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.

Avoid DIYing These Home Renovation Projects

Thanks to a plethora of online resources and television shows, do-it-yourself projects are more popular than ever. Home renovations ranging from minor upgrades and cleanups all the way to remodeling jobs and even room additions are now within the reach of homeowners with enough spare time, money, and energy to get the job done. And while DIY projects can be significantly less expensive than hiring contractors to do the same work, they’re not without their pitfalls.

Although many DIY jobs don’t require much—if any—home renovation and repair experience or expertise, others may be more complicated than they look, especially if you live in an older home. Some homeowners take on more than they can handle and end up with a room that’s unusable for weeks, and they often end up paying more while still having to rely on a professional contractor to finish the job.

While many DIY projects are still within the capabilities of most homeowners, it’s important to recognize which ones often need an expert’s steady hand, knowledge, and resources. So, if you’re thinking about taking on some major home upgrades, be sure to check out Blindster’s list of DIY projects that you should avoid:

Removing large trees and limbs from your lawn

Whether you need to clear space for an outdoor seating area, want to reclaim your lawn, or need to spare your roof from inevitable disaster, cutting down a tree or large limb is a job that’s best left to experts. While you may have access to all the tools necessary to cut down a tree or limb, it’s important to remember that you’re dealing with something that’s extremely heavy and unpredictable. In addition to putting yourself and your own home at risk, you could also do major damage to your neighbor’s homes as well.

Renovating an existing or installing a new bathroom

Bathrooms are huge selling points for homes. When a home has plenty of bathrooms that are beautifully designed and up to date, it’s value can increase significantly. In addition, it also makes the home a more pleasant place to live. Minor bathroom renovations, such as painting cabinets or changing flooring, are straightforward. But more invasive renovations that involve things like moving the placement or dimensions of toilets, tubs, and showers can be far trickier. If you don’t have experience working with plumbing, you should leave this project in the hands of professionals to avoid a home disaster.

Rewiring a room or your entire home

Electricity makes life much easier and more convenient, but it’s easy to forget how dangerous it can be. The average home has enough power running through its wires at any given time to seriously injure or even kill a person who touches it. In addition, faulty wiring can lead to power spikes, lost power, and even fires—especially if it’s near highly flammable things like insulation, drywall, and other materials. Even something as simple as wiring in a ceiling fan should be done by a professional with experience handling live wires. Not only will that keep you safe, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that the job was done correctly, saving you time and money in the future.

Repairing a roof and replacing shingles

Most roofs have life expectancies of anywhere from 20 to 30 years. After they’ve passed that point, they’re more likely to take on a dingy and even discolored appearance. They also may leak with individual shingles peeling away from the roof or even falling off it. If your roof needs a repair, renovation, or complete re-do, you may be tempted to climb up there and begin taking care of business yourself. However, working on a roof isn’t just hard—it’s also dangerous. One-third of construction fatalities are due to workers falling off roofs, and homeowners don’t fare much better, particularly when they don’t have any experience working on a roof. Leave this job up to professional roofers and you’ll get a result that’s both satisfactory and safe.

Digging deep in your lawn or dirt

Installing a sprinkler system, planting trees and shrubs, and designing an outdoor area all involve digging in the grass and dirt. But did you know that your property may be a minefield of underground utility lines? The Common Ground Alliance Initiative reports that an underground line is damaged every six minutes nationwide due to homeowners and property owners digging without doing their due diligence. Simply calling 811 and confirming the location of underground utilities is sufficient for small projects, but you should leave bigger projects—digging out an in-ground swimming pool or space for a storm shelter—to the pros who have both the equipment and knowledge to avoid potential disasters.

Refinishing a wood floor using a sanding machine

Over time, wood floors can become dirty and dirty, and they often lose their shine and luster. When that happens, no amount of cleaning and wax will restore them to their original appearance. In fact, the only way to truly restore them is to remove the top layer of wood with a sanding machine. However, experts warn homeowners to avoid attempting this project themselves. Sanding such a large surface area requires experience both with various types of wood flooring and the machine itself. In the hands of an unskilled operator, the floor may end up uneven in both appearance and feel, due to some areas being sanded too much and others too little.

Removing popcorn ceilings or anything that may contain asbestos/lead paint

If your home was built within the past two decades or so, you’re probably off the hook when it comes to this tip. But if your home was constructed between 1940 and 1980, there’s a good chance it has popcorn ceilings, which may contain asbestos. These ceilings are often the bane of many homeowners’ existence, but trying to remove them yourself can expose you to potentially deadly asbestos-containing particles. In addition, certain areas of your home may contain lead paint. Knocking down walls or drilling into areas that contain lead paint—even if they’ve been painted over many times—can cause the lead to fall onto the floor or become airborne, putting you and your family members at risk of developing health complications. Always hire a professional to do any work that may result in coming into contact with asbestos or lead paint.

