How to Keep Cool This Summer

Summer is here! So now is the time to prepare to keep cool this summer. Control the heat before it amplifies to stay cool for the entire summer. The first thing to start with is the interior of your home. After that, move to the outside. You’ll eventually have a summer-ready home where you can keep cool and enjoy spending time with your loved ones. Here’s how to get started:

Cover Your Windows

A home with open, bright windows can make for a beautiful space. However, even with new windows, outside heat can come in, heating up your house and increasing your energy bills. But to get the best heat reduction, you can’t cover your windows with just anything. For optimal energy efficiency, choose cellular shades. If you still want that natural light during the summer, choose light filtering cell shades, and you’ll have the best of both worlds.

Keep Your Lights Off

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

With light filtering shades, you can keep off your lights longer, helping to keep your home’s interior cool and comfortable. You may not realize it at first, but leaving your lights on during the day can really heat up your home. Plus, keeping your lights off as long as possible will also save you money each month on your utility costs.

Swap Out Your Bedding

 

Change out your heavier winter bedding with linens specifically made for warmer weather. Being the right temperature while you sleep will help you to feel cooler the rest of the day. If you’re overheated at night, you may feel as though you’re catching up to stay cool all day.

Use Outside Misting Systems

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

 

Don’t let the summer heat keep you from enjoying time outside. Install misting systems around your porch, deck, or backyard sitting area. It will keep you cool and you don’t have to hide from the heat inside your house.

Barbeque

 Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

 

Cook outside as much as you can during the summer. Using your oven and stove will heat up your house, and it might be difficult to cool it back down right away. Instead, keep the heat outside where it belongs.

What’s your favorite way to stay cool in the summer?

 

Charlene Jimenez

Surprising Back-to-College Necessities

Bedding

Photo Credit: Bedding.com

Your dorm or college apartment may supply basic bedding, but don’t take any chances. Bring your own bedding. Not only can it give you peace of mind, but it’s a great way to add color, personality, and style to your personal space. Quick Tip – Bring at least two sets of sheets. This will keep your bedding clean, even when your laundry is backing up.

Towels

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

Bring your own towels. Again, even if your dorm provides towels, it’s probably best to use your own. However, the provided towels are great for an emergency. Choose bright, fun colors and patterns or go with a classic white so you can bleach them and keep them looking fresh and new.

Window Shades

Photo Credit: SelectBlinds.com

You probably won’t be allowed to drill in the required mounts for window blinds or shades. But you don’t have to! Use Redi Shades instead. Just use the adhesive to attach them to the top of the window frame or on the outside of the window frame and that’s all it takes! These are perfect for college life because they’re cheap, easy to use, and they come in blackout, which means you can sleep whenever you want without light bothering you.

Hanging Organizers

Photo Credit: FreeImages.com

In a dorm, chances are you won’t have much floor space. That will be taken up by beds, dressers, and desks. Instead, opt for hanging organizers. Why not use that vertical space instead of wasting it? You’ll be surprised how much you can store with hanging organizers.

Now you’re ready to head off to college with all those other essentials, like shower shoes and your laptop. What’s your must-have for college this semester?

 

Charlene Jimenez

High Price Does Not Mean High Quality – A Personal Experience from CEO, Al Silverberg

I’m the CEO of SelectBlinds, and a do-it-yourselfer on almost every home improvement project that I can get away with. My wife and I moved into our current house about one year ago. The house was built in 1980, and was in really good condition, but as far as we were concerned, there were quite a few things that we wanted to upgrade, including the window coverings. As I mentioned already, I am the CEO of SelectBlinds, so access to the latest and greatest was not a problem.

We covered all of the windows that needed to be covered, meaning the bedrooms, and the front facing windows. The beautiful view of the backyard was a big selling point, so we left the rear facing floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors bare, just like the people from whom we bought the house did.

We hung battery-powered motorized cell shades in the bedroom. I measured and installed them myself, and I have to admit, it was a fairly easy process, and when I was done, I had a feeling of accomplishment. The other windows were covered with roller shades, roman shades, and non-motorized, cordless honeycomb shades.

The price was not a big concern, but I was aware of the price, and was also aware of the fact that the shades were fairly priced, and they are all excellent quality products. I ordered them through our web site, just like any customer, and all of the blinds and shades that I ordered were delivered promptly, and without damage or issues. Overall a really positive experience. Go, SelectBlinds!

Fast forward to the present, which is mid-December, 2014. We live in Phoenix, and you might have heard that it gets a little warm in the summer. Those rear facing windows point to the north, so there is no direct sunlight on them, but, man, you can really feel the heat. So we decided that we were going to put solar shades on the windows and doors, and we were going to have them motorized. Battery powered is ok, but after using the ones in our bedroom for a year, and having to replace batteries in some of them, I decided that we were going to have these shades motorized, hard wired. I also decided that I was going to take this opportunity to experience a full-service design center, and have a “professional” take care of everything.

