5 Household Items that Are Worth the Extra Cost

Everyone likes to save money, and between online shopping and large big box retail stores, it’s easier than ever to find great deals on the items you use every day. And while it feels great to save some cash when you’re buying household products, the short-term savings can end up costing you more in the long run if you need to buy replacements just a few short months or years later.

Browsing the upper-tier of many household items can lead to serious sticker shock, especially if you’re used to going with the more economical versions, but in many cases, you get what you pay for. In addition to getting higher-quality components and manufacturing processes, many high-end household products also include a greater number of features and conveniences, making life just a little easier and more efficient—which is always a major plus if you have a hectic schedule.

The next time you’re shopping for your home, be sure to consider shelling out a little extra cash for these everyday items:

Office chairs

Whether you work from home or simply spend a lot of time using your computer, there’s no greater gift you can give yourself than a comfortable office chair. Poorly built, uncomfortable, and non-ergonomic office chairs can quickly lead to back aches, neck strain, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have a home office, there’s a good chance you spend anywhere from a couple of hours to a full 9-5 shift sitting in your rolling chair. If you consider how much you’re paying per hour to sit there—especially over the course of the chair’s lifetime—it makes sense to shell out a few extra hundred dollars to get one that’s comfortable for long periods and that won’t leave you feeling like you need to visit a chiropractor

Blenders

The idea of shelling out a few hundred dollars for a blender can seem outrageous, especially when there are other models sitting on the store shelf right next to it for a fraction of the price. But anyone who frequently makes smoothies, shakes, and juices knows that blenders tend to break in short order. Whether it’s due to dull blades, a cracked glass container, or a burned-out motor, cheap blenders aren’t built to last. The more expensive models, on the other hand, are designed to last for many years and can easily chop through just about anything, giving you creamy smoothies without a hint of ice chunks

Vacuum

Much like blenders, cheap vacuums may seem adequate and effective at first, but their low-quality components make them ticking time bombs. A single snag on a rug or a rogue penny that gets sucked into the bag or bin can cause a complete breakdown of the motor and power system. And even if you can’t pinpoint the vacuum’s failure to a single event, there’s a good chance you’ll notice that it loses suction after just a few years of usage. High-end vacuums have taken a large segment of the market due to their immensely powerful suction, great warranties, and high-end features. They make cleaning your home much easier and are designed to work equally as well on carpet and hard floors, such as wood, tile, and vinyl.

Filtered-water pitchers and carbonated drink makers

Drinking more water is one of the easiest and most effective ways to add a new healthy habit to your life. But many people dislike the taste of water straight from the tap. There’s no shortage of options of bottled and canned water, including purified, spring, and carbonated varieties. However, stocking up on water every time you go to the grocery store can get quite expensive—especially when you realize that you can produce the same great taste at home. Filtered pitchers have a low initial cost, but they do require buying new filters every few months to maintain their effectives. And carbonated drink makers also have a low-price tag, but the tanks that create the fizz also must be replaced at regular intervals. Still, the price you pay for these replacements is significantly less than the price you’ll pay at the grocery store for essentially the same items

Blinds and shades

There’s nothing more frustrating than installing new window treatments only to watch the aluminum chip and fade, the wood lose its luster and vibrancy, and the fabric become frayed and discolored. Not to mention the pain of dealing with blinds and shades that are uneven, difficult to operate, and simply unappealing due to poor manufacturing processes and low-quality components. At Blindster, we’re proud to offer window coverings that are made from high-quality materials and components at all price points. But if you’re looking for the ultimate in light control, customization, and options, you can’t go wrong with many of our high-end products, such as our Premium Roman Shades, our 2” Premium Cordless Wood Blinds, and our 3” Premium Room Darkening Sheer Shades.

How Blinds and Shades Can Protect Your Family and Your Home

At Blindster, we know that the safety and well-being of your family is your top priority. You go to great lengths to keep everyone protected. Whether it’s investing in an advanced home security system, outfitting your doors with strong locks, and keeping your outdoor area well-lit at night, spending money on protecting your home and your family is always a worthwhile investment.

But did you know that window coverings can also play a major role in protecting you, your family, and your home? Installing the right type of blinds and shades is an often-overlooked aspect of home security, but it can make a big difference when it comes to protecting your family’s health, privacy, and possessions.

