Re-purposing Old Window Treatments

If you recently purchased new blinds or shades from Blindster, you probably have a few sets of old window treatments on your hands. Instead of throwing them out, consider re-purposing them. There are several great uses for old blinds and shades that can liven up your home and help you bring out your artistic and creative sides. In some cases, old window treatments can be completely transformed into home décor or accent pieces that look nothing like their original shape or form, breathing new life into them and giving you the opportunity to place them throughout your home in a variety of uses or applications.

Decorating with Old Shutters

At Blindster, we’re proud to offer high-quality indoor faux wood plantation shutters. These window treatments are ideal for a wide variety of home décor styles and color schemes. But we also know that many homeowners are left wondering what they should do with their old shutters after they’ve replaced them. A few excellent ideas for re-purposing old shutters include:

  • Wall art – Distressed shutters add a beautiful and rustic look to any room in your home. Simply mount them to the walls of any room in your home to achieve the look. For greater visual variety, arrange shutters of different size and color together in interesting patterns or shapes. You can top the arrangement off with a wreath in the center or ivy along the length of the shutters.
  • Organizers – The slats on old shutters are perfect storage spaces for things like mail, invitations, greeting cards, bills, loose pieces of paper, and other documents that should be kept in a convenient, easy to reach place. This re-purposing idea requires no additional work—simply mount the shutter near your front door or another location where you open your mail and use it to store important items.
  • Vertical planters – Did you know that plants can thrive inside shutters? Potted plants can be attached to the slats on your old shutters to create a vertical garden anywhere inside or outside of your home. You can also place a backing on your shutters and fill them with fertile soil and allow plants to grow through the slats for an even more striking look.
  • Plate rack – An old shutter flipped horizontal with its slats facing up is an ideal dish rack. The notches between the slats make perfect spaces for dishes to be held in place. You can even attach hooks to the bottom of the shutter to hang bowls, cups, and other assorted dishware.

Decorating with Old Window Frames

Old shutters, blinds, and shades aren’t the only parts of windows that can be repurposed. Entire window frames themselves can also be put to good use. The only limit to repurposing old window frames is your imagination. At Blindster, we recommend the following projects and applications:

  • Picture frames – Converting window frames to picture frames is simple, as they’re already extremely similar. Simply adding backings and glass to the fronts of your window frames is a quick and easy way to transform them into beautiful, head-turning, and truly unique picture frames.
  • Mirrors – Window frames also have the perfect shape and size to be used as mirrors. Place individual mirrors cut to size in each section of your window frames for a striking look that will fit in any room in your home.
  • Mantel decoration – Decorating a fireplace mantel can be difficult, especially if you want to avoid cliché décor and accent pieces. Repurposed window frames provide a great opportunity to create a visual centerpiece on your mantel.
  • Front porch – The rustic look of an old window frame is ideal for front porches. Whether you hang yours without any accessories or complete the look with a vintage and distressed star, wreath, ivy, or plant, you’ll have a beautiful addition to your outside décor.

Need Ideas? Check Out These Links.

The internet is full of amazingly creative people who have a professional’s touch when it comes to re-purposing old furniture, décor, and home components. If you’re looking for ideas for your old window treatments, shutters, or window frames, look no further than some ideas presented in related Blindster blog resources:

How Cellular Shades are Made

How to Clean Solar Shades

Because solar shades are designed to let in light and provide a clear view of the outside, many homeowners install them on windows that are frequently opened. That means they can quickly accumulate large amounts of dust, dirt, pollen, and other debris from both inside and outside your home.

Keeping your solar shades looking their best is a simple process, but it does require a careful approach and a consistent cleaning schedule. So whether you’re cleaning your new solar shades for the first time or just need an easy and effective method to get the job done, Blindster’s got you covered.

Check out the instructions below to clean your shades safely and efficiently.

Step 1: Look over your shades to determine how much cleaning they need.

The number of steps required to clean your shades depends on how dirty they are. Shades mounted in rooms that receive very little foot traffic may only need a light dusting and a wipe down of the headrail, while shades in high traffic areas or in rooms with opened windows and doors may need a much more thorough cleaning to remove airborne particles.

If you notice any heavy or deep stains on your shades, you may want to consider calling a professional cleaning service, as those stains may be impossible to remove on your own without potentially damaging the fabric.

