more cohesive look for your home.

  • Placing furniture arrangements too far apart

Placing furniture arrangements too far apart

Via The Decorologist

 

This faux pas is more common in large rooms, and it’s often due to homeowners not knowing how to best utilize their space. When decorating a large room, it can seem wasteful to not take full advantage of the additional square footage, so there’s a tendency to put extra distance between a couch, coffee table, love seat or television stand. Doing so, however, can create a space that feels disconnected and uncomfortable.

 

Keep furniture arrangements closer together, even if it creates empty spaces in the surrounding areas of the room. Having large, open spaces in living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms isn’t an issue if the room is smartly furnished.

  • Choosing style over comfort when buying furniture

Choosing style over comfort when buying furniture

Via Pinterest

 

Imagine yourself at your local furniture store, deciding between two couches for your living room and not being able to choose which one to bring home. It’s a common dilemma. One couch makes you feel like you’re sitting on a cloud, but isn’t a perfect fit for the room, while the other couch is an ideal match for your home décor, but feels more like a park bench.

 

While the latter couch may look better in your home on the day it gets delivered, it will find its way to a thrift store or garage sale faster than you might think. Comfort rules the roost when it comes to buying furniture, and creating the right room aesthetic for a comfortable, but slightly out of place couch or another large piece is easily accomplished with a few inexpensive accent pieces, blankets, or pillows.

  • Getting tunnel vision when decorating with a theme

Getting tunnel vision when decorating with a theme

Via Pinterest

 

There’s nothing wrong with choosing a theme and sticking with it as you decorate your home. For example, many beach homes look fantastic with a nautical theme, while homes near mountains are perfectly suited for a rustic and log cabin-like decorative approach.

 

However, it’s important to recognize when to reign in the thematic décor and choose furniture and accent pieces that are neutral in appearance. Going overboard on seashell motifs and anchors can quickly turn your home into something that resembles a beach-side gift shop, and that’s never a good look.

  • Being afraid to add color to your home

Being afraid to add color to your home

Via Pinterest

 

While it’s true that neutral colors are often the safest option for interior design, they can also lead to boring living spaces that feel uninspired. It’s not necessary to paint an accent wall or load up on bright and bold paint to get the benefits of color throughout your home, but adding small colorful items like pillows, blankets, and plants, can help make rooms feel more alive and lived in than rooms that exclusively feature whites, grays and beiges.

  • Overloading beds, couches, chairs, and love seats with pillows

Overloading beds, couches, chairs, and loveseats with pillows

Via Pinterest

 

Pillows are a quick and easy way to add interesting designs, colors, and textures to your home, but they should be used sparingly. A couch that’s filled to the brim with pillows of varying shapes and sizes isn’t very welcoming. Pillows that are placed in seating areas often end up on the floor or uncomfortably wedged into someone’s back. Place just enough pillows for guests to be comfortable, whether they’re sleeping or sitting. You’ll spend less money and your rooms will feel less cluttered.

Summer’s Coolest Window Coverings: Solar Shades

We couldn’t resist a good title pun, sorry…

One of the best things about summer is its ability to draw people outside to enjoy the warm weather and relax. But months of 98 degree days and high humidity is enough to keep the most summer loving person indoors, just to escape for a little while. Unfortunately, it can be hard to avoid the sun if your windows are left completely bare.

During the summer months it’s understandable to need to get a little relief from the sun, without wanting to completely block out the outside world. As one of the only window treatments to have the durability to work both indoors and out, solar shades truly are one of the best options for when the temperature goes up.

If you’re thinking about purchasing solar shades for your home, check out our reasons why they are the best shades for summer.

Multiple Openness Options

Multiple Openness Options

Every room in your home can have different sun-blocking needs, depending on its use and location. Solar shades come in several different openness options to accommodate these different needs.

As the openness percentage lowers, the weave of the solar shade gets tighter to allow in less and less UV light. Rooms that tend to face the sun can be kept cooler by using a tighter weaved shade. If heat is less of a factor in your home, a higher openness percentage can block sun glare, while still keeping your great view.

