Summer is here, full of promise and potential. It uplifts our mood, drives us outdoors for an added boost of Vitamin D and makes everything look that little bit brighter. But the bright sun does bring its own attendant challenges. As the earth tilts through the year, the summer light arrives to earth as longer rays, creating stretched shadows that present earlier and later each day. So to make the most of that sultry summer sun’s benefits and less of its woes, we’ve created the optimal checklist for the ultimate in light control window covering solutions.
An Embarrassment Of Riches
Large, South-facing windows are a wonderful feature in any room. But in high summer they may need managing all day. A classic white blind such as a pretty Silhouette will allow filtered light and views all day, yet keep the harshest hours from making the space uncomfortably hot or visually distracting. Make sure, if you do have a room that needs all day cover, that you choose something that doesn’t just ‘block’ the window, such as heavy curtains or a blackout roller blind – or it could feel oppressive.
A good night’s sleep partly depends on a dark, restful room. The brain gets sent signals that it’s time to awaken by the presence of sunlight. So, to prevent dawn wake up calls or tossing and turning when trying to rest in high summer, it’s essential to manage the light. Although a blackout blind or fabric is always a good option, it can feel heavy during the day. An alternative is a deep-toned fabric that allows in a little diffused light, such as our Casa de Luxe Roman Blinds. These can also be backed with a blackout fabric if you have a very bright room. Roman Blinds allow the soft qualities of the fabric folds to shine, adding extra sensuality and calming the space.
Roof windows or skylights can be a wonderful asset in the winter, when light levels can be low or weak. But in the summer they can be more problematic. Historically these always came with blackout fabrics, a popular choice for an attic conversion bedroom. But for other spaces, this binary on/off treatment can be a little uncompromising and misses the point of having the extra windows in the first place. Instead, choose a fabric that can block the thermal gain but not the sense of the outside, in a transparent weight. Using the same fabric as the main windows also brings the design theme of the room together more effectively.
The Long Game
If you are lucky enough to have a long bank of windows, they may need variable light control across even one expanse. By using several window coverings, such as these Pirouette Shades, it’s possible to deliver dramatically different types of control. When measuring, it’s essential that the drop of the blinds lines up perfectly to create a unified effect – so if your window frames are uneven in any way, make sure that this is accounted for. This works for any type of blinds.
Sun protection isn’t just for fabrics and furniture; glaring light can cause headaches and make a room uncomfortable to spend time in. If you like to see and feel the qualities of sunlight, choose blinds and shades that deflect the rays slightly rather then diffuse through the fabric qualities. Vertical blinds can give a very restful feel to a room, whilst also allowing a good view and redirecting the light shafts, so you can enjoy it entering the room rather than completely blocking it.
Keeping The Sun At Bay
An interesting light challenge can be the bay window, a popular British architectural feature. Although a nice design element, they often need managing all day, as the sun moves around the house and therefore each window pane. Luxaflex made-to-measure Roman Blinds fold back up by section, adding a light variation in the layering of the fabric. This means you can control each separately as the light drifts, but they still feel part of a style family. Sheer roller blinds can also have a similar effect and the slim head rail profile makes them ideal for bay windows. Consider mixing pattern and plains for added style points.
Although an issue year-round, the longer, stronger sun can put your floors, art and fabrics at greater risk of sun damage. You can protect against the harshest rays without completely blocking the light, by using a more transparent fabric. Twist blinds offer variable protection with two types of band transparency, while still allowing a view – plus a fresh daytime feel.
Forget About It
By adding in Powerview to your smart home strategy, you can plan your sun protection ahead. Using the Luxaflex PowerView app allows you to program your blinds and shades, automatically closing and opening around peak sun hours. This works to keep your home cool and your furnishings protected. You can also use this technique in the winter in the opposite way; allow bright sunlight in at noon, then later in the day close blinds to trap the warmth in. Hello, reduced heating bills.
Change Is Good
Some windows always need cover; if they are at ground level on a busy street or if the view is simply too distracting to allow you to operate in your home office. Here sheer blinds create an ideal solution. By mixing delicate sheers and blackout blind fabrics that can be set at an almost infinite number of combinations (check out our Duette range), you can allow in as much or little light as possible – without ever compromising on privacy.
Let’s Go Outside
Don’t forget that glazed doors can also be a huge source of thermal gain. The main issue with the heat from sunlight that enters large windows is that it is unable to escape back out through the glass. This why the heat in an unprotected room can feel oppressive. The only way to manage this is to block the sunlight from entering in the first place, or cool the room with air conditioning, creating more expense and energy use. The best way is to manage how much thermal gain you want and keep the rest of the light at bay. Have a look through our range of blinds for doors, that allow you to enjoy the sky whilst blocking most of the excess light and heat.
Room With A View
If views are an essential part of your enjoyment of your home, but you still need to manage your summer comfort levels, there are some smart innovations in window coverings that allow the best of both. Offering twice the view of standard Venetian Blinds, MegaView® incorporates a unique tilt function that delivers twice the view, but when tilted or closed, more discretion. Our latest innovation, Luxaflex Twist ClearView Blinds use gossamer-light sheers to ensure your view is clear and sharp. They also keep your view to the outside visible, whether it’s day or night. If you completely close the opaque bands it provides full privacy.
There is a way to enjoy your garden view and keep your room cool, without using any window coverings. An awning, in either a traditional or contemporary style, will hold back the long rays from penetrating your interiors. This will block thermal gain but will also allow you to keep your doors ajar, airy and free, opening up your home to enjoy the sun but keeping the indoors cool. The best of both worlds.
For more ideas on bringing the summer home, take a look at our awnings range.