5 Common Misconceptions about Blinds and Shades

Buying blinds and shades may seem like a simple process, but because window treatments can dramatically change the appearance of a room, many homeowners are extremely careful and do their homework before they swipe their credit cards or submit an order. To make the process even more convoluted, there are many misconceptions and myths about blinds and shades that can scare homeowners away from certain types of window coverings altogether.

It’s important to know that window treatments have come a long way in recent years. Many of the drawbacks and shortcomings that were common in past decades have been resolved via extensive product testing and a move to higher quality components and materials. That means that many of the pervasive myths and misconceptions about blinds and shades came about in an era when window treatments were less reliable and more likely to give homeowners trouble.

At Blindster, we’re here to answer any questions and address any concerns that our customers have before and after they place an order. That said, here are some of the top misconceptions about window coverings that all homeowners should know about:

Installing blinds requires special tools, expertise, or a contractor

Blinds and shades may seem complicated to mount and install, but almost anyone can install them with just a few basic tools. For example, most window treatments can be easily installed with nothing more than a drill, drill bit, screwdriver, tape measure, ruler, level, pencil, and step ladder. They also come with installation kits that include things like screws and mounting brackets.

Many window treatments are also lightweight and can be installed by a single person. Best of all, Blindster has measuring and installation instructions for all the window coverings that we sell.

Custom blinds are expensive

At Blindster, all our window treatments are custom. We take customer-provided measurements and cut blinds and shades that fit their windows perfectly. In fact, making sure all our window coverings are custom-sized and custom-cut is the only way to ensure that our customers get the fit and effectiveness that they want out of their new blinds and shades.

Options are limited for window coverings

The number of optional components and features available for window coverings is impressive. In addition to standard options like blackout and privacy liners, today’s blinds and shades include options for things like cordless operation, top down bottom up operation, continuous cord loop operation, and a huge variety of colors and textures.

It’s impossible to pick the right color, pattern, or texture when shopping online

While it’s true that things like different computers, monitors, browsers, and color profiles can make a color appear different onscreen compared to what it looks like in real life, Blindster offers a great way to get an up close and personal view of colors, patterns, and textures without any risk: samples.

We offer samples of a huge variety of our products and customers can order multiple at one time, making it easy to compare them against your furniture and existing décor to get the right color for your home.

It’s hard to keep blinds and shades clean

Some blinds and shades are more likely to accumulate dirt and dust than others, but they’re all easily cleaned. For blinds and shades that can be damaged by harsh cleaners and solutions, a feather duster and spot cleaning with a mild cleaner is often all it takes to get out stains, built-up dirt, and other debris.

However, many types of window coverings are highly durable and resistant to even the most intensive cleaning. Aluminum mini blinds and vertical blinds, for example, can be removed from their mounts and cleaned in a bathtub, while faux wood blinds can be cleaned with stronger chemical cleaning solutions without the risk of damage, discoloration, or fading.

Best Window Treatments for Different Climates

One of the best ways to insulate your home and make it more energy efficient is to install blinds and shades on your windows. But what’s best for a home in the humid South may not be the best option for a home in the dry Southwest. In addition, windows in geographic regions that get 300+ days of sunshine per year should be insulated and covered differently than windows in regions that get much less sunshine and experience cold or freezing temperatures for several months.

While any window covering is better than no window covering when it comes to insulating your home and protecting your furniture and your family’s privacy, maximizing the effectiveness of your blinds and shades by picking ones that are suited to your area’s climate can go a long way toward making your home more energy efficient 365 days per year.

For a list of the best window treatments for different climates, check out Blindster’s top picks below:

Sunny and Dry

Homeowners who live in warm, dry, and sunny climates have a wide range of options to choose from. The biggest need for many people in these area is reducing the amount of heat that enters their windows, eliminating harsh glares, and reducing the effects of UV rays.

Ideal window treatments for this geographic region include:

  • Solar ShadesMany homeowners in warm, sunny climates want to maximize the perks of living in such an area by filling their homes with natural sunlight. However, they also want to minimize the warming effect caused by sunlight and the damage its UV rays can do to their furniture and even their skin.Our Premium and Deluxe solar shades are made with Phifer Sheerweave® fabrics, which are highly durable while significantly reducing heat and glare while preserving your view of the outdoors. They’re also designed to cut down on the intensity of the sun’s UV rays, increasing the lifespan of your furniture and protecting fabric, wood, and other materials from fading.
  • Sheer ShadesIf solar shades aren’t a good fit for your home, but you still want to maximize natural sunlight to heat and light your living room, bed room, or dining room, sheer shades are an excellent alternative.These window coverings are a mixture of shades and blinds with fabric vanes floating between soft, knitted fabric sheers. Raise the vanes to get soft, diffused, and filtered light in your home that has 99 percent fewer UV rays than unblocked sunlight.

