3 Ways to Clean Blinds Without Damaging Them

Quality-and-Class-with-Custom-Hardwood-ShuttersEveryone who has taken the time to clean the blinds in their home or office knows that it is no small task. Whether your blinds are constructed of wood, faux wood, fabric, vinyl or aluminum, cleaning them is definitely time consuming and is not always easy to accomplish. Using the wrong technique can actually cause damage to the blinds.

Although cleaning blinds is sometimes tricky, it is a chore that cannot be ignored. In just a few short weeks, blinds can accumulate dust and grime that can be a definite eye sore.

Fortunately, there are some methods that can make cleaning your blinds a little easier and less stressful. Here are 3 ways to clean blinds without damaging them:

  1. The Vacuum Strategy

It really is amazing how many other ways there are to use your vacuum to keep your home clean besides just the carpet and rugs. For blinds, simply attach a dust brush to the end of a vacuum hose and then gently run it over your blinds. Be sure to first close the blinds so that one entire side of the blinds is exposed.

We’ve found that it works best if you hold the bottom rail of the blinds in one hand to keep the blinds from moving or bouncing into the window. Remember that even a light touch will work. If your vacuum allows it, set it to its lowest suction setting.

Once you finish the first side, simply turn the blinds all the way to the other side and repeat the process. You’ll be amazed at how easy this process is and the results are great!

  1. Grab Some Socks

In certain parts of your house, you may find that some blinds are much dirtier than others. This is especially true in the kitchen where your blinds might have grease and grime in addition to dust. In this case, a vacuum may not cut it.

Try using a combination of one part white vinegar and one part water for more heavy duty cleaning. Mix it together well in bucket or small bowl. Then pop a clean sock on over your hand and use it with the vinegar mixture to wipe your blinds clean. The nice thing about using a sock is that you will be able to clean both the top of one blind and the bottom of another at the same time.

Turn the blinds so they are open and you can reach in between them. Again, it is best to hold the bottom rail while doing this for better stability.

  1. Soak When Appropriate

Soaking your blinds in a tub of warm water and dish soap can help to loosen grease and grime. Follow this up with a gentle scrub with a sponge or soft brush. This is obviously not a recommended method for wood or faux wood blinds. It is best to use this approach with aluminum or vinyl blinds

First soak the blinds in soapy water. Once they have been scrubbed and cleaned, be sure to drain your tub and refill it with clean water for a good rinse. Dry them down with a towel and then hang them back up to complete the drying process.

Related: Can You Replace Single Blinds if Once Gets Damaged?

Using these tips will help you save time and enhance the look and longevity of your blinds. Of course, in some cases, no matter how diligent you are, blinds just cannot be cleaned to look good again. This is when we hope you will call Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapery for a free in- home consultation on new window treatments. Call us at 602-938-2885.

What’s the Difference Between Solar Screens and Solar Film?

solar screens and solar filmLiving in the desert of Phoenix Arizona, we have become accustomed to looking for the best possible means of keeping our homes cool in the grueling summer months. We do things here that wouldn’t even occur to many people across the country in other states in an effort to stay comfortably cool and keep our energy costs at a minimum.

One of the most significant ways we can control the amount of heat that gets into our homes is by strategically covering our windows in a way that still allows light in, but keeps the heat out. Many homes in the Valley of the Sun now have specialized window treatments such as solar film window tint or solar screens to help keep the harmful sunlight out.

So just what is the difference between solar screens and solar film?

The simple answer is solar screens are measured, cut and constructed to fit on the outside of a window in your home, while solar film is actually place onto the surface of the window itself.

Solar screens are designed to reduce heat transfer from the outside through the window and into your home. Additionally, they reduce glare and harmful rays from the sun. This can definitely help keep energy costs low and provide protection for indoor furnishings, carpets and rugs. At Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapery, we use TEXTILENE brand solar screens, which are made from extremely durable synthetic fabric that will endure for years even in the harsh Arizona sun.

Solar film works to accomplish much of the same things solar screens do, but is installed differently and has unique qualities. The Panorama window film we carry is a top-rated window film that is virtually undetectable. It is designed to fit inside the existing glass, allowing it to be maintenance free. You still get the view of your window, but with all the great benefits of shade that keeps the heat out. Solar film can also be beneficial should a window break by holding the shards of broken glass together.

