Tips for Making Your Home Safer for Your Children

Whether your children are 18 months old or 18 years old, keeping them safe and secure—especially while they’re at home—is your biggest priority. And while homes are generally thought of as being safe and secure by default, they can contain many overlooked hazards that can put children at risk of serious illness or injury. Reducing and even eliminating the threat of many of these household hazards doesn’t take much work or money, but it does require being able to identify them.

At Blindster, we know that there’s no greater peace of mind for homeowners and parents than having a house that’s as free from hazards as possible. If you’re looking to reduce the risks that your children—regardless of their ages—may face when they’re at home, check out our list of tips for creating a safe and secure house:

Adjust your water heater to prevent scalds and burns.

Instantaneous hot water is one of life’s greatest luxuries, but when water heaters aren’t configured properly, it can range from an unpleasant surprise in the shower to a medical emergency—especially for babies and small children who experienced prolonged exposure to scalding water. Test your home’s faucets, tubs, and showers to find out how hot the water gets from each tap. Then, adjust your water heater until the maximum heat setting is a safe temperature.

Install window guards and stops to prevent falls.

Kids are naturally curious about windows, particularly when they’re opened or are easy to open. Locking windows prevents toddlers and small children from opening them, but most window locks are easily bypassed by older children. Permanent window guards and stops installed in windows prevent accidental falls. An estimated 4,000 children suffer serious injuries every year due to falls from windows, but guards and stops can keep your children safe.

Use cord cleats and install cordless window coverings.

If your window treatments are operated via a cloth, nylon, or chain cord, they can present a choking and strangulation risk for your children. Blindster offers free cord cleats for all corded window treatments that we sell, which are small plastic hooks that allow you to safely coil excess cord away from the reach of small children. If you don’t already have cord cleats, purchase enough for all your window treatments as soon as possible. And if you’re looking to replace your window treatments, you can’t go wrong with cordless varieties, which but all but eliminate the risk of choking or strangulation.

Install and regularly test smoke, radon, and carbon monoxide detectors.

Most homes and apartments are equipped with smoke detectors, but not all of them are kept in good working condition. Smoke detectors are ineffective if they aren’t tested regularly or have become less sensitive due to age or wear and tear. Make sure the smoke detectors in your home are frequently tested and get new batteries on a regular basis. In addition, you should also test your home for carbon monoxide—especially if your home is powered by gas. Finally, test your home for the presence of radon, which is an otherwise undetectable radioactive gas that can create health problems and even lead to cancer.

Watch out for pests—but don’t get too aggressive when trying to eliminate them.

Spiders, ants, and even the occasional mouse can put parents on guard when they’re trying to create a safe environment for their children. And while eliminating these pests is a common-sense approach to make your home a more secure place, it’s also important to not go overboard. Filling your home with harsh chemicals and fumes can put your children at risk of developing health complications—especially when those chemicals are sprayed in the areas where they play. Instead of using chemical solutions, set traps and seal and block entryways for pests by caulking windows, weather-stripping doors, and insulating your attic.

Mount televisions and secure chests, dressers, and mirrors to walls.

Large televisions and many types of furniture can easily topple over with just a light pull. Even toddlers can knock over things like chests, dressers, and mirrors—all of which are large and heavy enough to cause serious injuries and even trap them underneath. If you have a low-platform television stand, make sure your television is either securely fastened to it or mounted on your wall. In addition, make sure all your upright furniture is fastened to the wall using furniture hooks and straps.

Keep your dishwasher closed and locked when it isn’t in use.

Dishwashers can pose significant threats to small children. Whether it’s the risk of accidentally ingesting liquid detergent or the risk of being injured by cutlery, these modern conveniences should always be kept in a closed and locked position to keep children safe. In addition, you should also place knives, forks, and other sharp items face down when loading your dishwasher to prevent accidental cuts and scrapes.

Place household chemicals and cleaners out of reach.

Many homeowners place their household cleaners under their kitchen sinks for easy access. While this can be a convenient storage space, it’s also easily accessed by small children. Instead of placing these items at eye level for small children, place them in higher cabinets and make sure they’re securely fastened and locked. It’s also important to verify that all cleaners have caps and lids and that any spills or residue on the sides of the bottles are cleaned up immediately.

Round up small toys and safely store them after play sessions.