Step 2: Check the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions.

Your shades shipped with instructions that provide important information about how to care for them—including safe cleaning tips and warnings about certain types of cleaning agents that can damage the fabric. If you can’t find the instructions, check the original packing, the manufacturer’s website, or consult Blindster. Note that warnings about using water or soaps and detergents should be taken seriously, as some shades use fabric that can easily stain, fade, or discolor after exposure to certain liquids.

Step 3: Gather the cleaning items you’ll need to get the job done.

Cleaning solar shades doesn’t require any fancy cleaning tools—just a few basic items that you likely have in your home already. To get started, grab the following items and keep them handy while you work:

  • Feather duster

Most shades require nothing more than a quick dusting to remove built-up dust and dirt. Feather dusters are perfect for light cleaning jobs and are highly effective at removing accumulated debris from the headrail and fabric.

  • Vacuum with light brush attachment

If your shade has an excess amount of dirt, dust, and especially pet hair accumulation, using your vacuum cleaner with a soft or light brush attachment is an easy way to remove it quickly and efficiently. If the suction is too strong, reduce the vacuum’s power if possible to avoid damaging the fabric or shade.

  • Bucket with warm water and a mild soap

If permitted by the manufacturer’s instructions, fill a small bucket with warm water and a mild soap or detergent. This mixture will help remove any light stains or caked on dirt, dust, pet hair, pollen, and other debris from the fabric and headrail.

  • A clean sponge

Dip the sponge in the warm water and soap mixture and make sure to wring it out thoroughly to avoid soaking any parts of the shade. Then, use it to gently scrub away any caked on dirt, dust, or pollen from any affected areas of the shade. When cleaning the headrail, do your best to avoid getting any liquid inside it, as water can damage the moving parts.

  • Towels or sheets to catch any falling dust

Cleaning your shades—especially if they have a heavy amount of dirt and dust—can produce a big mess. Placing towels and sheets underneath the shades will catch any falling particles and prevent it from getting on your floor.

  • A hair dryer

If you use a wet sponge to clean your shade, it’s important that you dry the fabric quickly to avoid spotting or warping. The quickest and easiest way to spot dry the fabric is to use a hair dryer. Turn it on at the highest heat and power setting to dry any wet areas of the fabric within minutes.

Step 4: Use a professional cleaning service if necessary.

Shades that are deeply stained, have been exposed to open air for long periods of time, or that are simply beyond your cleaning capabilities may need to be addressed by a professional. Avoid attempting to do any heavy cleaning yourself, as using harsh chemicals and scrubbing the fabric using abrasive materials or excessive force can damage the fabric.

Step 5: Set a cleaning schedule to make the job easier in the future.

Like everything else in your home, your shades will continue to accumulate dirt and dust over time, no matter where they’re mounted. To avoid any major cleaning jobs in the future, set a schedule for cleaning your shades and stick to it as best you can.

Shades that are mounted in low-traffic rooms, such as spare bedrooms and bathrooms generally need only a light dusting once or twice a month. But shades mounted in rooms with high traffic, such as your living room, kitchen, or dining room should be dusted weekly and wiped down at least once a month to remove dirt and dust from the fabric and headrail.

How to Measure for Solar Shades

Solar shades are perfect for rooms where you want to preserve the view of the outdoors and natural light from your windows while also maintaining your privacy and reducing the effect of the sun’s rays.

If you’re considering purchasing solar shades from Blindster, it’s important that you first know the exact measurements of the window or door where they will be installed. Without precise measurements, you may find that your shades are too long or too short or simply don’t fit.

Installation Choice: Inside Your Window Frame or Outside Your Window Frame?


There are two primary ways to install window treatments—inside the window frame or outside the window frame. Because both of these methods require different measurements, it’s important that you decide beforehand which installation you will use for your new shades.

To learn the major differences between the two types of installations, check out the table below:

Inside Mount

Outside Mount

·        Shades and blinds that are inside mounted are installed flush with the interior of your window frame

·        These installations provide a built-in look that minimizes the appearance of the window when the blinds or shades are closed

·        Inside mounts are ideal if you wish to leave woodwork or other wall materials exposed

·        Minimum depth required for secure inside mount: ¾”

·        Minimum depth required for flush inside mount: 3” without fascia, 4 ¼” with fascia

·        If your window frame doesn’t have the depth to support an inside mount, choose an outside mount installation instead.

