Pimp My Desk – Home Office Edition

With so many of us stuck working from home right now, it’s a great time to think about your home office setup and how it can be improved, enhanced and just generally decked out with the awesomeness you (and it) deserve.

1. Sit/Stand Desks are All the Rage

Laptop on a pine desk in a bright office

Regardless of where your home office is – spare bedroom, living room or actual office – your comfort and health are top priorities. Desks with adjustable heights are an ideal way of improving your ergonomics and making sure you feel less strain at the end of a long workday.

2. Reward Yourself with a Decent Chair

Dark office with blue lighting and large clock on the monitor.

We’ve all been there – sitting at home in our worn-out garage sale desk chair. We’re not saying to go out and buy a fancy, ultra-plush chair that costs $1000.00, but a new one might be just the ticket to help you get through each day without lower back pain or numb legs.

If you can find it, my personal favorite is the Amia chair by Steelcase. It’s perfect for shorter people since it can go lower than average dest chairs and the seat can shift backward to allow for correct posture.

3. Multiple Monitors for Ultimate Multitasking

Dual monitors showing calendar and mountain background.

Working from home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing that extra monitor (or two) you had at the office! Monitors aren’t overly expensive and you can even use a TV instead if you find a good deal on a small one! If you’re lucky, your boss might even let you take a company monitor home to help your productivity stay on track.

4. Hologram Keyboard, Anyone?

Red and black light-up keyboard.

Ok, so the picture above might not be an actual laser keyboard, but it gets the point across! If you’re sick of the sound of those clacking keys, give one of these laser varieties a whirl! They’re sure to make you feel like you’re living in the year 3000 rather than a rather strange version of 2020.

5. Blast Those Speakers!

Small portable bluetooth speaker on a white desk.

You’re not in the office anymore, so turn the volume to max and blast your favorite tunes to help you get through the day. Portable bluetooth speakers are a great way to add a touch of fun to your home office and most can be plugged directly into your laptop if whatever you’re listening too happens to come from there.

6. Enjoy a Personal Concert

White wireless earbuds with an orange background.

If you’re worried about how your neighbors will react to music pouring out of your windows, maybe wireless earbuds are a safer alternative. If earbuds aren’t your style, stick to a pair of over the ear headphones – they’ve got a longer battery life, too.

7. A Place for Everything

Wireless headphones hanging from a headphone stand on a desk.

If you’re like me and prefer over the ear headphones to earbuds, you know how annoying it is to have them lying all over your workspace when you aren’t using them. Headphone stands help declutter your desk and some even come with a charging port to plug in your various devices!

8. Control Your Climate

Small portable desk fan next to a laptop.

Office too hot? Grab a fan! Too cold? How about a space heater? You’re the only one in your home office, so you get complete control over room temperature. No more fighting with employees for that extra one or two degrees in the right direction.

9. Touchscreens for Everyone!

Person using a touchscreen tablet in front of a laptop.

Okay, we can all agree that we’d be nowhere without our laptops, phones and other devices. But why is it that most laptops still don’t have touchscreens? Enter the AirBar. It turns ordinary laptops into touchscreen masterpieces with just a USB plug to connect them. Bye-bye tablets, hello laptops of wonder!

Do you have a great home office upgrade we didn’t mention? Let us know!

My New Assistant has Four Legs!

Happy National Puppy Day!!! While the circumstances around working from home right now aren’t great, we’re really loving the extra time we get to spend with our furry companions. To help get in the spirit of this wonderful, obviously longstanding holiday, we’ve collected some adorable puppy pics from fellow SelectBlinds.com employees in their new “working from home” habitats. Enjoy!

Are You Cordless Compliant?

Photo Credit: Boston Children's Hospital

Injuries and death from window blind cords send two kids to the ER each day.*

That’s why, in January of this year, the Window Covering Manufacturers Association announced the approval of a new industry standard to require all “stock” window blinds and shades be cordless or have inaccessible cords. The new mandate, which goes into effect in the U.S. and Canada on December 15, applies to pre-made blinds purchased in stores or online. (Corded blinds will still be available in custom products.)