Babies and toddlers love playing with small toys, but those same toys also represent a choking hazard. Toys like blocks, balls, and small action figures can easily fit inside the mouths of small children, and they can quickly block airways. To avoid a choking-related injury, make sure your child’s small toys remain in a designated play area and safely secure them when your child is finished playing.

Household Items You Should Think Twice about before Buying

Blindster Gives Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Best Blinds and Shades for Dining Rooms

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

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

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

roman-shades-dining-room

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

 

shutters-dining-room

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

 

wood-blinds-dining-room

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

cordless-woven-wood-dining-room

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

 

woven-wood-roller-shades-dining-room

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

 

3-inch-deluxe-sheer-shades

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

 

faux-wood-dining-room

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

 

solar-shades-dining-room

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

Decorating Faux Pas to Avoid

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

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

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

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

  • Placing too many decorative items in each room

Placing too many decorative items in each room

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

  • Focusing too heavily on minimalism

Focusing too heavily on minimalism

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

 

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

  • Using small rugs in large rooms

Using small rugs in large rooms

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

 

  • Hanging photos and artwork too high on your walls

Hanging photos and artwork too high on your walls

Via Style By Emily Henderson

 

 

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

 

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

  • Placing furniture arrangements too far apart

Placing furniture arrangements too far apart

Via The Decorologist

 

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

 

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

  • Choosing style over comfort when buying furniture

Choosing style over comfort when buying furniture

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

 

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

  • Getting tunnel vision when decorating with a theme

Getting tunnel vision when decorating with a theme

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

  • Being afraid to add color to your home

Being afraid to add color to your home

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

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

Overloading beds, couches, chairs, and loveseats with pillows

Via Pinterest

 

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

Summer’s Coolest Window Coverings: Solar Shades

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

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

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

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

Multiple Openness Options

Multiple Openness Options

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

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

Durability

Durability

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

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

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

Low Profile

Low Profile

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

Reduce Cooling Bill

Reduce Cooling Bill

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

Style

Style

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

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

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper

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

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

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

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

  • The foundation

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- The Foundation

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

 

  • The wiring

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Wiring

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

 

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

 

  • The roof

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Roof

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

 

  • The plumbing

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Plumbing

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

 

  • The carpet

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Carpet

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

 

  • The doors and windows

How to Choose a Fixer-Upper Home- Windows

Via Pinterest

 

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

 

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

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

New Ways to Use Wallpaper in Your Home

Wallpaper is making a big comeback in 2016. Once considered a tell-tale sign that a home’s décor was hopelessly out of fashion, out of style, and out of date, wallpaper has worked its way back into modern homes in some creative places.

While many homeowners have bad memories of spending hours peeling off tiny strips of wallpaper in an effort to rid their homes of patterns from the 1960s and 1970s, today’s wallpaper is no longer one-size-fits-all for every room.

In addition to enhanced convenience, the old perks of wallpaper are still a big reason why its seeing a resurgence in popularity. Applying wallpaper makes it easy to add colors, textures, and patterns to rooms in a way that paint often can’t match. Modern wallpaper styles often eschew traditional wall-to-wall installation, with common usage instead occurring only in small sections of rooms or even on furniture.

If you’re looking to reincorporate wallpaper in your home, check out Blindster’s tips for the best ways to utilize it in 2016:

  • Dress up your dresser, chest, or nightstand.

Dress up your dresser, chest, or nightstand

Via Pinterest

 

If your dresser, chest, or nightstand is looking drab or in need of some livening up, you don’t have to reach for a can of paint or wood stain. Instead, try wallpapering the drawers. This works especially well for units with built-in handles. If your drawers have traditional handles, just make sure to carefully cut handle-sized holes in the wallpaper before applying it. If you get tired of the color, texture, or pattern, simply peel it off and start over with a new design whenever you feel like it.

 

  • Add life and color to your stairs.

Add life and color to your stairs

Via Pinterest

 

Staircases are among the most architecturally prominent features in homes, but they don’t always get the attention they deserve from a design standpoint. Wallpapering the risers makes it easy to experiment with adding color and texture. Use the same pattern on every step, alternate every other step, or use a different style on every step altogether for a truly eclectic and eye-catching design.

 

  • Create separation in alcoves and other irregularly-shaped areas of your home.