Durability

Durability

The vinyl-coated polyester fabrics of our indoor solar shades hold up well to humidity and rough handling. In fact, they are bacteria and fungus resistant, making them some of the cleanest window treatments to have in your home.

Our outdoor solar shades are made from high-quality PVC and polyester yarns that are certified for exterior use. The durable nature of the materials makes these the perfect shades to put up and have peace of mind knowing they won’t break down.

We also provide two different lift options with sturdy parts, so you can decide what is best and most convenient for your family.

Low Profile

Low Profile

Solar shades have the modern, low-profile look of roller shades, but with the added benefit of outside visibility. Using solar shades is like putting on your favorite pair of sunglasses; you automatically feel cooler and more comfortable with your view. And because they sit so close to your window, you don’t feel like you’re losing any space in a smaller room. This makes them perfect for blocking glare on your screens in office spaces or media rooms.

Reduce Cooling Bill

Reduce Cooling Bill

Solar shades are known for their ability to block heat and glare in any space, but most people don’t realize how big of an effect this can have on their energy bills! Different fabric colors can also play a big part in reducing heat transfer into your home. The darker the fabric, the more it will absorb the heat. The lighter the fabric, the better it will reflect the sunlight. Light colors tend to be slightly better at reducing cooling costs, so if that is your goal, stick to bright whites.

Style

Style

If modern is what you are going for, then these shades are a perfect fit. Solar shades were just plain meant for homes with very sleek aesthetics. Depending on what color you choose, they can blend into your current décor style or become a focal point on your windows.

The different openness options and colors make them a bit more versatile and organic feeling than roller shades. The higher openness options add softness to brightly sun-lit rooms that you can only get from a solar shade.

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper

With housing markets in many large cities being more competitive than ever, many would-be buyers and investors are being forced to look outside their comfort zones and find properties that have a lot of potential, but aren’t quite perfect—in other words, fixer-uppers.

Thankfully, buyers who take the plunge with fixer-uppers have more resources to get the job done than ever, as the topic is frequently covered in magazines, books, blogs, and television shows. However, one aspect of the process that’s often overlooked is how to pick the right fixer-upper.

Not all fixer-uppers are created equal. For every home that’s only a remodeled kitchen and a few coats of paint away from being your dream home or property, there are five disasters in waiting. They’re lurking out there, ready and willing to empty your pocketbook and leave you swearing off home ownership for good. The difference between buying a home that you’ll love, and buying one that you’ll immediately regret, comes from being able to quickly and accurately appraise the property and evaluate its flaws.

If you’re looking to sharpen your eye when it comes to assessing potential fixer-upper properties, Blindster recommends paying close attention to these aspects of the home before you sign on the dotted line:

  • The foundation

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- The Foundation

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A house with a great design, location, and overall appearance can, and should, be quickly ruled out if its foundation shows any signs of damage or instability. A weak foundation may not pose problems the first year or even first decade that you own the home, but sooner or later, issues will arise that require major cash and extensive work to fix.

 

Although it can be difficult to get an accurate assessment of the condition of a home’s foundation, cracks, off-track doors, and pooled water or damp conditions inside the basement are often telltale signs that the foundation is weak or damaged.

 

  • The wiring

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Wiring

A home that is fully wired for electricity with multiple working outlets in every room is something many people take for granted. However, an older home or a home with substandard wiring configurations can be at risk of losing power at any time, whether it’s confined to a specific outlet or throughout the entire home. In addition, outdated wiring or unsafe wiring also represents a serious fire hazard that can put your home and family at risk.

 

Take the time to test every plug, in every outlet, and in every room. Turn off and on light switches throughout the house, and open the electrical panel to make sure it’s in good condition. If the home is several decades old, consider hiring an electrician to inspect its wiring to make sure it will last for many years and won’t be at risk of failing or becoming a fire hazard.

 

  • The roof

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Roof

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Your home’s roof is what keeps you and your family comfortable and secure. Just as a failing or damaged foundation can eventually lead to major structural issues, a leaking or damaged roof can also gradually worsen until it’s on the brink of collapse or at the point of causing water to enter your home.

