Room-by-Room Checklist for Buying Window Treatments

When you’re ready to buy new window treatments, it’s important to make sure that your new blinds and shades are the right fit for your home and for your needs. In addition to looking beautiful and enhancing the appearance of the room, they also need to give you the right lighting and privacy—not to mention easy operation and the optional features you need. But all those aspects of window treatments may differ from room to room in your home, and that’s why it’s important to give each room consideration before you buy new blinds and shades.

The window coverings you purchase for your living room may be perfect for that specific location in your home, but they may not be right for your home office or bedroom. Taking the time to scout out each room, including what it’s primarily used for and even its orientation towards the sun, whether any trees are near the windows, and the room’s proximity to the street or sidewalk, are all factors to consider when you’re buying new window treatments.

Don’t fall victim to buyer’s remorse—check out Blindster’s room-by-room tips before you purchase your new window treatments:

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchens have rapidly become the focal point for many homes, and new homes are being built with these rooms as the central hub in their floor plans. In the past, kitchens were exclusively places to prepare and cook food, but now they’re designed as places to cook, eat, and entertain. And because of the popularity of open floor plans, kitchens may segue into living rooms and dining rooms without much separation. Finding the right window treatments for this area of your home can be a challenge, but these tips can help.

  • Let the light in with sheer shades.

    Kitchens are one room in your home where you may want as much natural sunlight as possible. But simply raising your window treatments or going without them altogether can leave you exposed to harsh glare and damaging UV rays. Instead of going sans blinds and shades, consider installing sheer shades. These window treatments can absorb the damaging parts of the sun’s rays while allowing beautiful filtered light into your kitchen. At night, it’s easy to enhance your privacy by simply closing the vanes that float between the soft fabric layers.

  • Get blinds and shades that are easily cleaned and maintained.

    Your kitchen can quickly get messy when you’re preparing and cooking food. And some of that mess can end up on your window treatments. Steam, smoke, and humidity—not to mention accidental spills and splashes—can quickly turn blinds and shades into dingy shadows of their former selves. If your windows are far from your stove and sink, you likely won’t need to heed this tip, but if they’re nearby, consider going with window treatments made from synthetic materials, such as faux wood blinds and aluminum blinds for easy cleanup and maintenance.

     

Dining Room

Dining Room

Whether you have a formal or casual dining room, your window treatment needs for this room are likely different than the needs you have for other rooms in your home. Dining rooms frequently demand a certain décor and level of elegance that other rooms don’t always need, and that can influence your buying decision when you’re looking for blinds and shades.

  • Go with Roman shades, wood blinds, or even shutters.

    If there’s one room in your home to splurge on, it’s your dining room. After all, this is the room where you’re most likely to entertain guests and extended family. For shades, it’s hard to beat the timeless appeal of Roman shades, and the huge variety of colors, textures, and patterns means you’ll have an easy time finding the right match for your place sets and color scheme. Wood blinds and shutters are also great options for traditional dining rooms, as the stains and textures immediately add to the room’s elegance.

  • Choose cordless options for a smooth, built-in look.

    To maximize your dining room’s elegant look, you may want to consider cordless versions of our Roman shades and wood blinds. Although it may not seem like a big difference, the lack of a cord not only makes these window treatments safer for children and pets, but it also adds to the “built-in” look, which only further enhances the appearance of your dining room.

Living Room

Living Room

If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time in your living room. It’s the central hub for family gatherings and relaxation. You probably have a favorite chair or section of the couch for watching TV, reading, and listening to music. Because you likely spend many of your waking hours in your living room, it’s important to make sure your window treatments are perfect for your needs.

  • Get room darkening or blackout shades for TV watching and reading.

    It’s hard to enjoy television shows, sporting events, movies, and even your favorite book when there’s a harsh glare in your face. Room darkening and blackout blinds and shades help significantly reduce the amount of harsh sunlight that enters your living room, making it easier to see what’s onscreen and what’s on the page.

  • Consider privacy blinds if your living room is near the street or sidewalk.

    In many neighborhoods, the living room is the room closest to the street or sidewalk. That can leave you feeling uneasy, especially at night when the inside of your home is lit up, making it easy to see inside from the outdoors. Privacy window treatments, such as route-less blinds, can give you peace of mind.

Bedroom

Bedroom

You spend many waking hours in your living room, but a third of your life is spent in bed. Having the right window treatments installed in your bedroom is essential for getting a good night’s sleep. That’s especially true for bedrooms located near bright street lights or bedrooms of people who work overnight shifts and need to sleep during the day.

