outdoors

outdoors

General

Outdoor Space Décor

By Gina G.

          Whether a screened in porch, a condo balcony, or small patio deck, outdoor spaces can provide a relaxing space to unwind and enjoy the weather.  However, because these spaces require considerations that inside the home do not, decorating them can seem overwhelming.  Here are some tips that will have your outdoor space looking top notch in no time:

Furniture is an essential element to creating an enjoyable outdoor space.  Before purchasing any seating or tables, take measurements of your space.  This will provide tremendous assistance in choosing what type of furniture.  For instance, if you have a condo balcony, you may not have the space for a full loveseat or table.  Instead, a café style table and chairs may be more appropriate.  Conversely, if you have a sizeable screened in porch, a full patio set complete with side tables, love seats and oversized chairs may fill in the space nicely.  And, for a small patio deck, you may consider more creative furnishings such as a hammock.  Be sure to find furniture made from materials (like wicker and vinyl) that will hold up in various weather and that can be easily cleaned if need be.

Another consideration is how to manage your exposure to the elements when enjoying your outdoor space.  Whether you are reading or enjoying a cold beverage, the sun can impact your comfort level.  If you have windows with glass in your space, consider tinting the windows.  More commonly though, these outdoor spaces are just screened in without any glass or actual windows.  If this is your situation, consider sunweaves or solar shades for your porch.  They will reduce sunlight without blocking your view.  They also come on simple roller shades and can easily fit under roofing structure.  Although some of them may require you to roll them up when it is raining or extremely windy, most are made of materials that can withstand exposure to moisture.  Basic awnings that can easily be affixed (and removed from) a wall are another option for small patios or balconies.  Finally, beware of wooden or metallic materials to help reduce the sunlight; these materials do not hold up well outside the home.

Other décor ideas for outdoor spaces include adding plants, lights, wind chimes and bird boxes.  Adding plants can really spruce up an outdoor space.  If you have a smaller space like a balcony or deck, consider hanging plants over potted ones in order to best utilize your limited space.  However, if you have a larger room, than potted plants can be beautiful additions.  Hanging lights, whether on vines or independent bulbs, can be away to brighten up your space for those lovely summer and fall evenings.

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General

Summer Outdoor Decorating

By Steve M.

When the temperatures rise during the summer months, barbecues and get togethers at your home are a must. With that in mind, it’s time to start thinking and planning your outdoor summer decor. Outdoor summer decor ideas are a great way to help you make the most of your space throughout the summer months, helping your garden or patio to become welcoming places , where you can spend time with your friends and family enjoying your time together. 

Summer is a time for bright and fun colors that may not fit with your decor the rest of the year. Bright colors allow for an inviting and fun space in which everyone enjoy themselves and feels welcomed. Some good combos of bright colors, such as turquoise, red, and white, create a festive atmosphere and will keep everyone in a party mind-set. All of this allows for a great reason to get fresh new pillows or area rugs featuring these colors. A new table runner or tablecloth will give any patio or garden and brand new appearance. Summer weather allows the opportunity to find new and fresh uses for formal serving pieces. A silver tray can hold glassware, a pitcher can be filled with a delicious summery cocktail, and a champagne bucket makes a great container for an herb plant.

Flowers are a very easy and fun way to celebrate the summer time season. The freshness and vibrant appearance is what defines summer. Using  bright, summery colors in your home with freshly picked flowers make the biggest impact. Arrangements featuring warm colors such as bold oranges, radiant yellows, or vibrant pinks. Small clusters of bright color look cheery and make for the ultimate summertime vibe. Potted succulents are alos a perfect plant for an outdoor, summer gathering. Still offering the freshness and brightness in the form of a plant, while lasting longer and needing less attention.

Summer is an excuse for parties and get togethers, and the space should match this feeling. A fun summer space to share with friends and family doesn’t have to be over-complicated. Bright colors and repurposing of old items help give a fresh look to your patio. Flowers reinforce the bright colors while adding freshness and more life to your space.

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Bringing the Outdoors, Inside.

After a long winter, the need to be outdoors and taking in nature becomes essential. We appreciate the spring and summer much more with its absence during the winter so our need to be outdoors increases and being indoors, decreases. But what do you do on a rainy day? During extreme humidity? You stay home, you stay indoors. And you’re back to missing the outdoors again. Back to missing the warmth, the nature and the colors. But, that doesn’t need to happen, especially when you learn how to bring a little of the outdoors, inside.

