Your Next Renovation Project: A Spring Windows Update!

By Select Blinds

After a seemingly long and sometimes dark winter, spring returns to the northern hemisphere on Saturday, March 20, 2021. The earth tilts on its axis, and the North Pole leans back toward the sun once again.

What’s not to love about spring? More hours of daylight and a sense of rejuvenation.

‘Tis the season for spring cleaning and organizing, and also for spring home renovation projects (“reno,” for short)! Time for reorganizing your bookshelves, repainting one or more of your rooms, sprucing up your closets, or refreshing your organization pieces (shelves, baskets, etc.).

Get your list ready!

Spring cleanup and renovation projects
Ready for Spring cleaning and renovation projects?

Spring Cleaning and Other Projects

One of the top suggested spring renovation projects involves your window treatments. Color options, textures, and an added dimension of “feeling.”

Energy-efficient honeycomb / cellular shades. Wood or faux wood plantation shutters. Natural bamboo / woven woods. Aluminum mini blinds.

Just the right window coverings can be the perfect finishing touch for any room. They help you manage incoming light and indoor privacy at home. They should also reflect and complement your personal sense of style and indoor décor.

Do Something Inspiring at Home This Spring!

One aspect of any home renovation project everyone takes into consideration is budget. You can find new, sharp-looking, and budget-friendly window treatments that are perfect for your living space. Functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Now that you’ve prioritized the rooms in your home for your “windows refresh” project, would you like some suggestions?

Bedroom / nursery spring windows update
Bedroom / Nursery Spring windows update

Bedroom / Nursery

Your bedroom is your one refuge that you crave more than anything else, especially after a long day. Maintain your privacy, while filtering in some soft light. How about blacking out the light entirely when you want to sleep in?

Get creative with how you illuminate and decorate this quiet, comfy space. It’s your bedroom, and should showcase your personal taste! For nurseries and homes with children and pets, consider the safety of cordless lift window treatments.

For your bedroom or nursery, we recommend:

Living room / Family room spring windows update
Living room / Family room Spring windows update

Living Room / Family Room

You love the way your new Select Blinds window treatments control the incoming light, while also providing privacy. Now consider window décor possibilities for your main living space. This is the first room of your home that guests typically experience, and you want it to complement the décor in the rest of your home.

For your living / family room, we recommend:

Kitchen / dining room spring windows update
Kitchen / Dining room Spring windows update

Kitchen / Dining Room

Your kitchen. The hub of your home, where all the best stories begin. You make so many memories here, along with delicious meals, laughter, and holidays. You need your kitchen window treatments to be versatile, good looking, and built to last.

For your kitchen / dining room, we recommend:

Bathroom spring windows update
Bathroom Spring windows update

Bathroom

Aromatic soaps. Warm water. Your self-care spot, where functionality and beauty meet. Your bathroom windows deserve all the style and personal touch you take pride in all over your home. Open up to what you can do with your private wellness sanctuary!

For your bathroom, we recommend:

Home office spring windows update
Home office Spring windows update

Home Office

Your home office. When you’re working from home, productivity and comfort are important. Take this opportunity to make your home work space an extension of your well-designed home!

We recommend:

Spring is worth getting excited about, along with your home renovation projects. Make the rooms in your home truly yours, and spruce them up with your own unique flair.

Budget-friendly. Long lasting. Easy to clean, maintain, and take care of. Start the spring cleaning and home renovation season off right by making Select Blinds your windows update go-to!

Watch our brief video on how window treatments help you control incoming light.

#BlindsWeLove

Self-Care and Sleep Hygiene: Get Ready for Sleep Awareness Week, 2021! Sunday, March 14 – Saturday, March 20, 2021

We’re about to time travel forward! Well, sort of. Just an hour ahead. In MOST of the country.

Daylight saving time (not “savings time”) 2021, begins at 2 a.m. (your local time) on Sunday morning, March 14, 2021. This is the annual time change when we “spring forward” an hour and you “lose” an hour of sleep. Be sure to retire an hour earlier on Saturday the 13th, unless you want to be dragging all the next day!

Speaking of losing sleep, this same Sunday also kicks off one of our favorite weeks of the year here at Select Blinds: National Sleep Awareness Week, “a weeklong celebration of sleep health,” March 14 through March 20th. You might also find it interesting to know that World Sleep Day (Regular Sleep, Healthy Future) is commemorated on Friday, March 19th this year.  

Getting a good night’s sleep consistently is considered healthy (there’s even a term for it: sleep hygiene), and is a key component of a solid self-care regimen.

