How to Incorporate Florals Into Your Décor

In celebration of National Floral Design Day (yes, it’s real and it’s today), we’ve put together this quick list of fun ways to spread the floral love throughout your home.

1. Roman Shades

Floral roman shades add natural beauty to any window.
Designer Reserve Cordless Romans in Blue Frond

We’re a window covering company, so of course we’re going to suggest some fabulously floral roman shades! Not only are they efficient when it comes to blocking light and heat (especially if you go with outside mount), they’re also ultra-stylish and the multitude of fold styles means there’s one to match almost any type of décor. Check out some of our favorite florals in these Luxe Roman Shades and Designer Reserve Cordless Roman Shades.

2. Wallpaper

Spice up your bedroom with elegant floral wallpaper.

Floral wallpaper is especially in this year, but even if it wasn’t, wallpaper is a great way to add a little flowery fun to your home. Especially this peel and stick kind from Spoonflower. It doesn’t even have to go on the wall! Floralize your ceilings to add a new level of imagination to any room.

3. Soft Accents

Neutral floral accents like this rug are perfect for any décor.

From throw pillows and cuddly blankets to actual bedding and even rugs, there are a lot of ways to add a floral touch to your room with the fluffy stuff you use every day. And just because it’s a floral pattern doesn’t mean it has to be brightly colored. Neutrals are especially in this year, so why not celebrate floral with a softer color palette?

4. Wall Art

A floral painting adds a pop of color to your wall.

Paintings, canvas prints and even fun picture frames or mirrors (like this one) are all great ways of bringing a little floral flair to your home without feeling as if you’ve gone overboard. Whether it’s the focal point of the room or just a small accent, floral patterns are a gorgeous way to highlight the natural beauty of your space.

5. Actual Flowers

Adding real or fake flowers to your home showcases the beauty of nature.

Adding flowers to your home is an obvious way to incorporate florals into your décor. And, depending on your ability to keep plants alive, you can even go with fake flowers for all the beauty of nature without the required maintenance. Though, it might be a good idea to dust them every once in a while. All joking aside, flowers are a beautiful way to celebrate nature and even introduce pops of color, if so desired.

How do you add florals to your home? Do you have any tips or tricks we didn’t mention? Let us know!

Take your Bathroom from BLAH to SPA

There’s nothing more relaxing than a trip to the spa. But, busy schedules aside, spas can be expensive. That’s why we’ve tracked down some of the best tips and tricks to make your 2020 home spa dreams come true!

1. Declutter Your Space

Declutter your bathroom to give it the ultimate spa-like look and feel.

What’s one of the first things you notice about any spa? How CLEAN everything is. It’s all perfectly organized – towels rolled or stacked in neat little piles and river rocks strategically placed around the room while small fountains let out tinkling water noises that are sure to relax even the most cluttered and hyperactive mind.

Take a cue from your favorite spa (or even just a picture of one) and hide any unnecessary items in closed drawers or cabinets. Organize any daily essentials on cute little trays or in matching jars to give everything a clean, finished look.

2. Upgrade Your Shower Head

Current shower head covered in hard water stains with only half of the openings working? Yeah, you could clean it. Or you could upgrade to an amazing rain shower head. The softly falling water will soothe something in your soul that standard, harsh shower heads just can’t.

3. A Few Choice Plants

Hang plants in your shower to make it feel like a jungle.

Okay, so you don’t have to necessarily hang plants inside your shower, but we swear it does make shower time way more spa-like. The smell of the fresh plants and the vibrant greens mixed with a healthy amount of steam will help open your senses to the natural world. If you’re like me and can’t keep a plant alive, fake ones on the sink or even a few loose sprigs of eucalyptus behind the showerhead can make a big difference.

4. Fluffy Robes & Towels

Robes are perfect for both the beginning and end of your bath/shower routine. Wear them while you prep your increasingly-extravagant bath or cuddle up with a cup of tea after a nice, long soak. And while you’re at it, trade in your standard towels for bath sheets. The overlarge rectangles of fluff are so much more luxurious than their smaller brothers.