Now you don’t need to go all out and redecorate a room dedicated to an outdoors theme. But you can achieve that feeling with a few simple solutions. You may consider changing the tablecloth on your table to one with more florals on it or one with pastel colours to bring some brightness into the room. Colours like pale blues and greens can give a space a more refreshing and serene touch.

Adding some wooden or woven items in a room also gives it that outdoor, cottage feel. You can replace your placemats for beautiful woven ones. If you have existing plants in the space, put them in a wooden planter. If you don’t have any plants, get some! You will literally bring the outdoors to you with some house plants. Now if you’re worried about maintaining them, get ones that require the least amount of maintenance. Usually leafy plants don’t require a lot of attention. And of course, one of the easiest solutions is putting some fresh flowers in an existing vase. Pick colours that accent your existing colours.

Spring/summer time can also be a time where you feel a need to change something. And you know what, it doesn’t always have to be drastic. It can be something as simple as changing some sheers or blinds. We at Blinds To Go, have a woven wood blinds collection that can help you bring the outdoors inside. Our St Lucia collection, one of our newest, can bring some woven warmth to your room with light colours. It can act like a sheer and let in a lot of light during those rainy days, inside. So don’t let yourself get down on those summer days you have to be inside. Bring a little of the outdoors to you.

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Tips and Advice

Bring Back the Front Porch!

I think it’s time we brought back the front porch. For too long our garages have been growing while our porches have been shrinking. We insulate ourselves and our homes to keep the outside world out and the inside world in and we become more reclusive and less social in the process. Even going back in my childhood we would play outside with the neighborhood kids until the sun went down. The neighbors all knew each other except for that one house that was inhabited by the family that never seemed to participate in anything. Those were the odd people, the exception to the rule. The hideaways who were either too busy or too disinterested in being a part of the neighborhood. They lived here, but their lives were elsewhere it seemed. Now those couples who were once the exception have now become the rule.

Porches Not Decks
I love a good deck. In fact, I just put a new one on the back of my house. You may be asking what’s the difference really. Well, a deck is traditionally on the rear of the house, or at the very least in a more private location meant for the enjoyment of the inhabitants and their invited guests.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but as our society has changed we have become more private in a lot of ways. Sure we’ll Instagram pics of last night’s delicious bread pudding and share every single emotion on Facebook, but when was the last time we just sat down and talked with our neighbors? I’d venture to guess it’s not as often as our parents and grandparents did.
A deck is an oasis where we go to get some fresh air and get away from the inside world yes, but it’s really just an exterior version of the home it’s attached too. The front porch is a wholly different place and experience.

Why The Front Porch Matters                                                                                                                                                                                                                     In historic architecture the front was an important part of the house. It served as a transition between the public space of the sidewalk and the private space of the home’s interior. It was a buffer zone where we still felt safe to sit but passerby could speak to us or even come into without it feeling intrusive. The front porch also provided safe place from the snowy cold in the northern states to the blazing sun in the south. It was tempered version of the outdoors that was always more comfortable and protected to sit. The front porch was originally designed to be sat upon. Unlike the fake porch on some tract housing today there was room for chairs and actually people instead of just being a holding place for Halloween or Thanksgiving decorations.

The front porch may seem like just another piece of architecture that’s time has passed like the formal dining room. But I think it’s more important. In these especially divisive times where we surround ourselves with people who regurgitate our own believes back into our faces we have become closed off to new ideas. The front porch is so much more than a place to enjoy the weather. It really is the place that shows us that our differences are so small and petty, and that those differences don’t matter as much as we think they do.

How does it do that you ask?

From your front porch you see people as they truly are, not just a status update supporting their candidate or political ideal. On the front porch passerby are people with feelings and worth not just a label like conservative or liberal, gay or straight, rich or poor, Christian or atheist. They have name and that name is neighbor. We are all people and we all contribute to the society we have built. The front porch makes those differences seem more trivial and less relevant to our daily lives. Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones once said “You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Its up to me to keep reading those books, but meeting those new people and letting them shape who I am? That’s something that the front porch does better than anything else and that’s why we need to bring back the front porch.