We get asked often regarding which product is the best to use – solar screens or solar film. It really boils down to a few things including the specific window involved and personal preference. Both have tremendous ability to hold the heat out, but it may make more sense to use one or the other based on where the window is in the home.

Related: Window Treatments That Will Keep My House Cool, but Let Light In

One thing we can do is come by and take a look at your home and the specific window in question. We can make suggestions based on which direction the window faces, how big it is and how it affects the décor on the inside. We have helped hundreds of other customers choose and install their solar film or screens and are happy to share our experience with you.

Call us to set up your free consultation at 602-938-2885.

Dress to Impress – Drapery Panels Today

TasselLooking for a window treatment that will provide both privacy and practical decoration for your home? It’s time to check out drapery panels! Not only do these window treatments provide the perfect compliment to your interior décor, they also help keep your room cool in the summer while providing the privacy you are looking for.

Many people are using drapery panels today because they allow so much flexibility and creativity. You can go simple and effective or full and elegant to match what you already have going on in the room. With hundreds of styles to choose from, you can find the style, design and color you are looking for.

There are many different ways to use drapery panels in different rooms of your home, including lengths, widths, and pleating. It’s all up to your personal preference.

Here are some of the more popular ways people are using drapery panels today:

  •      Simple drapes made of lace, cotton, nylon, silk or some other sheer fabric.
  •      Try hanging a heavier curtain behind a chintz, silk, velvet, linen or some other draw drapery.
  •      Use a draw drapery on its own on a decorative pole.
  •      Hang draperies over blinds or shutters.
  •      Use loose material as a swag or valance at the top of other window treatments.

As you can see, the more you begin to play around with the ideas of using drapery panels, new ideas will begin to form. There is no end to the possibilities.

One thing that can definitely add to the look and style of your drapery panel is the length at which you use it. Generally speaking, longer draperies tend to add a more dressy and formal look to a room. Shorter panels usually imply a more causal and relaxed mood. Many people will use longer draperies in formal rooms such as dining rooms, while shorter drapes are used in the kitchen. Using longer drapes on shorter windows is a great way to extend the look and feel of the window.

Related: How Insulated Drapes Work 

We understand that it can be tough to make decisions about which drapes to use where. That is why we offer free in-home consultations to our clients. Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapes has been in business for many years helping those in the Phoenix area find just the right window treatment for their home or office.

To set up your consultation, simply give us a call at 602-938-2885.

 

Window Treatments That Will Keep My House Cool, but Let Light In

window treatmentsWhen we first begin to consider how to cover the windows of our home, we are faced with a dilemma. How do you effectively cover the window with style and design without totally disrupting the purpose of the window, which is letting light and sometimes a beautiful view in?

On the one hand, window treatments are necessary to provide privacy, protection from the outdoor heat and also to provide decoration for the room they are in. Leaving windows bare without treatments would allow those on the outside to see in and would most likely drive your energy bills up because of the exposure to the heat and sunlight.

However, choosing window treatments that cover too much of the window prevents us from letting light in. They can also block the view from the window as well. Letting fresh sunlight in once in a while can help brighten the mood in our homes. It’s also nice to be able to see outside and enjoy our surroundings.

Shutters

One window treatment that may provide the perfect compromise between letting light in while keeping heat out is shutters. The wide pieces of wood that shutters are made from can be adjusted throughout the day to allow light in when needed, but can also be closed to keep heat out. They are easy to use and very customizable.

Bottom Up Shades

These shades are made from a durable linen material and start at the bottom of the window instead of the top. This allows you to cover the bottom half of the window for privacy and some heat blockage, but still allows light through the top of the windows.

Solar Film Window Tint

If you’re looking to cool down the temperature of your home and protect your windows and indoor furnishings in Phoenix, solar film is your answer. At Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapery, we carry Panorama® window film, a top-rated window film that is virtually undetectable, allowing you the great benefits of shade without blocking the view.

Lined Drapes

Even lightweight drapes can be made with linings that keep the heat out while still allowing light in. The nice thing about using lined drapes is that it still gives the decorator some options when it comes to design and style. You can choose something that looks fantastic on the inside, but still does a great job keeping heat out.

