Have you tried light blocking curtains?


Light blocking curtains, sometimes known as blackout curtains or lined blackout curtains, can be a very appealing and functional interior design touch. Once you understand the main elements involved in choosing your light blocking curtains, you’ll be able to successfully install and utilize them to maximum effectiveness.

Take Measurements

Blackout curtains, drapes or blackout window curtains come from the factory in many different sizes, shapes and styles. Since the main purpose of these curtains is to perform the function of blocking out daylight, it’s essential to take accurate measurements around all of the windows and glass doors in which you intend to hang them. You need to always measure a little wider and lower so that the drapes extend past the corners, bottoms, and sides of the glass where all possible outdoor light can come in.

Are they Dark Enough?

Blackout curtains come in several colors. But they’re all usually dark enough to serve the purpose of blocking the light out of your home, apartment or condominium. If you’re buying them because you want to be able to sleep comfortably during the day when the sun’s bright, then you should carefully choose the darkest color you can find, as this will successfully block out more sunlight than lighter versions. But if all you want to do is block out the often blinding glare of the sun that’s coming into your living room, you can go with a lighter color to match your interior decor.

Materials and Textures

Many of these lined blackout curtains are made of heavy-duty thermal material since thermal textures are more efficient at blocking out the strong, harsh rays of the sun. You have to understand that when this type of material gets dirty from dust and other airborne pollutants, you’ll have to eventually clean them. This will often mean removing them and taking them over to the dry cleaner, as household steam cleaners usually aren’t effective enough for a thorough cleaning and a full disinfecting procedure.

But the many benefits of these heavy, rugged textures also include keeping out the intense heat of the sun in summer time, saving on your air conditioning energy consumption costs, and helping prevent the sun from color fading of your carpets and furniture, especially the leather, velour and suede variety.

Price

You can find these blackout curtains selling for a wide variety of prices depending on which brand you buy and from which online or physical retail location you choose to purchase at. Wider, longer and heavier ones will always cost more. So will ones with custom designs and weaved patterns on them. These are the upscale, high end brands. Many homeowners are content to buy the least expensive, simplest designs and just color coordinate the curtains with their carpet, hardwood floors, wall coverings, and sofas. Well priced light blocking curtains are also going to be incredibly durable. They won’t fade due to the strong sun hitting into them all day long, so they make an excellent household investment.

Versatility

Because light blocking curtains can be used in so many home window applications, they have become very popular over the years since they first came out. Blackout window curtains can be used instead of ordinary blinds to block out much more sunlight. They’re certainly ten times better than even the darkest standard curtains. And these light blocking curtains can be installed over either windows that rise vertically or over ones that roll inward towards the room. They can also be used on sliding glass doors that lead to patios, porches and decks.

 by: Alfred Oliver 

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7244.shtml 

Friends, fun and philanthropy – five ways to make this your summer of doing


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With so many summer activities to choose from, it can be hard to decide what to do with your carefree days. From planning weekend getaways to finding ways to give back to your community, there are endless possibilities for your sunshine-filled summer.

Friends play not only a huge part in summer fun, but they also help you decide which activities to partake in. According to a recent Bing survey, more than 90 percent of people seek the opinions or advice of friends and family as part of their decision-making process for trips, purchases, events and more. In fact, 44 percent said they get the most useful recommendations on things such as travel and restaurants from their connections on Facebook and Twitter. Luckily, there are easy ways to involve friends and family in all of your planning this summer, no matter what kind of adventure or activity you’re looking for.

 

* Plan a getaway. There’s nothing like a weekend away to refresh the body and mind. Whether you prefer the city, the mountains or the beach, with the weather warm and bags packed, you can be on your way in no time. Looking to family and friends is a great way to get recommendations you can trust. At www.bing.com you can see which of your Facebook friends have visited your favorite locale, get recommendations and more, right as you search. 

 
*Get outdoors. Grab a friend and get outside. Now is the time for outdoor activities such as hiking, running, surfing and biking. Tap friends and family for recommendations on best trails and equipment and you may even find a new running buddy as you research and plan. 

 
*Plan a summer night out. Even if you can’t get out of town this summer, there is plenty to do in your own neighborhood. Use www.bing.com to find hot restaurants and events, such as concerts in the park or sporting events – you can even book a table, purchase tickets and suggest your friends join you right within your search. Some of the hottest musical acts will tour the nation this summer; don’t miss out on the fun.

 
* Get involved in the community: Giving back to the community through volunteerism is a great way to enjoy the sun and the perfect way to get kids involved in a good cause. During the summer, many organizations host community volunteer events, such as beach cleanups, park beautification and other activities that get you outside and doing good. This summer, Bing and DoSomething.org are teaming up to inspire people to get out and do good in the community. Visit www.bing.com/doing for more information and to find out how you can get involved in projects in your community.