5. Add Blinds or Shades

Add the perfect blinds to your bathroom window.
1″ Essential Aluminum Blinds in Chalk White

Having a window in your bathroom allows for beautiful natural light, but it can also leave you exposed to your neighbors and random passersby. Adding a custom window covering to your home spa might be the final touch you’ve been looking for to let the natural light in without getting in trouble with the neighborhood watch. Whether it’s faux wood, aluminum or even some sort of woven wood or fabric shade, there’s a perfect fit for your bathroom window.

6. Get a Bluetooth Speaker

Bluetooth speakers are a great option for playing your favorite spa music during your designated relaxation time. Wet hands can make them a bit more difficult to use, though. Especially if you want to change the song/station or simply forgot to turn it on before climbing into your bath. Spring for a speaker that works with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant so that you can manage your music selection hands-free!

7. Add a Bath Caddy

Set candles bath salts, wine and other bathtime essentials on your very own bath caddy.

A great way to spice up any bathtub is with a bath caddy. And while you’re at it, add some candles, plants, maybe even some homemade bath salts. From simple caddies like the one pictured above to more ornate DIY versions like this one, there’s a perfect style for any tub. Some even have special ridges to help hold books and wine glasses to prevent them from falling into the water.

8. Bring on the Bath Bombs

If bath salts aren’t your cup of tea, a bath bomb (which you can easily make yourself) could be an ideal way for you to up the spa factor of your bathroom routine without worrying about shards of undissolved salt stuck in unseemly places. Plus, who doesn’t love an exotic, potentially colorful bath? Some bath bombs even have little surprises inside, so indulge your inner six-year-old and have some fun!

9. Candles & Oil Diffusers

Oil diffusers are a great way to fill your home spa with relaxing scents.

Oil diffusers and candles help create an exotic and soothing atmosphere that will have you sighing “AHHH” in minutes. From tealights scattered on the side of your bath to full-size aromatherapy candles, there’s a perfect option for your new home spa. And if candles aren’t your thing, there’s always oil diffusers like the one pictured above or even those cute little machines that puff out scented vapor. Whether it’s essential oils or candles, we recommend eucalyptus and lavender scents, although aloe and cedarwood are also solid options as well.

10. Stock Up on Products You Love

Treat yourself to some fancier bath products.

Let’s face it, drugstore shampoo and conditioner aren’t going anywhere. But, for those occasions where you want to treat yourself, get some fancy toiletries. Better yet, get them in bulk and buy some cute, matching containers to refill from your main stock whenever you’re running low. The coordinated look of all of your spa products will fit perfectly with your new, well-organized spa theme.

How to Install Blinds Like a Boss

Select Double Cell Light Filtering honeycomb shades in white
Honeycomb/cellular shades like these top down bottom up Select Double Cell Light Filtering Shades are some of the easiest window coverings to install yourself.

Do you have any idea how much it costs to have a professional put up your blinds for you? Not many of our followers had a clue either.

We did a quickie poll last week to get their best guess. $0-$10? $10-$25? $25-$50? $50-$100 per window?

Guess again. According to Fixr.com, which provides cost guides, comparisons, and cheatsheets for hundreds of remodeling, installation and repair projects, the national average is $620. (Gulp!) Granted, that cost can vary up or down depending on the number and type of window coverings and the size of your windows. (This estimate is based on hanging eight faux wood blinds on standard 27″ wide windows.) But you get the idea.

Paying someone to put up your blinds can get pretty expensive pretty quickly. And that’s above and beyond what you’ve already paid for the shades. So before you sign that check and open up your home to a perfect stranger, let’s think about this.

What’s keeping you from saving hundreds, even thousands or more by installing your custom window treatments yourself?

You don’t need a pro to do it, even if you’ve never held a hammer in your life. In fact, you don’t even need a hammer, so no worries about smashed fingers. Most window blinds and shades can be put up in 20-30 minutes — or less, once you get the first one installed — using just a screwdriver or drill. Nailed it!

Here’s how to become a pro in no time.

