Best Backyard Ideas for 4th of July

Kid with funny 4th of July goggles on

If you’re like many of us who will be spending the 4th of July at home this year, we thought we’d share some of our favorite, easy-sneezy and inexpensive DIY ideas to help make your backyard bash a star-spangled success!

DIY Decor

Break out the bunting and decorate the deck and patio with your own DIY decor, like these fun wooden firecrackers you can make in just 15 minutes!

Craft wooded Fourth of July Firecrackers

Have Your Own Hot Dog Eating Contest

Challenge your friends and family on Zoom or FaceTime to see if someone can beat the competitors at the original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. Find some fun hotdog recipes online, or go with the basics and break out the buns for some gut-busting fun!

Biscuit Wrapped Hotdogs for Fourth of July

Plan a Patriotic Menu

In addition to firing up the grill for burgers and brats, keep the menu cool and eat red, white and blue! Check out Pinterest for easy recipes like this flag fruit tray and layered libations for kids and adults alike.

Salty sweet fruit tray
Learn the Recipe for Patriotic Punch
Make your own Patriotic Punch

Get Your Game On

Add a 4th of July theme to almost any of your favorite games. Test your trivia knowledge of our country’s history or host a virtual 1776 themed scavenger hunt. Find lots of other ideas for games to play virtually or together at home when you Google 4th of July games!

Strike Up the Band!

No 4th of July party is complete without a patriotic playlist. What songs would you add to this one?

Don’t Forget the Fireworks

It wouldn’t be the 4th without fireworks, right? With social distancing in full force across most of the country, many traditional fireworks shows have been scaled down or cancelled. But it’s American ingenuity for the win with lots of communities hosting drive-in displays, so check your local listings (and don’t forget to wear your mask!). Or watch them on TV from the comfort of your couch.

And while you’re on the couch, why not save some money, too? Shop our 4th of July Sales Extravaganza for savings of 30% PLUS an extra 20% on EVERYTHING! No mask or social distancing needed. Just jump online and start saving now on blinds you’ll love at SelectBlinds.com!

Alicia @ourvintagenest curated this cozy corner window treatment to watch fireworks from with shutters and woven wood blinds
Shop this cozy Classic Faux Wood Shutter and Designer Series Woven Woods combo curated by Alicia @ourvintagenest, and everything from all-aluminum blinds to zebra shades during our spectacular 4th of July Sales Event! Get savings of 50% sitewide!

Hitting the Road Again? How to Rev Up Your RV in Style

RV driving down highway

Summer is here and that means one thing: ROAD TRIP!!!

With June being National Camping Month and states reopening after the long winter and spring of COVID-19, it’s a great time to hit the highway. And a great excuse to renovate the RV. Whether you’re rolling in a vintage Airstream, custom Sprinter van, 5-wheeler, or converted Partridge Family-style bus, here are some easy and flat-out kickass ways to update and makeover your mobile motor home on wheels … with gas money to spare.

Paint Over the Past

Refresh that boring brown or beige RV interior with bright white and bold color. With a little sand paper and elbow grease, your existing laminated particleboard cupboards will look like a breath of fresh air once you give them a coat or two of new paint. Let nature be your palette!

2 In Select American Hardwood Blinds in RV bedroom
Can’t stop dreaming about this beautiful rolling bedroom! Designed by RV reno experts Jed and Katey Wiley of Stagecoach Detail & Design, you won’t be able to wait to pull off the road for the night and climb in. The bold blue-and-white theme is artfully accented by our 2″ Select American Hardwood blinds and the homey touches sweet dreams are made of.

Get a Foothold with New Flooring

Pull up that peeling kitchen tile or matted and moldy old carpet and put down new, road rugged vinyl or wood laminate planks. Throw in a colorful area rug to brighten up and separate small living spaces.

Lighten Up the Look of Windows & Doors

Mini blinds have long been the standard for RV windows, but if it’s time to replace those old, cracked, cheap plastic slats, try all-aluminum minis in shiny new colors. New solar shades or blackout cellular shades are also a great choice to reduce road glare and to keep out prying eyes at the campsite. Consider motorized blinds for your motor home, too, so you can adjust incoming light without taking your eyes off the road. Need more ideas? Check out our RV Window Covering Buying Guide.

