Easy Arched Window Treatment Ideas

By SelectBlinds.com

Arched windows over doors or windows add unique dimension to an interior. They can even make your room look “taller,” and more spacious. Originally introduced by the Romans, arched windows were also popular in ancient Greece and throughout the ancient world. They represent a classic architectural finishing touch.

Forget about stories you may have heard about how difficult it is to find arched window treatments, or how difficult it is to install those window coverings, since they’re often so high up and out-of-the-way. At SelectBlinds, we’re ALL ABOUT making your life easier, so read on to learn how window treatments can be a simple project for your arches, with many options to choose from.

Arched windows are a classic architectural finish that add dimension to your windows and interior.

Arched Window Treatments Should be Designed as a Focal Point

Arched windows are naturally a prominent focal point in a room due to their size and height.  It can be tricky to find “off-the-shelf” window treatments to cover them. Window treatments for arched windows are a better option and are easier than ever before. You could hire someone to cover your arches professionally, but you can just as easily “DIY it” by purchasing arched window treatments online.

Window treatments for arched windows should enhance those uniquely shaped windows as a design focal point.

Arched Window Shapes & Styles

There are several different styles of arch-shaped windows, including traditional half-moon (the half circle people typically think of in regard to arched windows) and “sunburst styles.” There are also the more “elongated eyebrow-shaped” windows and “quarter arches.” Depending on the size, shape, and location of your window, there are plenty of stationary or movable options to meet your needs.

Cellular Shade Treatments for Arched Windows

One of the most popular treatments you’ll find for arches are Cellular/Honeycomb shades. “Cellulars,” as they’re often called, come in a variety of colors, textures, and are commonly constructed in durable polyester. This makes it easy to coordinate with other window coverings in your room, along with the rest of your interior décor. Some arched window treatments can be opened and closed, while many are “fixed” window treatments, meant to stay closed all the time.

Light filtering or blackout options for your arched windows can add just what you need for privacy and light control. Plus, you can achieve that personalized, well-designed look all throughout your home.

Other Cell Shade Advantages:

  • Cellular shades are considered energy-efficient. Their unique “honeycomb construction” traps heat inside their pockets to insulate from heat in the summer, and to keep heat IN during the cold winter months. 
  • Installation is easy, once you have your arched window shades in the right size.
  • Cellulars also help insulate against outdoor noise. Need some quiet to work while the kids are outside playing? Get cellular shades for your home office windows.
  • Many arched window shades come with white street-facing backing, for HOA compliance.
arched window treatments over the front door
Control the light coming in through your arches with light filtering or blackout cellular arch shades.

Curtains and Drapery for Arched Windows

Another easy way to cover your arched windows is with curtains or drapery.

Curtains and/or drapery can be designed to cover your arched windows entirely, or partially. Sheer fabrics work well to not block out the light completely. Along with the classic look of arched windows, drapery has its own timeless appeal and flowing look, so that might be the pairing you decide upon. They also come in many patterns and colors and are a great choice if you want to display your personal style in a more prominent way.

drapery as an effective arched window treatment
There are a wide variety of ways to use curtains / drapery as arched window coverings.

Curtains and drapery fabric finishes range from cotton canvas to trending metallic and glossy sateens, sheens, and embossed satins. The choices are endless. It’s easy to enhance and personalize your drapes even more with standard and optional features like color coordinated tiebacks, privacy and blackout liners, and curtain rods and rings in a variety of finishes to enhance their look. We offer matching fabric by the yard, to tie the whole room together by using it to create your own fabric accents, like decorative pillows or a duvet, for example.

Here’s some guidance on how to measure for curtains or drapery.

Measuring Your Arched Windows

You may need a step stool or ladder to get up high enough to measure your arched windows. Proceed cautiously! It might be helpful to get someone to assist you.

Arched window treatments are almost always mounted on the inside of a window frame, so that’s where you’ll be measuring. 

To measure width for half-moon and quarter arches: Get a steel measuring tape and measure the width of the window base at the bottom of your window,, from left to right. Round down to the nearest 1/8” if you measure a 1/16” or 1/32” increment. This is the width you’ll use for ordering for your arched windows from Selectblinds.com.

To measure the height, for a half-moon arched window and for quarter arches: take your measuring tape, and, measure inside the frame from the base up to the highest center point of the arch. Round down to the nearest 1/8” if you measure a 1/16” or a 1/32” increment. This is the height you’ll use to order.

Nice and easy.

measuring arched windows
Wait until you see how easy it is to get arched window treatments.

Most Loved Window Treatments for Arched Windows :

Premier Light Filtering Arch

Premier Blackout Arch

Luxe Modern Light Filtering Arch

Luxe Modern Blackout Arch

Luxe Custom Drapes/Curtains

Lifestyle Custom Drapes/Curtains

Designer Fabric By The Yard

The perfect arched window treatments are waiting for you at SelectBlinds.com.

Do You Really Need a Valance or Cornice Board?

By Select Blinds

Valance or no valance? That might be your question.

A valance and a cornice board are decorative encasings that can add a nice final accent or touch to your window coverings. Some valances and cornice boards are more casual-looking, and others are more formal, but either way, they are meant to match or complement your blinds or shades along with the décor of the room.

Valances come in minimalist looks, pleated/ruffled looks, and range anywhere else from classic wooden finished looks to sharp metallic looks. They swag, cascade, layer, and balloon, and there is any number of styles to choose from, to please any personal taste. Cornice boards tend to be thicker and weightier in appearance.

Valance close up
A valance and a cornice board are decorative encasings that can add a nice final accent or touch to your window coverings. They can add functionality and style to any window or room.

What is the Purpose of a Valance or Cornice Board?

