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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:

Follow These Easy Steps to Get the Perfect Window Treatments

Online shopping has made it easier than ever to buy everything you need for your home and your daily life, including window treatments. But as with any purchase, getting the right blinds or shades for your home is best accomplished with a little research and preparation.

At Blindster, we’re dedicated to selling only the highest-quality window coverings at competitive prices, but we know that not every blind or shade is the right fit for every home and homeowner. However, we also know that it can be difficult to tell if a window treatment will be perfect for your living room, dining room, bedroom, or any other room in your home without being able to see it, hold it, and experience it in person.

Thankfully, there are several quick and easy steps you can take to make sure you get the right blinds or shades for every room in your home:

Decide what your needs are for every room that you’re equipping with window treatments.

Because your window covering needs may vary significantly from room to room, it’s important to take the time to figure out why you’re buying new blinds or shades. Some homeowners want thick blackout shades in bedrooms and living rooms for additional privacy, while others may prefer light-filtering shades for more natural lighting. These preferences can play a big role when it comes to getting the right window coverings, so make sure you know what role your new blinds or shades need to fill.

Settle on a budget.

When you shop at Blindster, you have many options for window treatments at all price points. We strive to make our products as affordable as possible, and we know that many homeowners come to us to outfit dozens of windows in their homes. Our products range from Super Value to Premium to Deluxe, all of which are available at different price points. Having an established budget makes it easier to hone in on blinds and shades that won’t break the bank, especially if you need to buy several at once to install in a new home or to replace your home’s outdated window treatments.

Measure your windows as accurately as possible.

Even before you begin the ordering process, it’s vital to have accurate measurements of your windows. Although most of our blinds and shades can be custom ordered to fit a huge variety of window sizes, many have minimum and maximum sizes. If you know your window dimensions ahead of time, you can narrow your search process, making it easier to find the perfect window treatments.

Browse our website and check out product pages, reviews, and pictures.

We offer a huge variety of window coverings. From Roman shades and faux wood shutters, to bamboo shades and aluminum blinds, you’ll find all the window treatment options you need at Blindster. And while it helps to begin the search process with a preference between blinds and shades, and even the specific varieties within those categories, shopping around and checking out our entire selection may open your eyes to new options. Be sure to read product descriptions and reviews, and check out both our own photos and photos submitted by our customers.

Choose the options you want.

After you’ve narrowed down your list of choices, you can further refine your search by deciding on the options and customizations that you need. Things like cordless lift, continuous loop, top down bottom up, privacy and blackout liners, routeless, and even edge-binding are some of the options that are available on many our blinds and shades. By focusing on options that are must-haves vs options that are “nice to haves,” you can quickly and efficiently key in on the perfect window treatments for your family.

Order samples to get an in-person view of what your window treatments will look like.

You’ve done all the initial steps and you’re almost ready to order. But before you do, you may want to consider ordering free samples to get a better impression of a specific blind or shade’s color, texture, and pattern. You can order up to 10 samples from our entire line of window treatments, and because we know you’re ready to finalize the decision process and get your perfect window treatments, we’ll have them in transit to you within one business day.

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

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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!

How to Measure Bamboo Shades

When it comes to eco-friendly designs that are both beautiful and natural, you can’t beat bamboo shades. These window treatments are not only highly effective at increasing privacy and blocking out the sun’s rays, they also add an elegant look to any room in your home.

Bamboo shades are easy to install, but before you place your order with Blindster, you should first measure your window or the area you wish to cover with the shades. Taking accurate measurements is vital for the shades to fit properly.

To precisely measure your windows and receive shades that fit perfectly, follow the instructions below.

Choosing Between Inside Mounts and Outside Mounts

There are two main ways that you can mount your shades: inside your window frame or outside your window frame. Both have pros and cons and choosing one over the other depends on your own personal preferences as well as the dimensions of your window frame.

