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Preparing Your Home For Winter

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

It is that time of year. Cold fronts are moving in, storms and strong winds are sweeping the land and we want to spend our time indoors, bundled up and warm. During these months it can be quite a fight to keep warm, so we put together a list of things you can do to keep the cold outside.

  1. Avoid Drafts From Doors
    Between 5-30% of energy can be wasted due to drafts, says the US Department of Energy. Combat these air pockets with draft snakes. These can be purchased, but even a rolled up towel can do the job. This could also be a fun DIY project, filling some fabric with sand or cat litter, adding some eyes or decorating it do your liking.
    Draft-Snake
  2. Replace Your Air / Furnace Filters
    Clogged up air filters can restrict airflow and waste energy consumption. Why not get on a firm schedule to replace your filters once a month (or according to the filter recommendation) to get maximum performance out of your heater or furnace?
    filter
  3. Insulating Window Shades
    Windows are one of the biggest energy loss sources on a house, especially on older homes. One can offset this by installing window coverings with insulating properties. By far the best insulators are double cellular shades or double cell honeycomb shades. The honeycomb design traps cool air inside the cell, creating a double barrier with the double honeycomb design. An insulating window covering can be a true energy saver.
    cellular-shades
  4. Fan in Reverse
    Few people would think of this and not all fans are designed that way, but then again many are. When running the fan in reverse it actually sucks air up, pulling cool air to the top and distributing the warmer air into the room. It’s all in the blades direction. See what your fan is capable of!
    clockwise_winter_direction
  5. Install Storm Windows and Doors
    Now, this is a bigger project that might not be on everyone’s’ to do list, but what a difference it can make! Quality storm windows can decrease energy loss by 45%. They reduce drafts, help insulate and increase light in your home. Should your windows be due for replacement look for Energy-Star certified models.
    storm-window-bg-hero
  6. Give Your Heating System A Tune-Up
    Just like our cars need maintenance to run properly, our heating systems do as well. Many companies recommend twice a year for your unit to run as efficiently as possible.
    fall-furnace-tune-up
  7. Buy Window Insulation Kit
    For just a few bucks your can purchase insulating tape in your local home goods store. This tape is not visible, so not a headache to install either. It helps with drafts and adds a buffer.
    frost-king-film-lg
  8. Wear A Sweater
    Especially down here in the south we are guilty of not putting on the right wardrobe for cold weather. Walk the streets during cold temps and you still see people in flip flops and shorts; yet they complain about how cold it is. So put on that sweater, those wool house boots and a pretty scarf. You will feel much more comfortable in an instant.
    penguins-wearing-sweaters

Cozy Decorating Ideas

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

A cold front is sweeping over big parts in the US, even our state of Texas is enjoying the colder temperatures. There is no nicer place than home when it is gray and chilly outdoors.
This is the time to cozy your place up, create some warmth and welcome yourself and friends into a cluster of hominess. We thought we’d present some ideas on how to create it:

  1. Fireplace
    With low temperatures outside, turn your focus towards your fireplace. While it adds warmth, it also offers the soothing sound of crackling wood and lends itself to get lost in the sight of the flames. A fireplace creates harmony and a feeling of well-being.fireplace
  2. Infuse Color
    Fight the winter blues and gray days with color. Find a few decorating items that bring you room to life. A throw blanket or pillows with bold prints or bright colors can bring cheer and life into a gray day.
    color
  3. Mirrors
    During the winter time our days and natural time of daylight are shorter. To maximize the light during this time can help our mood. When placing mirrors across from windows, our rooms are illuminated further, reflecting natural light into the room. Natural light is key to our well-being.
    mirror
  4. Light-Filtering Window Shades
    Even when we have to have shades to cover up our windows for added privacy, a light-filtering shade can filter natural light into the room. Perfect shades to allow daylight in are Comfortex Shangri-La Sheer Shades (Silhouette like shades), light-filtering cellular shades or pleated shades. Just because you want to keep your neighbors preying eye out, doesn’t mean you have to keep the sun out.
    Shangri-La
  5. Throw Blankets
    While throw blankets are decorative, they also add to a layered look as well as texture. Regardless of room, a bedroom or living area is always a great place for an additional throw blanket. It turns any area into a great refuge from the cold winter winds outside.
    blanket
  6. Textured Rugs
    The nicest wooden floor and the most sophisticated tile can be too cold during the winter month. Help to bring the cozy factor indoors by adding a textured fluffy rug. It feels nice on your feet and adds warmth to the atmosphere.
    rug
  7. Extra Pillows
    Just like the additional blanket, more pillows is cozier. During the cold month add additional pillows where it makes sense. They look nice and are something to grab when feeling chilly.
    pillows
  8. Seasonal Scents
    The seasonal scents in wax cubes or candles are amazing and create atmosphere. From Spiced Apple Punch, to Gingerbread Cookie Crunch the aromas are plentiful. Potpourri with huge pine cones and added color will be great eye candy as well. Activate your senses and enjoy this time of year!
    potpourri