Check out some of the top ways that our blinds and shades can give you peace of mind at any time of day:

  • Blinds and shades protect your privacy

    Keep prying eyes out of the inside of your home with our wide variety of blinds and shades. Virtually all our window coverings are effective at protecting indoor privacy, but we also offer many varieties of blinds and shades that can be ordered with optional blackout and privacy liners. These additions further enhance your family’s privacy and make you feel more at ease in every room in your home.

  • Blinds and shades protect your skin

    Everyone knows that the sun’s UV rays can cause skin damage, but did you know that you can get sunburned and even increase your risk of skin cancer while sitting inside your home? Although it’s not as dangerous as direct exposure, sunlight can still penetrate through glass windows and damage skin. Over time, that damage can result in premature aging and even skin cancer. Keeping blinds and shades in closed positions—or using window treatments that filter and absorb the sun’s UV rays—is a great way to protect your family.

  • Blinds and shades protect your home

    Even the most advanced security system and lighting arrangement may not be enough to deter thieves if they know you’ve got valuables inside your home. Without proper window treatments, anyone can see into your home when the lights are on at night. That means would-be criminals could have a clear view of your most cherished possessions. Installing window coverings and keeping them closed at night or all day can keep your home safer and less likely to be the target of burglars when you’re at work or on vacation.

  • CPSC-compliant blinds and shades protect small children and pets

    In recent years, there has been a growing awareness about the potential dangers that blinds and shades pose to small children and pets. Window treatments that utilize cloth, nylon, or chain lift cords present a choking and strangulation hazard, especially when the cords are within easy reach or can be accessed by climbing on nearby furniture. At Blindster, all our corded window coverings are shipped with free cord cleats, which are designed to keep cords safely out of reach. In addition, we also offer cordless varieties of blinds and shades, which eliminate the risk of cord-related injuries completely.

  • Blinds and shades enhance your sleep and overall well-being

    There’s nothing better for your overall health and vitality than a good night’s sleep. But everyone knows that it can be difficult to get much-needed rest when outside lights and noises cause frequent wake-ups, sleep interruptions, and tossing and turning at night. Installing light-blocking, noise-reducing, and temperature-insulating window treatments is a great way to turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary, enhancing your health and giving you more energy during the day. It’s also vital for the well-being of babies, small children, and even teenagers, all of whom need quality, uninterrupted sleep to maintain healthy immune systems and support growth.

  • Blinds and shades protect your furniture

    Do you have a couch, chair, or table that is completely or partially faded and discolored? If so, it may be due to years of sunlight exposure. In addition to being damaging to your skin, the sun’s UV rays can also damage natural materials like wood and fabrics. Dyes can fade and change color, while wood stains can lose their luster. In addition, the constant heating and cooling caused by the sun’s rays can even cause wood and other window treatment materials to warp because of frequent expansion and contraction. Even your flooring and walls aren’t immune to the damaging effects of UV rays. In addition to protecting your family’s skin, high-quality window coverings from Blindster can also protect everything inside your home.

Window Treatment Materials 101

The materials used to create blinds and shades are the defining factor in what makes them effective at blocking light, filtering light, absorbing heat, insulating rooms, eliminating UV rays, and protecting your privacy. Knowing the types of materials used in your current blinds and shades and knowing the materials you may want in the future is helpful when you’re ordering new window treatments that must meet certain needs from both a form and function standpoint.

At Blindster, we’re proud to offer blinds and shades that are manufactured using only the highest quality materials. But we also know that not all homeowners and business owners have the same needs when they’re purchasing window treatments. That’s why it’s important to have a good understanding of the differences between blinds and shades that look similar, but ultimately have different textures, weights, and purposes.

Check out the comparison guide below to get acquainted with some of the most popular materials used in modern window treatments:

  • Aluminum

    Aluminum is a tough and durable material that’s used to manufacture no-nonsense blinds that are designed to hold up for many years under harsh conditions. In addition to being highly resistant to fading, cracking, and chipping, our aluminum blinds are also lightweight, which makes them easy to install. Being lightweight makes aluminum blinds perfect for large windows and doors. When open, aluminum blinds allow plenty of light into your home, but they’re also highly effective at protecting your privacy when closed—especially our special Privacy Aluminum Blinds.