Barn door in RV
Here’s some more inspo from our friends @stagecoachdetaildesign. Ditch the old bi-fold doors in your RV and save space with a sliding barn door. And try more non-traditional window coverings for your travels, like these Premiere Woven Woods (lined, of course, for more privacy and light control at night).

What About the Walls?

Treat your walls on wheels just like the ones at home. Paint them over in a contrasting color to complement your new cabinetry. Turn a small space into an eye-catching accent with a bold, patterned wallpaper. Recover them with shiplap (real or wallpaper!) or repurposed/reclaimed wood, which makes a great headboard in the bunk area. Add inexpensive peel and stick subway or glass tiles in the head or behind the kitchen sink for an updated backsplash.

RV kitchen with subway tile
We love following professional RV dweller Cassidy on @couchinthecorner, and how she brightened up her RV’s tiny corner kitchen with press-on subway tile. If you look closely, you can see the Classic Vinyl Blackout Roller blinds she replaced the original bulky box valance with under the cabinets to let in more light and make the space look bigger.

Pull Out All the Stops

Even tiny touches like unique cabinet pulls can make a BIG difference in your RV’s decor without putting a big dent in the budget. Change out your old standard pulls with new ones that express your personality on galley cabinets, desk drawers, closet doors and storage cubbies. They make great hooks for towels, outerwear and the dog’s leash, too.

Leave the Light On

Light up mobile living spaces or set the mood with fun, fresh new wall sconces, generator-saving, under cabinet LED lighting, or sleek new track lighting, like this:

Interior of renovated vintage Airstream RV
Office space by day, dinner with a view at night. The updated interior of this vintage Airstream has it all: original aluminum walls accented with bold, fresh color; sleek, modern track lighting and a cozy throw on the updated flooring. Photo: Blog.RVShare.com

Who says you can’t roll on down the highway in style without breaking the budget? Happy trails!

Bust Out Your DIY Skills for National Upcycling Day!

National Upcycling Day is the perfect time to grab anything slightly worn or used around the house and use your amazing DIY skills to revamp it into something new and wonderful. Here are some of our favorite new ideas for upcycling old window treatments!

Roller Shade → Retractable Chalkboard

Chalkboards are a staple of childhood, but they can take up a lot of space. The popular solution – chalkboard paint – is great for accent walls, but it can be very dark and is rather more permanent than most parents would like.

So, what’s the solution? Well, and hear me out now, how about a vinyl roller shade with chalkboard paint on one side so you can roll it up when your kids are done playing?

To make this lovely retractable chalkboard, I commandeered some old towels and spread them out on my patio. Then I pulled out the old roller shade and laid it out so I could get painting! After painting on three layers over the course of 6 hours (and letting it dry completely), my new retractable chalkboard was ready to be used! My only recommendation? Make sure your roller isn’t some sort of mesh. We ended up having to rip the old towels off the back because the paint bled through. Thank goodness it still looks amazing on the front side!

Wood Shutter → Picture Board

Picture boards – especially the big ones with real wooden frames – can get ridiculously pricey! But, if you’ve got an old shutter lying around (or happen to find one at your local hardware store or even a garage sale) you’ve got the makings of a great diy picture board!

For my DIY picture board, I decided to remove the slats and create a neutral backing out of a bit of old roman shade. To personalize it a bit more, I painted some cheap wooden letters and glued magnets to the back. Paired with a beautiful set of Harry Potter magnets (or any other magnets that suit your fancy), it’s ready for future pictures to be added! The best part? It took less than an hour to finish – including painting the letters!

Bamboo Shade → Placemats

Let’s all come clean together…we probably aren’t all fancy enough to have sets of placemats and table decorations for every season and holiday. So, why not make some out of those old bamboo shades? Actually, you could make these out of just about anything!