 

If you’re comfortable with climbing onto the roof—or if you can easily see the roof from the ground—look for signs of damage like curling and cracking shingles. Extensive stains may also indicate water damage has occurred. Storms can also cause serious damage to roofs, so look for things like missing shingles, pockmarks and dents from hail, and even sagging areas due to fallen tree limbs and branches.

 

  • The plumbing

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Plumbing

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Like electricity, running water is one of the greatest modern conveniences in homes, but many people don’t think about its impact on daily life until it is either unavailable or limited in some way. Unfortunately, as with residential wiring, plumbing is hidden in ceilings, walls, and floorboards, making it difficult to determine if there are any existing issues or damage that could soon result in a lack of running water, a sewage backup, or a flooded bathroom.

 

The quickest and easiest way to check the plumbing in a fixer-upper home is to use it. Flush all toilets multiple times. Take note if any of the toilets seem sluggish or fail to fill up with water after the flushing process is complete. Also, check the base of the toilets for potential water damage or leaks. Run all faucets and shower heads to check the water pressure and temperature. If either fluctuates, there may be blockages in the pipes or the water heater may need to be replaced.

 

  • The carpet

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Carpet

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Whether you plan on keeping the carpet or immediately ripping it out and replacing it, it’s still important to make sure you know what’s going on underneath it when you’re looking at a fixer-upper property. Carpet can hide serious issues like water damaged floorboards, mildew, and even black mold. In some cases, the reveal is actually more positive, as you may find that the carpet is hiding a beautiful hardwood floor that only needs some cleaning and polishing to be fully restored.

 

To find out what’s underneath the carpet, check the corners of the room and pull up on the carpet and padding. Check underneath for obvious signs of damage, while also noting the condition of the floor. If it’s plywood, expect to spend more on new flooring, if you don’t plan on keeping the carpet.

 

  • The doors and windows

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Windows

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If you’re looking for a fixer-upper property when the weather is nice, the seals around the windows and doors may be the last thing on your mind. And while getting those aspects of the home up to par is a relatively simple and inexpensive process, it’s still worth inspecting and knowing what you’re in for before you make a purchase, as poorly sealed windows and doors can quickly increase your energy costs and make your home uncomfortable during extreme weather and temperatures.

 

Pull back curtains and raise the blinds and shades to look carefully at the edges of the windows for cracks or small openings. Open and close the windows multiple times to see how well they seal after being shut and whether drafts can still enter the home. Check the area underneath outside-facing doors for cracks and inspect the overall condition of the doors. Doors that are difficult to open may have hinges and locks that need to be replaced, while damaged doors may not be structurally sound and should also be replaced.

What did you think of our list? Can you think of any other important things to take into account when buying a fixer-upper? Let us know in the comments!

Best Uses for Small, Awkward Spaces in Your Home

Whether you live in a studio apartment or a large family-sized home, chances are you’ve got a few spaces where nothing seems to fit. Because most homeowners and apartment renters want to maximize their available space, it can be frustrating to see a blank wall, empty corner, or unused nook that seems perfect for “something”—if only you could pinpoint what.

For some living spaces, the awkward areas are too small to place large furniture, but too big to leave empty. Older homes in particular are often full of nooks and crannies that can be difficult to fill, but with a little creativity, you can get the most out of your home’s unique design and architecture.

Check out Blindster’s tips below for a guide to maximizing your home’s potential by turning awkward spaces into perfect fits:

  • The tops of your cabinets

The Tops of Your Cabinets

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The cabinetry in kitchens and bathrooms in many homes and apartments doesn’t extend all the way to the ceiling. Instead, there’s often a large gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling itself. Take advantage of this space by using it as a shelf for decorative plates, plants or art. It will look less like an afterthought in your kitchen and more like it was meant to be there. You could also use it to store kitchen appliances that you don’t need on a daily basis. Things like blenders, panini presses, rice cookers, deep fryers, and other assorted kitchen gadgets can be safely stored on top of your cabinets without taking up precious space in your actual cabinets and drawers. Just keep a small step ladder nearby for easy access whenever you need to use them.