  • Wood

    Our wood blinds are manufactured using American basswood, which is harvested from forests in the Eastern United States and Canada. This wood is naturally lightweight and durable, and that means blinds created with this material are suitable for installation in just about any room in your home or business. The rich natural wood grain and texture are highlighted by the beautiful stains and colors available in our inventory. Like aluminum blinds, real wood blinds are incredibly lightweight and easy to install on even the largest windows. Best of all, wood blinds are the perfect match for almost any type and color of home décor.

  • Faux Wood

    Faux wood is a material created by combining vinyl and vinyl compounds in a manner that looks and feels like real wood. Because faux wood is a synthetic material, it’s available at a lower price point than real wood, and it’s also easier to clean due to being less likely to absorb moisture, which can occasionally result in the warping of real wood blinds. Faux wood was originally conceived for use in blinds that are installed in steamy, humid, or moisture-filled rooms, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and garages. But their attractive looks and durability have made them popular choices for every room.

  • PVC

    Like aluminum, PVC is a no-nonsense material that’s lightweight, affordable, and highly effective at blocking out light. PVC is used in large vertical blinds that are designed to be installed on sliding glass doors and other oversized windows that aren’t easily covered by traditional window coverings. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, and it’s the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer. Because it’s so widely used and mass-produced throughout the world, PVC vertical blinds are available at an attractive point, making it the perfect solution for covering large spaces without breaking the bank. And just like aluminum and faux wood blinds, PVC blinds can be cleaned with almost any cleaning product without fears of fading or warping.

  • Fabric

    Fabric is used in the manufacture of a huge variety of shades, including Roman shades, cellular shades, sheer shades, roller shades, and pleated shades. Despite the common material, these shades have dramatically different looks, functions, and purposes. Roman shades are among the most elegant in appearance, while sheer shades and pleated shades are designed to filter light. Roller shades often used to block out or eliminate outside light, while cellular shades can function as light-filtering or blackout shades. We also offer solar and exterior shades that utilize proprietary fabrics known as Phifer Sheerweave® and Vertilux® Solar Screen, which are designed to significantly reduce the heat and intensity of the sun’s UV rays while preserving outdoor views.

  • Bamboo

    In addition to American basswood, we also offer wood shades that are manufactured with real bamboo slats and reeds. Bamboo offers a design aesthetic that makes them completely unique and a breath of fresh air for many homeowners. In addition to being eco-friendly, bamboo also brings a touch of the outdoors into your home. Bamboo isn’t just an attractive design material—it’s also highly effective at performing all the functions you want and need from your shades. On its own, bamboo is both light-blocking and privacy-protecting, but these shades can be enhanced with the addition of privacy and blackout liners.

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.

Faceoff: Blinds vs Shades vs Curtains vs Drapes

Uncovered windows can make rooms feel incomplete and lacking. Most homeowners opt to cover their windows to block out light and protect their privacy, but the way they go about it can be radically different from home to home. While one homeowner may prefer thick curtains, another may prefer lightweight bamboo blinds. All types of window coverings have their own pros and cons, and finding the best option for your home is a matter of personal preference.

Windows that are outfitted with some type of covering almost always look better than when they’re bare. Window coverings also provide benefits beyond just reducing glare and protecting your privacy, as some are great at insulating your home, prolonging the lifespan of your furniture, and even protecting your skin.

If you can’t decide between blinds, shades, curtains, and drapes for your home, check out our comparison guide below:

Blinds

Blinds are traditional window coverings and are extremely common in homes and businesses throughout the country. Blinds are built with a headrail, individual and adjustable slats, and a bottom rail. They can be closed to block light and protect and privacy, and opened to let light in and create a view of the outdoors.

  • Blinds are among the most inexpensive window coverings.If you’re on a budget and looking to outfit your home with new window coverings, blinds may be your best option. Our faux wood and aluminum mini blinds are priced to fit almost any budget without sacrificing any quality or beauty.
  • Blinds can be easily repaired.Because blinds are built using several individual slats, they can be easily repaired if they get damaged. Broken slats can be glued or even replaced altogether with ease. In addition, both faux wood and aluminum blinds are also easily cleaned and maintained, making them less likely to become stained or faded over time than other types of window treatments.

Shades

Shades aren’t as common in homes as blinds, but they’re still a very popular and effective option for blocking light and protecting privacy. In addition, shades are rapidly changing and becoming more and more versatile. For example, our sheer shades use highly advanced fabrics and combine the function of blinds and traditional shades.