Cold and Rainy

Areas like the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast often receive large amounts of rainfall and snowfall. In the winter, windows can become a major source of heat loss for homes in these regions. At Blindster, we recommend heavy blinds and shades that can provide maximum insulation to keep warm air in and cold air out during the fall, winter, and early spring.

Some of the top window coverings for rainy and cold areas are:

  • Roman ShadesRoman shades are thick and heavy like a winter coat. And just like your favorite winter clothing, these window treatments are designed to ward off cold air and keep drafts at bay. Our Premium Roman shades are available in four groups—A, B, C, and D—with dozens of colors to choose from in each category.When combined with energy efficient or newly insulated windows, these shades are the ultimate in keeping your home protected the harsh elements outside. Raise them during the day to naturally heat your home when the sun is out and lower them at night to seal the warm air indoors. Finally, pair them with a blackout liner for extra privacy, light reduction, and insulation.
  • Wood BlindsNothing completes the look of a stately New England home or a rustic cabin nestled in the Pacific Northwest quite like wood blinds. Our real wood blinds are made from kiln-dried American basswood, which is harvested from forests in the Eastern USA and Canada. For many homeowners, there’s no substitute for the subtle textures and colors found in actual wood grain, and that’s why we use only the highest-quality wood in our manufacturing process.Real wood blinds are great at insulating homes and acting as a barrier between your living room, bedroom, or office and cold, rainy drafts outside. The best part about installing wood blinds in wet and cold climates is the fact that they seamlessly match almost all furniture and décor that’s native to those areas.

Sunny and Rainy

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but anyone who lives there knows that rain showers are a frequent occurrence—as are high levels of humidity. All the moisture in the area can cause some types of window treatments to fade, warp, or even mildew over long periods of time, especially if they’re exposed to the elements due to open windows or doors.

These window treatments are designed to hold up against both the sun’s damaging rays and the effects of frequent high humidity:

  • Faux Wood BlindsFaux wood blinds are created using synthetic materials, such as vinyl and vinyl compound materials. However, they look and feel extremely similar to real wood. But unlike wood blinds, faux wood blinds are designed to stand up to harsh conditions. Real wood is susceptible to warping and discoloration due to things like constant sunlight exposure and humidity, but faux wood was specifically designed to be used in humid conditions such as bathrooms, kitchens, and garages.With these blinds, you’ll have peace of mind in even the wettest and sunniest climates. Feel free to leave your patio doors and windows open and let in a fresh breeze, as the hardy construction of faux wood blinds means that they’ll be no worse for the wear even after years of exposure to moisture and high humidity.
  • Aluminum BlindsWant blinds that are easy to clean, resistant to fading, and durable enough to hold up for many years? If so, you can’t go wrong with our aluminum blinds. These window coverings are extremely common in homes, apartments, and businesses throughout the world for good reason. They work well in virtually any climate and thrive under even the harshest conditions.In addition to being highly effective at blocking out light and protecting your privacy, aluminum blinds are also ideal for warm and humid climates. Like faux wood blinds, aluminum blinds won’t mold or mildew and can be easily cleaned with solutions that might damage other types of window coverings.

2017 Window Treatment New Year’s Resolutions

Many people use a new year as an opportunity to start a fitness program, take up a new hobby, or accomplish an important goal at work. But at Blindster, we like to think of a new year as the perfect time to solve any issues you have with window treatments in your home. Getting the right blinds and shades in each room can make a huge difference in your home’s overall appearance, and it can even improve your quality of sleep and your overall satisfaction with your home.

Best of all, buying and installing new window treatments is one of the most “bang for your buck” home upgrades—especially if you’re looking to make a big change in 2017 but you’re on a strict budget. We have blinds and shades that are doable on almost any budget, and they’re all built with high-quality materials that are designed to last for many years.

Take control of your home’s lighting, insulation, and privacy the right way by following these window treatment New Year’s resolutions:

 

Get window coverings for your bare windows.

Get window coverings for your bare windows.

Whether it’s the windows in your spare bedroom, basement, or even your living room, bare windows can significantly detract from the appearance of a room. In addition to conveying a “just moved in” look, they’re also privacy risks and can result in fluctuating temperatures and even faded furniture. If you have bare windows, your priority in 2017 should be covering them. If you’re on a strict budget, you can’t go wrong with our Cordless Aluminum Blinds or our 2” Super Value Faux Wood Blinds.

 

Take control of the lighting in your bedrooms, living room, and home office.

Bright sunlight or even bright street lights can make it difficult to sleep, relax, and work. And in many cases, certain types of window treatments aren’t sufficient to block out sunlight that keeps you up at night or artificial light that prevents you from getting your work done. If you’re unhappy with the window treatments in your bedrooms, living room, or home office, replace them with blinds or shades that will get the job done. For the ultimate in light blocking, check out our Premium Blackout Fabric Roller Shades Group A, which are made with 100 percent high-end polyester and are designed to absorb the sun’s bright and damaging UV rays before they can enter your home.