For this particular set, I used a bamboo shade and some pre-cut strips of ribbon-like fabric. The first step was to cut out a placemat-sized piece of the shade. Thank goodness I had my Cutco Super Shears to help cut through the thicker bits of wood! To create the border, I placed double-sided fabric tape around one side and folded the ends of the ribbon when attaching them so that no frayed edges would be available. If I were to do this again, I’d definitely stick with ribbon, but probably make sure it was the length of a whole side to avoid all the seams.

Designing Dads Are No Joke

Save 30% and take an additional 15% or B2G1 free on everything sitewide on Sunday, June 21 during our Father’s Day Sale!

How many dads does it take to hang a blind?

Well, that depends on who you ask.

Not much of a punchline, but when faced with the question “do you have faith your husband can handle basic home repairs?”, 61% of women answered “No.”

No doubt. Some can’t even hang a curtain rod, like this dad candidly admits.

But then there are those husbands and dads who aren’t daunted by DIY tasks. Some, in fact, who more than excel in the DIY department. So, in celebration of Father’s Day 2020, we thought we’d give a tip of the hammer to some designing dads we know. Who says DIY home decor and design is the exclusive domain of women?

Meet Jason and Brian,

two dadsbydesign who are “slowly” DIY-ing their 1950’s fixer-upper in Salt Lake City while raising their rambunctious 2-year-old daughter, Sydney. From the floorboards up, they’ve been painting, plastering and picking out just the right finishes to make their home their own — including this sleek looking art ledge they built and hung in the living room. All by themselves.

We’re thrilled that Jason and Brian chose — and easily installed themselves, of course — our Designer Series Woven Wood shades for the living room and cozy nook (Ellie’s favorite space in the house, below) that adjoins it.

And Jamin and Ashley,

husband and wife owners of rehab and design firm The Handmade Home in Franklin, Tennessee. Keeping up with three kids, clients and DIY projects for their own sprawling home is a never-ending job. But a look at the pictures here and you can tell they’re really great at it. (Seriously. Can I just move into their handmade hide-away in the backyard? Like right now.)

Jamin ordered our Designer Reserve Woven Wood shades in Antigua Ocean accented with Grey Linen tapes for this cozy kitchen corner they designed and built for a delighted client.

Winning designs — and dads — like these are no joke. But no Father’s Day would be complete without dad cracking a few, right? So check out some classic dad jokes, from “Why can’t a nose be 12 inches long? Because then it would be a foot.” to “I used to hate facial hair, but then it grew on me.” Get it? Ba-da-bum.

Handy (or funny) or not, we bet even your dad can hang our blinds. And that’s no joke. So be sure to check out our Father’s Day Sale, too. Shop today, Sunday, June 21, and save 30% PLUS your choice of either an extra 15% off everything or buy 2, get 1 FREE!

Happy Father’s Day!

4 Easy Ways to Upgrade Your Home’s Exterior

Whether you’re looking to increase your home’s curb appeal or you just need a change, improving the outside of your home is easy. Seriously! Just a few simple upgrades can give you a completely new look! You can have the curb appeal of your dreams by changing these simple things!

Up Your Landscaping Game

Beautifully landscaped home at sunset with lights on.

The right landscaping can take a lot of time and cost a lot of money, but it doesn’t have to. Just a few simple changes, like pulling weeds, planting a new tree, or setting out a few pots of seasonal flowers can make a big difference. You can even enlist the help of family and friends if you need to! Just a few hours of work and you can have a whole new front yard!

Shut Paint the Front Door!

Two brownstones with yellow and blue painted front doors.

Give your home an instant facelift by painting your front door. Go bold and vibrant or choose a more neutral color (especially if your HOA has restrictions on allowable paint colors). Whatever you choose, make sure it’s an outdoor paint that will stand against the elements. It should also complement the colors of your home, though it doesn’t necessarily have to match.

Statement Window Coverings

Exterior of windows and a door covered with white faux wood shutters.
Classic Faux Wood Shutters in Cotton

When you’re covering your windows, it’s easy to focus on how they’ll look inside your house and forget about the outside. But, if you happen to remember that curb appeal is just as important, you’ll want to make sure you choose blinds or shades that look great from both sides. To do this, either choose something like faux woods, shutters or rollers that look pretty much the same on both sides, Your other option is to choose a roman or woven wood with a neutral liner on the street side.

