Monday, September 16, 2013

Nursery Update: Blackout Boards

One of our biggest problems in this room is the large windows that let in way too much light. On the plus side, it is a great room to take pictures in so I have used it as a makeshift studio a few times. On the downside, it makes the room hot as heck.

We toyed with tons of ideas and every time we would settle on one, one of us would come up with something else. Here were our options:

1) Roman Shades
Pro- They are pretty and we could customize them to fit our windows and color scheme. I have seen plenty of tutorials on-line that make them seem easy to make.
Con- Easy?!?! You know that they would in no way be easy. I am sure I would figure them out but it would lead to lots of tears and frustration. Also, we are hesitant to invest too much time and money into a solution that fits into this house specifically since we are just renting. 

2) Large wall of curtains
Pro- Since we can not paint, it would make something pretty to fill the wall behind the crib. We would buy some inexpensive curtains from Ikea, dye or paint them, sew blackout material on the back and hang.
Con- Heck, even that is a lot of work and money (although not as much as the roman shades). The biggest deterrent is that I do not want that hanging within her reach and it would be directly behind her crib. I just know that it would get yanked on and pulled down. That would be annoying and dangerous.

3) Moveable Canopy
Pro- Yes, at some point I even thought of engineering a canopy that I could easily lift open. It could be pretty, easy to open and close, and a little more cost effective.
Con- Uh yeah, this was never going to happen. The wall is  almost 9.5' long. I have no idea how I was going to design this and convince Ben to help me with it. Also, a pretty time consuming project for somewhere that we are renting.

4) Short curtains
Pro- They would not be within her reach so we removed the danger aspect of option #2. This would be the easiest solution.
Con- I was still not sure about the fabric and sewing that would be involved.

5) Roller Shades
Pro- We happened upon inexpensive roller shades at Ikea, that are also blackout material. Inexpensive. Pre- made. Blackout. 3 words that we liked. 
Con- It still involved installing something and spending money. It would only be around $50 but we still wondered if we could do better.

We were set on the roller shade when one evening Ben pipes up with some idea about foamcore cut to fit the exact size of the window. I immediately said no and not because it was not a valid idea, but because I was tired of the back and forth. He convinced me to try it so that night he ran out to Dollartee to grab two pieces of foamcore.

One problem was that Dollartree does not sell pieces big enough to fit the window so we had to get two and fit them together (yes we could have paid more to get  the right size but that would have offset the cost savings of doing foamcore vs. the roller shades). Also, while it blocked  out and diffused the light better than the current blinds, they were not blackout by any means.

Our solution, layer black foam core between two pieces of white foamcore. 14 pieces of foamcore, $14 and an hour of cutting and gluing later, we have perfectly fitted blackout boards in our nursery. I decided to add a little flair to this and added gold polka dots to bring in one of our accent colors.

Cheap, easy to make, easy to take down when we want light in there, pretty. That project turned out perfectly. Before they were up, this room was always so hot in the summer that we kept the door closed to try to separate it from the rest of the house in an attempt not to make our air condition run constantly. In the couples months that we have had them up there, that room now maintains the same temperature as the rest of the house with no problem.

Last week I took them down so I could take some pictures of the room and when I looked up at the windows, it was so weird to be able to see out. While the light is nice, I realized that since we have had these up, they have the effect of being large scale art work since they kind if blend into the wall. I am REALLY happy with how they turned out. In the winter we plan on opening one of them to warm up the room when the baby is not in there. 

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