  • Check the mounting surface. It should be clean, smooth and dry. Most window coverings are mounted on drywall or in wood, and come complete with screws and any other necessary hardware. You may need additional fasteners, such as sink screws, if you’re hanging extra wide or heavy window coverings, or to attach your blinds on an aluminum or concrete surface, to ensure the brackets will hold them securely in place.
  • Read the instructions. If you’re more of a learn-by-doing (i.e., learn from your mistakes) kinda girl like me, it can be tempting to grab the drill and just start drilling. But reading through the directions before you try to hang your window treatment can save a lot of time. Carefully open the package your custom window coverings came in and check to be sure you received all the necessary pieces/parts before you start. Review the install guide, noting which directions you’ll follow (for inside or outside mount). More of a visual learner? Check our YouTube channel for a video on how to install your product.
  • Get everything you need together. Just like whipping up your favorite recipe, always good to gather all the ingredients you need together first. Ladder? Check. Pencil? Check. Drill? Check. Level? Check. Insurance card? (Just kidding!)
All you need is a drill, tape measure, pencil and level!
  • Mark where you want to place the brackets. Again, this will depend on whether you’re hanging your covering inside or over the window. Most standard size windows need only two brackets, usually spaced 2″-4″ in from each end of the headrail. For wider treatments, just space any extra brackets you need equidistant from the end brackets.
Mark the spot to hang your bracket.
  • Attach the brackets. Before drilling in the screws, it’s a good idea to pre-drill the holes to make it easier. This also gives you a little ‘wiggle room’ in case you need to make any last minute adjustments to make sure the brackets are straight and aligned.
Attach your brackets
  • Slide or snap the headrail onto the brackets. And voila! You’re done! Pull your shade up and down a few times or open and close the slats on your blinds to make sure everything is working O.K. before putting the tools away.
Snap or slide the headrail  onto the brackets

Oh, one last tip. If you’re not using cordless coverings, be sure to screw in a set of cord cleats next to the window to keep cords wound safely and tightly, up and out of the reach of children and pets.

That wasn’t so hard, was it? The hardest part is going to be deciding what to do with all the money you saved doing it yourself. Take a bow and treat yourself to something special. Maybe that lavish tropical vacation you’ve been dreaming of. Or those adorable designer shoes and matching bag that match absolutely nothing else (but, hey, they’re Gucci). Or maybe some more new blinds?

Save money and time by installing your blinds yourself!

You’re the pro; you decide!

How Would You Rate Your DIY Skills?

DIYer Alica Bovino's home office curated from second-hand finds and bamboo blinds from Select Blinds
A self-professed designer, blogger, DIYer and secondhand furniture stalker, Alisa Bovino @aglassofbovino is one of our favorite Insta inspirations. (Seriously. That chandelier!!!) Here’s the office she created for last year’s One Room Challenge, featuring our Premier Modern Natural Wood Shades.

People have been DIYing since the dawn of civilization, but according to Inc., the phenomenon has exploded in recent years thanks in large part to social media. In fact,  over 200 million people visit Pinterest each month in search of DIY inspiration.

There’s nothing quite like the pride of being able to show off something you did yourself, or the satisfaction of knowing you saved beaucoup bucks doing it, especially when it comes to buying and installing your own custom window coverings. When considering doing any project yourself, though, make sure you price out the materials and your time investment and compare that against the cost of hiring a pro. (The national average for hiring someone to install blinds, BTW, is $620!) A quick comparison of the prices here on Select Blinds with Big Box stores or a design service and installers, and you’ll see why doing it yourself with us is a great deal.

So how would you rate your DIY skills? More than 60% of our social followers who responded to a recent poll said that they would “DIY all day! I know I can do it!” or that they were willing to learn. Personally, I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler. (Thank goodness for electronic and laser measuring tapes!) So I totally get why a lot of people think they can’t put up their own window blinds and shades, or are afraid to try.

But the good news is, you can! And doing it yourself can save you tons of time and money, too.

Premier Single Cell Light Filtering arched window blinds
You can even install shades for arched windows by yourself. Pair them with a matching Premier Single Cell Light Filtering Shade (shown here with a top down bottom up lift) to curate a look that’s all your own.

The custom crazed DIY community here on SelectBlinds.com has taken the mantra, “If you can hang a picture, you can hang your own blinds” to heart. With just a few simple tools (basically a pencil, measuring tape and drill are all you need), it takes just a few minutes to hang almost any of the beautiful bamboos, romans, rollers, wood blinds and other custom window treatments you’ll find here on our site. Even if you’re all thumbs.

Like me. But if I can do it, you can, too!

It’s easy to get started. First, look through our IG gallery to see some examples of what other DIYers have done. For more inspo, be sure to get free samples of coverings you’re interested in to check colors and fabrics. Then, follow these simple steps for measuring your windows.