Related: What Curtain Rods Say About Your Style 

For the most part, it usually comes down to the specific window you are looking to cover. We suggest that you call us at 602-938-2885 to schedule a free in-home consultation so we can look at the windows in question. We can then share ideas with you based on our experience that will help you accomplish your goals.

 

What Curtain Rods Say About Your Style

Drapery_03Choosing new drapes for your windows can be a daunting task for sure. There is much to be considered, including design, color and style to match the décor of the room and to give your windows just the right look. People often spend so much time considering the drapes that they forget one of the most important pieces – the curtain rods.

Just like drapes, curtain rods continue to evolve in style and looks over the years. Simply hanging new drapes on old, outdated rods just will not cut it. To truly see a significant change in the style of your window coverings, you must pay attention to the curtain rods you are using. After all, curtain rods can definitely make a statement about the style you are going for.

Curtain Rod Options

When choosing curtain rods, it’s important to have somewhat of an idea of the many different choice there are. These options aren’t just about looks either. There are standard rods, spring-loaded rods, traverse rods, adjustable rods, magnetic rods, and double and triple rods just to name some. Rods are made from many different types of materials including brass, chrome, ivory, graphite, mahogany, plastic, and metal among others.

Narrow Down Your Options

It might seem that, with so many options to choose from, narrowing down your choice of curtain rod can be more difficult than it actually is. Start with what you know for sure – will the rods be exposed? What type of drapes are you hanging? Will there be a liner? Answering these questions will quickly weed out rods that just won’t work for you.

How Will the Rod be Hung?

Will the rod hang inside or outside the window frame? This makes a huge difference in not only the finished look of your new window treatment, but also in choosing the best and most efficient curtain rods.

Consider the Décor

You obviously want to choose drapes and curtain rods that match well with the rest of the room they will be hanging in. This includes the type of material the rod is made from as well as the decorative ends of the rods. Be sure to take your time as you choose rods and look at many different options. You will be surprised to see that there are so many rods to choose from. We tend to think that something basic will do the trick, but by choosing something with just a little more distinction and detail, you will add an entirely different look to your window treatment.

If you’re looking to make a statement with your curtain rods and drapes, be sure to consult one of the designers at Arizona Blinds. The more we talk with you about what you are looking for, the more we can point you in the right direction or make suggestions that you may not have thought of before.

Related: How to Hang Double Curtain Rods

Call us for a free in-home consultation and let’s choose curtain rods that will make a statement about your style. 602-938-2885

How Insulated Drapes Work

drapes1As the weather begins to warm up here in Phoenix, people are already beginning to think about how to avoid high-energy costs and monthly electric bills. Here in the desert, we’re always battling the extreme heat that comes with summer and how to keep our homes cool without breaking the bank.

More and more people are becoming aware of the advantages of using insulated window treatments to help keep the heat out and make their homes more energy efficient. One of the more popular methods for doing this is by using insulated drapes. These are drapes lined with material that help to protect from the 4 major types of heat:

  •      Conduction
  •      Infiltration
  •      Convection
  •      Radiation

Even though there are different types of insulated drapes designed to handle different needs, almost all of them will have the following:

  •      An outer decorative layer
  •      Inner protective lining
  •      High density foam that works to block heat
  •      Reflective vapor barrier that blocks moisture
  •      Reflective film that helps to block heat

Insulated drapes work by first blocking heat with the reflective film. Some heat will still find its way through, which is when the foam works to trap the heat before it makes it further inside. The protective linings just inside the outer layer is meant to serve as a final defense against the heat, letting little to no heat pass through.

These insulated drapes come in many different styles and patterns. Some are built much thicker and more durable than others depending on what the customer is looking for. Windows that are exposed to high levels of sunlight throughout the day generally require a denser, thicker drape than windows that see very little sunlight.

For the most part, all of these insulated drapes are easy to maintain and care for. They can be shaken or vacuumed to keep the dust off of them and then dry cleaned when needed.

The materials used to make insulated drapes can range from very expensive to cheap based on where you buy them and how good they are. At Arizona Blinds, Drapery and Shutters, we have one of the largest selections of drapery in Phoenix and a team of extremely knowledgeable designers to help you find the perfect drapery for your home or office. Our designers are able to make suggestions based on years of experience and knowledge.

Related: Will Insulated Window Treatments Keep How AND Cold Out?