 

  • Niche under the stairs

Niche Under the Stairs

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While some homes have closets or bathrooms underneath their staircases, others have small niches cut out from the wall. These niches are perfect for creating small, semi-private spaces. A small chaise or lounge-style chair complete with an assortment of pillows propped against the wall makes a great reading and relaxation nook. You can also place a small desk underneath the stairs to create a study area or home office. Another option is to get creative with bookcases and shelving and build a storage area that fits neatly inside the alcove. You could even fill the space with a dog or cat bed for your furbaby.

 

  • Small balcony, porch, or patio

Small balcony, porch, or patio

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Most apartment dwellers want huge balconies with skyline views, while homeowners want wraparound porches that are built to accommodate large numbers of guests. But getting those ideal relaxation areas isn’t always a reality, especially with shrinking property sizes. If that’s the case for you, focus on making it as comfortable as possible. A single chair and small table, complemented with a couple of unique plants and other decorative items, can go a long way towards making an otherwise cramped balcony or porch seem much more comfortable and even cozy.

 

  • Cramped bedside areas

Cramped Bedside Areas

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Sometimes, serious sacrifices have to be made to make beds fit just right. Whether you’re positioning your bed away from the morning sun or attempting to fit a king size mattress in a small bedroom, you may end up with a small, awkward space on one side that leaves very little room for any furniture. While you may not be able to fit a full nightstand on that side of the bed, you may be surprised by how much storage and function you can get from a small, circular bedside table with a couple of drawers. For many people, simply having a flat surface for their phone or tablet to charge at night is more than enough when it comes to bedside storage. For even more space saving, create a minimalist bedside lamp by hanging a cord kit and bulb from your wall.

 

  • Small kitchen walls

Small Kitchen Walls

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The walls in most kitchens are filled with cabinets or appliances, so it can be a challenge to find ways to make use of blank walls in your kitchen if you aren’t used to having the additional space. One great use of these areas is to hang a chalkboard and write some of your favorite quotes, recipes, and even a weekly meal schedule. Another option is to install a few rows of shelves where you can place spices, jars, cookware, and other kitchen essentials that will be in easy reach when you’re preparing a meal. Finally, you can also use the space to add seating. Kitchens now rival living rooms when it comes to the top gathering places in the home for family and friends. Providing seating for your family members and guests while you’re preparing a meal or just hanging out is always appreciated.

  • Empty spaces under bathroom sinks

Empty Spaces Under Bathroom Sinks

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While many homes have full cabinetry and drawers underneath their bathroom vanities, others have standalone sinks with nothing underneath except pipes. This space can seem awkward, especially if you’re used to having plenty of storage space in your bathroom. But just because you lack cabinets and drawers doesn’t mean you can’t create a great storage area, and that empty space under your sink is the perfect location. A few wire baskets make a great storage spot for towels and assorted toiletries, and if you want to keep the storage area hidden from view, hang trimmed curtains or other decorative fabric to reach from the bottom of your sink to the floor.

 

  • Long, narrow hallway

Long, Narrow Hallway

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Due to their awkward dimensions and the fact that people generally don’t spend much time in them, hallways aren’t usually at the top of the list when it comes to interior design and décor ideas. However, that doesn’t mean your home’s hallway has to be a boring or neglected area. While most hallways are too narrow to place large pieces of furniture, they’re the perfect location to create your own personal art gallery. Whether you display your own artwork or some of your favorite pieces that you’ve collected over the years, your hallway is a great place to add color, life, and creativity to your home.

Top Online Resources for Renovating Your Home

Renovating your home is a great way to give it new life, increase its value, and improve your overall satisfaction with it. But anyone who has attempted a home renovation—whether it was something “minor” like a kitchen remodel or something major like creating an addition or expanding a room—knows that the process can be difficult and frustrating, especially if you’re attempting it on your own.

Thankfully, the internet is loaded with helpful resources and guides to make virtually all home renovations a much smoother process. While some homeowners prefer to go the old-fashioned route by taking a trip to their local library and stocking up on home renovation books, almost everything you need to know about the topic is just a click away.

