Cover Your Pool & Patio with Outdoor Roller Shades

By SelectBlinds

The heat of summer is here and the sun is beckoning us out of the seemingly forced hibernation of the past year. Are we ready to face the heat of the season again? For those of us in the intense temperatures found looming over the Southwest, exterior shade is an absolute must, but finding the perfect outdoor sun shades can be almost as painful as forgetting to use sun screen. We’re here to give you some tips and ideas about how to keep your feet, body, and head cool throughout the next few months. Read on to check them out!

Exterior Solar Shades

Lifestyle Outdoor Motorized Shades drop like a welcome breeze into this patio’s décor.

Outdoor shades can come in a wide variety of lift styles, but due to their width and exposure to the elements, the safest, and easiest to install, are roller-style shades. Patio sun shades have varying transparencies, so you can fine-tune the amount of sunlight you want to filter through. Offering 1%, 3%, 5%, 8%, 10% and 14% levels of openness, there are a lot of ways to craft your poolside sun protection!

Note: 1% Openness= 99% of Harmful UV Rays Blocked = Darkest Option.

Sliding Glass Door Blinds

Architect Light Filtering Panel Tracks block out the light but keep the family in sight.

Before you party on the patio, you’ve got to make it through the sliding glass door! You know, the one that’s invisible to the dog, and to your Aunt Pam after a few too many hard seltzers? Don’t forget how much of the sun’s natural energy and heat is absorbed, and magnified into your house by the patio slider. While our panel tracks are great for indoors, as well as to be used as room dividers, they can also fair well on the porch in less intense summers on the East coast of the United States. If you’re located in the solar panel-loving states like Arizona, California, and Nevada, set your heart on the exterior shades!

Bamboo Shades

Premier Woven Wood Shades in Quince work wonders inside and out.

Not just for feasting your eyes on inside, bamboo blinds are also a favorite for the porch, patio, and pool areas! Outdoor bamboo shades have the same construction as an interior shade, but with any product that spends its time outside, the elements are known to limit its lifespan. Keep in mind, you can upgrade any of our products to 5-year unlimited coverage, so you can rest in the shade with peace of mind!

Select Blinds’ Staff Recommends:

1% Classic Exterior Sheer Weave Solar Shades keep enclosed patios cool every afternoon.

Try one or more of our favorite selections of outdoor roller shades and bamboo blinds for the ultimate shaded experience inside and out:

5% Classic Exterior Sheer Weave Solars

Lifestyle Outdoor Shade

Classic Cordless Top Down Bottom Up Woven Woods

Oh, and one more thing. Have an amazing summer on your patio and by the pool!

Interior Solar Shades vs. Exterior Solar Shades: Is One Better Than the Other?

by SelectBlinds

Whenever spring and summer approach, we start to get antsy and look forward to enjoying the sunshine and to spending time outside in the warm weather. Maybe even more so in 2021, after all the unexpected craziness of 2020!

Since we’re talking about exposure to the sun, which is preferable for blocking UV rays: interior solar shades, or exterior solar shades? Both kinds of energy-efficient shades deflect the sun’s rays without blocking your view, and they both offer their own features.

Interior Solar Shades vs. Outdoor Solar Shades

So, what exactly is the difference between indoor solar shades and exterior solar shades?

Interior Solar Shades keep the heat and glare out, while leaving you a view to the outside.
Interior Solar Shades keep the heat and glare out, while leaving you a view to the outside.

Interior solar shades feature an open-weave reflective fabric meant to let light filter through. You can see clearly outside, but those outside can’t see in; at night, this effect is reversed. By deflecting the sun’s glare effectively, solars also reduce incoming heat, making their energy efficiency another plus.  

Exterior solar shades provide excellent coverage for south-facing windows or for an exterior space like an enclosed patio or deck—similar to an awning. Like interior solars, outdoor solar shades allow a view to the outside, while providing privacy from the exterior view. Outdoor solars are also effective at keeping your enclosed spaces and your home’s interior cooler. Another plus for exterior solar shades: they don’t have an impact on your interior décor, and you’ll likely get the most use out of outdoor solars if you happen to live in a climate that’s warm all year long. 