 

Order the window treatments you’ve always wanted.

Are you bored with your window treatments? Does a friend or family member have shades that you’re dying to install in your own home? If so, treat yourself in 2017 and take the plunge by ordering the window coverings you’ve always wanted. When it comes to luxury in terms of both materials and appearance, you’ll love our huge selection of Roman shades. Our Premium Roman Shades are available in four varieties—groups A, B, C, and D—with dozens of colors available in each group. These shades are highly customizable, with options like pleated and hobbled folds, cordless lifts, top down/bottom up operation, and blackout liners.

 

Clean your existing window treatments

Clean your existing window treatments.

Already got window treatments that you love, but perhaps they’re looking a bit dingy as of late? If so, it’s nothing that a little elbow grease and light cleaning can’t fix. For aluminum, faux wood, and wood blinds, use a fabric duster to collect dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris from the slats. Then, use a lightly dampened cloth or sponge to wipe away any extra dirt. For shades, a duster and a vacuum are great ways to reduce dust, while heavy stains may require more intensive cleaning solutions. Always attempt a test spot when using mild (never harsh) cleaning solutions to avoid staining or fading the fabric.

 

Make your outdoor area more comfortable with exterior shades

Make your outdoor area more comfortable with exterior shades.

Whether you’re lounging by the pool or enjoying fresh air on your patio, the sun’s heat and harsh glare can make difficult to relax for more than just a few minutes at a time without overheating or worrying about a sunburn. Exterior shades are the perfect way to reclaim your home’s outdoor area so that you can enjoy your view year-round and even on the hottest summer days when the sun’s rays are at their most intense. We have two options to choose from—a shade that blocks 95 percent of UV rays and a shade that blocks 90 percent of UV rays. Both maintain your view and are available in six colors, and they’re both the perfect solution for an outdoor area that otherwise puts your skin and eyes at risk of sun-related damage.

 

Childproof and pet-proof your home with cordless options and cord cleats

Childproof and pet-proof your home with cordless options and cord cleats.

At Blindster, we offer free cord cleats with the purchase of any window treatments that utilize cords for lifting and lowering. If you have cord-operated window treatments and don’t have cord cleats installed to keep them safely tucked away, get them as soon as possible—especially if you have pets or small children. These small plastic or metal devices can make a huge difference in your home’s overall safety. If you’re looking to purchase new blinds or shades, consider trying cordless options. As you might expect, these types of window coverings are naturally safe for kids and pets due to the lack of cloth, nylon, or metal cords and chains.

Summer Energy Saving Tips

Warm weather is here to stay for several months in most parts of the country, and that means backyard barbecues, trips to the beach, and outdoor DIY projects. Although warm weather is a welcome relief for most people, homeowners know that the months of May through September can also bring an unwanted surprise: extremely high energy bills.

Keeping a house cool during the dog days of summer requires a huge amount of energy and a powerful air conditioning unit. That’s why energy bills during the warm months of the year can be substantially higher than they are during early spring and fall. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your home more energy efficient and keep your energy bill at a reasonable level. Best of all, many of the top tips for conserving energy in your home are inexpensive and quick projects that can be completed in less than a day.

Check out Blindster’s tips below for the best ways to cut down on your electric bill this summer:

  • Install insulating and UV-ray blocking window treatments.

Premium Light Filtering Double Cellular Shade

Your windows are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to areas of your home that represent energy inefficiency—especially in the summer. The sun’s UV rays enter your home through your windows and cause its ambient temperature to rise over time. Reducing the amount of UV that passes through your windows is an effective way of making your home more energy efficient.

 

At Blindster, we offer a wide selection of energy efficient window treatments. Choose from cellular shades like our Premium Blackout Single Cellular Shades and our Premium Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades, or pick up our Premium Blackout Solar Shades, 2” Premium Light Filtering Sheer Shades, and even our Fauxwood Plantation Shutters.

  • Seal cracks and openings around your windows and doors.

Seal cracks and openings around your windows and doors

Photo via Pinterest

 

In addition to reducing the amount of UV light that enters your windows, it’s also important to make sure that cold air isn’t escaping and warm air isn’t entering. Cracks and small openings around your windows and doors can make your air conditioner work overtime keeping your home cool—and that increased energy output will quickly show up on your energy bill.

 

Caulk and weatherstrip your windows and doors to form a stronger seal when they are closed to make your home more energy efficient. If your windows and doors are old and difficult to seal, replacing them is an option that will cost more upfront, but will ultimately save you money down the road.

  • Keep your thermostat at a reasonable temperature to reduce energy costs.