Select Blinds has been ahead of the cordless curve since 2014 when it became the first retailer to offer a cordless version of every product it sold. Today, over half of all window treatments purchased by our customers are cordless. As a major proponent and supporter of the #gocordless movement, child safety is at the forefront of everything we do. As you shop on Selectblinds.com, if you select a corded or non-compliant product, you’ll be prompted with the following message:

Warning! Corded lift features are not covered under or deemed Best For Kids. Any accessible cords pose strangulation hazards to children and pets. Please choose cordless lift systems in homes where children and pets will be present.

Are you doing everything you can to protect them from the danger of strangulation and other injuries inherent in loose and exposed cords? October is National Window Covering Safety month, and we’re encouraging anyone with young children (2- to 4-year olds are most at risk) and pets in the home to take our Cordless Challenge.  Here’s how:

  1. Replace all corded products with cordless coverings as your budget allows. Start with rooms where your children spend most of their time.
  2. Move cribs and other furniture children can climb up on away from windows, window coverings, etc.
  3. Keep all cords out of reach of children. Cut cords short or wrap them around a cord cleat.
  4. Do not tie cords together! This creates a new loop in which a child could become entangled.
  5. Anchor cords for continuous cord loop options.
  6. Make sure you lock cords on window treatments to prevent them from falling.
  7. Corded window treatments purchased before 2001 should be replaced or equipped with a retrofit kit to reduce potential strangulation risks.

Check out our free  Buyer Guide for kid-friendly coverings for more information on cordless safety, and remember: cords and kids don’t mix!

Premier 2 inch Light Filtering Cellular Shades in baby room

Select Blinds is proud to offer cordless lift options on every product, including our Premier 2″ Light Filtering Cellular Shades.

*USA TODAY NETWORK Mary Bowerman, USA TODAY Network Published 12:13 p.m. ET Dec. 11, 2017

Ask Customer Service! Top 6 FAQs About Buying Blinds Online

SelectBlinds.com puts customers first!

We recently polled our Customer Loyalty team to find out what were the most FAQs they received from you, our customers. (And no, “What is covfefe,” one of the top 10 questions people Googled last year, wasn’t one of them. Still no definitive answer to that one, but Google’s working on it.)

Here are their answers.

1. Why does it take so long to make/get my blinds?

Because we want to make sure it’s made right … the first time! All of our products are custom made to custom fit each and every window. Every order is manufactured based on your exact specifications, from size to color, to type of lift system and accessories. Since we don’t make them with 3D printers (yet), production times also vary depending on the individual product. Shutters, for instance, have much longer production times than say, a roller shade, due to the highly variable configurations, louver sizes and other custom features you have the option to select.

Even with such attention to detail, one of the biggest benefits of buying custom blinds online instead of from pricier in-home design stores and services is that they can still be ordered, made and delivered in just days or a few weeks vs. several weeks to months. (Doing it yourself cuts out the time-consuming and costly middleman.) One of the coolest features on our site is the ability to filter products by “Production Time,” so you can see immediately which products are available to meet your timeline. Each product page also includes a “Shipping & Production” tab with more details. We also keep you up to date on the production and delivery of your order via email, and you can track the status of your order anytime online. And rest assured that everything we custom make for you is covered by our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, so that if we do make a mistake (everyone has their “oops” moments), we’ll make it right!

2. Are blinds and shades easy to install? Can I really do it myself?

Yes! If you can hang a picture, you can hang your own window coverings. With most products, it’s really that easy. (Just ask one of our Happy Customers, Sarah S., who hung 17 (count ’em!) of our 2″ Premium Faux Woods in <4 hours!!!) All it takes in most cases is screwing in a couple of brackets and popping in the headrail. Every product comes with printed instructions and all the mounting hardware you need (you supply the screwdriver). You can also find individual product installation guides on each product page under the “Measure & Install” tab, or on our “How to Install” page.  And if you get stuck or have a problem, we won’t leave you hanging. Just give one of our expert Customer Loyalty Team members a call, and they’ll talk you through it, step by step.

Yes, you can hang most shades and blinds, like our fab Select 2-1/2″ Fabric Light Filtering blinds, by yourself in just minutes.

3. Why should I order samples?

Why not? They’re:

  1. Free!
  2. Cut from the same cloth (literally) that the actual product is
  3. Easy to compare differences in fabrics, colors and styles (we’ll send you up to 15 free samples at a time — more than any other online company — and even ship them to you for free!)
  4. Your “color guarantee” that you’re getting the color you want and think you’re seeing (colors can look a lot different on a monitor or smartphone)
  5. Great for sharing with friends and family to get their opinion (which you can feel free to ignore)
  6. Oh, and (since this is a Top 6 list) did we mention FREE??