Exterior solar shades deflect sunlight without blocking your view, and keep your shaded areas cooler.
Exterior solar shades deflect sunlight without blocking your view, and keep your shaded areas cooler.

Keep your exterior solar shades’ “openness” factor into account when making your selection. Openness factors are typically available in 1 percent, 3 percent, 5 percent, 10 percent, and 14 percent. 

An outdoor solar shade with a 1 percent openness factor has much higher UV blockage with lower transparency, compared to one with a 10 percent or 14 percent openness factor. As you INCREASE in the openness factor, your UV blockage goes down, and you raise your outward visibility, in turn. 

Also keep in mind that lighter colored shades are generally better for blocking UV rays more effectively, while darker colors provide a better view to the outside.

Both interior and exterior solar shades can be installed as roller shades or as panels, but if you go with outdoor shades, make sure they’re manufactured to withstand the wear and tear of the outdoor weather elements (direct sunlight, rain, wind, etc.). Do your homework.

Some of our recommendations include:

Here is an online guide to help you select the best type of solar shades for the region you live in and for your home’s unique needs. Whatever climate you live in, and whatever your home’s needs are, interior solar shades and exterior solar shades can help you manage your privacy along with the incoming UV rays for enjoying Spring and Summer indoors and outside.

Help Us Choose a Winner! Who Will Be the Happiest Select Blinds Customer from 2018?

Happiness Is a Choice

And choosing one Happy Customer from all of you who joined our Happy Customer Program last year makes us very happy! But it’s so hard to decide. It’s like trying to choose the best window treatment to complete a room. It can be a daunting task, but putting the time in to discover and sample new shade styles and colors will ultimately lead to honest home happiness – and, possibly, a $250 Visa gift card!

We honestly love seeing how the final product you choose looks in your own home. That’s why we started this contest. We narrowed down our favorites from 2018, but now we need your help. Which picture do you like best? Who do you think we should dub the winner of a $250 Visa gift card? Take a look and place your vote at the bottom of this post!

1. Allison W.’s Beachfront Signature Sheer Weave 5% Solar Shades

Feel the breeze coming off the waves? You can even watch them crash along the shore near your beachfront home / condo with our light filtering, transparent solar shades! Allison can relax inside without glare reflecting off the floor or harmful UV rays damaging her furniture or art work! Need something like this but a little darker? We also offer solar shades in 1% and 3% to dim down the hot summer sun.

Select Blinds Sheerweave Interior Solar Shades by beach front propertyBlock the light but save the sight with our 5% Signature Sheer Weave Solar Shades in Light Sandstone!

2. Dile B. Weaves a Wonderland with Premier Woven Wood Shades

This happy customer decked out their sitting room with our light filtering woven wood shades! If you prefer a darker room, we offer privacy and blackout liners for most of our bamboo blinds. With a plethora of colors featuring a variety of reeds, twines and woods, you’ll be able to find the perfect woven shade to match your room’s style!

Select Blinds woven wood shades over many windows in living areaBlock the light but save the sight with our Premier Woven Wood Shades in Bodhi!

3. Morgan R. Makes Her Dining Area Blossom with Signature Light Filtering Roman Shades

Morgan had her husband, Michael, self-installed these elegant roman blinds to block some of the morning sun coming into their kitchen/dining area. The new, flowery window treatments are the centerpiece of this ship-lapped galley!  If you’re looking for something a little more light blocking, sample our Signature Blackout Roman Shades to keep out the rays!

Select Blinds woven wood shades over many windows in living areaBlock the light but save the sight with our Signature Light Filtering Roman Shades leaves guests blue with envy!

4. Morgan A. and Signature Shoreline Woven Woven Shades Get Fresh on the Farm!

Keep an eye on the fields from the safety of the farmhouse! Not only do these custom blinds go well with farmhouse style, they look beautiful incorporated in coastal, boho and vintage design styles! Add some texture to your interior design with bamboo/woven window dressings at your ranch, home, farm, or cabin!

Select Blinds woven wood shades over many windows in living areaBlock the light but save the sight with our Signature Shoreline Woven Wood Shades in Hilleria leaves guests blue with envy!