Keep Your Thermostate at a Reasonable Temperature to Reduce Energy Costs

When it’s hot outside, it can be tempting to change your thermostat to a low temperature to make it as comfortable as possible inside. However, every degree below your home’s ambient temperature represents additional utility costs and energy requirements.

It’s not necessary to do without air conditioning during the summer, but you might be surprised by how comfortable your home can be when the thermostat is set higher than normal and airflow is supplemented by ceiling fans and stand-alone fans. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy reports that ceiling fans allow thermostats to be increased by 4 degrees without a noticeable reduction in comfort levels.

  • Reduce the amount of heat your appliances and gadgets produce.

Reduce the amount of heat your appliances and gadgets produce

In addition to the sun, your biggest enemy in the battle of reducing your energy bills is everything inside your home that plugs into a wall outlet or power strip. Everything from televisions, computers, laptops, cable television boxes, hair dryers, toasters, dishwashers, light bulbs, and microwaves is capable of generating heat that can increase the ambient temperature in a room by multiple degrees.

 

However, none of these appliances and gadgets affect your home’s temperature as much as your oven. When you’re trying to save on energy costs during the summer, avoid baking or broiling as much as possible. Instead, cook on your stove or even on a grill outside.

  • Purchase and install a smart or programmable thermostat.

Smart Thermostat

Photo via Pinterest

 

Your air conditioning needs change on a weekly, daily, and even hourly basis. There’s no sense in keeping your home cooled to a comfortable temperature while you’re at work and the house is empty. Studies show that programmable thermostats can save homeowners hundreds of dollars every year in energy costs due to making sure air conditioners work only when necessary and never waste energy by cooling empty homes.

 

They are especially convenient and efficient for homeowners whose schedule changes day by day. Instead of manually changing the temperature multiple times throughout the week, each day can be individually programmed on a 24-hour basis, resulting in even more energy savings.

 

  • Replace your air filters regularly and schedule frequent inspections for your air conditioner.

Replace Your Air Filter Regularly

Photo via Pinterest

 

Even the most modern and energy efficient air conditioning unit will struggle when it’s backed up or clogged due to dirty air filters. Replace your air filters frequently—especially during the summer—as the combination of increased allergens and dust particles and increased demand on your air conditioning unit can make breakdowns much more likely to occur.

 

In addition, it’s also important to schedule regular inspections and maintenance for your central air conditioning unit. Many major issues with these units aren’t noticeable or detectable until it’s too late. Repairing a central AC unit can be very expensive and take several days—which can be difficult to handle when it happens in the middle of summer. Frequent inspections and part replacements/repairs can keep your AC unit running in peak conditioning, reducing your electric bill and decreasing the chances of its malfunctioning on a hot summer day.

  • Reduce your water heater’s maximum temperature.

Reduce your water heater’s maximum temperature

Photo via Pinterest

 

Hot water is great for taking baths and refreshing showers, but it’s less necessary in the summer when the temperature of your home may be higher than normal. The U.S. Department of Energy says that water heating accounts for nearly 20 percent of the energy consumed by a typical household, but heating water to temperatures above 120 degrees is rarely necessary. Reducing your water heater’s maximum temperature will not only save you money, but it will also prevent you from accidentally scalding or burning yourself while washing your hands or taking a shower.

Everything You Could Want to Know About Cellular Shades

When Cellular Shades came on the market they were one of the most innovative window treatment options to be released in a very long time. Their popularity grew because of their effectiveness at reducing energy costs by reducing a home’s total thermal loss. Whether you’re already a cellular shade fan or you’re looking for a reason to buy, this list will tell you everything you could want to know about cellular shades.

They Were Released in 1985

Today’s cellular shade began with the launch of Hunter Douglas’s 1985 Duette Honeycomb Shades. They had the same cellular structure we know now and were advertised as being soft, durable and highly energy efficient. Since then, many other companies have created their own versions of those shades and began referring to them mainly as cellular shades.

Their Design Makes Them Energy Efficient

Most of the heat transfer in your home happens through windows and doors. The individual cells within the shade hold air, creating a barrier between the window surface and the indoor room, making them much more protective than regular shades.

They Come in Several Styles

closeup celluar

Cellular shades can come in multiple layers of cells; each extra layer provides more heat and light control inside your home. The layers act as insulation around your windows, keeping out heat in the summer and the warmth in during winter.

Color Makes a Difference

Changing the color of your cellular shade can also affect its ability to reduce heat transfer. The darker the shade, the more light filtering you are going to get inside your home.

Two Shades in One

double cellular shade

Day/Night cordless cellular shades are part light filtering and part blackout. The light filtering part of the shade can be scrunched up to reveal the blackout shade and the blackout shade can be scrunch down to use the light filtering shade. It is the ultimate in window treatment flexibility!

Easy to Maintain

Cellular shades tend to be more durable than horizontal blinds, which can become bent and unsightly. They are typically made from spun lace and bonded polyester that is easy to dust and clean.