  • Choose blackout shades with top down/bottom up options.

    If light control and privacy are of the utmost importance in your bedroom, you can’t go wrong with blackout shades. However, you may want to protect your privacy while still allowing in natural sunlight during the day and evening. Top down/bottom up shades make it easy to fill your bedroom with sunlight while still preventing anyone from seeing inside your room.

  • Consider purchasing thick blinds and shades that block outside noises.

    If there’s anything less conducive to sleep than the blinding morning sun, it’s outside noises. Whether you live in the middle of a busy and loud downtown area or near a heavily trafficked road, constant noise from car horns, ambulances, and conversations can make it hard to sleep. Thick window treatments help add an extra layer of insulation and soundproofing between the outside and your ears, muffling loud noises and silencing others.

Top Home Furnishings to Buy Online

Furnishing a new home—or replacing your existing furniture—can be both an exhilarating and exhausting process. On the one hand, it breathes new life into your home and can make it feel brand new by radically changing the look of rooms. But on the other hand, furniture shopping can be time-consuming and stressful, especially if you’re dealing with pushy salespeople and worrying about delivery costs and installation fees.

In recent years, buying furniture and major décor pieces online has become more of a viable option for many homeowners. Many retailers now allow customers a chance to view 3D models of their products, read dozens of customer reviews, get exact size dimensions, and even order color samples—all without leaving their homes. Best of all, the prices for online furniture are often cheaper than the furniture you’ll find in a showroom or retail store.

At Blindster, we’re obviously big proponents of buying furniture and all varieties of home furnishings online—and here are some of the top purchases you can and should make with just a click of your mouse:

Mattresses

Mattresses

Internet-based mattress retailers have taken the bedding world by storm over the past few years. Aggressive ad campaigns have pushed these mattress store alternatives to the forefront of many homeowners’ minds when they’re thinking about replacing a sagging or mushy spring mattress, and it’s hard to resist the appeal of skipping out on a trip to the local mattress store. While some people may be hesitant to purchase a mattress without ever sleeping on it, there are a huge number of reviews and comparison websites that can help you determine which mattress will be right for you. Best of all, many online mattress retailers offer 100 percent money-back guarantees if you don’t like your mattress at any point during a trial period of around 90 days.

Assembly-required furniture

Assembly-required furniture

Love it or hate it, adding furniture to your home is now likely to be a DIY afternoon project that requires an Allen wrench and a lot of patience. While no one likes spending a Saturday reading vague instructions and trying to decipher baffling diagrams, one perk of buying such furniture is that it comes in a box and is often lightweight and easily shipped. That makes it perfect for online shopping. Unlike a bulky sofa or loveseat that requires a special moving truck and a pair of strong men to carry it into your home, boxed furniture is often delivered by standard delivery services. That means you’ll likely pay little to no extra costs for shipping, and you’ll also save some money without having to worry about fitting the box in your vehicle.

Blinds and shades

Blinds and shades

Buying new window treatments online is easier than ever. And at Blindster, we’re proud to help customers get the perfect blinds and shades for their homes without ever actually leaving their homes. In addition to detailed product descriptions of every item in our inventory, our website also offers high-resolution photos from multiple angles and lighting scenarios, as well as user reviews from people who previously purchased those window coverings. If you’re undecided on a color or texture, you can even order samples that will help you decide which look is right for your living room, bedroom, or any other room in your home. And because we’re online-based, we can offer great prices year-round, free shipping, and even a lifetime warranty on our products.

Pillows, sheets, and blankets

Pillows, sheets, and blankets

If you’re looking for the absolute best deal when it comes to completing the look of your new couch or bed—or if you’re looking to spruce up aging furniture—you can’t beat online sales and retailers for things like pillows, sheets, and blankets. One of the biggest perks of purchasing these items online is convenient access to reviews. While buying these items in store can give you the advantage of seeing them in person and perhaps even being able to feel the texture, you may be unaware that the sheets are prone to fading or tearing, or that the blanket is prone to pilling and fraying.

Accent pieces

Accent pieces

Finding the perfect accent pieces to complete a room’s look can be challenging and can have you driving around town all day in search of the perfect purchase. But buying these items online is a much simpler and more convenient process. Search engines make it easy to narrow down your choices based on size, price, and color, turning what would otherwise be an entire day of shopping into an hour-long online search. As with pillows, sheets, and blankets, you’ll have tons of reviews to guide you, and you’ll quickly know whether that mantle clock is as sturdy and well-built as it looks, or if that corner shelf is made of real wood or particle board.