You can learn more about insulated draperies by searching our website or by giving us a call at 602-938-2885. We can schedule a free in-home consultation with one of our designers to discuss what drapes would work the best for you. Give us a call today!

 

Can You Make Shutters for Curved Windows?

shutter maintenanceShutters continue to be one of the most popular window treatments for homes of all sizes, shapes and styles these days. They add a layer of elegance and charm in any room. The fact that shutters, like the O’Hair plantation shutters we offer at Arizona Blinds, Shutters & Drapery, can be customized to fit any size window and match the color of any home décor makes them that much more sought after.

Related: Can You Make Shutters in a Specific, Custom Color?

Some of our customers have asked about using plantation shutters to treat windows that are unusual shapes and sizes. Specifically, they want to know if they can use shutters for curved windows. Curved windows in entryways and bay windows definitely add to the look and feel of a room. It’s always nice when you can tie the window treatments in with the décor of the rest of the room.

The simple answer is yes, shutters can be designed to treat curved windows. How they are structured and built is another story. To start with, measurements should be taken to determine the exact length, width, and arch of the window. This will allow the shutters to be constructed and cut at the right angles to do the most efficient job for the specific window.

Once the measurements are taken, the construction of the shutters can begin. The experts at Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapery go to great lengths to build shutters to the exact specifications they receive. All of our shutters feature time-honored methods of construction to ensure they last and look great for years to come.

Depending on the actual shape of the window, it often works better to have the shutters built and installed in separate pieces rather than all one piece. This is especially true for curved windows that extend into standard rectangular shaped windows. In some cases, people will choose a slightly different design in the curved portion of the window – one that still matches with the look of the bottom portion, but is just slightly different enough to add character and style.

There are many different variations that should be considered when constructing shutters for curved windows. The first step is to have one of our technicians visit your home to get a closer look at the windows you are looking to cover. They will be able to give you specific ideas on what you can do to make sure they turn out great.

Call us at 602-938-2885 to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Will Insulated Window Treatments Keep Hot AND Cold Out?

Shades_21Besides the look and design of window treatments, it is important to consider their functionality as well when choosing which ones to use in your home. Those who live in the Phoenix Arizona area, where heat from the sun impacts everything they do, will want to choose window treatments that help to keep the heat out, especially during the summer. Not only will they want to keep the heat out in the summer, but also the cold air out in the winter to keep their home at a comfortable temperature all year round.

Heat and Ultraviolet Rays

For the most part, we use window treatments to block the heat and harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. As temperatures rise in the summer months here in the desert, the less sun we allow into our homes helps us keep them cooler while avoiding high-energy bills from overworked air conditioning systems.

Drapes, shutters and blinds are all popular window treatments found in many homes in the area, but even they have their limits. Many have turned to solar film tint and solar screens to ensure they keep the maximum amount of heat out of their homes. Not only do window treatments like these keep heat out, they also help to block the suns rays that can damage carpets, rugs and furniture.

Keeping the Cold Out in the Winter

We are lucky to experience fairly mild winters here in Phoenix, but still find that there are occasions when we want to keep our homes warm by keeping the cold desert air out. Many ask if having window treatments that keep the heat out during the summer will also keep cold air out in winter.

When it comes to using insulated window treatments to keep our homes warm in the winter, we not only focus on keeping cold air out, but warm air in. If we are running our heaters or using fireplaces or stoves to keep our homes warm in the winter, insulated window treatments actually help to keep that warm air in the house, preventing its escape.

This, again, helps to lower the cost of energy bills by reducing the amount of time we need to leave the heater on each day. Insulated drapes and shades can definitely help to keep cold air from entering in through the windows, but more importantly, they help keep the warm air in.

Related: 3 Window Treatments That Will Make Your Space More Elegant 

Arizona Blinds, Shutters & Drapery offers dozens of different ideas on how to protect your home from both the heat and the cold.  Our newer homes now are very well insulated and most builders are installing quality windows, but our windows are still our energy Achilles heel.  We have many styles and design ideas to choose from and are happy to discuss how we can help make your home a little more comfortable this summer and your electric bills a little bit lower.

Call us today at 602-938-2885 to set up a free in-home estimate.

3 Window Treatments That Will Make Your Space More Elegant

ThinkstockPhotos-470750193Many of us have that one window in our home that sits at just the right place, making it a huge focal point when you walk in the room. It’s a window that demands attention and can truly make or break your home décor efforts based on how you choose to treat it. Some of us find that we have 2 or 3 of these windows throughout our home and are looking for just the right window treatment to make that room look and feel more elegant.