Time to Vote!

There you have it! Now we need YOUR help to choose a winner! Who do you think styled SelectBlinds best in their home? Comment with the number (1-4) below!

I Wanna Win!

Want in on the action and a chance to win our next $250 gift card? Just sign up here for our Happy Customer Program. (It’s FREE!) Then send us some photos of your new window treatments to We’ll be happy to share your in-home shots here on The Blinds Spot. And we’d love it if you’d share your happiness with them, too, by tagging us (@selectblinds) in any pics you post on social media.

A Total Eclipse of the Sun

People watching solar eclipse outlined by sun

All I really, really, really want to see is a total eclipse of the sun.

Like this lyric in the same-titled song by Einsturzende Neubauten, everyone in the U.S., and in North and parts of South America, Africa and Europe, is going to get that chance on August 21. This awe-inspiring cosmic event will be the first total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous U.S. since 1979 and the first one coast to coast since 1918. The Great American Eclipse (which even has its own website) has captured the fascination and imagination of celestial celebrants here and around the globe, causing a sensation on Twitter and other social – and mainstream – media. Even if you aren’t in the path of totality (arcing from Oregon to South Carolina), you’ll see a partial eclipse.

What makes this eclipse such a big deal? The key word is total. When the moon passes in front of the sun on Tuesday, the two will be in perfect alignment. And for a couple of brief minutes, the day turns into twilight or total darkness as the moon totally blocks all but the atmosphere, or corona, around the sun.

Unless you’re asleep, it’s going to be hard to miss, not that you’d want to. NASA will be live-streaming the event from across – and well above (as in the International Space Station) – the country. The total eclipse will take about four hours. If you plan on watching with your own eyes, you literally could be blinded by the light and not even realize it until it’s too late, so it’s a must to wear protective eclipse glasses to prevent damaging ultra-violet (UV) rays from burning your retinas. Here’s what NASA recommends: Man wearing eclipse glasses

“When watching a partial eclipse, you must wear eclipse glasses at all times if you want to face the sun, or use an alternate indirect method. This also applies during a total eclipse up until the time when the sun is completely and totally blocked. During the short time when the moon completely obscures the sun – known as the period of totality – it is safe to look directly at the star, but it’s crucial that you know when to take off and put back on your glasses.”

Make sure you get glasses that are safe for directly viewing the sun. Your regular sunglasses are NOT enough to protect your eyes during a solar eclipse. Check this list from the American Astronomical Society of Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers. Any eclipse products should indicate they are compliant with ISO 12312-2. The ISO logo will be on the glasses or on the box they come in. There are a lot of non-compliant glasses out there, so buyer beware.

Speaking of protection from UV rays, is your home safe from the sun? Solar and exterior solar shades on your windows can help reduce the sun’s glare and prevent furniture, carpeting and more from fading.

Here are some other fun facts and tips for enjoying The Great American Eclipse next week:

The New York Times has a great page with tips on everything eclipse 2017, from how-to-watch safety do’s and don’ts, to how to be a citizen scientist.

Earlier this summer, the U.S. Postal Service released a first-of-its-kind stamp to commemorate the occasion. Touch the stamp with your finger and watch as the blacked-out sun turns into the moon. The trick? Find out here.

usps solar eclipse stamp

Create your own eclipse-inspired playlist to listen to while you watch. Just Google “eclipse playlist” for a variety of celestial selections to suit any musical taste.

If you get a little hungry while you’re watching and you’re lucky enough to have a Krispy Kreme nearby, get a first-time-ever chocolate glazed doughnut in honor of the eclipse.

If you’re planning on driving for a better view of the eclipse (an estimated 200 million people live within a day’s drive of the path of totality), better start packing now. While eclipses are no longer believed to be harbingers of doom, it is expected to be a traffic apocalypse. And most hotels directly in the eclipse’s path have been sold out for years.

Another fact that makes this total eclipse more significant is that in a few hundreds of millions of years, the moon will have moved too far away from the Earth to ever again completely cover the sun. In other words, total eclipses are destined to become history. But we still have time. Mark your calendar for the next total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, which will be visible from Texas to Maine.