Fall Home Preparation Checklist

Although the weather is still warm throughout most of the country, things like Halloween decorations, costumes, and candy are already on display in grocery stores and supermarkets, and that can only mean one thing—fall is right around the corner (pumpkin everything is coming). The days are already getting shorter, and it won’t be long until there’s a slight chill in the air and football takes over the nation’s televisions on Saturdays and Sundays.

And while the seasonal transition from summer to fall may seem like it doesn’t require much more than packing away your flip-flops, shorts, and beach gear, truly optimizing your home and your life for the fall season can require a bit of planning and preparation. To save you some time and make the process as easy as possible, Blindster prepared this list of the top tasks to complete before the autumn equinox arrives on Sept. 23.

Check and clean your gutters

Although rainfall may be heavy in the summer depending on where you live, your gutters are unlikely to experience any major issues due to the overall lack of debris from nearby trees. But as fall approaches, it’s vital to clear out any potential blockages and make them as clean as possible before the autumn rains begin and the water mixes with falling leaves, sticks, pine cones, and other objects that can cause them to clog, leak, or even break.

Seal cracked pavement and asphalt

Small cracks lining your driveway, sidewalk, deck, or patio aren’t a major issue when the weather is nice and balmy outside, but as soon as it dips towards freezing, those cracks can grow and expand seemingly overnight. Walk the length of your outdoor area and check for any small or moderate-sized cracks and fill them in as soon as possible. A complete late-summer seal of your hard outdoor surfaces significantly reduces the chances of them becoming damaged during the fall or winter months.

Get your HVAC inspected

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—or, in the case of your HVAC unit, thousands of dollars in repairs. Even if your HVAC unit made it through the summer months with nary a hiccup, that doesn’t mean it’s going to handle winter weather with the same ease. Before you crank up the heat for the first time this fall or winter, schedule a quick inspection by a certified and experienced HVAC repair service. Allow the inspector to test the unit for any signs that the unit may be in danger of failing or for any components that need to be repaired or replaced.

Check and replace your window coverings

The fall and winter months are a great time to save money on your energy bill by letting the sun’s rays heat and light your home—and that’s best accomplished by installing the correct type of blinds or shades. Consider installing versatile shades like top-down/bottom-up varieties on windows where you need a mixture of natural light and privacy throughout the day, and install roller, blackout, or roman shades on windows where you need extra insulation from the cold air outside.

Schedule a plumbing and pipe inspection

In addition to protecting your gutters, HVAC, and paved areas, it’s also important to make sure your plumbing and pipes are ready for a potentially harsh fall and winter. Schedule an inspection to make sure none of them are in danger of suffering major damage if your region experiences frequent cold autumn or winter weather—particularly temperatures that drop well below freezing. Damaged pipes can burst during cold weather, which not only leaves you without water, but it can also force you to shell out thousands of dollars for repairs.

Get your closets and clothing ready for colder weather

During the spring and summer, your family’s coats, hoodies, long-sleeve shirts, and sweatshirts tend to get buried, pushed around, or even misplaced in your closets, dressers, and chests. Take the time to securely pack away your beach gear and summer clothing and restock your closets with cold weather clothing. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check the pockets of any pairs of pants or jackets from last winter—you may find a nice surprise in the form of some cold hard cash that was left behind months ago.

Buy a humidifier to prevent and treat dry skin and sore throats

Turning up the heat on your thermostat means more dry air to circulate through your home—and that dry air can cause flaky skin, dry eyes, sore throats, and even nose bleeds. If specific rooms in your home are especially dry or certain people in your family suffer from dry air symptoms, consider purchasing humidifiers and placing them in problem areas and specific bedrooms throughout your home. Humidifiers can make a big difference in the moisture content in the air by significantly increasing overall humidity to more comfortable levels, making air easier to breathe and reducing unpleasant dry air side effects.

Inspect and repair any problem areas on your roof

Much like your gutters and HVAC unit, your roof may have stood up to the summer heat admirably, but fall and winter weather is a different test entirely. The stretch from October to February can be brutal on your roof, as it may be subjected to everything from falling limbs and torrential downpours to heavy snowfall and freezing rain. Take the time to inspect your roof before fall arrives, and if you’re unsure of what to look for, hire a professional to do it for you. A quick repair during the late summer months may not be easy on your wallet, but it’s well worth the initial cost to avoid the possibility of a full roof failure during the winter months.

Reseal your windows and weatherproof your doors

The easiest route for cold air to get into your home is through small cracks in your windows and around your doors. That’s why it’s vital to take the time before fall arrives to reseal and re-caulk your windows. Blocking even small gaps in a single window make a big difference in sealing in warm air and keeping cold air out of your home. In addition, check any exterior doors in your home. If there are any large gaps between the floor and the bottom of the door, purchase a weather strip to help create a more air-tight seal.