October 15th was the date of our first meeting with a Hunter Douglas full-service window coverings design center/dealer. The meeting went well. They brought out sample books of the types of products that we were considering, but surprisingly to me, the swatches were not even as good as the ones that we send out for free to any visitor to our site. Our swatches are bigger, and they are made in a way that it is easy to hold them up to your window to get a real good feel as to how they will look on your windows.

We had the dealer measure the windows, and knowing that I am “in the industry”, he was kind enough to work with the manufacturer, Hunter Douglas, in order to get me a discounted price. So there was a little delay in getting to the point where we said “GO”.  The exact date was 10/31, and they confirmed the order on Nov 1st. I’ll skip the details, but December 16th they finally installed our shades.

Am I happy? I’m always happy! I don’t feel good about the in-home, Hunter Douglas design center dealer experience though. I spent a ton of money, got the shades in an unacceptable amount of time, and the results, well, I’ll let you decide.

Moral of this story? You don’t have to pay more for perceived quality. Just because something costs more doesn’t mean its quality will match its price.

Say Hello to Fall with Window Insulation and Warmer Bedding

Fall is finally here! It may not feel like it in some places, but in other places, autumn is in full force. Leaves are changing colors, and soon they’ll be scattered on the ground. The air is getting cooler and the daylight hours are getting shorter. So now’s the time to prepare your home for that beautiful fall weather, which will inevitably turn to the harsh chill of winter.

Better Insulation

Because the fall season brings with it colder temperatures, you’ll want to make sure you have the best insulation possible. This will save you money by reducing your energy usage. One of the easiest ways to better insulate your home is to focus on your windows. By simply adding the right window coverings, you’ll save money, energy usage, and still have a beautifully stylish home.

Honeycomb shades, also called cellular shades, provide the best insulation. Their honeycomb construction gives your window shades even more layers, all while trapping the cold weather in the little cells. For even more insulation, choose double cell honeycomb shades.

Don’t like the look of cellular shades? You can still get great insulation benefits with other types of window shades, including roman shades and solar shades.

Light Filtering

Fall is beautiful, but it just doesn’t offer the same warm natural light that summer did. While you may have wanted to block out the sun and the heat in the summer, blocking out light in the fall will only leave your home cold and dark.

Choosing a light filtering window shade will give your home that soft, warm glow that’s perfect for this time of year.  With the decreasing amount of sunlight for the next few months, it’s important to use the sunlight you do have with light filtering window shades.

Warmer Bedding

Photo Credit: Bedding.com

Photo Credit: Bedding.com

If you haven’t yet, now’s the time to change out your bedding. Depending on where you live, you may need even warmer bedding than other places. Start with warm sheets. Then you can add blankets, throws, down comforters and duvet inserts. Make your bed as cozy as possible, and you’ll have a happy and warm fall while you appreciate the chill in the air, tucked away in your bed.

One of the best, and most fun, benefits of saying hello to fall is that you can choose fall color palettes for everything from your window coverings to your bedding. Isn’t it time you prepared your home for fall?

 

Charlene Jimenez

How to Clean Your Window Shades

We’ve already discussed cleaning your window blinds, so now it’s time to tackle cleaning your window shades. At first you may think you can use the same techniques as cleaning wood or faux wood blinds, but there are specific ways to clean specific types of shades, including honeycomb, solar, and even bamboo shades. Using the incorrect cleaning method can actually damage your shades, so here’s what you need to know:

Honeycomb/Cellular Shades

Regular cleaning of your cellular shades is important. Without it, they can develop a yellowish tint. Regularly vacuum the shades with the brush attachment. Make sure to be gentle and not tug on the shades. You want to keep the honeycombs looking nice. You can also dust the shades to keep the dust from accumulating. If you see that dust has gotten into the middle of the cells, use a blow dryer to get it out. But only use it on the softest, lowest air flow and only use cool air, never warm or hot. The most important thing to remember is be gentle.

 

Solar Shades

Many of the solar shades we offer here at Select Blinds are resistant to both mold and moisture. So that means you can use a damp cloth to clean them, both the front and the back, and you won’t have any problems. You can also use a feather duster or a brush attachment on your vacuum, but a damp cloth will be your best, most effective bet for solar shades.

 

Bamboo Shades

No water should be used on bamboo or woven shades at all. This will cause ample irreversible damage. Instead, limit yourself to a light dusting or very light vacuuming with the brush attachment. Too much pressure or moisture on the bamboo shades can break the natural fibers apart, eventually causing droops and gaps.

Roman Shades

Because roman shades are made of fabric, it’s generally OK to spot clean using a damp rag and gentle detergent or soap. However, be mindful of the type of fabric of your roman shades, like those made of silk or other delicate materials. You can also use a duster and the brush vacuum attachment for a light cleaning.