Sleep Hygiene - Sleep Awareness Week 2021
Sleep Awareness Week, 2021 – Are you getting enough sleep?

Self-Care Ideas: Good Sleep for Good Self-Care

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF), the organization that brought us Sleep Awareness Week to coincide with daylight saving time, recommends somewhere between seven and nine hours of nightly sleep for most adults.

According to the NSF, as many as 40 million Americans have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or with waking up earlier than they would like. Common distractions from adequate sleep include disruptive noises and natural light coming in through the windows, especially early the morning.

How are you sleeping these days? Getting a good night’s sleep (maintaining solid sleep hygiene) contributes to boosting your brain’s activity, increasing your energy level throughout the day, bolstering your immune system, improving your overall mood, and increasing your productivity.

Tips for getting a good, solid, healthy night’s sleep include:

Seems like a lot to cover, but Select Blinds has plenty of solutions to help you out with minimizing your exposure to incoming light.

Sleep Hygiene - Celebrate Your Sleep Health
Sleep Hygiene – Celebrate Your Sleep Health

Do Blackout Shades Work?

Let’s talk blackout shades vs. room-darkening shades. Room-darkening shades reduce up to 95-99 percent of incoming light that enters a room through the window(s). Then there are blackout styles that can eliminate glare up to 100 percent. They may not necessarily make a space completely pitch black, but these shades can come pretty close to darkening your room any time of the day.

A good blackout shade can help ease your transition from night to daytime (or vice versa), thus helping improve your overall sleep quality. Blackout shades are also energy-efficient to help you cut the cost of energy spending in your home.

Blackout Shades to help you get a full night's sleep.
Select Blinds Blackout shades to help you get a solid night’s sleep.

What Are the Best Blackout Shades?

Customers love our products! Read up on our customer reviews. Speaking of improved sleep hygiene, consider the fact that from a 2020 review of the “best blackout shades,” The New York Times review considers Classic Cordless Blackout Shades its favorite out of its top three picks.

The review panel “unanimously agreed that the Select Blinds Classic Cordless [Blackout Shades are] the [ones] they’d most like in their homes,” citing the quality polyester custom shades’ look and feel as being “noticeably better in quality than other shades [they] considered.” In addition to top-notch look and feel, the NYT review also cited the shades’ wide color and customizable size selection, and the longest warranty of any other shades they reviewed. 

Select Blinds Classic Cordless Blackout Shades
Select Blinds Classic Cordless Blackout Shades were rated the best Blackout Shades by Wirecutter, and featured in the New York Times!
  • Maybe you’re interested in a recommendation that offers additional insulation and durability, you might consider getting the Select Blackout Cellulars.
  • If you’re looking for a shade that combines traditional and blackout shade functionality, consider the Top down, Bottom up style Modern Light Filtering / Blackout TriShades.
  • For our most complete blackout effect, try our Designer Sleep Shades, which features unique side tracks. They are very effective at blocking out 99 percent of incoming light.
  • If you need any more help in choosing a room darkening or blackout shade, check out our Select Blinds guides for properly equipping bedroom and nursery windows.

For more on getting good blackout shades to get better sleep, see NASCAR driver David Ragan discussing success and how to win that advantage over your day with a good night’s sleep. He does it with effective Select Blinds blackout shades for his RV:

NASCAR’s David Ragan discusses winning that advantage over your day with a solid night’s sleep, thanks to Select Blinds blackout shades.

Don’t forget to celebrate Sleep Awareness Week with us this year by getting into the habit of getting regular, great Zzzzz’s.

Nighty night.

#BlindsWeLove   #CelebrateSleep   #SleepAwarenessWeek #CelebrateYourSleepHealth

Bamboo and Woven Wood Shades Bring More “Japandi” Into Your Life

What to do with your outdoor patio design. You want to block the harsh rays of the sun, but you want your outdoor blinds to offer a warm, simple, and natural look to your patio or indoor space. You need some custom outdoor blinds, like bamboo/woven wood shades to get that perfect touch. You need some “Japandi!”

What is Japandi Design?

Welcome to an up-and-coming minimalist design aesthetic known as Japandi. Pinterest Business has deemed this design sensibility as one of the top home trends for 2021.

The concept of Japandi combines the simplicity and flair of Scandinavian/Nordic design with the connected-to-nature and minimalist sense of spacing and warmth from Japan. The result is peaceful, practical, and polished.