Next, order the products you need and use the handy instructions that come with every window covering or download them here. Not great at following directions? We have plenty of step-by-step install videos you can watch, too. And if you get stuck along the way, we’re always here online, on the phone, or via live chat to answer your questions and talk you through it.

Afraid of making a mistake? Don’t be. With our FIT Guarantee, even if you do mess up on a measurement, just let us know and we’ll remake the mis-measured blind or shade for free.

So why pay more to hire a professional? With Select Blinds, it’s easy to DIY. Just grab your drill and proudly say,

You can do it!

Face Your Fears: 4 Things You Can Do to Make Buying Blinds Less Scary

Spiders like this one top the list of people's top 10 fears

Everyone is afraid of something. Spiders (#1 in top 10). Clowns. Heights (my biggest phobia). Snakes. Public speaking. Bellybuttons.

Innies and outies???

Yes, omphalophobia (fear of the navel) is a real thing. Along with other uncommon fears such as turophobia (fear of cheese), pogonophobia (fear of beards) and nomophobia (fear of being without mobile phone coverage — talk about the stuff of nightmares. 😉 )

Another irrational fear we found? Chrometophobia, the fear of money. Specifically, spending it. Especially when it comes to buying blinds.

While there is no scientific word for the fear of buying blinds and shades per se, in a short, unscientific survey we conducted on Facebook and IG, respondents ranked “Nice Blinds Are Too Expensive” as their #1 fear when shopping for new ones. Also related to money was the fear of paying for and scheduling someone to install them, along with buyer’s remorse (wasting money on something they didn’t like after they bought them).

Wasting money on blinds you don't like is #1 fear when shopping for them

We understand. Questions like, what kind of coverings should I get for my windows? What if I make a mistake measuring them? What if my shades don’t fit? What if I don’t like the color? What if my husband has no idea how to use a hammer, much less hang a shade? can definitely make you want to hide under the bed. (Unless you suffer from teraphobia and are afraid of monsters there.) But here on selectblinds.com, we help you face those fears. And overcome them! All while saving you time — and money — too!

How? It’s easy! Just follow these four simple steps to buying blinds you’ll love.

1. Sample your style & get inspired!

Get started right here with The Blinds Spot design blog. You’ll find inspo from our team of window design experts along with some of our favorite inspiring decorators and bloggers. Then check out some of the more than 300,000 5-star reviews real customers just like you have given our products for more great ideas (along with peace of mind about buying your window treatments online!). Browse the different categories you’re interested in and order lots of free samples to find the perfect product in the color you need to match your style.

Get inspired by one of our favorite influencers and partners, Alicia Armstrong of Our Vintage Nest!

2. Measure your windows for the perfect fit!

Follow this handy guide on How to Measure Your Windows and you’ll be an expert in no time! You can save hundreds, even thousands of $$ when you do it yourself. And tons of time. No waiting around or opening your home to high-pressure salespeople and installers. And if you make a mistake, no worries. With our F.I.T. Guarantee, we’ll always make it right!

3. Customize with confidence!

Ordering your own high-quality custom window coverings is easy on SelectBlinds.com. Just select the style, color and features you want. Questions? Give the experts on our Customer Care team a call to help guide you through the process and fill your cart with everything you need. Or find the answers here online with the numerous buying guides, frequently asked questions and other helpful resources on our site. You also get free delivery and a 90-day satisfaction guarantee on everything, so you never have to be afraid of wasting money on something you don’t need or want.

4. Take pride in a job well done (and all the time and money you saved!

With a few simple tools and our easy install guides and videos, you don’t need to spend money on installers. You can do it yourself and have your beautiful new custom window coverings up in no time. We like to say, ‘if you can hang a picture, you can hang your own blinds.’ It’s really that easy.

Hanging blinds and shades from selectblinds.com is easy

Keep reading The Blinds Spot for more in this series on how to find blinds you’ll love. Over the next three weeks we’ll be sharing the results of more customer polls to find out what customers just like you are looking for, how they rate their DIY skills, and how we can help you find custom window coverings you won’t be afraid to hang in your home. 

How to Stop Your Dog from Chewing Your Blinds

Penny the husky playing in the vertical blinds!
Penny loves playing with the vanes of Vertical Blinds!