Consult the table below to learn the major differences between these two mounting options:

Inside Mount

Outside Mount

·        Inside mount installations place the shades directly inside the window frame and require precise measurements for a proper fit·        When mounted inside the window frame, bamboo shades have a sleek, built-in look·        This is the best option if you want to leave intricate or detailed woodwork exposed·        Requires at least ½” of depth in window frame for a secure mount

·        Inside flush mount requires at least 2” for standard and top down/bottom up shades, 3” for continuous loop

·        If your window frame doesn’t provide enough depth, use the outside mount option instead

·        Outside mount installations place the shade outside the window frame and make it possible to cover the entire window·        This installation can be mounted to the wall, ceiling, or molding, making it highly versatile for a variety of window types and sizes·        Outside mounts are perfect for hiding unattractive windows or making windows appear larger·        There are no minimum depth requirements, but a minimum flat surface of at least 1” is required. Always include the mounting surface area when measuring the area you want to cover with the shade

 

No matter which installation option you choose, your shade will function equally well when it comes to protecting your privacy and blocking out sunlight.

How to Measure Your Windows before Ordering Bamboo Shades

After you’ve decided which mounting option you prefer, it’s time to measure your window. Use the instructions below to get precise measurements for both inside and outside mount installation options

Measuring for Inside Mount Installations

Step 1: Measure the interior width of the window and window frame in three separate locations—the top, middle, and bottom. Take note of the smallest of these three measurements, as it’s the number you’ll provide to Blindster when you place your order. Note that the factory will make necessary deductions of around ½”.

 

Step 2: Measure the interior height of the window and window frame in three separate locations—the left side, middle, and right side. Take note of the largest of these three measurements, as it’s the number you’ll provide to Blindster when you place your order.

Measuring for Outside Mount Installations

Step 1: Measure the full width of the area you wish to cover with the bamboo shade. If there’s enough room to do so, add an extra 2” to 3” to your total width to help eliminate light leakage from the sides of the shade. Use the original measurement plus the extra width when placing your order, as your shade will be made exactly as specified when ordered.

 

Step 2: Measure the full height of the area you wish to cover with the bamboo shade. As mentioned above, take into account at least 1” of flat mounting surface when doing your measurements. In addition, note that adding at least 3” to 4” of height added to your shade will allow you to mount it above the window frame.

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 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 Blindster.com on Pinterest!

Tips for Increasing the Privacy of Your Home

Getting to know your neighbors is a great benefit of living in a suburb, but owning your own home also means that you can enjoy privacy when you need it. However, not all homes are built for privacy. Many neighborhoods have homes that are built close together, on small lots, with little space between houses. That setup is great for neighborhood barbecues and get-togethers, but not so great when you want to enjoy a relaxing day with your family in the privacy of your own backyard.

Fortunately, there are many ways to increase your home’s privacy without moving to a secluded cabin in the woods. Some of these projects can be completed in an afternoon, and some require a bit more planning and construction, but all are guaranteed to increase your home’s privacy, security, and comfort for your entire family.

shades

Install privacy shades or blinds on your windows and doors

Windows and glass doors are perfect for bathing your home in beautiful natural light during the day and helping to warm it during the winter, but they can also make you feel exposed and vulnerable—especially at night or if your home is built close to other houses in your neighborhood. A quick and easy way to significantly increase your family’s privacy is to invest in privacy shades or blinds and install them on your windows and doors.

Not only are privacy shades perfect for completely blocking the view into your home, but they also act as insulators, keeping warm air in during the winter and hot air out during the summer. They’re also great for blocking outside noise from traffic, construction, lawn mowers, and other distractions.

Plant trees and hedges along your property line

Large trees and hedges are remarkably effective at increasing privacy both inside your home and in your outdoor areas. In fact, just a couple of well-placed trees, hedges, and other large plants can effectively block out both large amounts of sunlight and reduce visibility into windows and private gathering areas in your front or backyard.

While this solution is highly effective, it can take time to pay off, as you’ll have to wait until the trees and plants mature and grow large enough to provide the shade and privacy you need. But once the maturation process is complete, your home will not only have increased privacy, but also great curb appeal to potential buyers.

hedge

Fence

Build a fence

The most obvious solution to privacy issues at your home is to build a fence around any areas where you want more relaxation and less visibility. Fences are most people’s go-to project when their outdoor spaces feel too exposed and for good reason—a fence is a quick and easy way to reduce or eliminate visibility from the road or lower-level windows while also increasing your home’s security. Fences are also required by law in many places if you have a swimming pool on your property.

