I have a love-hate relationship with home improvement and DIY jobs. I love to think about them and research them, but when it comes to implementing my plans, I tend to flake out and either do nothing or hire someone else to carry out my vision. This is the year of 50. It’s about empowering yourself, saving money, paying off debt and learning everything possible.
In my house, I have windows all along the back, and the back faces the west, which means it gets super hot during the summer around 5 pm. The sun shines so brightly through those windows you practically need sunglasses if you are sitting on the couch and trying to see the laptop? Forget about it!
I had blinds when I moved in three years ago, but I am not a blind kinda gal, so I decided enough was enough and I would order some shades. I went to blinds.com to order them. They happened to be having a HUGE sale. And, no, they aren’t paying me or are even aware I am writing this article.
How to Measure for Shades Correctly
The biggest thing about the blinds isn’t the installation, which after the first one is reasonably easy, it’s the ordering. If you don’t get the measurements right, they won’t fit, and then you have blinds you can’t use.
Take out a metal measuring tape and measure across the TOP of the window. If the shade is going to be installed inside a window, which means the window is set back with walls around it, then measure from one end of the inside to the other. Be sure to go edge to edge. Too short and the shade will fall out of the holders and too long and the shade won’t fit.
If the shade is hanging over the window, like on a door, then measure the width of the window edge to edge if you want the shade to sit right on top of the window or a few inches on either side. Make sure if you do go a few inches more you have the same amount on both sides so that it will stay even.
Then measure from the top of the window, or a couple of inches up, to where you want the shade to end. Write down those measurements and do this for every window you have, even if they LOOK the same size. Looks can be deceiving.
The Options for Shades
When you order shades, there are several options to consider. Most of these are for aesthetics, but you still have to make these decisions, and they do matter. The first thing to think about is whether you want a valance. That is the thing that covers up the shade so that you can see it. Also, do you want the shade to roll out, so the excess comes out on top or roll in, so the excess comes from the back? Another option you have is the color and the blackout or material. And, finally, you have the finish on the bottom and the mechanism for lowering and raising the shade. This can be mechanical, metal or plastic.
The Tools of The Shade Hanging Trade
To hang your shades, you are going to need a few things. Most of these you probably have, if you don’t have one of them, ask a neighbor before you go running to Home Depot or some such thing.
You need to take out the metal measuring tape again and a ladder. Make sure you have a pencil, a Philips head screwdriver (the kind that has ridges), a drill with a 1/4″ drill bit and if you do order from blinds.com and you have to put the blinds into sheetrock, have some of those blue doohickeys that you screw into the wall before the screw. If you happen to have one of those devices that you can put on top of something that shows you if you are hanging something straight, that is great, but not necessary.
How to Hang the Shades
The shades come with everything you need, except for directions and those blue things for the wall. I’m going to save you some mistakes and show you how easy it is for you to hang your shades. Let’s start with some tips when you are hanging.
- Measure well where you want to place the brackets; otherwise, you will have lots of holes. Hold the bracket up and mark with the pencil where the holes are going to be drilled. The measuring tape will help you keep the brackets straight, so the shade will not be hanging all askew.
- Each bracket is different. Depending on whether you want your shade to roll out or in will depend on which side you put the brackets. Be sure on each window you put the brackets on the same sides, so the shades will all roll the same way.
- With your drill, drill ALL THE WAY IN with the 1/4″ drill bit. The screws are long, so you need to go deep with that drill. After you have drilled all the holes, and there should be four of them, then you can take the first bracket and start to screw those screws in. Finish the brackets on both sides.
- Take the shade and unroll it at much as possible and before you put it between the brackets, if you have a pull, make sure that both ends are hanging down towards the ground. The first end of the shade can fit into the first bracket in two ways, and one way will make it challenging to raise and lower the shade.
- Put one side of the shade into the bracket. The side with three pieces on the end goes first. When that side clicks in securely, bring the other side up and push the button in and push it in the bracket until you hear a click!
Your Shade is Hung, But You Aren’t Done!
The final step is to screw in the plastic thing that holds the cord in place. Make sure the cord isn’t taut when you screw it into the wall. You want some give, which keeps the cord from wearing out and also makes it easier to pull the shade up and down.
You probably won’t be able to put pencil marks in the holes for the screws to hold the plastic piece in place, so put the screws into the holes and push it into the wall where you want to drill the holes. Drill in some screw holes, and this time DON’T go about 3/4 of the length of the drill bit. Screw the screws in tight, and your shades are hung!
It’s so satisfying to be able to do these home improvement jobs yourself! Follow the easy steps above and hang your shades, after you fix your car!