With the summer fast approaching we begin to think about how to keep our homes cool when the inevitable (or hopeful) warm weather hits. In the spring it is lovely to have the sun shine into our homes, but the harsh and very bright summer sun can damage our furniture, fade our carpets and turn our home into a sauna.
Where heavy drapes or curtains were a good thing in the winter, keeping in the heat. In the summer they can become a dust trap and will block out the sunlight we do want.
So how do we keep the sunlight, but control the heat?
The best way is to take down the curtains and opt for something different.
Providing shade for outdoor space and preventing too much sunlight from heading indoors, a sun shade can be a good option. Usually retractable, these shades can be angled in such a way that they prevent sunlight from entering the house. They also provide outdoor protection form the sun. While they can be very expensive to have fitted, they will last a lifetime.
These can seem terribly old fashioned, but in fact the new types are easy to fit and very attractive. They can be fitted either on the outside of the house or on the inside and can be used when the windows are open, allowing a breeze to enter the room while blocking out the sun. Georgian homes often have floor to ceiling shutters, which are very dramatic, but more modern versions fit within the window frame and are an excellent alternative to the curtain.
These come in so many different colours and materials that to name them all would be impossible, but the fact that they can be lifted out of the way when not in use means they are very versatile. The angle of the blind can also be changed to allow anything from the tiniest amount of light to almost the whole windows worth, means all tastes are catered for.
This is not just for cars. Window film can be applied to any window and can simply tint the window or add texture, colour and pattern. These are perfect for a bathroom window, where you might not want any window dressing at all. Tinted film can be used to filter out harmful sun rays and protect furnishings. It is a good option in conservatories, where good light is wanted but awkward shapes mean that curtains aren't practical. The best thing is that it can simply be removed or changed when you feel like it.
Once again these might seem very old fashioned, but the new designs are actually very attractive and hung correctly can offer privacy while letting in plenty of light. They are usually hung on a wire across the top of the window and should be at least three times the width of the window to get a soft and floaty effect. Perfect for the summer. They also act as a good bug barrier for when you want to open the windows and keep out the wasps and flies.
So the time has come to take down those heavy drapes and let in some light. Unfortunately now you can see the winter dust, so that is next on the list!