Other Front Door Accents

Black and white welcome sign hung on a stained wood door.

You don’t have to redo the whole front of your house to increase curb appeal. A few quick additions, like a new welcome mat or sign, can make a huge difference. Other fun front door accents like an entrance table, some sort of potted plant or even a fancy electronic doorknob can really enhance the look and function of your front door.

What Will You Do Today to Make Life Beautiful?

This is your life - make it beautiful!

June 11 Is National Making Life Beautiful Day

National Making Life Beautiful Day celebrates those who make life beautiful. From street artists, to podcast pundits, to volunteers, to teachers, to all those who work to help heal the wounded, ease the hearts of the weary and empower others to be the best person they can be. When you create beauty by building relationships and helping others, your actions create a ripple effect, making life beautiful not just for yourself, but for everyone around you, too.

Street art can be beautiful!
Finding beauty in the every day isn’t hard. Just look around. A local artist transformed a plain community bench into a welcoming community couch. Photo from Criatividade (Creativity) Facebook group.

The beautiful thing about National Making Life Beautiful Day? We can all do something simple to make life beautiful for ourselves and others. Not just on June 11 but every day. Here are just a few ways.

  1. Spontaneous acts of simple human kindness are a beautiful thing. Hold a door open for someone. Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly or home bound neighbor. Give a caregiver a much needed break by enabling them some time to take care of themselves.
  2. Express yourself and share your talent with the world. Take or paint a picture. Write a letter or a book. Send a card. Make music. Sing a song. Dance. Take a TikTok video of something you think is beautiful.
  3. Pay someone a compliment. Give a stranger your smile.
  4. Volunteer. Share your talents with a cause or organization you’re passionate about. Helping a community garden grow, donating to a local food bank, fostering or adopting an animal from the local shelter are all great ways to let your inner beauty shine through.
  5. Tell the people you love you love them. Love is the most beautiful thing of all. So share and show it. Give those you love your time. Over a meal or watching a movie. With a call or a hug.
  6. Get outside. Take time to appreciate the beauty in nature. Watch the sun rise or set. Walk on the beach or through the mountains. Play in the park. Watch the clouds shift shapes. Smell the flowers and arrange them in a beautiful bouquet to brighten a room.
  7. Add things to your home that bring joy and beauty. Frame and display your favorite photos. Re-purpose a piece of old furniture. Change a room’s color scheme. Plant a garden or try out your green thumb by switching out your artificial plants with real ones.
  8. Take a stand. Stand up for something you believe in and use your voice to advocate positive change.

How are you celebrating the beauty in your life? Share how you’re making life beautiful today by using #MakingLifeBeautifulDay on social media.

Premier Woven Wood shades are beautiful in this window.
Making life beautiful can be as simple as making a change to your interior decor. Love this casual aesthetic? Check out our Premier Woven Wood shades to get it.

9 Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

Summer is officially on its way! Are you prepared for the heat? If you’re not (or even if you are) below are some great tips for keeping yourself and your home cool this summer!

Cover Your Windows

Essential Light Filtering Cordless Cellulars trap heat to keep your home cool.
Essential Light Filtering Cordless Cellulars in Mountain Air

An obvious way to keep cool in the summer is to block all that dratted sunshine and heat from coming in your windows. But, to get the best heat reduction, you can’t just cover your windows with any old thing. For optimal energy efficiency, cellular shades are easily your best bet. Their honeycomb shape traps heat to prevent it from invading your space and turning your home into a sauna. And if you’re worried about losing all that lovely light, you can always go with light-filtering cellulars instead of room-darkening or blackout.

Swap Out Your Bedding

Clean, white bedding on a wooden bed.

Strip off those winter flannels and switch to nice, breathable cotton or bamboo for the summer months. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can even put your bedding in the freezer (in plastic bags, of course) for a bit before making your bed at night. Just imagine hopping into those perfectly chilled sheets after a hot day in the summer sun.