Dogs are our best friends. They don’t talk much, judge only with an inquisitive eye and cuddle better than any human could, but I’m willing to bet you a Milkbone that this isn’t the first time that you’ve Googled the many ways to contain your furry friends’ penchant for destruction. If you have a puppy problem with keeping your window coverings safe from the wrath of your doggies’ paws and jaws, we’re here to help!

Stress / Separation Anxiety

Believe it or not — and your Furbo or Petcube can confirm this — your dogs basically do what they normally do when you’re there even when you’re not. However, those with separation anxiety have an emotional challenge to overcome. Since their species evolved as pack animals, they crave companionship and attention. They need to be around other beings to feel truly at home and comfortable. If you and your family have a close relationship with your dog (not just being part of the Christmas photos) then it’s going to be harder for them to grasp where you are going, how long you’ll be gone and if you’re coming back. Understanding how your dog’s brain works in relation to your existence is essential to learning about their anxiety. Adding another dog, hiring a dog-sitter, or consulting your vet may be some things to consider to help manage your little buddy’s stress.

Pitbulls stare at camera in living room
Duke and Sarah might be up to something…

Excitement and Energy

Have you ever been so happy and squeezed your teeth together so hard that you gave your jaw muscles a charlie horse? Or bit your cheek because your food was so delicious that you didn’t care to differentiate it from your meal? You JUST CAN’T control yourself! That’s how your dogs feel. With a lack of opposable thumbs and a quadrupedal frame, their mouth is really the only way of ‘squeezing’ in excitement. Not to be confused with canine ADHD, their hyperactivity may just be because they missed you and are excited to have you home.

The Solution

No window shade is fully “dog-proof,” but here’s a few tricks and tips to help keep your dog chewing their toys and not your blinds:

Leave home quietly and return quietly so you don’t startle, spook, or heighten your pooch’s stress energy levels.

Exercise and playtime with other dogs lets your pup let off steam and learn how to build relationships with their own kind.

Better toys mean longer-lasting amusement, less money spent and create a connection between your canine and their favorite stuffed animal. Multipet has some of the highest-rated pet toys on Amazon, with prices to howl about.

Citronella dog collars are a much more humane deterrent than the dated shock collar typically used to prevent incessant barking. They can also help stop Fido from destroying your interiors.

Enroll your dog in a local training class so they can learn how to behave from a pro and be with other dogs who are learning as well.

Give them melatonin after exercise and a hearty meal to help get them on a regular relaxation and sleeping schedule.

While many of these also apply to children, let’s both hope your human kids aren’t gnawing on ANYTHING except their food. Keep everyone’s safety in mind with cordless blinds, free of dangling lift cords which can be a potential to hazard to children and pets alike.

The Replacements

Ever come home to this:

Dog destroyed wood window blinds
It’s always the cute ones…

We hope not. But if you had purchased your window treatments from us, you’d be in luck! SelectBlinds.com’s 5-Year Unlimited Warranty keeps you covered (literally) even if your dogs get so bored with their toys they take to the blinds. Just call us up, let us know your story (seriously, we love good stories) and get a warranty replacement in less than 10 days. Coupled with the above tips, that should keep your window treatments safe and sound!

If you’re handy, or if your warranty has expired, you can order replacement slats for your Venetian-style window coverings (horizontal wood, faux wood and aluminum minis). See how easy it is to DIY your way back to perfect window shades by watching this video on How to Change the Slats on Your Window Blinds.

If your hound has been harassing your blinds, call our self-help hotline (at 888-257-1840, via live chat, or email). One of our Window Treatment Therapists will be happy to help talk you through the steps of mending not just your blinds, but your relationship with your dog!

Spring Cleaning? Don’t Forget These Tips

Woman with purple gloves holding basket of spring cleaning supplies

Spring has sprung, and that means it’s that time of year when we all take a look at our homes and realize that they could be, shall we say, a bit less dirty? Or if you’re the type who does a great job of keeping a clean home year-round, you might take this as an opportunity to take care of something that you’ve been putting off for a while.

No matter how you look at Spring Cleaning, this is likely the only time of the year where the idea of spending time to freshen up your home is even a little bit exciting.

When it comes to cleaning our homes, some things like clearing out dressers,  shelves, cabinets and closets are obvious targets for updates.