This alluring, hybrid, East-meets-West look and feel pulls together natural materials, like wood, bamboo, and warm colors, into a vibrant space where occupants feel more deeply enveloped in the environment. Why not experiment? Convert your indoor/outdoor space into your own engawa (a Japanese-style covered indoor/outdoor porch), or blend the earthy, natural Japandi design feel with your own unique sense of style to create an inviting, simple, and elegant space for yourself and guests.

Japandi design combines earthy, natural Japanese design with simple Nordic aesthetics.
The result is practical, functional, and pleasing to the senses.

Minimalist Style Can Offer More Clarity and Peace

Perhaps you’ve experimented with minimalist design in your home, and found them to be practical and functional, as well as aesthetically pleasing. It can also bring you freedom and quiet from the modern hustle of day-to-day life. When you’re relaxing at home or on your outdoor patio, there’s nothing better than the calm of being surrounded by clutter-free, natural-looking materials and colors.

Let’s start with some sensible light blocking to keep the glare out.

Sarah Joy Blog Uses Select Blinds Window Treatments
Indoors or outdoors, Japandi minimalist design brings clarity and peace to a space.
Image courtesy of Sarah Joy.

What Makes Bamboo Shades a Good Choice?

Bamboo/woven wood shades are a great way to help you infuse a natural feel into your home or patio.

Bamboo shades are:

  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Eco-friendly
  • Fade-resistant

You can’t beat the earthy look and feel of bamboo shades!

Did you know? Cascading “Roman-style” shades made of bamboo/woven wood are increasingly referred to as simply, “Roman shades.”
But they’ll always function and feel like bamboos!

Top down, Bottom up style bamboo shades are also a popular option.

Protect Your Bamboos!

One thing about blinds and shades made with natural materials like bamboo or wood: they may look and feel marvelous, they may be durable, but they are NOT impervious to rain, moisture, or harsh, direct sunlight.

Bamboos/woven woods are best for (and last the longest) indoors, or at least in covered outdoor patio areas, where they won’t be exposed to the outdoor elements.

If you know your shades are going to get wet, you’ll want to opt for something like exterior solar shades, that are better constructed using PVC to withstand the heat, UV rays, rain, and other outdoor weather for years without rusting, molding, or fading.

Keep your bamboos dry and out of the sun’s harsh rays to help them last longer and looking new.

Some Insider Tips on Selecting Bamboo Shades

As you’ve probably guessed, the point of Japandi design is to help you feel more at home and in touch with your environment. The natural colors and textures of bamboo/woven wood shades help with this natural feel.

Start with samples! Never trust the color settings on your computer or device when ordering your custom bamboos online. Always start with product samples so you can see for yourself exactly how your favorite color choices are going to look in your space. Be sure to experiment with lighting to experience a wide range of effects.

Consider lining options. Make your woven woods all your own with lined options for more light control. Unlined bamboo shades will darken your space somewhat, but will let some light filter in. A solid blackout privacy lining helps block out the light entirely to help create a nice, dark, shady space. 

Go cordless! Cordless options are best with kids and pets. Though they sometimes add to the price tag, cordless options are always a safe bet when you have little ones and furry ones running around your home.

Bamboo shades can offer adequate privacy and light control,
while still letting some light into your space.

Our Suggestions

Let us recommend the following to help you “Japandize” your outdoor patio or indoor space:

Get in touch with nature, invite more peace and simplicity into your life, and make your home or relaxation space more “Pinterest-perfect” with some budget-friendly and natural-looking bamboo/woven wood shades to keep out the noise and harsh sunlight from your solace.

Media Room Ideas: The Best Window Coverings for Gaming Rooms and Movie Night

Gamers and home theater buffs: Does your gaming or media room have windows? When you’re online, on a roll playing your favorite RPG, or relaxing with your favorite film, you want nothing to do with the sun’s harsh glare. You might be considering window blinds or shades for your room’s windows to block out exterior light and glare, as well as to help insulate and soundproof your room. More fabric-style window treatments, like blackout cellular shades or Roman shades, also assist with dampening background noise and improving your gaming / media audio quality, too!

Gamer playing a video game in a darkened gaming room.
Gaming and media rooms with windows should have good lighting control for the best entertainment experiences.

Window treatments can also provide plenty of privacy, day or night. They can also help insulate against the heat or cold, to help save on your energy bills.

If your gaming/media room windows face the north, there’s a good chance you’ll rarely, if ever, have to worry about direct sunlight coming in. If your room’s windows face any other direction, you’ll likely get some direct sunlight coming in at some point during the day. Window treatments are specifically designed to control incoming light, but keep in mind there are different degrees of light blockage.

