This post is in partnership with Bali Blinds.
Soon after moving into this house, we had to replace both of our large picture windows – one in the first floor living room, one in the second floor studio. It was scary and costly at the time, but due to the poor condition they were in, it was ultimately worth it. Afterwards, we outfitted them identically in cellular shades, having liked that choice in our previous home. We initially chose cellular shades (sometimes called honeycomb shades) because they’re great insulators, but our biggest mistake was choosing to have them as corded, bottom down / top up. While we love the versatility that provides, we didn’t love those cords! Our windows are tall, and I began using the blinds less and less – simply because I could barely reach them. If a dog walked down the street, Jack would boost himself onto our window sill to investigate potential danger (ha!), and those cords would fly about. The commotion of the cords, of course, would alert CC, and by the end of the innocent walk-by, we would have lost the plastic clips that hold the cords together. Annoying, yes, but more than anything, it had become a safety issue.
Recently, we worked with our longtime sponsor Bali Blinds to address our shades once and for all! If you’re new to Bali Blinds, they’re our go-to for custom shades (they even outfitted the One Tail Adoption Center!). Almost every window in this home has a Bali window treatment, and after sharing this video, we received a lot of emails about the roman shades in our bedroom, below. Similar ones can be found through their partnership with West Elm, but Bali Blinds can also be purchased through Lowe’s, Home Depot and JC Penney – among others! More on purchasing in a second.
While I normally talk about all things blinds over on their blog, I wanted to write about this recent update right here, as it has made all the difference in the look, feel and functionality of our living room and studio windows (plus, they’re offering a big giveaway for you at the end of this post, too!). First, Scott and I made the decision to make the switch from honeycomb shades to solar shades, a decision based in part on the clean look, but we quickly learned there was a lot to consider before ordering.
We began by choosing a handful of free swatches directly from Bali’s site. If you’ve ordered solar shades in the past, you might have noticed that they’re available in a range of openness, typically around 3-14%. Think of it this way, the higher the number, the more open the weave, providing a more clear view to the outside when the shades are drawn. The lower the number, the tighter the weave. We chose samples in varying shades of white and openness, and in the end, we landed on Skylar White. Skylar is a warm white that falls in the 10-14% range, and as we held our sample up to the window, we liked that it filtered harsh light while still allowing us to see outside the window. It provided privacy, but we could still see outdoor shapes clearly.
To order, we chose Lowe’s as our retailer of choice, and we built our order for Skylar White solar shades. This time, we went cordless (yeah!) and motorized (double yeah!). Motorization gives us the ability to be completely hands free, and should we choose to do so down the road, our blinds would be able to sync with most home automation systems.
When our blinds arrived, we couldn’t wait to install and see our choice in action – quite literally! There were a lot of contents in the box, but once we laid everything out – the batteries and battery packs, the valance and shades, remotes and brackets – it was pretty straightforward. Scott took a moment to read through the instructions, and once we got going, installation for each room took less than 30 minutes.
The battery pack fit snugly between the blind itself and the window frame, and Scott used a piece of strong foam double stick tape for the mounting bracket. There is the option to screw the bracket in place, but because we have vinyl windows, we didn’t want to drill through them. You can see below that the wire connection hangs down, but even that tucked up nicely between the shade and window, making the battery packs and cords completely invisible, inside and out.
Our shades operate on a single-channel remote, which came pre-programmed to control all of our shades simultaneously, and the ‘home’ button can be programmed to have the shades stop at a certain point. Right now, we have it programmed to stop the shades mid-way, which is a nice shield from the strong afternoon light we receive.
With the shades drawn during the day, it is virtually impossible to see any movement in our home from the outside. In the evening and with lights on in the room, you can see shapes moving around inside, but no detail. Although our choice doesn’t provide room darkening, the filtered light is so pretty during the day, while still providing privacy in the evenings. We couldn’t be happier with our choice!
The Bali team wants to help you dress your windows, so together with Bali Blinds, we’ll be giving away a $500 credit to makeover your windows! Using the Rafflecopter widget below, enter as many ways as you’d like. This giveaway is eligible for those in the United States and runs through Friday, December 2nd until 5pm CST. The winner will be announced within this post and contacted directly. Good luck and happy entering!