Fences can range in size and height, and it’s important to consider your home’s relative location compared to its surroundings as well as the height of buildings and homes nearby. If your outdoor space is relatively low-lying compared to the area surrounding it, you may need to build a fence that’s higher than normal to maximize privacy.

Frost or fog your windows

While installing privacy shades and blinds is a quick and easy way to guarantee privacy for your windows and doors, you may not want to completely block outside light at all times. Frosted and fogged windows are perfect solutions for this dilemma by allowing outside light to enter the room, while removing virtually all visibility. Applying frosting or fogging to your windows is often fairly inexpensive, and is perfect for bathrooms, garages, and laundry rooms.

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Enclose your porch or patio

Although this is a more expensive option than many of the others on this list, it’s also one of the most effective ways of increasing the privacy of your outdoor spaces. Porches and patios are great entertaining areas, but they can feel exposed—especially if you live near homes with windows on the second floor with visibility over your fence or trees. Enclosing these spaces with screen or tinted glass can dramatically increase privacy and security while also providing increased shade and comfort for your family, friends, and guests.

Install a trellis

Not all homes are suitable candidates for installing large fences or planting trees and hedges to increase privacy. If you live in an urban area or a townhouse, your options may be more limited when it comes to boosting your home’s privacy, but it doesn’t mean you have to settle for your current situation. Installing a trellis in your patio or outdoor area reduces your susceptibility to prying eyes, while also giving you decorative options. You can hang plants from it or even grow ivy along the structure to further increase the privacy and shade that the trellis creates.

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Secure your Internet connection

This tip may seem out of place compared to the others, but your family’s digital privacy is just as important as its physical privacy—especially as more and more people spend their time online for work, play, and socializing. Many people don’t think twice about the wireless networks in their homes, but many wireless connections are left completely unsecured or secured using outdated encryption methods and weak passwords.

To boost your home’s cyber privacy and security, make sure you are using an up-to-date router that was released within the past four or five years at minimum, as these typically have stronger encryption methods and security than older routers. Next, be sure to set up a protected password on your wireless connection— the more letters, numbers, and symbols you use in the password, the more difficult it will be to crack.

Finally, be careful giving out your wireless connection password and other sensitive information to your neighbors, and always make it a habit to change your password every couple of months.

10 Home Disaster Prevention Tips

There are few things more frightening for homeowners than waking up to an expensive disaster in the middle of the night. Home disasters don’t just require immediate attention—they can also be extremely expensive to repair.

But like the old saying goes—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To help reduce your chances of waking up to a flooded basement or a downed tree on your roof, follow these tips from Blindster and get the peace of mind you and your family deserve.

 

Check the connections to your washer and dryer regularly.

Check the connections to your washer and dryer regularly.

If your family is like most, you go through a lot of laundry—and that means your washer and dryer get used multiple times per week. While modern washers and dryers are built to withstand frequent use, they can pose a hazard to your home and your family if they aren’t maintained regularly.

Check at least twice per year to make sure the hot and cold water connections to your washer are secured, and make sure the drainage pipe is secure and not in danger of coming loose and leaking. In addition to always cleaning the lint trap with every use, disconnect your dryer from the wall at least once a year to clear out any accumulated lint or fabric in the dryer vent. These accumulations can build up over time and become a fire hazard.

 

Use high-quality surge protectors for all your expensive electronics.

Use high-quality surge protectors for all your expensive electronics.

Not all surge protectors are created equal. While you may not give a second thought to the power strip that gives life to your home theater setup, it’s also the only thing keeping those gadgets running should your home receive a sudden power surge. In rooms that have a lot of expensive electronics, such as your living room, game room, media room, or home office, always use high-quality surge protectors that are rated to handle large power surges. Not only do these surge protectors offer more protection than budget power strips, but they also offer money back guarantees if any items are damaged by a power surge while plugged in.

 

Turn off your home’s water supply before going on vacation.