Benefits of Exterior Solar Shades

Exterior areas are the perfect places to relax and unwind, but the heat, intense sunlight and lack of privacy can make some homeowners less likely to enjoy these areas as much as they could. Thankfully, exterior solar shades are the perfect option to reclaim exterior spaces, including sunrooms, decks, balconies, porches, and pool enclosures.

If you’ve considered adding exterior solar shades to your outdoor area but need a little more convincing, here are a few unique benefits that you’ll enjoy right away:

• Keep cool in the summer

It’s hard to fully enjoy your outdoor areas during the summer—especially when temperatures soar and the sun’s rays are at their most intense. Exterior solar shades can significantly reduce the amount of heat that is transferred into your exterior area and even the adjacent rooms of your home. That also means your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard, saving you money on your utility bills.

• Block the sun’s UV rays

The sun’s rays can be extremely damaging to your skin, contributing to everything from premature aging to skin cancer. While many home’s outdoor spaces may have covered roofs, direct sunlight in the morning or evening—or even sunlight reflected off water or other surfaces—can cause skin damage after just brief periods of exposure. Exterior solar shades significantly reduce harmful UV rays from the sun and make it safe for you to enjoy your exterior area no matter the time of day.

• Reduce fading and sun damage to your furniture

Just as the sun can damage your skin, it can also damage your furniture and anything that receives frequent exposure to its rays. Whether it’s the fabric on a chair or the wood grain on a table, constant and intense sunlight exposure can quickly cause furniture to lose its color, luster, and vibrancy, resulting in a dingy and washed-out appearance. By significantly reducing the intensity of the sun’s UV rays, exterior solar shades can help protect your furniture and extend its lifespan.

• Preserve your beautiful view

One of the most appealing parts of having an exterior area is enjoying the view. Whether your exterior area overlooks your pool, your lawn, or your neighborhood, preserving your view is a requirement for any exterior window coverings—and exterior solar shades deliver. Blindster offers exterior solar shades with high levels of transparency, which means you’ll barely be able to see them. But despite their sheer appearance, even the most view-preserving exterior solar shades are still highly effective at blocking out sunlight and reducing heat.

• Increase and protect your family’s privacy

For many homeowners, enjoying their exterior areas means feeling less secure and more exposed—especially if their home is in a neighborhood with small lot sizes and many homes build closely together. Exterior solar shades are the perfect solution for increasing privacy in exterior areas. Because Blindster offers a variety of exterior solar shades, you can find one that perfectly matches your need for preserving your view while also increasing and protecting your family’s privacy.

• Reduce harsh glare during all hours of the day

If your outdoor area is near a body of water, including a pool, pond, stream, or lake, there’s a good chance that the sunlight’s reflection off the water can produce a strong glare during certain hours of the day. Exterior solar shades can reduce the glare and reflection—which means you can enjoy your outdoor area without the need for sunglasses.

• Enhance your home’s beauty

While some homeowners may think of exterior solar shades as being purely functional items, there are actually many stylish and beautiful options for outdoor spaces. At Blindster, we offer a wide variety of exterior solar shades, including many different designs, colors, levels of transparency, and installation options. You can also try before you buy by ordering a free sample of any exterior solar shade listed on our website.

• Can be custom made to fit almost any outdoor space

Outdoor spaces can range from screened and glassed-in porches to sunrooms and large balconies. All of these areas require different sizes and installment options for exterior solar shades, and all of them can be accommodated through Blindster. In addition, exterior solar shades can be installed like traditional shades and mounted flush inside window frames, and they can also be mounted outside the window frame on the wall, the window molding, or even the ceiling itself for maximum versatility and compatibility

• Easily raised and lowered

The benefits of exterior solar shades in the summer may be less important during the winter—especially when it comes to blocking out the sun’s rays. Thankfully, it’s quick and easy to raise and lower exterior solar shades, giving you maximum control over the privacy and lighting of your outdoor area. Keep the shades lowered during the summer to block out UV light and reduce heat, and raise them in the winter to allow the sun to warm your outdoor area.

• Designed to withstand the elements

Unlike traditional indoor shades, exterior solar shades are designed to hold up under tough conditions for years and years. Blindster’s exterior solar shades are tested to endure the harshest elements of nature, including constant sunlight exposure, torrential rainfall, and strong winds. Once your exterior solar shades are installed, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your outdoor area will be protected from the sun’s harmful rays for years to come with minimal maintenance required.

• Protect your outdoor space from insects and pests

Your outdoor area should be a comfortable space free from distractions, but it’s hard to enjoy it when you’re fighting off insects like flies or mosquitoes. Exterior solar shades provide a solid barrier between your family and unwanted pests and reduce your need for bug sprays and other pest-blocking devices.