Take Advantage of Evaporative Cooling

Colorful water balloons in a blue tub.

This might not be as big of a deal in other parts of the country, but out here in Arizona, we take evaporative cooling very seriously. Between outdoor misting systems, swamp coolers, refrigerated spray bottles (or water balloons) and cheeky bowls of ice water sitting in front of fans, there are so many ways to stay cool!

Stay Hydrated

Sliced watermelon on a plate.

We all know how important staying hydrated is, especially during the summer. But, sometimes it can be hard to chug the recommended 64 to 80 oz water per day (more during the summer months). A fun, cheeky way to sneak a bit more hydration into your diet is to eat more water-rich foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. As an added benefit, the University of Alabama found that an increase in vitamin C will also help your body tolerate the summer heat by delaying sweat gland fatigue.

Switch to Snacking

Almonds, olives and radishes on a wooden serving tray.

Forego big meals in favor of small snacks throughout the day. Digesting a huge meal takes energy, and energy means heat. Keep your body from overheating and working too hard with quick snacks all day long rather than two or three jumbo meals.

Capitalize on Shaded Areas

Woman sitting outside under an umbrella.

If you’re planning on spending any time outside this summer, you’d better have a map in your mind of all the best shady spots to hide out form the afternoon sun. Take full advantage of any umbrellas, overhangs and trees around your home (or wherever you’re hanging out this summer) to maximize your time outside without risking overheating.

Buy a Remote Car Starter

Empty silver sedan alone in a parking lot.

Remote car starters, like these ones from Avital, are NOT gadgets of the future – they are the here and now, so get one while you can truly appreciate their awesomeness. Sure, car starters are great for winter, but who says they can only be used to warm up your cars? Set your AC to max and turn on your car a few minutes before leaving the house or work and your car will be nice and cool when you hop in.

Utilize Your Downstairs Living Space

Four people hanging out in a living room with a shag rug.

It’s common knowledge that heat rises, so make sure your summer hangout spot is on the ground floor. And if you have a finished basement, deck it out with all sorts of fun games or cozy hangout areas to create your very own summer escape.

Don’t be Scared to Use Your AC

Modern thermostat set to 63 degrees.

Electric bills in the summer can be downright terrifying, but if you aren’t too scared, we definitely recommend running your AC. Keep in mind that ideal sleeping temperatures generally range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but if you’re used to 115-degree weather, we doubt you’ll be comfortable at 65, so just stick with what feels comfortable for you and your family. And if you don’t have AC, take advantage of public areas like malls, libraries, movie theaters and even restaurants to keep yourselves cool.

#blindswelove — and you did, too!

The results are in! Congratulations to Tina Morelli, our Happy Customer #blindswelove winner for April. Our IG and Facebook followers were all aTwitter about how Tina styled her beautiful bedroom windows with our Designer Ultimate Woven Wood Shades in Oahu Sand.

Would you like to win a $250 Visa gift card like Tina did? We’ll be announcing last month’s winner shortly, so now’s the time to enter for your chance to win in June. Just share a picture or two of your new window treatments from Select Blinds on Facebook, IG, or Twitter with the hashtag #blindswelove. Be sure to make your post public and tag along with us @selectblinds so we can see it, and you’ll be entered to win!

Mysteries About Vertical Blinds: Solved by SelectBlinds.com

For a lot of folks, vertical blinds are in the same vein of home decor as that old wood paneling from the ’50s. While we can definitely see the similarities in form, function is another story altogether.

While the use of some sort of hanging to block the sun dates back to at least ancient Egypt, modern-day vertical blinds date back to the 1960s. Thankfully, there have been a number of improvements and even advancements that make verticals a fashionable and modern option for covering large windows and sliding glass doors.

