Decorating & Design - Design Lesson

Window coverings to block the sun

Issue SLMI09080001

This article appeared in August 2009 issue

Follow Kimberley Seldon's guide on how to protect your home's interior from the sun's rays.

Most of us wouldn't dream of stepping outside in the summertime without sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to provide personal shade. That's because the sun, although we love it, damages unprotected skin, hair and eyes. Interior furnishings also require protection from harmful rays. Full sun bleaches fine carpets and fabrics, dulls stained and painted finishes, and even decreases the value of artwork. Window coverings can shield vulnerable surfaces, protecting your investments for long-term enjoyment. Follow my interior SPF guide to determine your sun protection needs.

spf 15
Full draperies, when pulled aside with a tie-back or hung in straight panels at the sides of a window, are a favourite choice since they don't interfere with sunlight filtering through windows. However, they leave your furnishings exposed to damage daily, so if the window in question receives strong sun, you may want to add one of the higher SPF solutions.

spf 30
Add a sheer drapery panel or blind to your window treatment for increased privacy and sun protection. Hang the sheer on an independent top-mount track so it can be pushed aside and even hidden behind drapery panels when not required.

If you love the look of fabric blinds on their own, consider sheer louvres, like Hunter Douglas Silhouette or Duette. These flexible products control light exposure and increase energy efficiency.

Adhesive sun protection film, like 3M Window Film Solutions, can be professionally applied to window interiors to block up to 99% of UV rays and almost 80% of the solar heat. That translates into reduced energy use. The darker the film, the greater the protection; however, clear 3M Prestige provides similar benefits without changing the windows’ appearance.

spf 60
By hanging draperies that are fully operational (completely closable), you’ll be able to protect interiors from sun damage when you're out of the house for a day, weekend or vacation. Draperies are also a good idea for those who work outside of the house and are willing to close them on a daily basis.

When fully closed, shutters and wooden slat blinds provide near-total sunblock as well. In addition, the louvres can be adjusted upward to deflect or redirect sunshine away from furnishings.

Similarly, soft fabric blinds like Romans, as well as bamboo and matchstick blinds, provide full protection.

Read more in Decorating & Design and Design Lesson

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