What Is the Difference Between Blackout and Room Darkening Shades?

Blackout shades, or room darkening blinds? Blackout shades are made with an opaque fabric intended to block out ALL incoming light. “Room darkening” window treatments typically block out between 95 to 99 percent of the outdoor light. Window coverings that block less than 95 percent of incoming light are commonly known as “light filtering” blinds or shades.

Maybe you prefer a total blackout effect. Maybe you like the incoming light most of the time, but just want to block out the setting sun’s glare for movie night. Knowing what you need and prefer can help you in your selection.

Window with blackout curtains to keep out sunlight glare.
Window coverings can protect your interior from harmful UV rays and annoying glare.

Consider some of these options for blackout or room darkening effects for your entertainment room:

What Are the Best Blackout Shades?

We take pride in all our products and customer service, and stand by them all. Consider the fact that from a 2020 review of the “best blackout shades,” The New York Times review considers Classic Cordless Blackout Shades among its top three picks.

The review panel “unanimously agreed that the Select Blinds Classic Cordless [Blackout Shades are] the [ones] they’d most like in their homes,” citing the quality polyester shades’ look and feel being “noticeably better in quality than other shades [they] considered.” In addition to top-notch look and feel, the NYT review also cited the shades’ wide color and customizable size selection, and the longest warranty of any other shades they reviewed. 

Regardless of what kind of window treatments you go with, keep in mind that your entertainment space is yours and should meet your needs, while reflecting your personal sense of style.

2020 Back-to-College Essentials

General PPE and Cleaning Supplies

Colorful cloth masks on a wooden table.

While some supplies, like a thermometer, tissues and antibacterial soap, might be normal for college students, 2020 students will need a whole host of other fun PPE and cleaning supply necessities. From disinfecting wipes (or spray and paper towels since wipes still seem to be a hot commodity) to masks, buckets of hand sanitizer and maybe even gloves and face shields, the list is almost endless. Pick up a bit of what you’ve been using all summer as well as a few extra masks in case some go missing and you should be ready for anything college life throws at you.

Mini Freezer

Freezer full of ice and a single pint of ice cream.

Sure, your roommate’s mini-fridge might have a small freezer compartment big enough for maybe two pints of ice cream, but that’s about it. People might question your sanity when you say you’re bringing a mini-freezer, but guess who’ll have the last laugh when its finals week and the caf is closed at 2:00 A.M. and you’re in desperate need of some bagel bites? YOU! Also, if your college is anything like my old one, no one is allowed to eat anywhere but in their dorms until further notice, so stocking up on freezer-food is probably a good plan regardless of late-night study sessions.

Window Shades

White, light filtering temporary paper shades.
Redi Shades in White Light Filtering

While you probably won’t be allowed to drill holes in your dorm walls or window frames, that’s no reason to go without blinds or shades! Your room might come with some, or it might not. It all depends on your college or university. To be on the safe side, get some easy, affordable Redi Shades. Just use the adhesive to attach them to the top or outside of the window frame and that’s all it takes! You can even use them to block the underside of the upper bunk if your beds are in an “L” formation. Redi Shades 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.

Air Fresheners

Air freshener plugged into a wall outlet next to a painting of a shell.

You may not like to think about it much, but dorm rooms are SMALL and the smell of a single stinky shoe can take days to wear off. Make sure you’re prepared for odor battle with the air fresheners of your choice. Whether you go for a Glade Plugin (set to low to accommodate the general lack of space found in any dorm room), one of the new Febreze Small Spaces air fresheners, or even those weird gel cones that die after a week, make sure you’ve got enough stocked up to keep odors at bay.

A Better Trash Can

I know, it’s gross, but seriously the trash can your dorm may supply you with is small and doesn’t have a lid. While the fact that it’s small might be good for keeping down odors, the whole “no lid” thing kind of negates that. Invest in a small eight-gallon trashcan with a lid. It’s small enough that you won’t be hoarding garbage, plus the bags will be light enough that you can easily carry them to the dumpster, while the lid significantly diminishes the amount of garbage odor that might seep into your room. If you can, get a foot or sensor operated garbage can so you don’t even have to touch the lid. Some even have air filters to cut down on the smell.

Tips for Going Back to School from Home

Tools you need for learning from home include laptop, earphones, pens and pencils

For most of us, school is back in session and for many, remote learning is the new norm. Here are some things you can do to help set up your at-home students for success.