Rugs

Rugs

Got hardwood or laminate floors, but you’re missing the comfort of carpet? Rugs are a great way to add a little padding under your feet without committing to the expense of wall-to-wall carpeting. Rugs are great additions to any home from both a comfort and an aesthetic point of view, and they’re also perfect online purchases. Many online retailers sell rugs at reduced prices, and there are also online-exclusive rug sellers that offer thousands of varieties. Like accent pieces, it can be difficult to find a rug that perfectly matches a room’s color scheme and furniture. But buying rugs online can help you filter rugs that are bad fits for your home in seconds.

 

Avoid Allergy Triggers by Cleaning These Items

Spring has arrived, and while the warm weather and longer days are a welcome sight, the sneezing, watery eyes, and itchy throat can be a huge annoyance for people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Depending on your sensitivity, you may find that even staying indoors isn’t enough to avoid the worst parts of hay fever, which can last from the beginning of spring until well into the summer months.

Keeping your home properly insulated and all doors and windows closed is a great way to keep allergens outside, but pollen, ragweed, and small dust particles can hitch a ride on your clothing. Over time, they can build up throughout your home, wreaking havoc on your sinuses, eyes, and throat. And in many cases, simple spot cleaning isn’t enough to completely get rid of them—especially if you don’t know all their hiding places.

To keep your home as allergen-free as possible, check out Blindster’s list of the top personal and household items to clean on a regular basis:

Your clothing

Clothes are the biggest source of indoor allergens in homes that are well-insulated and well-sealed. Every time you step outside, especially during peak allergy season, your clothes pick up small amounts of pollen, ragweed, and other particles. When you come back inside, those particles get dispersed throughout your home, including on your bed, couch, chairs, and just about everywhere else. If you or anyone in your family is highly sensitive to allergens, you can reduce symptoms and allergen buildup by immediately washing clothes that were worn outdoors.

Your shoes

In addition to your shirt and pants picking up allergens, you should also be aware that your shoes can pick up plenty of irritants as well. A huge amount of pollen ends up directly on the ground, and it can easily stick to the tops, sides, and bottoms of your shoes. As with your clothing, that pollen will hitch a ride into your home where it can end up in every room. You can cut down on the allergens that your shoes bring inside by taking them off before you enter your home. If leaving them outside isn’t an option, use a wet rag or paper towel and wipe across the entire surface of your shoes to remove built-up allergens.

Your bedding

Even if you regularly wash your clothing and wipe down your shoes, you still may track small amounts of allergens into your home. And for many allergy sufferers, that’s enough to trigger their symptoms. Because we spend a third of our lives in bed, it makes sense that this is the place where allergens are most likely to accumulate in your home. In addition to outdoor allergens, beds are also major sources of dust mites, which can cause a whole host of issues for people who are allergic or sensitive to them. Wash your sheets, blankets, and pillow cases frequently, and avoid getting bed while wearing any clothing that was worn outside to keep these irritants at bay.

Your window treatments

In addition to being a prime spot for the collection of allergens that are airborne inside your home, window treatments also act as pollen and ragweed traps for even brief moments when you open your windows. Curtains, blinds, shades, and shutters can help block allergens from entering your home in the first place—especially when compared to windows with no coverings—but like everything else in your home, they’ll eventually accumulate a fine layer of dirt, dust, and pollen. For light cleaning, you can’t beat a feather duster to remove built-up debris. Mild cleaning solutions are effective for tougher cleaning jobs, but just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using liquids on your curtains, blinds, or shades.

Your carpet

Carpet is warm, soft, and inviting, but it can also act as a trap for just about every piece of pollen and ragweed that enters your house. Experts say that carpet simply isn’t the best option for people who are highly sensitive to allergens. If your home has carpet, it’s important to invest in a high-quality vacuum and to use it as frequently as possible to keep allergens at bay. To make matters worse, new carpets are also susceptible to off-gassing, which is the release of volatile organic compounds. These chemicals can also trigger allergies. If you or anyone in your family suffers from severe allergies, it may be worthwhile to change flooring to hardwood, tile, or laminate, which are easier to clean and less likely to hold allergens indoors.