  • Shades create a built-in and low-profile look.When lowered, certain types of shades—especially roller shades and cellular shades—create a matte and low-profile look on windows. Their simplistic and uniform design makes them ideal for homeowners who prefer to keep their interior design focus elsewhere. However, Roman shades and bamboo shades can easily be the centerpiece of a room for homeowners who want to draw eyes to their windows.
  • Shades are highly effective at blocking light and protecting privacy.While blinds are perfectly capable of reducing glare and helping your family feel safe and secure inside your home, shades can take those benefits to a new level. Shades can be paired with both blackout liners and privacy liners, which are designed to turn ordinary rooms into sanctuaries of peace and quiet. They’re also perfect for media rooms, home offices, and bedrooms, and home theaters.

Curtains

Curtains are generally made from lightweight fabrics and are designed to add a decorative flair to windows. Unlike inside-mounted blinds and shades, curtains are installed completely outside of windows and may cover only a small part of your windows or a large portion of them. Their design often makes them a stronger focal point of rooms than blinds and shades. Many curtains are relatively short and may fall only to the bottom of the window sill, while others may be floor-length.

  • Curtains help protect your blinds and shades.If you already have blinds or shades and add curtains to the mix, you may find that your existing window treatments will last longer and require less maintenance and cleaning—especially if you keep your curtains closed. In addition to keeping pets and their sharp claws and teeth at bay, curtains also act as dust magnets. While you’ll still need to dust them on a regular basis, curtains are easily removed—just slide them off the rod—and can be simply shaken off outside.
  • Curtains can complement and accent your blinds and shades.If you’re looking for curtains that purely decorative due to already having blinds or shades installed on your windows, you’ll be happy to know that curtains are an excellent way to further enhance the beauty of your window treatments. Curtains can create interesting contrasts to the colors, patterns, and textures in the wood, fabric, or synthetic materials used in your blinds and shades, and they can also add an extra infusion of color to your room.

Drapes

Many people think curtains and drapes are interchangeable. However, they are unique window covering types. Drapes are made almost exclusively with thick and heavy fabrics and typically are floor-length in size.

  • Drapes are great at insulating and soundproofing rooms.While thin, sheer curtains will provide virtually nothing in the way of insulation and soundproofing, thick thermal drapes are great for reducing heat loss during the winter and keeping cold drafts at bay. Thick drapes also create a dampening effect for loud and bothersome noises, making them ideal for homeowners who live near train tracks, industrial facilities, or busy highways.
  • Drapes can give a room a formal appearance.Curtains are generally considered informal and casual window coverings, while drapes are more formal in both appearance and function. Drapes are perfect for dining rooms, living rooms, and other areas where guests are frequently entertained. However, drapes don’t have to be installed only in formal rooms. When paired with high-quality blinds or shades, they’re perfect for adding a touch of elegance to any room in your home.

Bonus: Shutters

The four window covering types listed above aren’t the only ones available for you to install in your home. At Blindster, we’re proud to offer an alternative that’s quickly becoming a highly sought after item: indoor shutters. Our Fauxwood Plantation Shutters have many of the same benefits as faux wood blinds, but they have a unique appearance that transforms the appearance of any room due to their rich and timeless look.

  • Fauxwood shutters can be manufactured in two weeks.When you order a window covering for your home, you want it right away. Fortunately, our fauxwood plantation shutters can be fully manufactured, assembled, and shipped to your home in about two weeks. That’s less than half the time it takes to receive real wood shutters.
  • Fauxwood shutters are hollow-bodied and lightweight.The thought of installing shutters inside your home may seem foreign, especially if your only experience with shutters is the outdoor variety. However, like all of our faux wood window coverings, our plantation shutters are very lightweight due to the synthetic materials used in the manufacturing process and their hollow-bodied structure. That means they’re easy for anyone to lift and install.

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.

Avoid These Common Mistakes When Buying New Window Treatments

You’ve finally decided to take the plunge and buy new window coverings for your home. You’ve done your research, taken the time to weigh the pros and cons between blinds and shades, and envisioned each room with new window treatments. With all the hard work done, there’s nothing left to do but click the order button, right?

At Blindster, we know that buying blinds and shades isn’t something most people take lightly, especially given the fact that it requires careful measurements and is often a DIY installation project. But we also know that many homeowners are happier with their new window coverings over the long haul when they approach the buying process carefully and don’t leave out any important steps along the way.