Related: How to Hang Double Curtain Rods

There are some important factors to consider when choosing an elegant window treatment for such a window, like the style and design of the room itself as well as the colors and themes already in use in the room. However, there are some window treatments that are simply elegant no matter what. Here are 3 window treatments that will add elegance to your room or space no matter what:

  1. Layered Drapes

There is no end to the way you can mix and match window coverings.  “Layering” is simply adding treatments on top of each other for a more custom and elegant look.  There are “functional elements” of a window treatment and then there are “design elements.”  By beginning with the necessary functional treatment such as honeycomb shades, roller shades, shutters, you have given your home the needed heat control and privacy.  Now you can add some sizzle to the room by taking those special windows and layering custom fabric or wood cornice or fabric valances or drapery panels.  Shutters look nice.  Now put beautiful fabric panels down the side of the shutters and BAM!… you’ve changed the look of your entire room.

  1. Pleated Drapes

When it comes to custom drapery, we typically design a 2:1 material/width ratio for a more elegant and full look.  This is basically using twice the fabric than the width of the window opening.  This allows plenty of folds in the fabric as it hangs, even when they are closed.  If you aren’t using a UV safe fabric lining sewn into the back of the fabric you’re missing the weight and luxury look of the treatment; and, the heat and sun will quickly fade the colors and degrade the fabric.  Without a good lining, they won’t last long, not here in the Valley.  There are several pleat designs that are popular today…  grommet style, pinch pleats of several different designs, goblet pleating and box pleats.  We have examples of popular drapery designs in our Scottsdale showroom.

  1. Shutters

Plantation shutters are a very popular way to decorate windows and instantly add elegance to any room. Shutters, like the ones we offer at Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapery, are made with the highest quality materials. They are not only durable, but are easy to use and can be customized to match any color. You can choose dimensions of your shutters so they match the style of the room they are in. Try adding drapes with your shutters for even more elegance.

If you are having a difficult time knowing how to add the right amount of elegance to your room, call Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapery to schedule a free in home consultation. We’ll send one of our experts to take a look at the specific room you’re working on and share our advice with you. Call 602-938-2885 today!

What Are Grommet Drapes?

ThinkstockPhotos-166616735Ever wonder what a grommet is? Next time you do, simply take a look at your shoes and pay attention to the round metal holes that your shoelaces go through. Sometimes referred to as eyelets, these are grommets and they are being used in many more places than shoes these days, including drapes.

Related: How to Hang Double Curtain Rods

Grommet drapes and panels are especially stylish and popular right now because of their linear and simple design. To see how popular they are, all you have to do is flip through a recent edition of home decorating magazine. They are considered a very modern yet casual look and have been used to treat windows in many different rooms of the home. Plus, there are so many different patterns, colors and fabrics that can be used to create grommet drapes.

What makes the grommet drape unique from other drapes is the actual grommet itself. The plastic or metal eyelets along the top of the drape allow for a decorative hanging rod to pass through. This allows the drape to fall into clean folds that give it a layered look.

These days, grommet drapes can be found everywhere, but there was a time not that long ago when they were much more difficult to find. They either had to be custom ordered or hand made. Now, most home décor stores carry them in different styles and lengths.

Another reason why these drapes are so popular right now is because they can be used in so many different places. Not only are they used for standard windows, but also for French doors, sliding glass doors, large windows and picture windows. Grommet drapes have also been used to create a separation in rooms or instead of closet doors.

When choosing grommet drapes for you home, be sure to carefully consider the measurements of the window. For one thing, you do not want to end up with a drape that is much too short for your window. In most cases, you will want the drape to reach the floor or hang just below the windowsill.

The width of the drape is also important to consider. If you buy your drapes to match the width of your window, you will end up with a very flat piece of material when the drapes are closed. A good rule of thumb is to double the width of your window when buying grommet drapes. It also helps to use a rod that is 4-6 inches longer than your window on each side to account for the stackback of the drape.

You can learn more about grommet drapes by scheduling a free consultation with Arizona Blinds, Shutters and Drapes. We will visit your home and show you samples and ideas of what might work best. Call us today at 602-938-2885.