Your vacuum cleaner

The very thing that’s designed to rid your home of allergens can also be one of the biggest culprits for triggering your allergies. While vacuums are great for quickly and easily cleaning up large messes and built-up dirt and dust, they aren’t exactly the cleanest items themselves. Irritants build up in every nook and cranny of these devices, from the brush roll to the hoses to the attachments. Empty your vacuum’s bag or canister on a frequent basis and trim away any human or animal hair that ends up around the brush roll. A clean vacuum won’t just be less likely to trigger your allergies, but it will also be more effective at cleaning your home.

Your vehicle

When you go outside and accumulate all those irritating allergens on your clothing, chances are, your next destination is the inside of your vehicle. So, before all that dust, pollen, dirt, and ragweed has had a chance to infiltrate your home, it may have spread throughout your vehicle—especially on its seats and upholstery. If you find yourself having allergy attacks when you get in your car, you’re not alone. Vehicles are major sources of allergens, and they’re also less frequently cleaned than the interior of homes. Bring your vacuum outdoors or use a commercial vacuum at a car wash on a frequent basis to keep the interior of your vehicle free from irritants.

Your indoor fans

Oscillating, box, and ceiling fans can be very effective at keeping your home feeling cool and pleasant during the spring and summer, but they may be contributing to your allergy symptoms. Taking a close look at your fans can be a shocking experience. Oscillating and box fans are often full of dust, with it coating everything from the cage and blades to the motor and base. Ceiling fans typically don’t fare much better, with irritants accumulating on the top and bottom of each blades and inside the light fixtures. A feather duster can help cut down on the debris that builds up on these devices, but heavy accumulations may require removing the cages and wiping down each blade individually.

Dos and Don’ts for Window Treatments

Getting the right window treatments for your home can make a huge difference in its appearance and comfort level. Window treatments are extremely versatile and can make windows appear larger, hide unattractive window casings, add a touch of elegance to an otherwise bland room, block out 100 percent of sunlight, allow ample filtered sunlight into your home, and even lower your electricity bills.

While there’s no mistaking the beauty, usefulness, and overall utility of window coverings, it’s important to take the right steps when you’re preparing your home for them, purchasing them, installing them, and caring for them. That said, getting new blinds and shades on your windows and keeping them looking great for years to come is a very simple process, but it does require some diligence to get the perfect look and fit for your home.

At Blindster, we see firsthand many common mistakes that some homeowners make with their window treatments, and we hope this list of Dos and Don’ts will save you from the same frustrations:

Do order samples.

Although we strive to provide the most accurate renderings of the colors, textures, and patterns in our window treatments, it’s impossible for homeowners to know 100 percent what their blinds or shades will look like in their homes simply by viewing them on a screen. All monitors, laptops, tablets, and smartphones have different color schemes and lighting, and a color that appears dark blue on one device may appear purple on another device. Ordering samples not only gives you an accurate representation of what your window treatments look like, but it also makes it easy to compare them to your furniture, your walls, and other décor in your home to find the perfect match.

Don’t place your order without taking precise measurements.

For most people, the primary purpose of ordering window treatments is to be able to control the lighting and increase the privacy in their homes. Unfortunately, blinds and shades that don’t fit properly are less effective at both. Before you place your order, make sure you take precise measurements of the interior of your window or the area outside your window where you want to install your new window treatments. If you’re not sure how to take these measurements, consult our measuring instructions section, which contains step-by-step processes for getting accurate measurements for all our products.

Do make sure you have everything you need to install your new window treatments.

Installing new blinds and shades is a DIY job that almost anyone can accomplish—especially when they’re going on standard-sized windows and doors. But to make the process as quick and easy as possible, it’s important to make sure that you’re properly equipped for the job. A step-ladder is one of the most vital tools to have when it’s time to install your window coverings, as you’ll need to reach the top of your window casing or the area that’s around one-foot above it if you opted for an outside installation. In addition, you’ll need a screwdriver, drill, drill bits, pencil, level, and all included installation materials, including brackets and cord cleats. Set all your tools out before you begin installing to keep them handy throughout the process.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

DIY isn’t for everyone, and in some cases, it can be difficult to install certain window treatments by yourself. Large window treatments that were custom cut to fit oversized windows may be too heavy and too tall or wide for one person to install, regardless of their DIY experience level. If you need help installing your new blinds and shades, don’t hesitate to call a friend, family member, neighbor, or even a contractor to assist you. Many homeowners use professionals to install window treatments, especially if they are outfitting an entire home.