·        Outside mounts are the ideal installation option if your window frames aren’t deep enough to support inside mounts

·        This option allows you to mount your blinds or shades to any surface near the window, including the ceiling, molding, or wall

·        Use this installation method to make your windows appear larger or to hide unattractive windows

·        Minimum flat surface required for secure outside mount: 1 ½”. Note the flat mounting surface area when taking your measurements and that the factory will make the fabric 7/8” to 1 3/8” narrower than the ordered width.


Weigh the pros and cons of both types of mounts to determine which installation is right for you and your home.

When you decide, use the instructions below to get the most accurate measurement possible before you place your order with Blindster.

Measuring Your Window or Door for Inside Mount Window Treatments


To get precise measurements that will provide a clean and flush look with your window frame, follow the steps below:

Step 1: Measure the inside width of the top of the window opening in the same spot where you will mount the shade. Note that the factory will make deductions of around 1/8” after you place your order.

Step 2: Measure the inside height of the window in three separate places—the far left side, the middle, and the far right side. Note the largest measurement of those three, as that’s the measurement you’ll use when you place your order.

  • Note that solar shade fabrics differ from other types of shades, as your order will be 7/8” to 1 3/8” narrower than the width you provide when placing your order. This deduction is to allow room for the mounting brackets.

Measuring Your Window or Door for Outside Mount Window Treatments


If your window frame doesn’t provide the minimum depth for an inside mount, or if you prefer the appearance of an outside mount, follow the instructions below to get accurate measurements:

Step 1: Measure the entire width of the area you wish to cover with your solar shade. If possible, add at least 2” to 3” of total space to help reduce light leakage. Use this measurement when placing your order.

Step 2: Measure the entire height of the area you wish to cover with your solar shade. Note that you must take into account a 1 ½” flat surface area for mounting when taking your height measurements. Adding 3” to 4” to your ordered height will give you enough fabric to mount your solar shade above your window frame to cover molding or framework if desired.

For more helpful tips and D.I.Y. projects, follow us on Pinterest.

How to Attract Birds to Your Garden

In addition to the splash of color and life it brings to your property, maintaining a garden can also turn your backyard into a self-contained ecosystem where plants and small animals thrive side-by-side. One of the most enjoyable parts of cultivating your own patch of nature is watching the life that grows from a single seed—including the flight of various birds that make their nests in and around your garden.

But simply growing a garden doesn’t always attract birds. In fact, there may be certain aspects of your garden that either aren’t conducive to birds or even repel them. To make sure your garden is bird-friendly, check out Blindster’s tips for making your outdoor space welcoming and accommodating to as many species of birds as possible.

• Hang bird feeders

Like all wild animals, birds are primarily concerned with how they’re going to get their next meal. The easiest way to attract them to your garden is to install bird feeders throughout your yard or outdoor space. However, it’s often not enough to simply hang a few bird feeders and sit back and watch the show. Make sure that they are fully stocked with seeds and that the bird food you provide is high-quality and suitable for feeding year-round.

bird feeder

• Make a safe space for them

Birds are risk-averse and will quickly move on from an area where they perceive dangers. That’s why it’s important to only hang bird feeders in areas where the birds will be left alone and away from threats. When hanging bird feeders, make sure you place them throughout your yard or garden and away from the reach of animals and predators—including your own cats and dogs. In addition, place them a good distance away from your home. When feeders are placed too close to windows, birds may accidentally fly into them and injure themselves.

safe space

• Keep them hydrated

In addition to working up a thirst, birds also appreciate a good bath every now and then. That’s why having a source of clean, fresh water in your yard or garden is essential to making it a happy home for your feathered friends. The easiest way to give birds the clean water they need is to simply add a birdbath to your outdoor space. Place it an area of your garden or yard where it’s easily accessible for both birds to get in and out and for you to clean and maintain it. While stone bird baths are the most traditional choice, bird baths made of any material work as long as they are well-maintained, clean, and kept safe from potential predators.

bird bath

• Fill your garden with plant life

Birds thrive in areas with large amounts of plant life. Not only are there more insects to feed on and activity to observe, but an abundance of trees, shrubs, and bushes also gives birds places to rest and survey the surrounding landscape. A sparse garden and outdoor area that caters more to humans than birds, will surely make your flying friends move on quickly. To truly create an ideal birdwatcher’s garden, mix and match plants to cultivate a variety of greenery that can attract a variety of birds.