 

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Blinds DIY Inspiration Products Shades Tips and Advice

It’s Beginning To Feel Alot like Winter

It’s Beginning To Feel Alot like Winter

It’s beginning to feel alot like winter, the days are shorter and the nights are longer.  With those longer nights come the cold weather.  Last year we were faced with record shattering temperatures.  As a result many found an increse in their monthly utility bill.  Keeping that in mind many homeowners saved on energy by getting their home insulated against the outside elements, but honestly thats just not enough.  Lots of heat and energy loss is not being provented if you do not have an insulator on your window.

Cellular shades provide valuable insulation with their unique honeycomb design, and are ideal for cutting cost on your energy bill.  They are available in a wide range of colors from a neutral bar harbor beige which is close to the color of sand to warm sienna which looks like a sunset. Also they are all white on the back which will give a uniform look on the outside if you are going with different colors in different rooms. No matter your style with our large selection we can help you find the right color to go in any room in your home.

If you have little ones in your home you may love the fact that cellulars are available in a cordless option.  This eliminates hazards from cords hanging down from the shade. Our cordless shades are certified best for kids so you can buy with confidence.

Further more if you are busy shopping this holiday season and don’t know how you will find the time to measure or install do not worry because we have you covered.  Here at Blinds To Go we offer a preferred installer program, were we can send a professional out for a fee to measure and install leaving you more time to spend with loved ones.

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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Outdoor Living

Make the outdoors your home

Home is how you make it, and part of home is that wonderful outdoor space that makes home even better. Make it pretty with comfortable weather friendly furniture, pretty pillows, mood setting lanterns and fresh flowers.  A bench that is nice enough to be a local point but practical enough to use all summer long. Make it yummy with one pot herbs to grow right on your outdoor table for fresh picking all summer long.  Make it warm it seating surrounding a fire pit for cool evenings or for roasting s’mores. Make it light and romantic with bevy of lanterns hanging from trees to sparkle and light the evening breeze.  Make it open and airy with patio doors that fold back. Make it cool and refreshing with water features that relax the body, mind and soul. Make it feel spacious with a perfectly placed mirror. It can make the space feel twice the size and reflect twice the foliage, flowers and fun. Outdoor drapery adds shade or privacy.  Make it feel comfy and cozy with beach towel throws, pretty pillows, and outdoor furnishings. Make over a porch with a few items (day bed, potted plants, and Chinese lanterns) that will make the space comfortable and stylish. Thinking creatively can also help you stick to a budget. There’s no reason why a trunk from inside can’t step in as your outdoor coffee table. Besides, it’s only for a season. When it comes to outdoor dining, anything goes. But to capture an easygoing escape to the weekend home feeling, make an attempt to separate yourself from your daily routine. Start by setting the table and chairs on the lawn and away from your home, which will create a dining experience that is unique and unexpected.

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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Plants and Garden Cleaning

Plants and Garden Cleaning

 

April showers, bring May flowers is a popular saying, and Springtime is the best time to bring your garden and plants to life! Follow these simple steps to freshen up your lawn and flowers, and truly make a statement.

 

You can start off with cleaning up your lawn and garden.  Get rid of the unwanted weeds, wild flowers, mow the lawn, and use a good fertilizer to keep the grass healthy and beautiful .  Then plant some new flowers to add some of those beautiful colours to your garden.  These days, garden centres are available everywhere, and it is easy to get what you want, and some good advice from those centres about how to maintain your plants properly.  If you do not have a deck, and want to put patio furniture outside, consider laying out some patio stones to put the furniture on.  These bring a classy elegance to the backyard for you and your guests to enjoy.

 

As for inside your home, start off by trimming the plants and flowers. Then you can start fresh by replacing old clay pots with pretty pastel coloured ones for a bright and playful Spring look.  Also consider going to your local florist and picking out some nice cherry blossom branches, and putting them in clear glass vases.  A few flowers by your windows, or on your coffee table, will liven up the space and bring a fresh feel to any room.  If you prefer having guests over at night, you can purchase a remote control underwater LCD light, to put in your vases, and turn them on to create a very unique look.

 

There are so many things to take advantage of during this beautiful season, and the sooner you get your garden and plants in shape, the sooner you can enjoy Springtime!
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