Interior Decor and our 5 Senses

Monday, October 20th, 2014

sensesWhen we think of interior decor we usually think of the visual aspect and how things look together. However, businesses have started to realize that the more senses are stimulated in a place you might just want to hang out a bit longer and enjoy your surroundings. This is apparent in high end spas and resorts. Dimmed light, soft music and burning incense are the norm here. Let’s look what we can incorporate into our homes to welcome us and our friends to stay a bit longer.

  1. Sight

The visual aspect is the most obvious when designing a place. It involves how to mix and match colors, which shapes to incorporate, how to utilize lighting and so forth. It affects all items from window shades like Bali cellular shades, what couch you get, chairs, rugs and so on. Decor items should be balanced, the shouldn’t be too crowded and colors pleasing.

  1. Sound
    Sound can put us at ease. First thing to think about is to reduce outside noise. When possible a room should be well insulated, with sound barriers to other rooms and areas of your home. To create soft background noise can be calming and relaxing. Consider having easy listening music playing in the background, or a decorative water fountain; trickling water has a calming effect. The sound of a wind chime on the porch can have the same soothing effect.
  2. Smell
    We all know how certain smells trigger memories of ours, childhood memories when smelling cookies, the smell of certain flowers that remind us of a loved one. Research shows that pleasing scents affect our mood and well being. Today there are many products available to create light scents in our homes. It could be scented candles, oils, potpourri or even fresh flowers. With the newest Scentsy craze it is easy to switch out scents often and match them to the current season.
  3. Taste
    Taste is probably the hardest sense to incorporate into our home design. Regardless, little bites available on a coffee table like cookies, a few chocolates on the counter will always make friends feel welcome and invited. When there is something to nibble on, it is easy to stay just a bit longer and enjoy a conversation.
  4. Touch
    Texture and textiles are quite important when decorating a place. Think about what things feel like, a soft plush carpet, cool smooth leather, texture on pillows. By making the right fabric choices, you can create an environment where you want to spend more time in because things feel Think of a scratchy linen textured couch versus smooth leather or soft suede. How things feel, will have an impact on coziness and how comfortable you are.

How To Cover Hard To Reach Windows

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Let’s keep talking “tricky” windows.
What do you do with those hard to reach windows that are high up? Or the type that his behind the bulky couch? What about the deep sink and you can’t quite reach the cord? Here are some options for you when it comes to operating blinds and shades that are hard to reach:

Motorized Shades
Here is a solution that is the most convenient of all. Great products that lend its operation to motorization are Sheer Silhouette like blinds, cellular shades and all other type shades. Also wood blinds can be motorized, however the lowering and raising of the blind would still be corded. The motorization simply takes care of the tilting of the slats.
Most of our products offer radiofrequency technology. This means a remote control, timer or wall switch can operate one or several shades with the simple click of a button. So convenient!
Sihouette-Shades


Cordless Shades

In case you want to go for a little more economic solution cordless shades like cellular shades or pleated shades are a great way to go. An additional tool to reach a hard to reach shade is an expandable pole that can be hooked onto the handle of the shade to lower and raise it when necessary.

Long Cords
Here is an option that doesn’t cost an additional dime. Corded shades can always be ordered with longer cords. Some shades allow for additional cord length in increments of feet, others in inches. Simply order you shades or blinds with a comment in the special instructions field or call us to order and we will note the length you need to be able to reach your window shade.