• Preserve the sounds of nature

For outdoor areas that aren’t glassed-in, exterior solar shades provide protection on par with even tinted windows while also preserving the sounds of nature. That means you can enjoy the sounds of your children splashing in the pool or a pleasant rainfall while also enjoying protection from the sun and increased privacy.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Tiny House

Once considered the realm of the niche and perhaps the crazy, tiny houses are quickly becoming hot commodities and are increasing in sales every year. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, tiny houses are around 100-400 square feet in total size—which is significantly smaller than the average American home size of 2,600 square feet. Tiny houses generally feature one bedroom, a small dining and living area, and a very small kitchen and bathroom. In fact, most tiny houses could fit several times over in the average home’s living room or garage.

What’s the appeal of tiny houses? Supporters say that they’re much more affordable, economically sound, and encourage a lifestyle that moves away from consumerism. However, they’re not without some serious drawbacks. Here are some of the top pros and cons for living in a tiny house:

PRO

Pro: They’re cheap.

Tiny houses are cheap in several ways. First, they’re cheap to purchase outright. Many cost between $15,000 and $80,000, but they can be built for significantly less if they’re built by hand. In addition, tiny houses are much cheaper to furnish, heat in the winter and cool in the summer, and the required land to build a tiny house is small. All in all, the costs of building and living in a tiny house are significantly less than the costs of living in a traditional multi-bedroom home.

CON

Con: They’re tiny.

This con may seem obvious considering their name, but tiny houses are just that—tiny. Living in such a small space takes getting used to, and some people will never be able to adapt to living in close quarters with significant others or pets. In addition to the lack of room to move around, tiny houses also have very little storage space, which means owners must get creative with their furniture and be extremely cautious about bringing anything new into the home to avoid running out of room or becoming overrun with even a small amount of possessions.

PRO

Pro: They’re easy to clean.

A positive trade-off of the lack of space means that tiny houses are incredibly easy to keep clean. While deep-cleaning a traditional family home takes hours or even days, cleaning a tiny house from top to bottom can be done in an hour or less. The ease of cleaning a tiny house doesn’t end with cleaning the living space, either. Tiny house owners also benefit from being able to clean the outside of their homes in no time. Problems like mildew, chipped paint, stained ceiling tiles, and other unsightly issues that are common with larger homes can be cleaned off or repaired in a snap on a tiny house.

CON

Con: They lack privacy.

Unless a tiny house is built in a secluded area, it’s hard to feel a true sense of privacy while living in such small quarters. While traditional home owners can escape inside their homes and feel protected and separated from the outside world, tiny home dwellers may feel vulnerable and barely protected from nature and even their neighbors. The inability to retreat to a private area of a home, such as a large bathroom or quiet bedroom, can be difficult for some home owners to accept when they make the transition to a tiny house.

PRO

Pro: They encourage an active lifestyle.

While tiny houses can certainly be built and furnished to encourage comfort, their size means that many people will feel compelled to get out of the house more often. Modern homes make many people creatures of habit and comfort, and coming from home from work to watch television is a reality of life for many people. But because tiny houses are designed primarily for efficiency and savings over comfort, they’re perfect for people who would rather spend their leisure time outdoors or in public spaces.

CON

Con: They’re vulnerable in severe weather.

Whether it’s flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, or even just strong winds, tiny houses are much more vulnerable to the elements than standard homes. While there are precautions and proactive steps tiny home owners can take to help make their abodes sturdier and more able to withstand severe weather, they’re still not ideal places to live when the sky turns dark and menacing. To better protect themselves in the event of severe weather, some tiny home owners invest in storm shelters to have safe places where they can wait out storms and other inclement weather.

PRO

Pro: They’re eco-friendly.

Tiny houses require much less energy to build, maintain, power, and air condition. They also use fewer construction materials, which means they make a much smaller initial impact on the environment. Some tiny houses can even be powered almost exclusively by solar energy, meaning their carbon footprint after construction is almost zero. Another positive to owning a tiny house is that the extra land that normally would be taken up by the home itself can be repurposed for other purposes, such as raising livestock or growing a garden to produce fresh food on a year-round basis.

CON

Con: They use small appliances.

Due to the lack of space, things many home owners take for granted, such as full-size appliances, are considered luxuries for tiny home owners. Instead of having a large double-door refrigerator, tiny home owners often must settle for apartment-sized or even mini refrigerators to cool and freeze their foods. And because the refrigerators are so small, it can limit the amount of food they can store at any given time, meaning more frequent trips to the grocery store. Automatic dishwashers are often excluded from tiny homes, and washer and dryers for clothes are often excluded or small in size as well.

 

As you can see, owning and living in a tiny home isn’t for everyone.While there are certainly some very appealing aspects to simplifying your lifestyle to the point where you can live and thrive in a house under 400 square feet, the drawbacks can be significant. In the end, it’s up to each person to decide if a tiny house is right for them.