Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bamboo or blinds?

The week after we moved into our house more than six years ago, my awesome Dad came by one day and helped install two-inch faux blinds on pretty much every. single. window. I mean, there’s only so long you can live with sheets over the windows, right?  :)

But over the past few years, I have fallen in love with the warmth and texture of bamboo roman shades. And I have now replaced every single blind that my Dad hung for us. (Insert sorry-Dad-I-love-you-so-much face here.)

It’s taken about THREE years, but I was trying to be not spend all that cash to replace every one of them at once, delay my gratification, be mature, WHATEVER. :)

I get questions about our bamboo shades all of the time, so I figured I would address them all in one post. There a pros and cons to these beauties.

One of the pros is the ease of installation. I’m not kidding when I say this – if you know how to use a drill, you can install one in about five minutes.

You just measure how far out from the window you want the shades to hang (make sure it’s the same for both sides), then screw them in:

My handy dandy dollar spot pencils from Target were the perfect measuring stick! :) You shouldn’t need to use anchors, since there are usually studs framing out the window where the brackets go in. If you’re in doubt, use a stud finder or drill a test hole to see what’s up in there.

You can see, I don’t screw into each hole in the bracket – there’s just no need to. But if you are a just for good measure kind of person, go for it! :)

(If you do need anchors, you’ll want to mark the holes first, then install the anchors, then screw the bracket in.)

After the two brackets are installed, all you do is slip the shade up into place, then secure it with the wing nuts:

installing bamboo shades

If you are installing these on your own, you may need to perform some fun stunts like holding the shade up with your head while you screw in the wing nuts. :)

I have one of these handy dandy wrappy things by each window, behind the drapes:

wrappy things

I like having the cords wound up for safety reasons. (Now most of these shades come with tools to safely keep the cords out of the way.)

Our living room had the last set of blinds to replace, and I worked on them last weekend. For years we had the blinds and some ironwork hanging in the windows:


I saw the idea for the ironwork on Rate My Space and loved it, so I recreated it myself with some clearanced iron snowflakes from Pier 1. I spray painted them black, and for years tried to convince myself that they didn’t look like snowflakes.

Well. They did. :)

I cut down the snowflakes ironwork snowflakes last week (they were hung with fishing wire) and installed the new bamboo shades:


(Sorry so dark -- it went from sunny and beautiful to overcast with zero light in the two seconds it took for me to get to the room and take the picture. Awesome.)

I have three different colors of these shades throughout our house, but this lighter, natural tone is on most of the windows:

I love, love, LOVE all of the varying colors and tones of the wood.

Here’s a before shot of our dining room with the blinds:

Here’s the shot with the dark bamboo shades installed:

OK, OK, I know the paint color, window treatments, light fixture, all that goodness kind of transforms the room just a teeeeeny bit, but I think the shades warm it up quite a bit as well. :)

bamboo roman shades


Let me be clear, I love two inch white blinds. I think they are classic and traditional and all things ME. But once the first set of bamboo went up, I was hooked.

The Bub’s nursery had blinds up for years, which looked fantastic with all of the white molding:

But the natural look of the bamboo shades in his big boy room just floats. my. boat:


Speaking of the Bub’s room – the only reason I hesitated with bamboo shades at first was the whole privacy and light issue. I’m a Mom, and any Mom knows the kiddo’s bedroom needs to stay nice and dark and cozy as long as possible during naptime and in the wee hours of the morning. And it needs to block the blinding sun that comes in at 9 p.m. in the summer. ;)

Our son’s favorite line at bedtime for the last three months:

“But it’s not dark out!!”


Anyhoo, there’s two things I’ve found to help with these issues. One is finding a really tightly woven shade, like those in our bedroom:

034  040

The are so dense, you can barely see the light coming in, even on the brightest mornings. Awwwwww yeah baby! I am a sleeper, so bright summer mornings are the bane of my existence. All bright and cheery and whatevI’m trying to sleep!


Another way to keep light out is to install a privacy shade behind the bamboo shade:

privacy liner

The only place I’ve found these is Lowe’s, and they sell them for all different sized shades. They are pretty easy to attach – you just lay them on the back of the shade, Velcro them to the top, then attach them using these plastic jobbies:

I am oh-so-technical today. ;)

I’ve installed these on a few of our windows and they do the trick. The privacy shades are about $22 for our size windows, but some are less, some are more.

These liners will also help prevent an issue we’ve had with the bamboo shades in the playroom:

Do you see the stripes from the sun? :) Because these don’t offer a ton of privacy, they are pulled up most of the time and the sun has bleached them out.

These were the cheapest I’ve found, and you can see why. :) I got this set at Target, and they were SO inexpensive – I think about $10 each?

My very favorite set of bamboo shades is in our family room. I got them from Target a couple years ago:

You can see a hint of the warming up I’m working on in here – I’m obsessed with it, I love it so very much. Gleeeee! More on that soon. :)

Here’s how the blinds looked in that room:

And the after, with all of their lovely texture and warmth:

They work for all seasons – in the warmer months, the natural tones work perfectly. In the cooler months they just ooooze cozy. Yum.

I’ve bought our shades from three stores over the years – Home Depot (they clearance them out a couple times a year), Lowe’s (they sell the privacy liners as well), and Target. I’m bumming because I can’t find them at our Target store anymore, and they had the prettiest color I’ve found (in the family room above). For the most part they run about $30 to $35.

The pros to bamboo shades:

  • - They look great! (Oh wait, I said that. About 50 times.)
  • - With a tightly woven shade, combined with a liner, they let way less sun in a room (even our tightly closed blinds still let light through, turned either up or down.)
  • - Bamboo shades are less expensive than the faux (two inch) blinds, and WAY cheaper than the real wood blinds. :)
  • - They are much easier to clean! No slats covered with dust!

The cons:

  • - Blinds provide better privacy.
  • - There’s no “in between” with bamboo shades -- with blinds you can open the slats just a bit and control the amount of light. I found I was a wide open or shut kind of person anyway – I either had the blinds pulled all the way up or down.
  • - I imagine, over time and without a liner, the bamboo will become brittle from sun exposure. I don’t know this for sure though – I’ve had some of ours for about three years and haven’t had any issues with this.

I hope that answers all of your questions about the lovely bamboo beauties. :) Again, I got nothin’ against the purdy two inch blinds – it was just love at first installation of bamboo shades for me.  ;)

So do you do bamboo? Or the classic blinds? Skinny slats or fat slats? Real or faux? Or are you a let it all hang out there person and you don’t cover your windows at all?

You nekked window folks do know people look in your windows as they drive by to see what your house looks like inside, right? Hmmm…maybe that’s just me. ;)

While we’re looking at the windows around our house, let’s check out the view:

Oh yeah, that’s right, you can’t see outside, cause it’s like walking around in a freaking pool out there. A 98 degree pool. And you’re surprised I’m ready for fall?? :)

P.S. I believe I said “texture,” “warmth” and “shades” about 314 times. Go ahead and count.

P.P.S. “Wrappy” is not in spell check. How is this possible?


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