Keeping your window shades clean and looking fresh is easy. With the right cleaning technique, you’ll be able to maintain that new look you had when you first installed them. It will also prolong the life of your shades, so you’ll get the most use for your money, all while keeping your shades looking great!

 

Charlene Jimenez

How to Clean Your Blinds

Remember when you first installed your blinds and they looked fabulous and clean? Unfortunately, it doesn’t take too long for blinds to collect dust. But cleaning your blinds can be a pain, especially if you’re not sure you’re using the proper cleaning method. After all, blinds are made from a variety of materials and each requires a unique way of cleaning. But it doesn’t have to be a pain any longer. Here’s what you need to know:

Wood Blinds

Even though wood blinds have been treated and sealed, using water on them is still not a good idea. Avoid cleaning wood blinds with water or even a spray cleaner. All your wood blinds need is a little dusting. Use a feather duster, dusting mitt, or a clean rag. Simply run the rag or duster across each slat, starting from the lowest slat to the highest. This will help you avoid pushing the dust onto the already-cleaned slats below.

If you want to take it one step further, you can always clean your wood blinds with a vacuum with a brush attachment. This will give you a deeper clean and it won’t leave the dust you’ve pushed off the blinds on the floor or windowsill.

Faux Wood Blinds

Faux wood is more durable than real wood when it comes to using water. With faux wood blinds, you can use a warm, damp cloth to clean the individual slats. If you’d like to add a miniscule amount of soap or detergent to the mixture, you can do that, too. But never use an abrasive sponge or cleaning tool. This can scratch the faux wood and cause damage, eventually letting the water into the core of the slats.

Just as with wood blinds, you can also use your vacuum’s brush attachment to clean your faux wood blinds. Take it one slat at a time and you’ll be done in no time.

Aluminum Mini Blinds

These are some of the most durable blinds out there and they’re some of the easiest to clean. You can use both warm and cold water to clean them, and feel free to use soap. Because of the smooth finish of aluminum mini blinds, the dust should wipe off easily. However, if you need more cleaning power, you can take the aluminum blinds off the headrail and soak them in the bathtub. This is a sure-fire way to get your mini blinds sparkling again. However, as you’re cleaning, try not to bend the slats. You’ll want to avoid causing any damage to the blinds as you’re cleaning them, no matter how minor it may seem at the time.

 

Fabric Blinds

Because fabric blinds aren’t as firm as aluminum or even faux wood or wood blinds, they can be a little difficult to clean. First, try to clean them with the brush attachment on your vacuum. This may be all you need to get them clean. However, if that doesn’t work as well as you had hoped, you can always take them to the dry cleaners. You won’t need to do this every time you clean your fabric or cloth vertical blinds, but it’s nice to know it’s always an option.

 

Cleaning your blinds doesn’t have to be a hassle. With the right knowledge and tools, you can tackle an average cleaning day or more in-depth spring cleaning.

What are some of the best ways that you’ve found to clean your blinds?

 

Charlene Jimenez

How to Clean Your Window Blinds the Quick and Easy Way

clean your window blinds to make them last longer

Although most of us remember to clean our windows regularly, we often forget about our window blinds. Regular cleaning will keep them looking and working like new; however, this is a chore most people would rather avoid. The secret is to keep dust and grime from building up over time, creating a layer that is tough to remove. When it comes to keeping window blinds clean, prevention is the best tool, so make it part of your regular weekly housecleaning.

Know Your Blinds

Window blind manufacturers create instructions for a reason, so read them carefully and follow the cleaning tips that come with them. Also, look for specific tips and recommendations, so you’ll avoid any potential problems down the road. Manufacturers test their guidelines and can give you the best advice available on how to care for your blinds. As a rule, give your blinds a thorough cleaning every four months, or at the very least, twice a year.

Grandma’s Green Cleaning Method

If your grandmother is like mine, she uses vinegar for everything, including cleaning window blinds. Here’s how:

  • Fill a small bowl with white vinegar and find a pair of clean cotton gloves or socks.
  • Put your hand inside one of the gloves or socks and dip the tip of the sock, or your fingers into the bowl.
  • Run your hand or fingers along each slat to remove the dust and grime. You may need to rinse the sock or glove a few times.
  • Switch back and forth between the two socks or gloves, soaking one sock or glove while you use the other.

Important: Although this method is safe for most materials, do not oversaturate the blinds, especially if they are wooden. Water warps wood, so squeeze as much out as possible and dry immediately. Avoid letting the vinegar come into contact with your eyes or skin.

