4 Ways to Make Your Home More PrivateAt a time when it seems that social media is making our lives less and less private, it’s nice to know that there is still a great deal that we can do to ensure that we maintain some privacy in our lives. One way to help keep part of your life out of the public eye is to make your home a sanctuary that offers you privacy. Here are some ways that you can help make your home more private for you and your family.

Install a fence.

Installing a fence is, of course, a good first step to take in making your home more private. A fence will allow you and your family to spend time in your backyard without being under the watchful eyes of others—not to mention it will keep out unwelcome intruders. The most private of fences are wooden or vinyl; they will feature either a solid wall-like surface, or alternating slats that are positioned close to one another. But even if you opt for a cast iron, aluminum, lattice, or picket fence, you can still invest in a privacy screen for your fence.

Try creative landscaping.

Fencing isn’t the only way to add privacy to your yard and property; you can also customize your landscaping to provide the ultimate privacy. Consider planting taller shrubs or trees at your property line, or creating raised beds around your property line for planting medium sized plants. With the help of a professional landscaper, you can even landscape your yard in such a way that you create “pockets” in your yard, where you won’t be able to see your house or another part of the yard. Hedges are another create shrub to landscape with if you want to up your privacy. (more…)

A Brief History of Exterior ShuttersLike plantation shutters, exterior window shutters seem to have their beginnings in Ancient Greece. Believe it or not, these shutters were actually designed first for the inside of a home before they were designed for the outside of a home—not the other way around. These original interior Greek shutters were made from marble, and then eventually wood once the demand for these shutters rose significantly. The original purpose of these shutters was to provide protection against the Mediterranean climate. (You can read more about these early plantation shutters in our blog post about the history of plantation shutters.) These original shutters would soon feature a louver that would allow the shutter slats to be moved upward and downward to control light and ventilation. Shutters pointed downward could shelter against rain, and closed shutters could provide privacy as needed.

Fast forward to Tudor England, the turn of the sixteenth century. Glass at this time was still an expensive luxury, and many windows featured only a glass pane on the top half, with shutters installed on the bottom half. These shutters were often made simply of wooden boards, and the shutter would be opened and closed to let in air and light as needed. Closed shutters would offer security, privacy, and insulation against extreme temperatures. Soon in the 1700s, once windows commonly began to feature glass on both the top and bottom panels, interior shutters would be used increasingly as a decorative element that covered the top and bottom panes, in addition to being functional.

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Spring Cleaning Your Windows - Wasatch ShutterOver time, your window sills and tracks become home to a host of things: pollen, dirt, leaves, bugs, and more.  If left unchecked, this buildup can make it difficult to open your windows and potentially damage the tracks.  It is important to take the time to give your windows a thorough cleaning at least once a year.  Here is what to do.  

Tracks

Start by taking a vacuum hose along your window tracks and vacuum out any large items such as bugs and other debris.  At that point in time, try to loosen any dirt with a rag before you add water, and then vacuum again (if you skip this step, you will just end up with a muddy mess).  Then spray down the tracks with your cleaning agent of choice (be it Clorox or water mixed with vinegar) and wipe down the tracks with a thin object such as a toothbrush (an electric toothbrush works quite well) or a Q-tip.

Blinds or Shades

If you have wooden or vinyl blinds, gently wipe them down with a damp cloth to clean them.  If you have fabric shades, take a vacuum hose and vacuum them, paying special attention to the folds in the fabric.  Some shades can be placed in the washer on a gentle cycle, just check the tag.  If you have curtains, throw those in the washer to clean them and get rid of any dust (if you can — if not, gently hand wash them). (more…)

DIY Window TreatmentsIf you are looking up to spruce up your home but would like to do so in an inexpensive yet classy way, a DIY window treatment may be exactly what you need.  There are many ways to personalize your windows without breaking the bank, from window films to a custom valance.  Read on for 6 DIY ways to personalize your windows.  

Peel and Stick Window Film

You can add flair or privacy to a window with peel and stick window film.  You can purchase all sorts of films, solid as well as patterned.  Check Walmart and online retailers for one that fits your style.  Once you order it, feel free to cut it into fun shapes and patterns to personalize your space.  

No Sew Curtains

Knotted Chiffon Curtains

To make this cute DIY curtain, you will need chiffon, a curtain rod and scissors.  Cut pieces of chiffon about 6” in width and about 6” or so longer than your window.  Attach the pieces to the curtain rod using a cow hitch. Voilà! An adorable DIY curtain.

Repurposed Items

You can repurpose the items around your house such as napkins, old bedsheets, scarves and other things as curtains.  Simply sew or glue ribbons on the back of the repurposed item about every 6”.  If you are using a sheet, you can create tabs by cutting open the top hem of the sheet on the sides, and then cutting tabs on one layer of the sheet 2” wide every 4”.  Slide a rod into the sheet along the tabs. (more…)

Window Treatments for Formal RoomsAre you looking for the perfect window treatments for a formal living room or dining room? Here is a look at the many window treatment options you might consider for a formal room.