And here’s another thing about sampling before you order online. Dye lots frequently change, so there may be slight differences in the same color. To be on the safe side, if it’s been a month or so since you got your samples, we recommend getting another sample of the same color before you actually order to make sure the carpet still matches the drapes (so to speak).

4. How do I measure for two or three blinds in one window?

Hanging two or three blinds on one headrail is a great option for covering a big window. Just follow the simple, step-by-step instructions in our online Tech Tip guide, How to Measure for Installing Two Separate Blinds in One Window. Many styles, including wood, faux wood, mini and fabric blinds, are available in extreme widths. They can are also be ordered with a shared valance to seamlessly tie them together into one super stylish treatment. For other ideas on how to cover large windows, check out our aptly named Buying Guide for large windows. And if you really want to take it to the extreme, quickly narrow your search for extra wide blinds on SelectBlinds.com by checking the “Extreme Widths” refine-by box on our category pages.

 5. What are faux wood blinds made of and how are they different than real wood?

Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby! But faux woods come real close. Most faux wood products are made from durable PVC vinyl, so they’re more resistant to moisture, heat, humidity and scratches than their real-wood counterparts. And with UV ratings as high as 500, they won’t warp or fade either, so they last for years. But the biggest difference and benefit? Getting the look of real wood window treatments for a whole lot less. Many are even imprinted with a wood grain-like finish, so it’s hard to tell the forest from the trees when compared to their wooden window covering cousins.

6. How does a top down bottom up shade work?

What goes up must come down. That’s kind of the idea behind how top down bottom up shades work. These wildly popular window treatments give you the ultimate in light and privacy control, with the ability to raise, lower and position your shades wherever you need them using dual-action top and bottom rails. Simply pull down on either rail to lower the shade and pull up to raise it. Top down bottom up lifts are available in a variety of styles, too, including cellular, roman, bamboo/woven wood and pleated shades.

Any other questions? Call, email, or click the chat button on any page to contact one of our knowledgeable Customer Loyalty Team members. Or leave a comment here.

Calling All Pannapictagraphists!

National Comic Book Day

Photo courtesy of Kate Hubbard

Do you know what day it is? No, not Hump Day. It’s National Comic Book Day! (Seriously? Who comes up with these?) And a pannapictagraphist is a comic book collector, who takes collecting comic books very seriously. Think a typical scene in Stuart’s comic book store on “The Big Bang Theory.”

Big Bang Comic Book Store

GIF from Culture War Reporters

Thor may be hot, but comic book collecting is even hotter. Diamond Comic Distributors, the largest comic book distributors in North America, shipped material worth around $45.72 million in August, including comic books, graphic novels, trade paperbacks and magazines. Comic-Con conventions continue to top attendance records year over year, with more than 180,000 attending this year’s Comic-Con in New York alone. Popular public Facebook groups like Comic Book Collecting, have hundreds of thousands of members. Tons of websites, including the Comic Book Collecting Association (a non-profit international organization made up of comic book enthusiasts who share an appreciation of the history, artistic merit and significance of the comic book medium as an important element of popular culture), ComiXology, ComicList and My Comic Shop are dedicated to detailed analysis and summaries of popular series, as well as weekly comic releases, and tips on collecting and selling comic books. Obviously, the Big Bang Gang is on to something.

A Comic Awakening

The comic book collection bug, however, wasn’t always such a big business or a big deal. Although comic books have been published for more than a century (beginning with the Platinum Age of comics from 1897-1937), the notion of comics as collectible art was celebrated by a disperse community of individual collectors. Even during the Golden Age of comics (1938-55, which featured the first appearance of Superman [Action Comics #1 in June 1938] and the first appearance of Batman [Detective Comics #27 in May 1939]), before the late 1960s, virtually no specialized comic stores existed. A few collector-based retail establishments had taken root, most notably Pop Hollinger’s retail and mail order shop for new and used comics. But it wasn’t until the Bronze Age of comics (1970-79) when Denver, Colorado-based retailer Chuck Rozanski acquired the high-value “Mile High Collection” — 16,000 comic books dating from 1937 to 1955 — in 1977 and slowly began releasing select editions into the marketplace.