Create separation in alcoves and other irregularly-shaped areas of your home

Via Pinterest

 

Whether it’s a small alcove, a window seat, a nook, or even a cut-out section of wall, emphasizing that area’s uniqueness is a great way to draw attention to your home’s architectural flair and design. Wallpaper makes it easy to direct the eye towards these areas, especially if the walls around them are painted a uniform color. Lightning can also play a big role in these areas of your home by drawing further attention to the contrasting colors, textures, and patterns of the wallpaper.

  • Line your bookcase and bookshelves.

Line your bookcase and bookshelves

Via Pinterest

 

Whether it’s built-in to the wall or a freestanding unit, bookcases, and bookshelves are both decorative and functional. But they can be even more interesting from a visual perspective with added color and patterns.

 

Wallpapering the interior section of wall for built-in bookshelves and the backing of stand-alone units creates an interesting contrast with the color book spines of all shapes and sizes. This tip is especially useful for bookcases and bookshelves that are primarily decorative, as the empty space between books and décor will more easily show the beautiful patterns and textures of the wallpaper.

 

  • Create an accent wall.

Create an accent wall

Via Pinterest

 

Accent walls are often made with bright and bold paint choices, but they can be just as effectively created with wallpaper. A distinct and eye-catching pattern on a prominent wall in your living room, dining room, or bedroom creates a strong visual contrast and immediately creates a focal point for that entire area of your home. When it comes to creating an accent wall, the more intricate the pattern, the better, as the pattern itself won’t overwhelm the décor due to being limited to only a single section of the room.

  • Add a visual display to your ceiling.

Add a visial display to your ceiling

Via Pinterest

 

If your ceiling is flat and easily painted, it’s also easily wallpapered. Ceilings don’t get much attention when homeowners decide to reinvent the look and feel of their living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms, but a new color, texture or pattern overhead is an underrated design change. If you’re feeling especially creative and whimsical, choose an inky blue to represent the night sky in your dining room or bedroom or a calming forest green to create a tranquil space in your home office or living room.

 

  • Make your own works of art.

Make your own works of art

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If you have empty frames and unused rolls of wallpaper, you have the potential to create beautiful artwork that you’ll be proud to hang in any room in your home. To create your own DIY artwork without ever purchasing a canvas or a brush, simply adhere your extra wallpaper to the backing of your frames and replace the glass. For best results, use a wide variety of wallpaper textures, colors, and patterns.

  • Beautify your kitchen appliances.

Beautify your kitchen appliances

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If your refrigerator or dishwasher are hopelessly outdated in the looks and design department, you don’t have to rush out and buy new ones—especially if yours still get the job done. Instead, you can wallpaper them. A wallpapered refrigerator or dishwasher is an easy DIY job that is guaranteed to add new life and charm to even the most outdated appliance in your kitchen.

 

It’s important to be careful when adding wallpaper to dishwashers—especially ones that have drying elements—as the heat coils inside may cause the adhesive to melt and your wallpaper to peel. If you do wallpaper your dishwasher, make sure to turn the automatic drying function off to prevent the glue from melting.

How to Give Your Home the Fixer Upper Look

Fixer upper homes are extremely popular in 2016. The concept of transforming a house that’s outdated and a bit past its prime into a beautiful home fit for a photoshoot has led to countless blogs, magazines, books, and even television shows documenting the process. With the rise of DIY projects and information available on the internet, getting the fixer upper look is now well within the reach of virtually all homeowners.

While a major renovation project is often highlighted in fixer upper stories, getting a fresh new look in your home doesn’t require extensive technical knowledge, a huge budget, or even drastic changes. Knocking down walls and redoing cabinets, flooring, and countertops is guaranteed to transform the look of your home, but it’s also possible to get the same benefits of a fixer upper project with a significantly smaller investment of time, money, and energy.

Check out Blindster’s tips below for quick and easy tips for creating the fixer-upper look on a minimal budget and without sacrificing your free time:

  • Fill your home with natural light.

Fill you Home with Natural Light

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Fixer upper homes are commonly bathed in natural sunlight, as there’s often a big emphasis on open floor plans and large windows. You don’t have to make any drastic changes to your walls or your windows to take advantage of natural light. In many cases, simply cleaning the inside and outside of your window glass and removing thick, heavy, and light-blocking curtains and window treatments and replacing them with more easily adjusted blinds and shades, such as top down/bottom up sheer shades, will go a long way towards filling any room in your home with beautiful sunlight and transforming its appearance.