If you’re thinking about purchasing new window treatments for your home, do your best to avoid these common mistakes:

Focusing exclusively on looks over function.

It’s no secret that your new window coverings will make a huge impact on the appearance of your home. In fact, new blinds and shades can dramatically change the look of a living room, bed room, or dining room—even with no other alterations or changes. But picking window treatments exclusively based on their appearance can sometimes lead to disappointment, especially when they’re purchased for a room that gets large amounts of sunlight, heat, and glare. It’s important to strike a balance between form and function when you buy new blinds and shades, as beautiful window treatments that don’t meet your individual needs may soon find themselves being returned or replaced.

Not ordering samples before placing your product order.

We know that many homeowners are reluctant to buy window treatments due to the difficulty of truly understanding what a blind or shade’s color, texture, and pattern look like when they’ve only been viewed on a computer screen or tablet. That’s why we offer samples of all our window treatments. Our samples are designed to make it easy for you to compare the colors of the window coverings you’re interested in with everything else in your home, including furniture, décor, and paint. Getting the perfect color can be a tricky and time-consuming process, but samples make it easy to get the right match.

Taking imprecise measurements of your windows.

Our window treatments are custom cut to fit windows exactly, whether they’re going to be installed inside the window frame or on top of the window. That’s why it’s vital that you give us the most precise measurements possible. When blinds and shades aren’t cut to properly fit windows, they can leave large gaps that let in harsh glare and sunlight. And for inside installations, they may not even fit inside the window frame. Make sure you have the tools necessary to properly measure your windows, including a tape measure and step ladder (if necessary), and consult our measuring instructions for all types of window coverings before you begin the measuring the process.

Not checking out all options and add-ons for your blinds or shades.

Our standard blinds and shades are designed to meet the needs of most homeowners, but we know that many people have specific features and options that they need to be satisfied with their purchase. Before you place your order, take the time to browse the many options we offer with our window treatments. Things like cordless operation, top down/bottom up operation, privacy/route-less slats, blackout liners, edge binding, and a huge variety of textures, colors, and patterns can make a big difference in your overall satisfaction with your new window treatments, so it’s important that you check out all the available options before you make your purchasing decision.

Choosing one-size-fits-all window coverings for every room in your home.

If you’re replacing all the window coverings in your home or outfitting a new home, you may be tempted to just bulk order a single style to save time. While this can be an effective option for some homeowners, it’s not always the best option, especially when different rooms in your home have different needs due to sun exposure, décor, color, and even purpose. For example, you may want to maximize natural sunlight in your kitchen and dining room, which makes our selection of Sheer Shades a great choice due to their soft sheer fabric and light-filtering vanes. But in your bedroom, living room, and home office, you may need greater privacy afforded by Roman shades, pleated shades, and wood blinds.

Not considering the differences between inside and outside installations.

Although most people install their window coverings inside of their window frames, outside mounts are great options for certain homes and on certain windows. If you’re used to inside mounted blinds and shades, don’t immediately order that style without first evaluating your windows and the room where your new window coverings will be installed. If you have small windows that you want to look larger, outside installation is the perfect solution. It’s also a great way to cover unattractive window frames, casings, and moldings. Inside installations, on the other hand, won’t cover your windows or make them look larger, but they offer a more built-in and low-profile look that many homeowners prefer.

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.

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.

How to Fix Common Lawn Problems

Now that summer has arrived, you’ve had plenty of time to notice your lawn’s growth (or lack thereof). No two lawns are the same, and they all need varying degrees of attention and care to keep looking their best. Even the most well-manicured lawns face common problems, and if you’re not prepared to deal with these problems right away, they can affect your grass and your landscaping well into the fall.

Maintaining your lawn is a year-round job that requires weekly, if not daily maintenance, but the sheer number of problems that can pop up in a given season can sometimes be overwhelming.

To make it easier to enjoy a healthy lawn for as many months out of the year as possible, check out Blindster’s tips for fixing common lawn problems below:

  • Patches of dead grass

Patches of Dead Grass

A healthy lawn requires ample sunlight in order to thrive and grow. When any patch of your lawn is deprived of sunlight, it will quickly wither and die. If the problem is as simple as trimming a few branches on a nearby tree, then you have an easy fix on your hands.