Skylights
For skylights in general cellular shades are a good solution. Most often they are operated with extension poles. Skylight cellular shades, depending on their degree of slope will have wires built into the shade to avoid sagging. Skylights are always cordless shades.
cellular-skylight

Decorating A Small Bathroom

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Wondering how to best decorate your small bathroom? There is little room to work with but so much to fit into it. And on top of it, it is supposed to look good. So here we go with some decorating ideas that might work for you:

Use Light Colors
In a small space, whites, off whites or soft cream colors are soothing. They create a feeling of clean and open up a small area.
bath-whites


Window Shades that can endure Moisture

In a bathroom where lots of moisture is accumulated it is important to use window coverings that will last. Good products are cellular honeycomb shades or faux wood blinds. They won’t lose their shape or warp and stay beautiful for years to come.
bath-blinds


Use colorful Displays

Use color in displays, like towels, pictures or a shower curtain. These are the items where the unexpected can bring a room to life without being overwhelming.
bath-displays


Add Texture

Another area to make your little bathroom interesting and different is texture. For example a small space behind your mirror can show off 3D tiles and add that special something.
bath-texture


Pops of Color

As in any space of your home, large or small, a vase with flowers can bring it to life. When mostly everything is in soft clean whites, be sure to add that pop of color.
bath-pops2


On the Window Sill

Should you have that window sill that gives you that additional space, use it for some pretty glassware with colorful bath salts, necessities or other decorative items on it.
bath-sill


Add Personality

Found those quirky decorational items like below displayed towel holders or that different looking light fixture? Have that one item that makes the bathroom unique to you.
bath-accessorie

 

And as always, follow your sense as to what feels right and pretty to you. Make it yours!

Beat The Heat

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

beat_the_heatIt’s summer and it’s hot, sometimes unbearably hot here in Texas. Let’s look at some way to beat the heat! Here we go:

Block the Sun
Blocking the sun means cover your windows! Insulating Cellular Shades, room darkening cellular shades are the way to go. While the cellular design traps heat inside the cell, the darkening material blocks light. A great brand to purchase are Bali cellular shades, available in our online store.

Give your AC a Checkup
Once summer rolls around, most people should get their units checked. Electricity will go right out the window if the air ducts aren’t clean or if there are leaks. Avoid throwing your money away and have them checked before it gets hot and the AC has to work overtime.

Close it Down
Once the AC is running, be sure to close doors, windows and the sometimes forgotten fireplace damper. When it is hotter than 78 degrees outside this will make a big difference.

Use your Fan
While circulating air helps to feel more comfortable it also helps to cool down a room quicker. Fans are inexpensive to run and don’t cost a lot of energy. A fan will be helpful to have it indoors one or two degrees warmer and yet feel comfortable with the air blowing.

Spritz Yourself
Why not have a little water squirter around? When the temperatures are through the roof, a little water mist in the face and neck while running the AC and fans will definitely help to feel cooler.

Dress Correctly
Great ways to keep cool is by wearing the new synthetic fabrics designed to make you feel less sticky when sweaty. These materials aren’t just for the workout buff anymore. When wearing cotton, go for loose fitting clothes in light colors.

Chuck your Shoes
When possible, take off your shoes and socks. Hot feet will make you all together more uncomfortable. Taking off shows and feeling cool tile underneath your feet will make a big difference in cooling down.

Eat light, drink lots
A heavy meal that needs to be digested will add to the discomfort of feeling hot. Eating a light summer salad and drinking lots of water, while more healthy, will also help to keep you cooled down.

For now… enjoy the rest of the summer!!

Wall Decor – Stylish Silhouettes

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Here it’s Wednesday, so let’s just keep going with wall art ideas. This might be another do-it-yourself inspiration you enjoy; the one we are showing below will be a great example for your kitchen, but can be applied for many other rooms as long as you change the silhouette scheme.

This artwork is very neutral and other decor pieces should not interfere with it. Whether you have cellular shades, silhouette shades or any other window treatment in your kitchen windows, the Silhouette art will complement it perfectly. Here is what you need:

Four crisp frames to contrast the color of your kitchen wall, copies of pages of old cookbooks and cutouts of kitchen appliances or cooking utensils. Now simply take the copies, preferably you made the copies with somewhat aged looking paper. It could be an ivory paper or linen finished paper. Now take the cutouts and cut out the center of the paper, one at a time. In the example below a cutout for cooking utensils, pot, tea pot and one for a blender was used. This keeps everything and tied together, perfect for your kitchen. Now put everything together in your frames and arrange it in a balanced symmetrical composition.

Voila, hope you love it as much as we do.

silhouette

Wall Decor – Plates

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

I thought we keep going with inexpensive wall decor ideas this week. Yesterday’s topic was the fabric covered canvas and today we are going for plates. Plates don’t have to cost a lot of money and can be arranged in many different ways.