A border garden running from sunny areas to shady areas.

• Provide nest-building materials

To truly make themselves at home in your outdoor space or garden, birds need to build nests. While most birds are crafty creatures and can fashion nests out of nearly any materials found in nature, they tend to hang around areas that have more privacy and have an abundance of raw materials to build with. An easy way to help birds get a head start on the nest building process is to hang birdhouses and nest boxes around your property. These provide safe enclosed spaces for birds to build nests where they can lay their eggs and raise their young. You can also set out nest-building materials, such as cloth strips, string, and ribbon to assist birds as they build their homes.


What Birds Are the Easiest to Attract to Your Garden?

Now that you’ve turned your garden into a veritable bird sanctuary, you may be wondering what type of birds you’ll begin seeing around your home. While the varieties of birds you’ll find around your home depends on where you live, there are a few common types that are widespread throughout the country and that are common sights in bird-friendly gardens.

• Bluebirds

Even if you don’t maintain a fresh supply of bird food in your garden, there’s a good chance you’ll still attract a steady stream of bluebirds. Their primary diet consists of insects and other pests, which can help improve the health of the plants in your garden. Bluebirds tend to nest in sunny, open areas with easy access.


• Sparrows

Sparrows can include song sparrows, chipping sparrows, and field sparrows, all of which primarily eat a diet of seeds, with a few insects mixed in. Like bluebirds, the presence of sparrows in your garden can be beneficial, as they prefer to munch on weed seeds, helping to reduce the density of undesirable plants like crabgrass and ragweed from your outdoor area.

Sparrow in the Woods

• Woodpeckers

There are 21 species of woodpeckers in North America, and almost all of them are common visitors to outdoor gardens throughout the continent. Like bluebirds, woodpeckers mostly eat insects, but they’re also known to enjoy sunflower seeds, making birdfeeders stocked full of it and enticing treat for them. In addition, woodpeckers easily make their nests in bird houses and in the trunks of dead trees.

Downy Woodpecker (Male)

• Phoebes

Phoebes are small birds that are attracted to water due to their penchant for swooping in and gobbling up any unlucky insects that happen to be floating on the surface of the water. Birdbaths, small ponds, waterfalls, and water gardens are ideal for attracting this species of bird to your outdoor space and making sure they return again and again.


How to Clean Roller Shades

Roller shades are highly versatile, look great in a variety of homes, and go well with almost any type of décor. Because of their universal appeal, roller shades are commonly chosen for both the home and office. And while roller shades can provide a sleek, elegant, and understated look to your windows, they do require regular maintenance to keep looking their best for years to come.

All objects in your home or office eventually attract dirt and dust—and roller shades are no different. Keeping your shades in tip-top condition requires a consistent cleaning schedule, so whether you’re looking to establish one for your new shades or you need to give your old window treatments a thorough cleaning for the first time, the instructions below can help you get the job done quickly and without damaging the fabric.

Step 1: Inspect your shades

Before you begin cleaning, you should first take a moment to inspect your blinds. Are they heavily stained or soiled? If so, they may need to be cleaned professionally. However, if your blinds are only lightly stained or have no stains, but an accumulation of dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris, cleaning them at home should be a simple process.

Step 2: Read the manufacturer’s instructions

While you may be tempted to begin cleaning your shades immediately, it’s important that you first read the manufacturer’s cleaning and care instructions before you begin. These instructions will contain useful information about whether your shades, depending on the material they’re made of, can be damaged by water and common cleaners—including mild soaps and detergents. Always read these instructions before using any cleaning supplies on your shades, as improper care may do more harm than good.

Step 3: Gather the cleaning items you’ll need

Cleaning shades is a simple process that doesn’t require many tools. To make the job as easy and hassle-free as possible, gather the following items and keep them handy while you work:

• A clean feather duster
A feather duster is the easiest way to clean shades that have only a light accumulation of dirt, dust, pollen, pet hair, and other debris.