 
*Celebrate: Take time to celebrate summer birthdays, holidays or just being together with friends and family. Plan a summer barbecue, keeping your friends involved and getting their input along the way as you research recipes, games and entertainment. Once the party rolls around, you know everyone will have a blast.
Taking time to plan ahead and keeping friends and family involved can ensure you have a great fun-filled summer.

Courtesy of BPT

Common outdoor lighting mistakes and their solutions


Upgrading your home’s exterior lighting is a surefire way to increase your home’s curb appeal and resell value. And a well-lit front lawn can also deter would-be burglars. Most of  the outdoor lighting of one’s home adds a welcoming touch for family and guests. Here you can learn about outdoor lighting trends, common lighting problems and their solutions, and things to consider when selecting outdoor lighting fixtures.

First and foremost, it’s important to give a considerable amount of thought to the placement of your outdoor lights. Just as you would not place several lighting fixtures like table lamps or wall sconces in a single area of your living room, you don’t want to place exterior fixtures too close together either. This is a common problem when integrating pathlights into your outdoor lighting solution. Too many pathlights, too close together can make your walkway look more like the runway at an airport. Instead of placing the lights directly opposite one another on either end, try a staggered approach. The light will flow less harshly.

Another common mistake in selecting outdoor lights is in finding the proper lighting direction, or limiting “light pollution”. Outdoor lights should not obstruct one’s vision or interfere with one being able to see the entire landscape of a yard or area clearly. On a similar note, the lights should not shine directly into the road or a neighboring yard either. To avoid such issues, look for spotlights with glare guards.

Just as it would be boring to find the same exact lamp in every room of one’s home, it’s boring to see the same outdoor lighting fixture repeated throughout the yard. It can make the home appear institutional as opposed to personal. Use a wide variety of fixtures to light your yard; it will enhance the character and charm of your home.

Be sure to balance your home’s exterior lighting. Another common mistake in outdoor lighting placement, is to inadvertently divide the yard by placing too many lights in one area and too little in another. You want to evenly distribute light throughout the canvas of your home. You don’t want your yard looking like a parking lot.

Finally, like most things in home décor, less is more. Outdoor lighting should call attention to the beautiful and unique features of your home. It should not be intrusive. Proper outdoor lighting calls attention to various parts of your home’s exterior, not the entire surface area. Over illumination is never attractive indoor or outdoor.

by: Melinda Cayetano 

http://www.articlecity.com/articles/home_improvement/article_7064.shtml 

Looking to update your home’s exterior?

Looking for a way to improve the curb appeal of your home? Re-siding your home with vinyl is a great investment because it never needs painting to maintain its beauty and durability.

Once you’ve made the decision to re-side your home with vinyl siding, you will need a qualified contractor to install it properly in order to ensure long-lasting curb appeal.

“Vinyl siding is not something anyone with a hammer can install,” says Matt Russo, production manager with Hollingsworth Home Improvement. “There are techniques that need to be followed.”

Look for installers certified through a program sponsored by the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI). A VSI Certified Installer knows how to:

* Correctly fasten siding to allow for vinyl’s normal expansion and contraction properties and keep it straight and secure on the wall.

* Properly prepare the area around doors, windows and other openings to prevent water infiltration.

* Pay attention to details that will give your home a beautiful appearance that will last.

“The main thing is not nailing the siding too tightly, but letting it move,” says Matt Ocel, owner of Ocel Buildings in Farmington, Minn., which completed Seibert’s re-siding job. “Especially with a climate where you go from 100-degree days to 40-below, you have to leave room for vinyl siding to expand and contract.”

With nearly 3,500 VSI Certified Installers across the U.S. and Canada, VSI offers a locator tool to help homeowners find professionals in their area. Log on to www.vinylsiding.org to learn more. Ask if your builder or home improvement contractor is using VSI Certified Installers; these qualified professionals carry a photo ID with their current certification number and expiration date.

VSI Certified Installers have demonstrated their installation skills and knowledge of the industry standard ASTM 4756, verified by an independent quality control agency. ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade and build consumer confidence. VSI Certified Installers must have a minimum of one year of experience installing vinyl siding and accessories, attend a hands-on course taught by a VSI Certified Trainer, pass a written test about proper installation practices, and be re-certified every three years.

Vinyl siding installation companies can also become certified. The company must have an approved quality control program, as well as a certified installer or trainer present on every job crew where vinyl siding is being installed.

For more information about VSI’s program, visit www.vinylsiding.org/certifiedinstaller.

Courtesy of BPT