Plantation shutters

There truly is no other window treatment that can match the sophistication of plantation shutters. Plantation shutters are unique in that they can be custom made to fit any window shape. This means that even large windows that feature an arch along the top—often found in formal settings—can be fitted with them. Plantation shutters are also made in a variety of materials and finishes, allowing you to coordinate your window treatments with the various woods and finishes you’ll find in your formal living room or dining room. You’ll find ones made from faux wood, basswood, alder, cherry, oak, walnut, mahogany, and more. Faux wood shutters can just about mimic the look of real wood, but nothing can truly match the luxury and sophistication that real wood shutters offer. So if you’re looking to give a formal room in your home an added touch of sophistication, real wood shutters might be the way to go.

Wood or faux wood blinds

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A Brief Guide to Window Curtain Terminology - Wasatch ShutterWondering about the many different types of curtains out there, and which type might be best for your windows? Here is a brief guide to different types of curtains and curtain terminology.

Valance

A valance is a type of window curtain that covers the uppermost part of a window, and it may or may not be paired with other curtains and blinds. Many people use valances to add an extra formal touch to their windows and to conceal curtain hanging hardware. Valances themselves come in a variety of styles, including balloon, ascot, Italian, cascade, rosette, and cornice.

Scarf

A scarf is similar to a valance in that it is hung along the uppermost part of a window. It is designed to drape along the top of a window and then hang down the sides. Often scarves are used with panels and tied back for a more sophisticated look.

Café (more…)

Window Treatments for Going without Curtains - Wasatch ShutterWant to dress your window treatments without making a fuss about curtains? The good news is that with today’s window treatment options, you can. Here are four types of window treatments that can truly stand on their own without needing to be paired with curtains.

Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters are truly in a category of their own in the wide ranging world of window treatment options. They can be made from a wide variety of materials, including standard basswood, specialty woods, MDF, and synthetic materials, meaning that you can have plantation shutters made to complement virtually any interior space. The sophisticated look of plantation shutters—especially that of richly stained wood plantation shutters—makes them a stand-out window treatment. And since plantation shutters can be custom made to fit even in windows that feature an arch along the top, there is no need to supplement with curtains.

Roman Shades

Roman shades are probably the most elegant variety of shade you can get, and they also happen to resemble curtains with their tiered, layered look. The great thing about Roman shades is that they are almost like a thick, sophisticated curtain on their own, custom cut to fit your window precisely. And you can raise and lower them with ease in a way that you simply can’t with curtains. You’ll find Roman shades in neutral colors; light, pastel colors; and deep, rich colors alike—and you can even opt for patterned cotton, silk, or linen Roman shades. (more…)

Window Treatments for Bathroom PrivacyWindow treatments in the bathroom can be tricky; on the one hand, you want to be able to fill your bathroom with sunlight, but on the other hand, you want your window treatments to offer privacy in the bathroom as well. Here is a look at some of the most popular window treatments that offer you a happy medium.

Plantation shutters

Plantation shutters can, of course, give you both options. You can open them to let in as much light as you desire, and you can close them again to give you privacy when you need it. For your bathroom, you might want to consider plantation shutters that feature a midrail. A midrail essentially splits each shutter panel into two—a top half and a bottom half—so that you have the option of opening only the top slats or only the bottom slats. This is especially useful in bathrooms, where you might choose to have the bottom slats closed for privacy and the top slats open for letting sunlight in.

Shutters featuring a midrail also happen to be an especially great option if you have double hung windows installed in your bathroom. Then, you can open the top portion of your window along with the top slats of your plantation shutter to let fresh outdoor air into your bathroom.

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6 uses for blackout shades | Wasatch ShutterBlackout shades are not only for blocking out the sunlight in bedrooms; you can also use them in a variety of ways around the home. Here are some of the most common ways that people use blackout shades in their homes.

Bedroom

Whether you work the night shift and need to get your sleep in during the day, you regularly take a nap in the afternoons, or you simply like to sleep in late, blackout shades are the perfect solution for creating a dark and sleep appropriate bedroom during the daylight hours.

Home Theater

Blackout shades are also the perfect solution for creating the perfect environment for watching movies (at any time of the day) in your home. You can block out any sunlight completely and use special dimmable lighting in your home theater in order to create that perfect movie theater ambiance. Blackout shades are also useful here in that they will cut out any glare that would otherwise interfere with your ability to see the TV or projector screen.

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Wood Blinds vs. Faux Wood Blinds: The Pros and Cons of EachWhen purchasing horizontal blinds for your windows, it can be difficult to make the decision between real wood and faux wood blinds. While both are great options for window treatments, there are factors that might sway you toward one or the other. Here is a brief guide to the difference between wood and faux wood horizontal blinds—and what the pros and cons are of each.

Wood Blinds

Wood blinds can be made from a variety of woods, including basswood, abachi, and ash (basswood being the most common). Wood blinds are known for their luxurious and sophisticated look, which faux wood can come close to but not duplicate completely. These blinds come in a variety of finishes as well, allowing you to choose a neutral tone or black or white for your blinds. Wood blinds are also actually lighter in weight than faux wood blinds, making them especially great for extra large windows and for lasting durability. While faux wood blinds are easier to maintain than real wood blinds because of their resistance to moisture, you can still clean real wood blinds relatively easily using a damp cloth and a specialized wood cleaner if necessary.

Pros (more…)