Reading, ‘Riting, Re-boots & Routine

  • Create a daily schedule to include class times and assignment deadlines; outdoor activity and lunch breaks; homework; social (distance) time with friends; and family time.
  • Get everyone up in time to eat breakfast and dress for school. (No pjs allowed.)
  • Before class starts, give them one simple chore to do (make the bed, take out the trash) to get them in the right mindset for completing the day’s online assignments.
  • Multiple learners at home? Check to ensure there’s enough internet bandwidth to handle multiple devices streaming at the same time. 

Personalized Learning Pods

  • A cool, personalized workspace helps with concentration. Get creative! Set up a desk in their bedroom, a card table in the living room, or separate spaces with a DIY cardboard ‘cubicle,’ blanket fort, or these very cool custom panel track window treatments to create individual spaces and classrooms.
Architect Panel-track-room-divider.jpg

Practical and pretty panel track blinds aren’t just for windows and patio doors. Hang them from the ceiling to create more privacy and separate spaces anywhere in your home.

  • Have all the necessary school supplies they need handy so no excuses for getting up and looking for something in the middle of class. 
  • Try to find a space that’s free of distractions, noise and clutter.
  • Make sure there’s easy access to a power source to keep tablets and laptops charged.
  • Proper lighting is important. Adjust blinds and shades throughout the day and position monitors away from windows to reduce glare and keep your child from turning into a shadow when on screen.

Student-at-home-desk-1024x685.png

Stay in Touch with Teachers

  • Watch for emails, check homework hotlines, and call or text if you have any questions about assignments.
  • Check state and local school district websites for updates and available assistance and resources to help you and your children while attending school from home. 

Keep Tabs on Progress

  • Familiarize yourself with the remote platform and course modules your child’s school are using.
  • Most remote learning platforms don’t allow outside email or instant messaging. If you’re working at home (or at the office), too, and want to check on your child’s progress during school time without interrupting a lesson, try an app such as FB for Kids or Slack so they can chat with you outside of their school account.

Female Asian student-at-desk.png

Safety First 

  • Check privacy and security settings so your child’s profiles are set to the strictest privacy setting, and check the safety and security settings on anything that’s newly downloaded. 
  • If using video-conferencing, think about what children, especially young teens, are wearing.
  • If available, apply settings to blur the background or enable a different background so you’re not “inviting” people into your child’s personal space.
  • If you or your child are uncomfortable using video, find out if they can get sufficient instruction via audio or chat. And if something coming into your home from school just feels wrong or inappropriate, contact the school and let them know. 

 

4 Easy Homemade Frozen Treats You MUST Try

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches

One of my absolute favorite froze treats has got to be an ice cream cookie sandwich. Every summer when I was a kid, we’d visit my nana at her lake house in upstate New York. There was this massive multi-restaurant building, called the Charcoal Corral, that also had a mini-golf course, stage and drive-in theater. The ice cream parlor had these massive ice cream cookie sandwiches as big as my head! I stand by those being the best, but these delish Ben & Jerry’s ones are a fantastic second place – especially when you consider the slightly more normal portion size.

Homemade Sorbet

Four flavors of homemade sorbet on a black plate.

While I’m not here to discuss the differences between sorbet and sherbet (yes, there’s only ONE “r”), I can kickstart you on a magical journey of fruity deliciousness! Dump some frozen fruit, simple syrup and a bit of lemon or lime juice into a blender and you’ve got a fresh, magnificent summer treat anyone can enjoy. Follow this handy guide from The Flavor Bender to make it scoopable after a long-term freeze or, better yet, pour any extras into Zipsicles and make your very own freeze pops everyone will love!

Custom Popsicles

Homemade cherry and coconut popsicles.

Pretty much everyone knows how to make popsicles. Pour juice into a popsicle mold or ice cube tray, add the sticks (and some sort of wrapping if you’ve gone the ice cube tray route) and voila, custom popsicles in just a few hours. Take it a step further with one of these scrumptious adult popsicle recipes.

Slushies Galore

Red slushy in a clear plastic cup.

Everyone loves a good slushie, just as everyone loves a glass of refreshing Kool-Aid, or at least they probably did as kiddos. So, why not combine the two? Just combine ice, sugar and your favorite flavor packet in a blender and you’ll soon have a Kool-Aid slushie that’s perfect for kids from age 2 to 82.

What’s your favorite frozen summer treat? Did it make our list?

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!

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.

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.