• A vacuum with soft brush attachment
Vacuums are excellent for quickly removing debris from fabric. Before using a vacuum on your shade, make sure you use a soft brush attachment to avoid damaging the fabric. In addition, adjust the suction if possible and use only as much power as needed to clean the fabric.

• A sponge or clean cloth
Using a sponge or cloth is the quickest and easiest way to gently scrub away light stains and to remove dirt and dust from the headrail.

• A clean bucket of warm water and mild soap or detergent
A bucket of warm water and mild soap or detergent can quickly and easily remove light stains from the shade’s fabric or headrail. Before using any liquids on your shades, always test them on a small inconspicuous patch to make sure the color doesn’t run or stain after exposure to water and other mild cleaning liquids.

• A sheet or towels to catch dripping water and falling dust
Cleaning a shade can get messy—especially if it has collected a large amount of dirt and dust. To ease the cleanup process afterward, place a large sheet or towels underneath the length of the window to catch liquid or dust that falls from the shade while you clean.

• Hair dryer
Wet shades can warp, stain, fade, and become discolored. To quickly dry your shade, use a hair dryer on any damp areas after cleaning.

Step 4: Begin cleaning your shades

The process for cleaning can be divided into four quick and easy steps:

• Use the feather duster to remove light accumulations of dirt and dust.
• Use your vacuum with soft brush attachment to remove any additional dirt or dust that the feather duster didn’t pick up.
• Use a damp sponge or cloth and wipe away any dirt or dust from the headrail and gently scrub away any light stains from the fabric.
• Use a hair dryer on high heat to quickly dry any wet areas to prevent damage to the fabric.

Step 5: Determine if you need additional cleaning help

Although most roller shades can be cleaned at home, your shades may be heavily stained and cleaning them properly could be beyond your capabilities. If your shades won’t come clean with traditional methods, contact a professional cleaning company. Avoid using harsh chemicals or scrubbing too hard in an effort to remove stains, as that can severely damage the fabric and make deep stains worse.

Step 6: Set a regular cleaning schedule

Once your shades are cleaned, keeping them clean is easy if you set a regular cleaning schedule. Most shades in rooms with little foot traffic, such as spare bedrooms and bathrooms, only require brief cleanings with feather dusters a few times per month. Shades in rooms with more frequent foot traffic, like those in living rooms, master bedrooms, and dining rooms, may require more hands-on cleaning once or twice per week.

How to Clean Sheer Shades

Sheer shades are the ideal solution for homeowners who want to let in as much warmth and sunlight as possible, but also increase privacy and security in their homes.

While their design can add an elegant and beautiful touch to any room in your home, sheer shades attract dust and dirt just like other shades—and that means they require regular cleaning to look their best at all times.

To safely clean your sheer shades, check out Blindster’s tips below.


Step 1: Inspect your shades to determine how much cleaning they need.

The cleaning approach you take with your sheer shades depends on how thoroughly they need to be cleaned. Shades with a light coating of dust, pollen, dirt, or other debris may only need a superficial cleaning, while shades that are stained or covered in a heavy accumulation of debris will need more intensive cleaning.

Step 2: Read the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and warnings.

Because the fabric on sheer shades is so delicate, it’s important to follow all cleaning and care instructions to avoid possibly damaging it. Certain types of fabric may easily rip or become frayed due to normal cleaning motions and even light rubbing, so always consult the manufacturer’s recommendations before manually spot-cleaning.

In addition, pay close attention to any warnings about using soaps and detergents—even mild ones—before putting them on the fabric. Certain fabrics may become permanently stained with exposure to even small amounts of water and soap.

To find the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, check the original packing for the shades, consult the manufacturer’s website, check for a tag on the fabric, or contact Blindster.

Step 3: Gather the cleaning items you’ll need.

To save time, gather all of the cleaning items you’ll need during the cleaning process ahead of time. Cleaning sheer shades requires only a few tools and cleaning products, such as:

  • Feather duster

A feather duster is the quickest and easiest way to remove light accumulations of dirt, dust, and pet hair from your shades. It’s also extremely gentle on the fabric and should be your first choice when you begin cleaning.

  • Vacuum with soft brush attachment

For heavier filth or to remove dirt and dust without worrying about it falling on the floor, use the soft brush attachment on your vacuum’s extension handle. If the suction from your vacuum is too strong, adjust it to a lower setting if possible or place panty hose over the vacuum’s opening to attract dust without pulling on the fabric.