During the late 1970s to early 1980s major comic publishers like Marvel and DC Comics began publishing material that was intended for sale in specialist shops only. When Marvel tested the new comics specialty market with the title Dazzler in 1981, the comic sold an astounding (at the time) 400,000 copies. Thereafter, comics publishers have been targeting more and more of their titles to collector audiences, with features such as limited editions, the use of high quality paper, or the inclusion of novelty items.

The Big Boom

From roughly 1985 through 1993, comic book speculation reached its highest peaks. This boom period began with the publication of titles like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen. With the subsequent success of the movie Batman in 1989 and again in 1992 with “The Death of Superman” story line, the mainstream press began focusing on the burgeoning niche market and its potential for making money. Features appeared in newspapers, magazines and television shows detailing how rare, high-demand comics such as Action Comics #1 and Incredible Hulk #181 (the first appearances of Superman and Wolverine, respectively) had sold for thousands of dollars, with Superman #1 breaking the $1 million mark.

Turns out we have a few serious collectors here at Select Blinds who were kind enough to share some of their fantastic collections with us. To them and all pannapictagraphists, happy National Comic Book Day!

Comic book display.

The Amazing Collection of Ryan Hicks, one of our front-end developers here at Select Blinds. If you’re as impressed as we are, Ryan runs a comic collecting Facebook community/company in his free time. Connect with him at Collectors Choice Comics to talk comics or comic grading.

Wall comic book display

Holy Pannapictagraphists, Batman! Check out Ryan’s top Wolverine books (from left to right): • Wolverine #1 from his first series, signed by the entire creative team including the creator of Wolverine himself. There are only 2 known 9.8 copies signed by all these guys in existence. • Incredible Hulk #180: This book is the first cameo of Wolverine on the last page. • Incredible Hulk #181: One of the most famous comic books of all time, first full appearance of Wolverine signed by the entire creative team. (This books is one of my prized possessions.) • Incredible Hulk #182: Second full appearance of Wolverine.

Preserve your comic books to keep the value.

And his collection of First Appearance books (from left to right, top to bottom): • Amazing Spider-Man #14: First appearance of the Green Goblin. • Amazing Spider-Man #129: First appearance of the Punisher (signed by entire creative team). • Uncanny X-men #266: First appearance of Gambit (signed by entire creative team). • Fantastic Four #52: First appearance of Black Panther (signed by Stan Lee and artist Joe Sinnott). • New Mutants #87: First appearance of Cable (signed by entire creative team). • New Mutants #98: First appearance of Deadpool (signed by Deadpool creators Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza). • Tomb of Dracula #10: First appearance of Blade (signed by writer Marv Wolfman). • Amazing Spider-Man #194: First appearance of Black Cat (signed by writer Marv Wolfman). • Incredible Hulk #181: First appearance of Wolverine (signed by entire creative team). • Iron Man #1: Not first appearance but first Iron Man in his own title (signed by Stan Lee). • Amazing Spider-Man #252: First appearance of Black Suit which later turns into Venom (signed by Stan Lee, artist Ron Frenz and writer Tom Defalco). • Star Wars #1: First Star Wars in a comic book (signed by inker Tom Palmer and writer Roy Thomas).

So many comic books.

Set of action figure comic variants produced by Marvel, hand-drawn to look like action figures of their respective actors/actresses. This entire collection is graded 9.8 (except for 2), and the top two rows are all signed by their original Star Wars cast member.

comic-book-display

Some of Ryan’s favorite original sketches. These are all one of a kind and all hand drawn: • Doctor Strange by original Dr. Strange artist Frank Brunner. • Bishop by creator of Bishop, Whilce Portacio. • Back to the Future homage with Archer and Lana by Archer Lead Character Designer, Sam Ellis; also signed by Back to the Future movie writer/producer Bob Gale. • Spider-Man/Venom/Carnage by Venom artist Sam De La Rosa. • Thanos by Andy Carreon. • Wolverine vs SabreTooth by Izik Bell. • Ant-Man knocking out Hulkbuster by original Ant-Man and Iron Man artist, Bob Layton. • Rocket and Groot by John Beatty. • The Joker by George Perez.

Action figures and comic books.

One of the comic-related displays at Ryan’s house.

All American Pet Photo Day at SelectBlinds.com!

Beautiful Bula’s human is Amber G.