 

But for areas of your lawn that can’t easily get the sunlight they need, consider replacing the dead patch with a type of grass that’s more resilient to less than ideal conditions and minimal sunlight exposure. Alternatively, you can also convert the area of your lawn to a gravel, flower, or mulch bed. You could even use the space for a koi pond or rock garden.

 

  • Thin grass

Thin Grass

If your lawn simply refuses to grow or fill in uniformly and you’ve exhausted all traditional solutions, the problem may be with your soil. Dirt that’s too acidic or alkaline simply isn’t conducive to growing anything, be it flowers, trees, or grass. Using a DIY soil test or consulting soil experts to analyze your dirt is a great way to get to the root of the problem (see what we did there?).

 

Dirt that’s too acidic can be treated with the application of limestone, while dirt that’s alkaline responds well to sulfur. Testing your soil should be done right away when you move into a new home, but it’s also recommended at least every two or three years after that, as soil composition can change over time.

 

  • Unhealthy grass

Unhealthy Grass

Via Pinterest

 

The way you cut your grass can have a big effect on its health. If you’ve noticed that your grass doesn’t seem healthy despite having great soil, sunlight, and water at its disposal, you may need to look at your lawnmower. If the blades are dull, dirty, or clogged with grass clippings, your mower may be damaging your lawn every time you turn it on. When mower blades don’t cut cleanly, they damage individual blades of grass with every pass, making them more susceptible to common diseases.

 

Sharpen and rebalance your mower blades several times throughout the growing season to keep both your mower and your lawn in tip-top shape.

 

  • Mushroom growth

Mushroom Growth

Mushrooms are an unwelcome and unsightly surprise in many lawns. In addition, they can also be highly toxic for children and animals, who may find them irresistible when they pop up through the grass. Getting rid of mushrooms can be difficult and expensive, as they’re often a “tip of the iceberg” symptom in comparison to extensive growth occurring underneath the soil.

 

Using a fungicide is a great way to keep mushrooms at bay, but as soon as you miss an application or two, they’ll sprout back up again. Another method for dealing with mushrooms is to simply pull them by hand every time you see them. It’s a quick maintenance routine that involves only a few minutes of your time every week. Finally, you can also reduce their numbers by keeping your lawn free of any decaying matter like grass clippings, stumps, leaves, and old mulch. Ultimately, many homeowners decide to allow the few mushrooms that grow in their lawns to remain, as they typically aren’t numerous and tend to sprout in less conspicuous areas.

 

  • Crabgrass and weed growth

Crabgrass and Weed Growth

Mushrooms aren’t the only hostile invaders to lawns—crabgrass and weeds are also a common source of annoyance for homeowners. A great natural alternative to chemical-filled herbicides is to sprinkle corn gluten meal on your lawn during the beginning of the growth season to reduce the likelihood that weeds will proliferate and take root in your lawn in the summer. You can also follow-up with another application in late spring or early summer.

 

When mowing, keep your blades high to avoid cutting your grass too short. While it’s tempting to cut your grass as short as possible to reduce the frequency of trimmings, high grass is much more effective at blocking the growth of crabgrass and other weeds than closely-cropped grass.

 

  • Ant hills

Ant Hills

A couple of small ant hills in your lawn aren’t necessarily a bad thing. The presence of ants means that your lawn will be better aerated and free from many types of organic debris. Ants will even help clear your lawn of other types of insect eggs and larva and prevent harmful infestations. However, ants can occasionally become big nuisances themselves when the number of hills begins to multiply, or the hills themselves become too large.

 

To solve the issue and prevent ant colonies from getting out of hand, walk through your lawn and carefully inspect the ground at least once per week. If you spot any ant hills, rake them down, then place a mixture of Borax, water, and sugar in the locations where you found the hills. This will help prevent them from coming back in the near future.

 

  • Bare patches due to foot traffic or pets

Bare Patches Due to Foot Traffic or Pets

There’s nothing especially damaging about allowing your children or pets to play on your lawn, but over time, they can cause bare patches to develop and grow—especially if they frequently use the same path through the grass. The repetitive and frequent trampling of grass will cause it to quickly die, leaving unsightly bare patches throughout your lawn.

If you don’t want to institute a total ban on activities in your lawn, do your best to keep your pets away from running in the same areas over and over, and direct your children and other guests to your sidewalk or an improvised walkway when walking through or around the lawn area. Reducing the amount of wear and tear on your grass will prolong its life and keep it healthier for longer periods of time.