  • Focus on light and neutral colors throughout your home.

Focus on Light and Neutral Colors Throughout Your Home

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One thing many fixer upper homes have in common is their color scheme. Light, neutral colors are popular in modern homes for good reason—they open up spaces and complement almost any type or style of furniture and décor. In addition, neutral color schemes allow you to decorate with a few key pieces that feature bold colors, patterns, and designs. The contrast between your primary color scheme and the bright colors in the room (think chairs, pillows, and blankets) will create a truly eye-catching display.

 

  • Update your small decorative pieces for a modern look.

Update Your Small Decorative Pieces For A Modern Look

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Dated furniture has become a trendy option, especially if it’s paired with a few high-quality and modern centerpieces like couches or dining tables. But if you’re looking to save money, or if you’re operating on a tight budget, you can get away with replacing small, inexpensive decorative items with modern pieces. The cost of replacing your décor won’t break the bank, and you’ll be surprised at how effective it is at changing the look and feel of any room in your home.

 

  • Upcycle furniture when possible.

Upcycle Furniture When Possible

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Two of the most common textures seen in fixer upper homes are natural wood grain and metal. Both of these textures are also common in vintage furniture and items that can be upcycled into furniture. There’s no shortage of ideas for upcycling old furniture, whether it’s your own or secondhand furniture you’ve picked up from a thrift store, garage sale, or online marketplace. Many fixer upper homes now seamlessly blend vintage styles with modern décor, and upcycling furniture is a great way to achieve that look without breaking the bank.

 

  • Boost your home’s curb appeal with greenery and flowers.

Boost Your Home's Curb Appeal with Greenery and Flowers

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Even if your home isn’t an architectural masterpiece, you can significantly increase its curb appeal with some simple landscaping that’s well-maintained and thoughtfully designed. Flower boxes under your windows, a lush and green lawn, and a few eye-catching plants centered around your front door or porch can go a long way towards improving the appearance of the outside of your home. For an added punch, you can also bring plants indoors to add a splash of color.

 

  • Hang vintage clocks, mirrors, and maps.

Hang Vintage Clocks, Mirrors, and Maps

Via Pinterest

 

A common trait shared by fixer upper homes is décor that’s tasteful and yet mostly neutral. That’s where items like clocks, mirrors, globes, and maps come into play. These items can vary in their size, shape, color, and overall appearance, but they fit almost all décor styles and rooms. They also serve a practical purpose. Mirrors help make rooms look larger, while clocks make it easier to keep track of time. Finally, if you’re prone to wanderlust, having maps within plain sight makes it easy to stay motivated to plan vacations and keep crossing off bucket list travel destinations.

 

  • Open up your cabinets and shelves.

Open Up Your Cabinets and Shelves

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Fixer upper homes often utilize open-air storage spaces. That means cabinets with no doors and prominently displayed shelves. These concepts are particularly common in kitchens and bathrooms. Getting this look is easy and is often as simple as removing the doors from your cabinets and getting creative with paint or wood stains. However, to truly pull off this look, it’s vital that you keep your dishes, drinkware, cutlery, and other items that are normally hidden from view perfectly organized and arranged at all times. Otherwise, the decorative appeal quickly devolves into disorganized chaos and clutter.

 

  • Use old hardcover books and glass jars as accent pieces.

Use Old Hardcover Books and Glass Jars as Accent Pieces

Via Pinterest

 

If you’re struggling to find items to use as accent pieces and décor throughout your home, you can’t go wrong with a handful of old hardcover books and some glass jars. These items are staples of fixer-upper homes due to their versatility and universal appeal, and they look great on shelves, mantles, and tables.

Cheap Upgrades to Make Your Home Look More Expensive

Everyone wants to maximize the value of their investments, and there is typically no greater investment for the average American than their home. But when it comes to appraising a home, whether it’s time to sell or just time to take stock of your assets, the little things often make a big difference in its value.

While changing the core selling points of a home—the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, the number of floors—can be extremely expensive and often impractical, changing small details to maximize a home’s value is something that’s within reach of all homeowners.

Subtle changes that make your home look and feel more expensive can not only increase its value on the housing or rental market, they can also increase your sense of pride in being a homeowner. In addition, many of the most effective small changes are easy DIY projects that only require a small investment of money and time.