What starts out as a small leak in your home can quickly become a home-ruining disaster if it’s not treated in time. That’s why it’s important to cut off your home’s water supply any time you will be away for several days. In most cases, your home’s water valve will be located near your water meter and can be turned off by twisting it clockwise. If you can’t find it, or if you’re unable to turn it, consider hiring a plumber to do the job for you. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind while you’re away from home.

 

Trim or cut down any trees in danger of falling.

Trim or cut down any trees in danger of falling.

Trees make your lawn a cool and shady place in the summer, but they also pose a danger to your home if they grow too large or become diseased or weakened due to the elements. Make it a habit to trim any tree limbs that grow over the roof of your home or outdoor areas used by your family, and make arrangements to get any trees that are in poor health cut down. Weakened trees or dying trees can fall over without warning, causing serious damage to your home and even putting your family’s lives at risk.

 

Repair any cracks or separation in your shower or tub.

Repair any cracks or separation in your shower or tub.

Showers and bathtubs are prone to develop small cracks and separation in the grout and caulk due to repeated exposure to water, soap, mildew, and other elements. Over time, those cracks and separations can grow bigger until the damage causes your shower or tub to leak. Instead of waiting until you’re standing in a puddle of water and need to replace your entire bathroom, fix any small cracks or separation as it happens with caulk to reseal any weak points.

 

Monitor any cracks in your home’s foundation.

Monitor any cracks in your home’s foundation.

While it’s common for homes like yours to have small hairline cracks in their foundations, they also pose a risk of shifting over time and causing massive structural damage to the entire house. If your home has cracks in its foundation, monitor them over time by taking measurements of the size and length of the crack every few months. If the crack grows in size or widens, call a contractor who specializes in home foundations to get it repaired before the damage gets worse.

 

Fix any leaks in your roof right away.

Fix any leaks in your roof right away.

If you notice any water stains on your ceiling, it either means you have a leaky pipe or your roof is leaking. Leaky roofs often start as small annoyances but can quickly become disastrous as the water damage spreads and the leak grows in size. Call a roof repair contractor at the first sign of any water stains to prevent the leak from ruining your entire roof and ceiling.

 

Fill cracks in your driveway.

Fill cracks in your driveway.

Whether you have an asphalt or concrete driveway, it’s important to keep an eye on its surface and check for any cracks. Like your home’s foundation, small hairline cracks are common in both asphalt and concrete, but those small cracks can quickly become big problems—especially if you live in an area with sudden temperature changes. Over time, cracks can grow and spread throughout the length of your driveway and even begin to fill with unsightly weeds. The sooner you repair the cracks, the less likely it is that your driveway will experience significant damage.

 

Secure any loose steps.

Secure any loose steps.

Loose steps, both inside and outside your home, are major safety hazards for anyone who uses them. Whether you have a loose step on your main stairway or on your patio, repair it as soon as possible to avoid any of your guests or family members tripping on it and getting hurt. The same thing applies to loose handrails, banisters, and walkways, as all of these can cause serious injuries.

 

Eliminate pest problems.

Eliminate pest problems.

Termites can cause significant damage to any wood in the structure of your home, but you may not even notice the damage until it’s too late. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule regular visits from an exterminator to prevent any infestations. In addition, animals that get into your ceiling, attic, or walls, such as squirrels and mice, can be fire hazards—especially if they have access to any exposed wiring. They may chew through the wires and send sparks that could ignite any nearby flammable materials.

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Decorating and Furnishing Your New Home

When you move into a new home, furnishing it for the first time gives you a clean slate that you may never have again—unless you move, that is. That’s why it’s important to make the best of your “blank slate” opportunity the first time around so that you can make your home look and feel a way that matches your style, personality, and energy. Here are 10 Dos and Don’ts from Blindster.com to make the most of your new living space and create a warm and inviting atmosphere that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

 

Do the hard work first.

Do the hard work first.

If possible, do any extensive or even minor renovation projects before you move a single piece of furniture into your home. Want to knock out that wall dividing the living room and kitchen? Need to update the tub or shower? Does the kitchen need an entire makeover? If so, tackle those projects first. Not only will the open spaces give you plenty of room to work, but you’ll also be better able to visualize the furniture and décor that will match the rest of your house after you’re done.