It’s All American Pet Photo Day, so we wanted to share some shots of our employees favorite fur babies here at Select Blinds. Join in the fun on social media and post a pic of your pet with #AllAmericanPetPhotoDay!

Before and After Window Coverings – Arizona Homeowner Edition

My husband and I bought our first home together a little over two years ago. We knew we wanted an open floor plan and space for both a living room and a family room. And we found exactly that.

An open floor plan can come with unknown issues!

How do you keep natural light and your privacy?

But we didn’t realize the design problems we would face when it came to our window coverings.

Problem #1 – We loved all the natural light, but we didn’t have any privacy.

Problem #2 – We live in Arizona, and it’s hot. Leaving our windows uncovered or not appropriately covered would mean atrociously expensive energy bills.

Problem #3 – Two windows sat directly across from our TV, causing an annoying glare, especially for my husband who didn’t like that the glare disrupted his sports-watching marathons.

Problem #4 – We knew those two windows in the family room had different covering needs than the rest of the windows, but we still wanted design consistency, even if the needs of each room were different.

BEFORE WINDOW COVERINGS

So much glare without window coverings.

We want different feels in our space but we want it to flow!

For the main portion of our house, we used two different types of window coverings. The two across from the TV were the same, and the two on the other side of the house were the same. We decided to go with cellular shades because they help lower energy costs, and they are great at insulating windows, making them perfect for an Arizona summer.

To solve our problem of avoiding blocking natural light while retaining our privacy, we chose light filtering honeycombs for one end of the house and light filtering/blackout cell shades for the family room. The light filtering/blackout shades are actually 2 shades in 1. You get both a light filtering shade and a blackout shade. My husband uses the blackout section when he’s watching TV, and he hasn’t had to deal with a TV glare ever since.

We ordered white for all the shades, but we ordered free samples first, just to make sure the whites were similar enough.

AFTER NEW WINDOW COVERINGS

Adding cellulars to reduce the glare!

Top down bottom up shades?  Yes please.

We kept the light and reduced the glare.

No glare on our tv anymore!

The light filtering/blackout cell shades are perfect.
If we could do it all over again, we’d use the light filtering/blackout cell shades on every window in the house. They are incredible and serve their purpose perfectly.

These are the window coverings we used:

The Time Has Come – A Message from the CEO

Meet our CEO Al.

The time has come for you to do something with your window coverings. They have to be changed.

Your window treatments are old. Your window shades let light through, but you want total blackout shades. You’re moving into a new house and all of the windows need covers. Or you are moving into a pre-owned house and you want to change the window covers to match your décor. Or you are ready to take the plunge into the cordless lift system and eliminate those unsightly cords that pool on the sill or floor, also potentially causing serious injury or more to little kids.

Why cordless?

Whatever the reason, you’ve made the decision. The discussion is now where do you shop. The Internet is always a great place to do research. But beyond that, it really is a great place for shopping. There is just that nagging concern about DIY products that is natural. Even though we say it’s easy, you might not be able to install the new treatments for your windows when they arrive. Then what? You bought them on the computer, you don’t even know where they are coming from.

Worry, not at all. SelectBlinds.com offers the simple and smart way to shop for window coverings, and the fact is, it is really easy to install our products, especially when you order inside mount!

Inside mount eliminates the need to measure and pre-mark the height of the bracket holes. The brackets can be screwed into the top of the window frame, making it necessary to only mark the depth inside of the window frame, in order to make sure that they won’t interfere with the workings of the window.

Each type of mounting bracket has at least two options for the screw holes. Most shades offer the top and the back of the frame as options, and most window blinds give the choice of top, side, and back. The difference between them is very basic. Shades are fabric-based, and the others are made with either real wood or faux wood slats and can be horizontal or vertical.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the product definitions, horizontal window treatments that are going to be inside mounted, utilize two brackets at the ends, and if the blind is wider than what the two end brackets will support, there are supplemental brackets that go in between. Simple as pie. Just mount the end brackets on the appropriate side, in the corners of the top inside of the window frame. They can be screwed into the top, back, or side. It’s very difficult to make a mistake.

Shades, other than roller shades, have brackets that connect to the top rail, and can be mounted in an inexact distance from the ends, and are screwed in through the top or back of the bracket.

Nothing to it. I’m the CEO of SelectBlinds.com, and I hang all of my window coverings myself. The first was a little intimidating, but after that, clear sailing!