To help jump start your home renovation project, check out Blindster’s list of the top online resources below:

YouTube-logo-full_color

YouTube isn’t just for funny cat videos and sports highlights. It’s also a valuable resource for learning how to do almost anything. Whether you want to learn how to cook ratatouille, rebuild a lawnmower engine, or repair your specific model of dishwasher, chances are, you’ll find it with a quick search—and that includes virtually all DIY home renovation projects.
Being able to watch professionals and other enthusiast DIYers tackle the same problems you’re having with drywall, flooring, or wiring can be a great resource and an easy way to solve difficult problems that might otherwise require the expertise of an expensive contractor.

EBSCOhost

For more in-depth information and step-by-step guides related to your home improvement or DIY project, EBSCO’s Home Improvement Reference Center is a great resource, whether you’re just starting out or are stuck somewhere in the middle of the renovation process.

 

Search the full text of more than 125 reference books and 50 magazines, and reference 35,000 images to get a better visual of the steps you need to take to complete your DIY project. Topics covered by the database include general remodeling projects, electrical work, home and garden, outdoor improvements, plumbing, and carpentry work.

Even the best video tutorials and step-by-step guides are no match for jobs that require a true professional’s touch. Things like electrical work, complex plumbing issues, and HVAC problems are generally best left to people with years of experience in the industry, and HomeAdvisor is a great way to find the top local contractors in your area.

 

In addition to being matched with the right contractor for your home renovation project, you can also use the website’s cost estimating feature to determine how much money you’ll need to shell out to get your project finished the right way and on time. By calculating a variety of different variables, including size and scope of the job—as well as your geographic location—you’ll be able to quickly find out whether hiring a professional is within your budget.

NARI

 

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is an organization of remodeling professionals that provides industry connections, tips, and tricks for homeowners looking to renovate their homes by hiring contractors or by undertaking DIY projects. The website uses a six-step process to help homeowners during the modeling process:

 

  • Step 1: Finding inspiration for a potential remodel or renovation project, as well as reasons why the project is necessary for your home

 

  • Step 2: Creating your budget and determining how much money you’ll need to see the project through to the end in order to get a satisfactory result

 

  • Step 3: Understanding the type of professional you’ll need to get the job done, including general contractors, architects, and designers

 

  • Step 4: Using the available resources and information to select the right professional or team of professionals who fit your budget and can help you complete your renovation project

 

  • Step 5: Working with professionals throughout the renovation process by knowing the right questions to ask and maintaining open communication

 

  • Step 6: Assessing the project’s outcome upon completion and looking over finalized contracts, invoices, and receipts to make sure everything was finished to your satisfaction

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Everyone knows that undertaking a home renovation or DIY project can be challenging, but many homeowners are unaware that it can also be dangerous and potentially hazardous to your health. The EPA has a list of tips and helpful guidelines for homeowners who may come into contact with dangerous substances like lead dust while they’re in the process of renovating, repairing, and painting their homes.

 

The tips provided by the EPA cover a range of topics, including how to work safely by removing household furniture and items from rooms, purchasing the right safety equipment, and hiring certified lead abatement contractors before cutting into walls or surfaces with lead paint.

 

Lead paint isn’t the only potential danger lurking in many homes. Asbestos is also present in millions of homes constructed during the middle of the 20th century, and it can be difficult for homeowners to identify asbestos just by looking at it. When left alone, asbestos fibers don’t pose a major health risk to homeowners, but when the fibers are disturbed during renovations and remodeling projects, they can be aspirated and lead to serious health problems and diseases.

 

The EPA’s asbestos warning website for DIYers includes tips for finding a trained and accredited asbestos professional prior to beginning renovation work, as well as a list of do’s and don’ts for homeowners who may come into contact with asbestos building materials during their renovation projects.

 

U.S. Department of Housing an Urban Development

For additional resources and information about home renovations, check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s guide to home improvements. This page contains helpful links to information about the HUD’s rehabilitation and repair home loan program, property improvement loan program, HUD-approved lenders, and loans/grants for rural homeowners who want to undertake renovation and repair projects.

 

In addition, the page also offers tips for improving your home’s energy efficiency and the best ways to protect yourself and your hard-earned money from deceptive home improvement contractors.