There are many more parts  of your house that you can probably think of that need some attention, and they should absolutely get it. But there are also some things that you may not think about. You know, the stuff that kind of gets forgotten or lost in the shuffle.

With that in mind, here are six surprising things you don’t want to forget as you go about creating and checking off your Spring Cleaning list.

1.  Dishwasher

 Removing white plates from dishwasher

Is there some irony in needing to clean a device that’s intended to clean other things for us? Perhaps, but that doesn’t change the fact that a dirty dishwasher doesn’t clean as well as, well, a clean one.

The trouble with dishwashers is they don’t really look dirty, and we don’t normally think about how much better they could be cleaning. But with some vinegar and baking soda, along with a couple of empty cycles, yours could be back in top form, ready for all the dishes you can throw its way.

Not sure how to do it?  As this video shows, it’s quite simple.

2.  Washing Machine

Man loading washing machine with colored clothes

Notice your clothes aren’t coming out as clean as they used to? Or is your dryer not as effective as it once was? It’s possible they need to be replaced, but first why not check to see if they’re just dirty?

Grease, grime and everything else from cleaning your clothes can build up and severely hamper a washing machine’s ability to remove those things from your laundry. The machine’s filter should also be checked, as it can get clogged and lead to a host of other issues.

All washing machines are a little different, but the general concepts are the same. Watch this video for more on how to go about cleaning yours.

Oh, and as long as you’re taking care of your washer, you might as well tackle the dryer, too. For that, take a look at not only the lint trap, which could use some deep cleaning, but also the dryer vent. Make sure it is not clogged or showing signs of needing to be replaced. If it is, the dryer won’t operate at maximum efficiency, costing you more in time and money each time you use it.

Take some tips from this video to keep your dryer running in tip top condition.

3.  Window Coverings

Venetian blinds over claw foot tub and sink in all white marble bathroom

No matter what kind of coverings you have in your home, be it honeycomb/cellular treatments, aluminum minis, faux woods, bamboo, etc., they all need a little dusting off every now and again.

Different types of window treatments require different cleaning methods. To make yours look like new again, just follow the few simple steps here in our handy cleaning guide.

4.  Toothbrush

White and blue electric motorized tooth brush next to standard blue toothbrush

This one should seem pretty obvious, but it’s worth pointing out that simply running your toothbrush under the faucet when you’re done brushing isn’t enough to really get it clean.

If you use a non-electric toothbrush, the easy solution is to just get a new one. However, if electric is your thing, look into replacing your brush head. It  probably won’t cost  much and will allow you to have an even cleaner — and healthier — mouth.

5.  Bathroom Exhaust Fan

Hands removing white bathroom exhaust fan faceplate

The bathroom fan does a good job of sucking  in moisture,  keeping the bathroom fresh and mold-free. The flip side to that is while your bathroom may be protected from mold, the fan itself is not.

The dirtier the fan gets, the more susceptible it will be to developing mold and mildew of its own. So, make sure you pop the vent cover off (clean that with a vacuum cleaner), and then unplug the fan and clean it up, too. The dusting attachment on the vacuum should work, though you may need another tool to get into the tighter spaces.

None of it’s too complicated, but  watch this video for more on how to do it the right, safe way.

6.  Range Hood Filter

Granite kitchen counter top leading to stainless steel range hood

Cleaning the kitchen,  and we mean really cleaning it  — scrubbing/waxing the floor, cleaning the oven and clearing out the fridge — is usually the first job most people tackle this time of year. Besides changing the baking soda box in the freezer, don’t forget to check under the hood that hangs above your stove. Similar to how the bathroom fan sucks in moisture, the range hood fan pulls in the grease that is released into the air when you cook.

You can clean the filter with a good degreaser, or replace it. Here’s how to make your range fan more efficient and  help keep your newly-cleaned kitchen that way longer.

How to Make the Most of Old Mini Blinds

Time to replace those saggy, baggy, cracked and faded aluminum or vinyl venetians?  Before you consign them to the trash bin, consider some of these fun, practical, incredibly clever and crafty ways to repurpose, reclaim and recycle old or broken minis. Here are just a few ideas.