Material Matters

It’s important to know what your blinds are made of, and then to clean them accordingly. Here are some material-specific tips:

  • Wooden Blinds – Excess moisture is wood’s worst enemy, so avoid getting wooden blinds wet. To dust them, use a clean, soft cloth, a feather duster or a vacuum brush. To put more life into the wood, use a cleaner made specifically for wood, such as lemon oil. Reading the manufacturer’s guidelines is more important than ever with wooden blinds, so check to see what products the company recommends before you use anything on them. Run a dryer sheet along each slat to keep dust and grime from sticking.
  • Faux Wood Blinds – Faux wood blinds are the easiest to clean, because they are durable and resist warping. You can dust them just as you do wooden blinds, but you can also spot clean them using a mild detergent with warm water on a slightly moistened cloth, blotting dry afterwards. Use a dryer sheet to keep dust at bay.
  • Vinyl and Aluminum Blinds – Dust often and spot clean stains with mild detergent using warm water and then blot them dry. Tilt the slats up and down slightly to dust both sides, moving along each slat. Avoid pressing down too hard, so you don’t bend or break them. If the dirt is hard to remove, take the blinds off the window and soak them in a bathtub filled with warm, soapy water. Rinse them and wipe dry, or hang them and leave them open to air dry.
  • Fabric Vertical Blinds – Dust often with a vacuum brush to avoid build up. Spot clean as directed using a clear detergent to avoid staining, then blog dry. Although you cannot immerse them in water, check the manufacturer’s recommendations to see if you can have them dry cleaned.

Regular cleaning according to the manufacturer’s guidelines will keep your blinds looking as beautiful as the day you got them, as long as you take special care and clean on a regular basis. By avoiding dirt and dust buildup, it will be easy to give them a quick cleaning whenever you clean the rest of your home.

For specific cleaning instructions for all types of blinds, read this post.

Looking for how to clean your window shades? Take a look at this how-to post.

Six Great Reasons to Give DIY Projects a Try

Embarking on a DIY project may seem like a lot of unnecessary work and hassle – but have you really considered the benefits of undertaking some personal home improvements?

Even if you consider yourself far from being a “dab hand” at DIY projects, there are many smaller-scale projects that bring just as much satisfaction while requiring little or no handywork skills.

So why should you consider taking up some DIY projects in your spare time – what are the real advantages?

Well, you’ve come to the right place. Here are six perfectly good reasons why you ought to be doing DIY projects.

1. Rewarding

The self-fulfilment that you receive from starting and finishing your own project is difficult to replicate. While the actual project itself may not be the most compelling task that you’ll ever perform, the final product will provide you with a self-efficacy boost that is well worth the effort you’ve put in. Similarly, your DIY project is something to show off to your friends or family – making you feel proud of your work.

2. The Cost

Typically, sourcing your own materials – such as simply buying a tin of paint and a brush – is much more cost effective than hiring professional tradesmen. It may take a little more time for the work to be completed, sure, but for an extra few dollars in your back pocket, that could well be worth it.

3. Bond With Others

If you’re working on a larger-scale project, like painting a large room, then don’t hesitate to get friends or family involved. You can use the exercise as an excellent way to bond, improve communication and spend time with others.

4. Work At Your Own Pace

The great thing about DIY projects are that you can work at your own pace and set your own limits. For beginners, this is ideal. There are no pressures of working within a time frame and you can take on your project in your spare time and when you feel up to it.

5. A Productive Hobby

If you find yourself sitting in front of the TV or playing video games during your spare time then getting stuck into a bit of DIY project can act as a welcome alternative to your sedentary habits – and you’ll feel much better for it. Just being more productive in your extra-curricular activities will provide you with a rewarding psychological enhancement.

6. You Become Active

As stated previously, because DIY isn’t a sedentary activity, more often than not, it will get you up on your feet and force you into some physical movement – which is always a vital part of living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Author information: Matthew Wood is a regular blogger who enjoys developing engaging and informative articles on a range of topics. This particular entry has been written on behalf of the DIY Kitchen and Flooring provider Finsa Home.

Genie in a Bottle Themed Home Redesign Project

We finally updated our family room furniture. We have been in this house for nearly 3 years, and we had old furniture to begin with, so it was time, even though as the man of the house I could have probably been okay with the old stuff for the rest of my life.

Genie In a Bottle Living Room

I’ll admit that we did use a designer to help us, and they were great. The couch and chair are custom made, which this is the first time I’ve ever done that, and it was worth it. The theme, chosen by my wife, is Genie in a Bottle! Everything tied in with the Roman Shades and Cornices that we bought from SelectBlinds.com when we moved in.

My chair! I actually got to do a “Sit Test” on it before it was completed, to make sure the cushion was right for my cushion. And I love that rug, which we initially had some doubts about. Thank you SelectRugs.com

When we go out for dinner, I like to sit at a high top, or at the bar, so we put one in the house. This is where we eat, not at the dining room table.