If you’re looking to make your home’s appearance rival the more expensive houses in your neighborhood, but you don’t want to break the bank, check out Blindester’s top tips below:

  • Focus on curb appeal and landscaping.

Focus on curb appeal and land scaping

Even if your home’s size and architecture aren’t its strong points, you can still make a big impression on guests and potential buyers/renters by creating and maintaining impeccable curb appeal. At a bare minimum, keep your front lawn trimmed and raked, and do your best to fill in bare patches where grass has died or turned brown. In addition, it’s also important to keep your driveway, steps, and walkways swept and clear of debris.

 

For more intensive curb appeal improvements, consider investing in a professional landscaping service to create a beautiful design and arrangement in your lawn. In addition, washing away years of dirt and mildew accumulation from your home’s exterior can enhance its appearance and value, as can a fresh coat of paint.

 

Lighting is another overlooked aspect of the exterior of many homes. A lighted pathway and tasteful lighting around entryways not only serves as a security feature and crime deterrent, it also makes your home look more elegant while drawing attention to its beauty.

  • For interior upgrades, put your money in the kitchen.

Put Your Money in the Kitchen

The appearance of virtually every room in your home can be dramatically improved with nothing more than a fresh coat of paint, some new window treatments, and a cohesive decorating plan. But it’s difficult to make a home look more expensive when it has an outdated kitchen.

 

If you’re looking to make upgrades and renovations inside your home, put as much money as you can towards the kitchen. It’s easy to look past outdated features and designs in homes that have modern kitchens complete with up-to-date appliances, flooring, countertops, and cabinets.

 

However, complete kitchen overhauls aren’t always necessary to improve your home’s perceived value. Depending on your budget, smaller upgrades like painting the walls and cabinets, replacing the handles of your drawers and cabinets, and replacing the lighting can go a long way towards minimizing the drawbacks of an outdated kitchen.

  • Remove dated and worn out furniture and décor.

• Remove dated and worn out furniture and décor

Nothing makes a home look older and more worn out than furniture and décor that’s, well, old and worn out. Décor trends for modern homes are trending towards a “less is more” philosophy, and that’s certainly true for homeowners who want to maximize the value of their properties—especially when it gives them an excuse to donate or sell their frayed couches and chipped coffee tables.

 

A small, classy arrangement of well-maintained furniture and decorative pieces can give a room the same elegant appearance and ambiance as one outfitted with brand new furniture and décor, but at a fraction of the price.

  • Choose neutral colors throughout your home and accent with bold colors.

Suzanne Gallagher

Whether you’re painting, purchasing new furniture, or adding décor, choose neutral colors for your home’s base color scheme. Living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms all look great when dominated by browns, beiges, and whites, and these colors are also predominately found in more expensive homes. If the idea of neutral colors bores you, choose accent pieces and decorative items that are awash in bold colors to create a visually striking contrast to your wall colors and furniture choices.

 

  • Add crown molding to your walls and ceiling.

Add Crown Molding to Your Walls and Ceiling

Crown molding—or ceiling trim—is a staple in many high-end homes, but installing it in your home can be an inexpensive weekend DIY project. With a few basic tools and a few online guides, you can radically transform the appearance of your home’s walls and ceiling in the span of a single weekend. If your home is on the smaller side, choose low-profile molding that won’t take up too much space on your walls. Large molding may make your home feel smaller and more cramped due to the shortening effect it can have on ceilings—especially low ceilings.

 

  • Upgrade your home’s window treatments.

Update Your Home's Window Treatments

If your windows are bare or are equipped with broken, outdated, or ineffective window treatments, getting new blinds and shades is an easy and inexpensive way to make your home look more valuable. At Blindster, we offer a wide variety of window treatments that will fit any budget while blocking out light, making your windows look bigger, and enhancing the appearance of any room in your home. For inexpensive window treatments that are both elegant and effective at controlling light, check out our 2 ½” Deluxe Faux Wood Blinds.

  • Enhance your lighting.

Enhance Your Lighting

Photo via A Designer at Home

 

Lighting plays a major role in how people perceive their environments, and the same principle holds true inside homes. When indoor lighting is mostly composed of overhead fixtures and incandescent bulbs, it’s easy for guests, potential buyers/renters, and even the homeowners themselves to feel bored and uninspired. Creating more dramatic lighting displays with different types of bulbs, lamps, and even small chandeliers is a highly effective way of transforming a room or even your entire home into a more elegant space.