Standard Verticals

Maple faux wood vertical blinds covering a sliding glass door.
Premium Faux Wood Vertical Blinds in Maple

While the phrase “standard vertical blinds” might make you think strictly of white or off-white vinyl slats, the truth is there’s much more to normal verticals than simple plastic. Other materials – like wood, faux wood and even cloth-covered vinyl – are a great way to introduce a little more texture and color to your home without straying too far from the “norm.” Plus, some are better able to withstand the hardships brought on by claws, teeth and little hands.

Vertical Honeycombs

Light grey vertical honeycomb cellular blinds covering a patio door.
3/4″ Premier Light Filtering Vertical Cellulars in Thunderstorm

A novel way to cover large windows and doors in the past few years has been vertical cellular shades. They have all the amazing benefits of regular honeycombs (heat/light blockage and insulation) with the added benefit of collapsing vertically so that you can easily access any sliding glass or patio door they are covering. And did we mention they are available in multiple pleat sizes and a plethora of color options?

Panel Tracks

Dark grey solar panel track blinds covering a wide patio door.
Nomad Solar Panel Tracks in Artemisia

The most modern iteration of vertical window treatments, panel track blinds are a fun alternative that can instantly update the look of any room. They’re ultra-stylish and come in a wide range of colors, patterns and fabrics to fit almost any design aesthetic. I mean, just look at how clean-cut these lines are! Absolutely stunning!

Free Samples = Complete Window Satisfaction

As humans, we know that FREE=AWESOME! But, we also hate waiting longer than absolutely necessary to finish a project. The question is, how do you find that balance between finishing a project quickly vs finishing it right? Well, when it comes to window treatments, sampling is the secret to success.

Bamboo woven wood shades behind a grey chair.
Premier Woven Wood Shades in Quince

Whether you’re painting the living room or ordering new shades, sampling is a key step in the process. It lets you test the waters and find that perfect fit without wasting excessive amounts of time or money, not to mention filling your head with endless possibilities of how the colors and textures in real life compare to those on your computer screen (or those handy paint samples from the hardware store).

Selecting Your Samples

So, what should you look for when picking out samples of blinds and shades? This quick guide should help 🙂

  1. Focus on a single category
  2. Narrow down your color options
  3. Keep lighting in mind
  4. Order up to 15 available samples
  5. Pick your favorite!

Focus on a Single Category

2 inch Select American Hardwood Blinds
2″ Select American Hardwood Blinds in Pecan

First, why not narrow down your options by settling on which type of blind or shade you’re most interested in. For this, your selection could depend on which room you’re upgrading. Kitchen – try some minis or faux woods. Living room – how about room darkening rollers or romans? Bedroom – blackout honeycombs are a great choice.

Narrow Down Your Color Options

Navy and grey kitchen with grey light filtering roller shades.
Designer Elements Light Filtering Roller Shades in Driftwood

Second, keep your current or future color scheme in mind when finalizing color options. If you’re painting a wall navy blue, perhaps the window covering on that wall should be a more neutral tone. If your walls are a more neutral off-white, picking a blind or shade with a more vibrant color or pattern could be a fun way to accent your windows.

Keep Lighting in Mind

Neutral honeycomb shades in a cream themed living room.
Classic Light Filtering Cordless Cellular Shades in Sand

The third thing to consider when picking out window covering samples is lighting. Is your room already dark/light? What time of day does the sun attack your windows with the ferocity of a million-watt lightbulb? Are there street lights you need to block out at night? If darkness is a goal for your new room design, definitely consider room darkening fabrics and products with optional blackout liners.

Order Up to 15 Available Samples

Roman fabric samples in rolls.

What else is there to say? Pick out the colors and styles you think would work best in your room and order some samples! And if 15 isn’t enough, just wait 24 hours and order 15 more! You never know, they might even all show up in the same package (mine did). And no, you do not have to pay for shipping – the free samples are entirely free.

Pick Your Favorite!

Roman shades with an intricate red pattern in a bedroom.
Lifestyle Roman Shades in Bohemian Red

Once your samples come in, the only thing left to do is contrast, compare, pick your fave and order. Ok, so there might be a step in there that concerns taking measurements (see this page for help). But, since you took the time to order samples before deciding on your window covering, you can be confident that you truly are choosing the best blind or shade for your room.