Valances and cornice boards are usually made of fabric, wood, or metal, depending on the type of style of your window covering. They are meant to hiding the top hardware of your window coverings and give your windows a more tidy, interesting look.

Are Valances Out of Style?

There are many cheap-looking, droopy valances, to be sure, and no, these are not what we’re talking about. Valances and cornice boards are very commonly used, and very effectively, by professional interior designers, including in newer, modern homes. Adding a valance to adorn your window treatments is an incredibly easy way to stylishly customize and add personalized flair to your home.

Valances and cornice boards are always useful as a design element, whether you’re using them for roller shades, Zebra/dual shades, or to top off a classic looking Roman shade. They add functionality and stability to your window covering.

Valance in a living room.
Valances and cornice boards can add an added visual dimension, weight,
and even height to a room.

Other Advantages of Incorporating a Valance or Cornice Board into Your Design

There are many advantages from going with a valance or cornice board. Here are a few:

Cover up Hardware, Decorate Curtain Tops

One of a valance’s primary functions is to cover up hardware, curtain rods, and anything else at the top of a window you might want to adorn. A valance gives a continuous look and feel to any window covering.  They can even tie together different window coverings in the same room.

Soften up Your Window’s Appearance

Blinds, sliding panels, and other window treatments can give a hard-edged look to a room. Valances can broaden, adorn, enhance, and soften any window covering.

Versatility

Valances are fashionable enough to be used as stand-alone window treatments, and they also work well in tandem with window blinds, shades, or drapery for a creative layering effect.

New Looks and Seasonal Touches

For a room design update, refresh, or seasonal splash of color, you can always replace valances in a room for an entirely updated appearance, without having to spend a lot on brand new window treatments. 

Add Dimension to Your Windows

Valances give a natural broadening aspect to your window, offering the appearance of added weight and solidity. They also offer the illusion of increased height to a room.

Valance in a bedroom.
Valance always gives a more austere, weighty look to windows and rooms.

Select Blinds’ Staff Recommends:

Some products need to have a valance or cornice board (usually wood blinds or faux wood blinds), but for most, it’s merely an option. We work with customers and other users all the time that are trying to solve design puzzles of their own. What do we recommend as products we think work amazingly with a valance? See some suggestions below!

Remember, a valance or cornice board can be just the perfect design solution you’ve been working on! Enhance the functionality as well as style for your window coverings all at once!

#BlindsWeLove

5 Reasons Shutters Are an Excellent Home Investment

by SelectBlinds

Wood and faux wood shutters feature a classic stylish dignity and look for any home. Heck, in some parts of the country, window wooden shutters are the ONLY kinds of window coverings you see. They also offer some energy-efficiency, and they are incredibly easy to operate.

Another great thing about shutters is that you can choose them in wood, or in less expensive but durable, moisture-resistant, and attractive faux shutters (faux wood tends to last longer, especially in areas of high humidity and moisture, where wood shutters can easily fade, mold, and warp). There are also degrees of added insulation and light control you can find for your shutters. You can even find more eco-friendly shutters made from recycled materials, if that’s your preference. What’s not to like about shutters?

Shutters for your home offer privacy and light control.
Shutters can be mounted either on the inside or outside of your window, on windows or on doors.

Are Shutters a Good Investment?

Other than the fact that they look great, and that you can nicely coordinate them with your counters or floor to help tie together any room’s décor aesthetic, there are some other things you should consider in regard to shutters when you’re thinking about how to best dress your windows. For one thing, they can be mounted either on the inside of a window or door, or on the outside. Here are some other advantages:

  1. Personalized Shutters

Custom door and window coverings are always a smart choice, because they speak to your own personal sense of style and taste. They say a lot about you, and truly make your home yours. They also make for better privacy, UV protection, and light management, because custom means custom measurements for a custom fit – no gaps.

2. Shutters help bolster your property value

Real estate veterans will generally agree that any home with custom shutters installed will usually sell faster. Considering the classically styled look that shutters can give any home, indoors and out, it’s no surprise that shutters are such a sought after window treatment. Stylish, elegant shutters can add nicely to your home’s appraisal value if and when you decide to sell. Blinds, shades, and curtains all have their unique benefits and advantages, but they generally won’t add to your home’s value the way shutters can.

Make your home’s interior and exterior look amazing with shutters.

3. Energy efficiency

If being able to select shutters for your home that are made from recycled materials isn’t eco-friendly enough for you, consider the fact that shutters offer varying degrees of insulation to choose from to protect your interior environment from outdoor heat and cold. The outcome? Lower utility bills, lower long-term home maintenance costs.

4. Privacy and Peace of Mind

 Shutters have a likable tendency to give your home a solid feeling of security, and they also allow you flexibility – flexibility to be able to manage and control incoming light along with visibility into and out from your home’s interior. Even with partly open slats, you can still do a great job of keeping your privacy while still letting plenty of light in.

5. Durable and easy to care for

When you install custom shutters in your home, you can rest assured that you are installing window coverings that will last for years. They are almost guaranteed to long outlive whatever warranty coverage you happen to choose for them. They are also easy to maintain and to keep clean and new-looking.

Shutters for a bedroom interior.
Shutters can bring your personal style to light in just about any room.

SelectBlinds staff recommendations:

Here are some popular shutters we recommend for your home. Consider your own unique privacy and lighting needs for rooms where you’re considering installing window blinds. And as always, keep your own sense of décor and style in mind!

Consider custom shutters for your windows. You can add that beautiful, personalized touch to your windows, in a classic style, that will last you a long time. All while adding to your home’s value!

#BlindsWeLove   #Shutters

Your Next Renovation Project: A Spring Windows Update!

by SelectBlinds

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

by SelectBlinds

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

by SelectBlinds

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

by SelectBlinds

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.
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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.

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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.

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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?