  • Bucket of warm water and mild soap or detergent

If the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions indicate that it’s okay to use water and soap when cleaning your shade, mix the two together in a bucket or large bowl. Dilute the mixture with more water as necessary. For heavily soiled shades, you may want to add a second bucket or bowl to rinse your sponge or cloth to avoid contaminating the soapy water in the first bucket.

Step 4:Begin cleaning your shades.

The first step when cleaning your shades is to remove any light accumulations of dirt and dust. Begin by gently running the feather duster along every exposed surface of the shade, starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom. You may want to place a sheet or towels underneath your window or door to catch any falling dust at this point of the cleaning process.

Next, use your vacuum with its soft brush attachment to remove any additional dirt, dust, or pollen from your shades. As mentioned above, change the suction settings if the vacuum is ineffective at removing dust or the suction is too strong and could possibly damage the fabric.

Finally, immerse your sponge or soft cloth in the warm water and soap mixture and wring it thoroughly to avoid causing water damage to your shades. Starting at the headrail, gently wipe along every exposed surface of the shades to remove light stains or dirt and dust accumulations.

Be careful to not get any water inside the openings of the headrail and don’t soak the fabric, as excess moisture could damage it.

Step 5: Dry your shades.

To quickly dry your shades and prevent possible water spots from forming on the fabric, use a hair dryer on any areas with excess moisture.

Step 6: Set a regular cleaning schedule.

To keep your shades looking their best all year long, make cleaning them a part of your weekly cleaning routine. In most cases, sheer shades require just a quick spot cleaning with a feather duster on a weekly basis to avoid heavy dirt and dust accumulation that can lead to stains and discoloration after several weeks, months, or years between cleanings.

Step 7: Consult a professional cleaning service for heavily stained shades.

If your shades have stains that are deep inside the fabric, you may be unable to clean them at home. If that’s the case, you may have to consult with a professional cleaning service that has the equipment to remove the stains with damaging the fabric of the shades.

For more cleaning tips, follow on Pinterest!

What are Routeless Blinds? Should You Buy Them?

You’ve seen the standard mini blinds many, many times. How closely have you observed them?

If you look at the lift cords near the ends of the blinds, you see a hole that allows the lift cords to pass through. Blinds with that feature are called “routed.”

So naturally, “routeless” blinds do not work this way. Instead, the lift cords run outside of the slats through small notches.

Why Should You Care about Routeless Blinds?

Well, the main reason is that your slats give you additional privacy. Someone passing by could theoretically still peek through your routed blinds, even when they’re pulled shut.

Also, they control light a little better because of the lack of holes. And because they control light effectively, they reduce glare moreso than routed blinds. So if you like your room a little more on the darker side, they help keep light out versus routed blinds.

If you are in a room where you like to be in the morning when the sun rises, you can catch a quick glare in your eyes. This is common in offices if you have to come into work early. But routeless blinds eliminate this problem because they don’t have holes for the lift cords.

Finally, they also look a little more decorative than routed blinds.

Can You Use Routeless Blinds in Windy Conditions?

You can, but only if the wind isn’t all that strong. If your blinds are banging around in the wind, then the wind is too strong for routeless blinds.

You can still install them, but you’ll have to either raise your blinds or close your windows to protect them.

Don’t Use Routeless Blinds If…

You’re a homeowner and you have pets or kids. They do cost a little more than routed blinds – about 15-20% more. So if they get broke, they’re a bit more costly to replace.

And they are slightly more fragile than routed blinds. Because of the small notches that hold the lift cords, it takes very little force to knock one of the slats out of the blind.

However, that idea is somewhat questionable. Even the best routed blinds over time will succumb to the same shifting problem. And if one slat goes flying out in your routeless blind, it’s not that difficult to replace it.

If Cost is an Issue, and You Really Like Routeless Blinds…

Then consider adding them only to rooms where light control is most important to you, like your bedroom. And you usually don’t allow kids to play in your bedroom anyway, so they would be protected from damage too.

Most importantly, now you know the ins and outs of routeless blinds, and when and when not to use them.

If they make sense anywhere in your home or office you can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at