Truth be told, our living room blinds have been broken since we moved in. It was never really that big of deal to us that they didn’t function “optimally” as long as they functioned.

Whenever we wanted to use them we just stood on the chair in the corner and pulled them down. They were either up or down. There was no in between…they would just fall to the windowsill (and knock over anything sitting in their way).

We only ever needed them for overnight guests (who slept in the living room),  or on particularly sunny afternoons when we couldn’t see the football game for the sunshine streaming in the window.

Putting them back up was completely irritating because I had to get out the kitchen step-stool and reach overhead on my tiptoes to manually roll them back onto the rod (all-the-while grinding my knuckles into the lovely popcorn ceiling). In case my depiction was unclear, this was not fun…especially while pregnant.

As our baby plans evolved and it became clear that the nursery would be all tucked in tight next to that window, I knew that something HAD to be done about those blinds! There was no way I was going to manually roll those puppies up every morning – not to mention nap times!

Let the Blind/Shade/Window Covering research commence!

The current window covering is pictured below. (Yes I realize this photo is of the bedroom – but would you take more than one photo with these blinds down? I did not make that mistake twice. Therefore, enjoy this one bedroom photo for your viewing pleasure).


This awful yellow/tan light filtering roller shade came with both the bedroom and living room windows. The bedroom has an additional room darkening shade in a matching solid plastic yellow/tan. (Who picked out the colors in this building anyway?!)

In my dreams, we chose to replace both bedroom and living shades with custom roman shades. Something to the effect of these:


Source: Pinterest


Source: Smith & Noble



Unfortunately, those were out of the budget (and too much to beg of Mom). Besides, the current blinds were filthy  when we moved in and I had  no desire to learn about the rigors of ridding fabric shades of NYC grit and grime. Roller shades would be better for resale value anyway…but aren’t those roman shades beautiful?! (sigh).

I began pricing roller shades at the usual spots:

  • Home Depot
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement
  • The Shade Store

Home Depot and Lowe’s didn’t even make roller shades long enough for our living room window! It’s a big boy, weighing in at 109 inches across. That meant we had to hit the blind and shade experts…and brace ourselves for their hefty price tags. had a wealth of shades to choose from, but it made me nervous to imagine installing them on our own. We found out the hard way that our ceilings are concrete and require a hammer drill and a super strong arm to even make a dent over head.

The appeal of The Shade Store was that I could speak to a real person, visit their showroom, see and touch every item and option, and make a decision based on tactile products instead of online photos and swatches via mail.

The day I decided to drop in was the beginning of a 2 week long 15% off sale. (The associate proudly told me that their sales are NEVER better than 15% off – still not sure if I should have been impressed or depressed about that).

I was bracing myself for an already high price tag, so I tried my best to avoid the most expensive materials. I did fall head over heels for a mid-level blackout option, but the other blackouts were so horrid I really felt I had no choice!  I also managed to refuse a simple valance and all the fancy mechanical options. A simple chain cord operated by sheer arm power was good enough for me. I thought I was being so thrifty!

The associate was extremely helpful as I chose my swatches, described my needs, and repeatedly declined the luxury options he offered. We ended up pricing both the bedroom and living room for a solar shade and a blackout shade (four shades total).

This was my favorite Solar/Blackout pairing:

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The blackout material is lighter in person. It’s that perfect shade of grey that I’ve been sneaking into the apartment everywhere lately (pouf, bookcase, chair). I was tickled to see it as an option at all!

After feeling confident with a few solid options, the associate created a quote and included an estimate for installation. We could have paid someone to come and measure the windows, but I decided I could handle a tape measure with confidence. (I was secretly terrified they would arrive too big or too small and it would be entirely my fault!).

As I said earlier, I was prepping myself for a big price tag, but I’ll admit this quote bowled me over.

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I was expecting to end up around 1000, but seeing that DOUBLED came as a real blow to the gut. Even if I gave up my favorite higher priced black out material I would only be saving $184! When you are investing this kind of money in your home, and installing a shade as big as a wall I think 184 dollars is worth getting exactly what you love.

I left the store feeling so devastated, but I had once last lingering hope. Maaaybe my husband would say, “Ok, let’s do it!” I called him on the way home. He was appalled. Then he said, “Do we really even need them?” I tried to sell him on the added value for resale, but he wasn’t buying it.

No. Literally. He was not going to buy these shades.

So, it was back to the drawing board. They say necessity is the mother of invention. Here’s hoping Pinterest delivers on a Plan B (or is it Plan C?).

Good thing I started researching early!