Do make safety your top priority.

If you purchased window treatments with cords, whether they’re nylon cords or chain cords, it’s important to understand that they can pose strangulation risks for young children and animals. At Blindster, we include free cord cleats with all corded window treatment purchases. Make sure you install the cord cleat at the same time as your new blinds and shades, and make sure the cords are always safely secured on these devices. For even greater safety and peace of mind, move furniture away from windows that allows easy access to window treatments, including tables and chairs.

Don’t liquid clean without spot testing first.

In most cases, blinds and shades don’t need cleaning beyond regular dusting, vacuuming, and occasional wipe downs with a damp rag or paper towel. But spills or heavy accumulation of dirt and dust may necessitate more intensive cleaning. If you’re looking to remove deep stains from your window treatments, use a gentle and mild cleaning solution and test it on an inconspicuous area—even if the manufacturer’s instructions say that it’s okay to use liquid cleaners. If the test spot dries without staining or fading the fabric or other material, the cleaner will be safe to use.

Do consider outfitting other rooms in your home with the right window coverings.

Many homeowners work on one room at a time when they’re undertaking DIY projects, big or small. For many homeowners, the living room is the first place they’ll begin when they’re overhauling their homes’ window treatments. If you started out with just one room and you’re happy with the results of your new blinds or shades, consider moving on to other rooms in your home. Getting the right window treatments can make a huge difference for bedrooms, nurseries, home offices, game rooms, and even bathrooms.

 

Easy Ways to Make Your Furniture Look Brand New

Most furniture continues to be durable and strong long after it has stopped looking like it did when you took it home from the store. But drab, dull, and “worn” looking furniture can significantly detract from the appearance of a room. Thankfully, you don’t have to immediately toss your weathered furniture to the curb and shell out big bucks on an entire new suite for your living room, bedroom, or dining room.

There are plenty of easy ways to restore the appearance of faded furniture, and in most cases, it involves nothing more than a little cleaning, polishing, and waxing. There’s a huge market for furniture restoration, so you’ll have no trouble finding the right products to turn back the clock on your favorite couch, coffee table, or nightstand.

Check out some of the easiest ways to get your furniture looking brand new:

Shave your fabric-covered couch and chairs with a fabric shaver

The matte and clean appearance of fabric couches and chairs can quickly become drab and worn due to an unfortunate effect called pilling. This refers to small balls of fiber that form on fabrics and cloths.

Everything from blankets and pillows to your own clothing and pet hair can accumulate on fabric, resulting in major pilling that causes an unintentional “distressed” look on your couches and chairs. The easiest way to remove pilling is by shaving the fabric. Specially-designed fabric shavers can quickly and easily remove tiny layers of fabric, shedding the pilling in the process. If you want a quick and easy fix without spending extra money, a spare razor also works for removing pilling.

Use colorants and fillers to restore leather

A brand-new leather couch or chair is a head-turner in any room. But like fabric furniture, leather can also wear out and become cracked, faded, and discolored over time. It may seem impossible to restore leather to its factory-appearance, but there are several products designed specifically to do just that.

It’s important to first prep leather by cleaning it with specially designed cleaning products or warm water with a mild cleaning solution. After the leather is clean, you can use a filler to repair fine cracks that naturally develop over time. After that dries, you can use a colorant to restore the original color of the leather and help protect it from future fading.

Sand, scrape, and strip worn wood to reveal the beauty underneath

Like fabric and leather furniture, tables, dressers, nightstands, chests, and other wood furniture is subject to wear and tear and the ravages of time. If you have a well-ventilated area, you can begin stripping off the worn outer layer of your wood furniture in minutes with an aerosol spray paint stripper, which quickly causes the finish to lift off the wood. Next, you’ll need to use a scraper to remove the finish. A quick cleaning and light sanding with 150-grit and then 200+ grit sandpaper will finish the job.

Once the unsightly outer layer has been removed, you can apply a fresh stain to the wood surface that will give the furniture a colorful and shiny appearance. Just make sure to wipe away any excess stain to avoid streaks or raised areas. After the stain dries, apply a layer of clear coat to seal the stain and protect the wood. One or two coats later, use your fine-grit sandpaper after the clear coat dries to smooth away any imperfections before applying a final coat.

The last step is to let the furniture cure and settle in a well-ventilated area for around 24 hours before you place it back inside your home.

Household Items You Should Think Twice about before Buying