Paint hacks. From the experts at This Old House, use a mini blind slat as a paint edger instead of painter’s tape.  Then bend a small piece of slat in half to scoop out the extra paint in the edge of the paint can to neatly pour it back in the can.

Slim Jim. No, you don’t want to eat them like the snack, but you can use old mini slats as an access tool. Save a few to slide between cabinets or under furniture to retrieve hard-to-reach items, like the cat’s toy that just rolled under the bed.

Table scraper. Brush crumbs off tabletops and other surfaces smoothly and neatly with the flat edge of a mini slat.

Tape pull. Many a fingernail has been lost trying to find and pick off the tape end and pulling off a straight piece. Problem solved by cutting a slat to the width of the roll and taping it on the end.

Tomato tag. Write the name of herbs, veggies and other plants or seeds on a piece of the mini slat with a waterproof marker to make garden markers. Make two diagonal cuts on one end to form a point and stake it in the soil.

Get crafty. Pinterest has a plethora of amazing things you can make from minis, from fashions to seasonal decorations, light fixtures, even original works of art. Grab your glue gun and go!

Photo credit: A Girl and a Glue Gun

We love a couple ideas A Girl and a Glue Gun had. She took old mini slats, trimmed the edges and hot-glued them to the back of a mirror.  She simply painted the ones below and added a unique peacock motif.

Photo credit: A Girl and a Glue Gun

Photos courtesy of A Girl and a Glue Gun

Photo Credit: Tina Crosby | Courtesy of Family Handyman

Here’s a great idea for a kool kid craft — mini blinds bookmarks! Cut mini slats to size and have kids decorate with paints, stickers, etc. Just add a decorative tie through the old pre-drilled cord hole and voila! Great for gift giving. Photo by Tina Crosbie, courtesy of Family Handyman.

Donate them. If you’re just tired of your old aluminums and ready for a new window treatment, instead of throwing them out, consider donating them to an organization like Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill. Some scrap metal and recycling centers also take them.

How have you used old window treatments? Leave a comment and let us know!

How to Frame Your Space with Art

Abstract art painting in a dining room. There’s nothing like art, artfully displayed, to tie a room together. Photo by Stephen Allen Photography courtesy of audreyphillipsart.

If I were independently wealthy, I’d be a bona fide art collector. (Oh, and shoes. I’d  totally collect shoes. They’re like works of art, too, right?) I bought my first piece of original art 16 years ago, adding a few pieces since as the budget allowed — and even when it didn’t. Because that’s the thing about art. It truly is in the eye of the beholder. And if it speaks to me, I listen … and buy (American Express loves me).

Loves Illusion painting

The first piece of original art I bought was “Love’s Illusion,” painted in 2002 by my close friend Audrey Phillips, who is a Professional Abstract Painter now. Her work can be found in the homes of private collectors and in galleries throughout the U.S.

When I invest in art — and I do consider it an investment — it has to express some part of who I am, how I feel, or what I think. So it means a lot when  people visit my home and seeing my “gallery” say, “It’s so you.” Living in a roughly 800-sf apartment, that means pretty much the entire space is devoted to displaying original (and commercial; I’m not a total snob.  Or independently wealthy yet.) pieces I’ve acquired. I love sharing the stories behind my little collection. Each work reflects a time in my life, evokes an emotional connection, and above all, just makes me happy when I look at it.

Picasso decorative plate

One of my favorite pieces (although obviously not an “original”) is a Picasso plate that hangs on a kitchen wall. No framing required, but that might’ve been a mistake. I used to have two, but the other one was literally blown off the wall in a dust storm. Note to self: See tip about Plexiglas below. 🙁

Used as unique accents or a foundational focal point in a space, I’m also a firm believer in showcasing art for art’s sake. Over the years, I’ve discovered that my art has taken on a life of its own, frequently dictating my decor so it, instead of say my furniture or wall color, defines a space. So if you’re afraid a work’s colors, subject, or media won’t mesh with your decor, don’t be. Take a tip from a pro like New York City’s Picture Room gallery owner and art consultant Sandeep Saltar.

“Always frame an artwork for the artwork, not for its surrounding environment. The artwork will fit into an interior much better if it’s not trying to match it, but reflects something about the space or its inhabitants,” she says.

Sandeep Saltar picture art wall

Picture wall in the apartment of Sandeep Saltar. Photo by Jonathan Pilkington.