Don’t overcrowd any rooms.

Don’t overcrowd any rooms.

If you have any large rooms in your home, it can be tempting to fill them with furniture in order to close them in and make them feel warmer and cozier. Sometimes it’s best to resist that temptation, however, and simply allow the room to exist as-is. Instead, decorate and furnish large rooms with bold artwork and pieces of furniture that draw your eye’s attention instead of causing it wander around the room straining for something to focus on. In art, negative space can often have a powerful effect on the viewer, and the same is true in home décor as well.

Do choose window treatments that are appropriate for each room.

Some rooms, such as bedrooms and media rooms, benefit from blackout shades that have the ability to reduce or block sunlight and glare while providing maximum privacy. Other rooms, like the living room, sun room, and kitchen may be better served with window treatments designed to let in ample natural light and maintain a clear view of the outdoors.

Don’t focus too much on matching furniture.

While it’s nice to have an entire set of matching furniture, it’s not realistic for most people. Don’t leave a new piece of furniture behind just because it may not fit perfectly with your existing furniture. In many cases, a vintage sofa, cabinet, chair, or table can turn into the showpiece of a room—even if it came from a different decade or even century from the rest of your furniture.

Do use rugs to create sections within rooms

Do use rugs to create sections within rooms.

Whether you have carpet or hardwood floors, rugs are a great way to easily section off parts of rooms into designated areas—especially in homes that feature open floor plans. Use a rug underneath your breakfast table or nook to help separate it from the rest of your kitchen area. You can also use a large area rug to section off your couch, coffee table, end tables, and television stand in your living room.

Don’t follow any themes too closely

Don’t follow any themes too closely.

Unless you’re aiming to make your home look like a hotel room, try to avoid decorations and furniture that seem stereotypical for the area. For example, if your home is near the beach, don’t go overboard with a nautical, seashell, or palm tree-inspired decorations. Let your home’s natural setting and your sense of style and décor speak for themselves without resorting to an overarching theme that dominates the focal points of every room.

Don’t be afraid to spend a little more

Don’t be afraid to spend a little more.

Not all furniture is created equal, and if you’ve moved more than a few times in your life, you’re probably well aware of that fact. That’s why it makes sense to splurge and shell out a bit of extra cash for certain pieces of furniture that are sure to get heavy use and will stand out in your home, such as your couch, kitchen table, or an interesting piece of décor. It’s not necessary to furnish your home entirely with luxury items, but a few well-placed high-end pieces can make all the difference.

Do provide plenty of options for seating.

One of the most overlooked aspects of furnishing a new home is making sure you have enough seating for family members, guests, and party attendees. Have extra chairs and even an extra table on hand for dinner parties or holiday gatherings, and furnish your living room with plenty of seating options. Sectional couches are great for maximizing space and providing ample seating for your guests—especially if they’re paired with a loveseat or a couple of roomy chairs.

Don’t forget the personal touches

Don’t forget the personal touches.

To make a house truly feel like a home, be sure to display pictures, artwork, mementos, souvenirs, and other personal items created by you, your family members, and your friends. Adding a personal touch to every room helps make your home feel more inviting and comfortable, while also conjuring memories of great times you shared with the people closest to you.

Do test paint colors

Do test paint colors.

If you decide to paint any room in your home, take your time and test the color before you commit to it. It’s important to never base your judgment on a color based on what you saw at the hardware store. Big box hardware stores have harsh overhead lighting that is drastically different from what you have at home—and that means the color you see in the store will look very different when it’s on your wall. Get several samples and test them out individual to choose the color that works best for each room’s purpose and desired décor.

Don’t over-think it

Don’t over think it.

In a list of Dos and Don’ts, this may seem counterintuitive. But remember—it’s your home, and ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how to furnish and decorate it. While it’s handy to have a few pointers and tips and tricks in mind when you’re visualizing the décor for a room, it’s also important to please yourself and your family. After all, you’re the ones who have to live there! So use the opportunity to have fun and be creative, and remember—if you don’t like the way a room looks now, you can always change it.