Have fun and see you on the dark side of the moon!

Craig M. Is a Happy Customer!

Craig M. thinks his new bronze Exterior Signature Sheer Weave 1% Solar Shades with a continuous cord loop are pretty cool. We do, too!

“They look great! Should make a big difference helping to keep our house cool, too. Installed on West-facing windows in Colorado.”

exterior solar shades

Like the look? We offer 1%, 3%, 5%, 10% and 14% UV-protective shades (1% blocks the most light, 14% the least). Check out our selection here.


Everybody, In the Pool!


Summer’s in full swing, and here in Arizona (where Select Select Blinds is based) we practically live in our pools to survive daily 110◦+ temperatures. So that pretty much makes us experts on pool parties. Here are some ideas for great family-friendly pool games (or easily adaptable adult versions) to play to ensure your next party is a splashing success. For more ideas, get inspired on Pinterest, Google, or at your local pool store.

DIY Dive-Ins

Wet T-Shirt Contest: O.K., get your mind out of the pool filter and divide everyone into two teams in two lines at the edge of one end of the pool. Give the first person in each line an extra-large t-shirt to put on, then ready-set-go! The first two people must swim across the pool and back, then pass the wet shirt to the next ones in line who swim across and back, and so on. It’s a race to the finish to see which team wins.

Chicken Noodle Fight: The classic chicken fight is still a family favorite, but instead of using your hands, the team member on their partner’s shoulders uses a sponge tube to fend off their foe on the other team. Last one left standing wins.

Floating Battleship: Bring the popular board game to life by making your own or buying one of the many online versions available. (Try the popular battleship pong version for 21+ parties.)

Squirt Gun Races: String lines across the pool and push plastic cups across them using squirt guns.

Available Online or at Your Local Pool Store

Virtually any type of game you can play out of the water you can play in it. Look for the aquatic versions of your favorite sport and dive in! Float these ideas at your next party:

  • Floating golfFloating golf green.
  • Water basketball
  • Water volleyball
  • Floating cornhole and tic-tac-toe
  • Floating casino

Pool Party Décor

Greet your guests with this cool arch easily constructed with beach balls and swim rings. Keep the party going at night by tossing glow sticks in the pool. And to shield you from too much fun in the sun, hang exterior solar shades. They’re a great option for patios, sun rooms and even gazebos because they’re weather and UV-resistant.

Great Gazebo Designs to Grace Your Backyard

This post is inspired by my friend Melody. I love visiting her beautiful home where she’s created a backyard oasis that regularly beckons friends and family alike. At the heart of it is a gorgeous gazebo, under which we’ve spent many evenings sipping wine and solving all the world’s problems. By definition a gazebo is a free-standing structure with a proper peaked roof and open framework. From the simple to the sublime, they provide a unique area to decorate and express yourself with almost unlimited design possibilities.

It’s easy to go from pre-fab to fabulous by adding your own touches to manufactured and already assembled gazebos (check out Wayfair, Walmart, Lowe’s, Target and more). If you’re a real DIYer, you can build your own from the ground up using gazebo-in-a-box kits. Whether you’re looking to create an outdoor party place or personal refuge and meditation space, here’s a great guide to getting started on your own to-die-for designs.

Adding some details to prefabricated items makes all the difference.

My friend Melody pumped up the appeal of the patio and outdoor grill with a simple prefabricated gazebo frame that she added lights, a chandelier and cozy chiminea to to create her own charming outdoor bistro. (Photo courtesy of Melody Tune)

Gazebos create an intimate space.

This super simple gazebo can be used almost anywhere and personalized with your own unique design touches. Bamboo shades would make a great accent!

Add some drapes to an existing gazebo.

Drapes add a touch of drama and elegance and are an easy way to customize an ordinary gazebo. Check out some of the cool styles and patterns we offer here.

A gazebo can add some privacy to your space.

Ahh! Talk about a soothing sanctuary. Gazebos make great hot tub and spa enclosures.

Adding outdoor solar shades will enhance your gazebo

You could easily add exterior solar shades here to keep cool and shaded in the summer.