Saltar adds, “It’s absolutely OK to mix frame styles, but when in doubt, go with a raw or unfinished maple frame—rather than black or white. It’s neutral, contemporary, and doesn’t hide its materiality.”

I picked up some other tips in a great article on Remodelista, where Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, shared her expert advice on how to display your art at home. Here are just a few of her suggestions:

Stay centered. As a rule of thumb, hanging art on a center line of 58 to 60 inches above the floor works well. When stacking or clustering works, take into account the total height of your wall, including the space you envision between the frames, and center that.

Art gallery wall

Mix it up.  Not all art is created equal, so feel free to mix small works — things you need to get up close to in order to fully appreciate — and larger ones that anchor or offer focal points in a room. For works that are too tall to hang on a center line, try placing them about 15 inches off the floor. Keeping individual pieces at eye level is another common practice, but depending on your furnishings, sometimes going a little off kilter can add intrigue to low hanging fruit.

Portrait of Corinne Gilbert by Dan McCarthy

Consider hanging low. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista, from Expert Advice: How to Decorate Like a Frenchwoman. Portrait of Corinne Gilbert by Dan McCarthy.

Let the art breathe. When framing, make sure there’s a little space between the glazing and the surface of the artwork, so it “floats,” to create more dimension and depth.  This is especially true for paper works and photographs.

Pay for UV Plexiglas. If your rooms get a lot of bright, direct sunlight, it pays to protect your investment with UV-resistant Plexiglas to prevent fading and damage.

Waste no space. Art can brighten and bring intrigue and interest to any space. Get creative with displays along hallways, in entry ways, or any “dead” spots you want to bring to life.

So your art doesn’t look like it should be in the Louvre? No worries. Whether your collection includes a real Rembrandt, or is a mix of popular commercial prints produced for the masses, use the tips above to own it and display your pieces with pride!

Stress-free Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning - ya its a thing.

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder where that dust rag is?

To many, the rites of spring mean spring cleaning. Time to refresh, renew, clean up and clear out unwanted clutter. Before you spring into action and start tackling more traditional jobs like de-greasing the oven hood and cleaning your windows and window treatments, check out some of these Zen-sational tips you won’t need rubber gloves for.

Get rid of negative energy. Cleanse your home with the power of positivity. Burn some incense (Nag champa is best used in a clean home to create a calm and serene atmosphere for meditation), smudge some sage, hang a new mirror, give rooms  a spritz of orange essential oil, put salt in corners and paint a wall yellow. These are just a few tips on how to banish negative energy and start spring with a clean slate.

Get rid of the bad energy.

According to interior designer Ana Zuravliova, yellow neutralizes bad energy. “From an interior design viewpoint, this color will also make your space appear bigger and add a warm tone to a room,” she says. For tips on cleaning blinds like our 1″ Premium Aluminum minis (shown here), check out our Tech Tips page.

Air it out. In addition to green products to clean every surface in your home, go green to clean the air in it with live plants. This season’s popular Peace Lily, for instance,

Peace Lily plant - go green to go clean.

naturally filters toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, tri-chloroethylene (TCE), xylene, toluene and ammonia — which can cause headaches, respiratory problems and an increased risk of cancer — from indoor air. Place a few in the bathroom to reduce mold growth and remove airborne mold, the filthy harbingers of allergies and asthma symptoms. We found five other air-cleaning plants that basically do your spring cleaning for you in the upcoming Houseplants for a Healthy Home by Jon VanZile (available from Simon and Schuster).  Here’s an excerpt from Elle Decor.

Declutter for fun & profit. The spring cleaning ritual is a great time to purge and line your pockets with a little extra cash. Cleaning out closets, drawers, attics and  garages can uncover untold treasures you can sell using a variety of apps (forget that yard sale!). Unused clothing, jewelry, childrens items, sporting equipment, even outdated electronics, CDs and DVDs, can be salvaged and sold so you have less stuff in the house and more coin in the cookie jar. Check out this article on How to make money off the treasures you find during spring cleaning to see what yours might be worth.

Sara Jessica Parker in closet

Sarah Jessica Parker in “Sex and the City 2.” Warner Bros. courtesy Everett Collection

Do you have any favorite spring cleaning tips to share? Leave them in the Comments here on The Blind Spot.