Plates are one of my favorite ways to fill up a large area of wall space. Wall plates go with almost any decorating style, from traditional to Victorian, from contemporary to modern. While the colors can be monochromatic, they can also be full of color and expression. You always want to make sure that there are items in the room that pull things together. It could be the color in the plates and other decor items, matching color in your window shades like cellular shades, or cushions and pillows.

The great thing is that they don’t even have to match. Stacking plates together that are from yard sales or discount stores will work just as well as finding a collection of plates. Plates can even have a message (pictures will follow below), where every plate has a word, adding up to a sentence.

While one might prefer the symmetrical look, your wall space can also contour other items and be a-symmetrical. There are simply no rules or what you have to or can’t do. Anything goes, just let the imagination be your guide!

Here are some examples we liked:PL1

PL2

PL3

PL4

PL5

PL6

Insulating Your Home For The Summer

Monday, April 28th, 2014

ThermostatSummer is just about here, and for us Texans it already is. The last couple of days have been around 100 degrees and we know it won’t be long before these temperatures become a constant. In case you still have a little while to prepare, it isn’t too early to think about how to better insulate your home and keep the summer heat out and the AC bill low. So here are some tips:

  • Get the right window shades for your problem areas of the house. Cellular shades are superior in regards to insulation. The cellular design keeps air trapped inside the honeycomb and helps to insulate your home.
  • A digital thermostat is a great way to regulate temperature in your home. Change temps and settings during times you are at work and have the AC kick in before you come home. This can be a real money saver.
  • Make sure windows and doors have proper seals. Checking windows and doors for leaks and getting seals updated can help keep rooms cooler during summer.
  • Use your fans first. Circulating the cool air that is pumped into your room will help to get a room cooled down quicker. At the same time the breeze of the fan will help us feel more comfortable.
  • During the day when kids might be in school and you are mostly in only one or two areas of the home, keep only those areas at the lower temperature. Kid’s rooms and other areas can be 10 percent warmer and save you money.
  • Plant trees! What a difference shade can make. Homes that are protected from direct sunlight have a huge advantage when it comes to keeping it cool. It might take years to get there, but it will be worth it. And who doesn’t enjoy the beauty of nature right in front of our windows?

Earth Day

Monday, April 21st, 2014

EarthDayTomorrow on April 22nd is Earth Day, globally celebrated in over 192 countries. On Earth Day we honor the earth and the concept of peace.

Earth Day is about acknowledgement of all the gifts and wonders nature has to offer. It is also to acknowledge how fragile it is and realize that protecting our earth is essential. We all know that in reality we aren’t exactly gentle to our planet earth.  As a matter of fact the pollution that mankind creates is just staggering.

Dirty drinking waters kill children daily says a Unicef study.  14 billion lbs. of garbage are dumped into our oceans every year. People that live in areas with high air pollution have a much higher chance to die of lung cancer. A staggering 40% of our lakes in America are too polluted to swim in them or fish. Americans make up less than 5% of the world population but produce 30% of the world’s pollution. This list could actually go on as to what we create in waste and pollution, so let’s see about our steps we can take right at home to help mother earth:

  • Since we are in the window covering industry, we will bring up this point first: Let’s insulate our windows!! Cellular Shades are a great insulator saving energy all year around and keeping heating and cooling down.
  • Let’s turn off our lights, too often we leave lights on when we have long left a room.
  • Are you recycling? Let’s separate our garbage as much as we can. Most communities have now recycle service, let’s participate.
  • What about using less water? Such a precious recourse, but we keep over-using. If everyone scaled back 10%, what a difference we could make. I have personally stopped watering my lawn in the summer time – and we are talking Texas heat!!
  • Are you using re-usable shopping bags? I know I am, it’s so easy to do.
  • Turn down the heat, especially the water heater. A few degrees can make quite a difference, but you still will be just as warm taking your shower.
  • Go Solar! It isn’t a sensible solution for older homes, but for new homes in the right regions it could make all the sense in the world.
  • Carpooling, so many times we could ride together. Why not? You might enjoy socializing as an added bonus.

Of course there could be so many more things one can do. At the end of the day we should all put on our thinking caps and realize where we could cut down on waste, energy or pollution. We can make all the difference if everyone just puts in an effort. Happy Earth Day!

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