How to protect wood and soft furnishings from fading
“Spring is the time of year when it's summer in the light and winter in the shade,” wrote Charles Dickens.
If you might be tempted to run for the sun in the summer, your furniture may benefit from some shade. We all know that using sunscreen to protect our skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is necessary, but did you know that UV can also damage the interiors of our homes?
Furniture, flooring, artwork, and even books are susceptible to fading, and as the days grow longer in the coming months, you will want to consider how to shield your belongings from the sun's increasing rays.
Here are some tips for preventing your furniture from fading and keeping your interior design in good shape.
Rearrange your belongings
Let's begin with the most obvious. Take some time on a bright day to sit and observe how the sun interacts with your room. Is there some shaded area where your most vulnerable furniture – those with dyed fabrics – should be placed?
Smaller furniture, in particular, should be easy to tuck away in a shady spot. Bookshelves are easy to crowd into a corner if you want to avoid fading book spines and yellow page corners.
If your space is south-facing and has a lot of windows, you'll have a hard time finding a place where direct sunlight won't penetrate. If your room is dual-aspect, you can abandon it right now and look for other options.
Of course, none of this can help avoid harm to carpets, rugs, or wooden floors.
Image credit: Yellow Curtains in Upcycled Silk by Stitched
Above: Wave Paraiso Voile Steel Curtains, Blinds2Go
Encanto Shimmering Platinum Curtains, Blinds2Go as above
Consider the window treatments
You won't like thinking about ways to let less light into your home if you like how your bright room lifts your mood and you don't want to sit in the dark. There are, however, concessions you can make to preserve your furnishings and add character to your home without making it dark and dreary. Move your furniture around to protect it but also to make a room look bigger.
Sheer curtains may be the solution. They're light, so they won't take over, and they're transparent, so they let plenty of diffuse light in while reducing the damage caused by direct sunlight. They are available in a wide range of colors and transparency levels, so you should have no trouble finding the perfect match for your room.
Blinds are another flexible choice because the slats can be easily adjusted to cover your furniture while still allowing plenty of light into space.
Vertical blinds have an office feel to them, but Venetian blinds can work in almost any environment. If you own a period home, you may want to think about adding shutters on the outside or inside.
You may want to consider replacing your double-glazed panels with windows that have built-in or interstitial blinds. The best part about interstitial blinds is that they're enclosed between glass panes, which means the slats can't be scratched and don't need to be dusted.
Image credit: Blackout Linen Double Pleat Curtains In Aster by Loom & Last
Image credit: Blackout Lined Pencil Pleat Curtains In Denim, Loom & Last as above
How about solar blinds?
At the moment, solar blinds are very common. They provide diffuse light, minimize UV exposure to your furniture, and can help keep your room cool in the summer.
They're made of transparent material, similar to sheer curtains, and provide a view of the outside world while making it more difficult for people outside to see in. If privacy is an issue, a less translucent grade would be preferable since anything happening in a room illuminated by electric light at night would be visible to anyone paying attention.
Solar blinds are available in vertical or roller styles and a variety of colors, so you should have no trouble matching them to the interior of your house.
‘Sunglasses’ for your windows
Solar window film reduces cooling and heating costs, reduces glare from the sun, and can also improve privacy in the home by blocking up to 99 percent of harmful UV light.
Although it can be tempting to make this a do-it-yourself project, the high-quality solar film can only be installed by a professional. It's also a good idea to double-check with your window manufacturer to make sure that installing film won't void any warranties, though many window film installers give overriding warranties if that's essential. When washing your screens, stop using any sharp tools or scrapers until they've adhered.
Depending on their intended use, these films vary in quality and are made of various materials. Depending on which choice you choose for your home, almost all films will dim your vision of the outside world to some degree.
Curtains In Thatch House Fabric, by Loaf
Replace the glass in your windows
If you're thinking of replacing your windows, choose glass with an energy-efficient coating that will help to moderate the heat in your room while still protecting your furniture from UV light.
It's possible to replace only the double glazed unit and keep the uPVC, wood, or aluminum frame if your frames are in good shape and don't need to be replaced. Replacing current glass with a low-E, energy-efficient solution is relatively inexpensive, and you don't have to install all of your windows. Prioritize the rooms that are most influenced by UV rays, which are usually those that face east or south.
If you prefer undressed windows with crystal clear glass, and your current windows have poor thermal efficiency, this is a great solution that kills two birds with one stone.