A conservatory can be a great addition to your home, both in terms of adding extra value and providing you with additional space. Whilst many people love the warmth of a sunny conservatory in the summer, ironically they can also get too hot and stuffy on very warm days! But help is at hand…
If you’re looking for the perfect way to balance the temperature of your conservatory all year round, then the right blinds could be your answer.
Blinds and shutters are available in a variety of different forms and there are some excellent options available to help control the temperature in a conservatory. Some can even help dull noise too – a bonus if you’re near a busy road – and having blinds can help reduce fading on furniture, flooring or wallpaper from constant exposure to the sun.
Fancy trying blinds? Here’s the lowdown on some of the popular options available.
A popular choice for modern and contemporary conservatories are Duette® blinds. These nifty blinds are cleverly designed to help you gain a constant temperature all year round – not just in the summer.
What’s more, they look good too. Unlike traditional blinds, Duette® blinds are made with a honeycomb structure. The side of the blinds that comes into contact with the window has a special coating added to it that helps improve their energy efficiency even more.
Studies have shown that these blinds:
Reflect up to 78% of the warmth from the sun
Block up to 99% of UV rays, so reduce furniture or wallpaper from fading
Retain heat by up to 46%
Help reduce energy bills by up to 25%
The French are onto a good thing with their love of shutters! They’re a great way to keep a conservatory cool in the summer, yet warm in the winter, and they look super sleek and stylish.
They’re particularly popular at the moment and can be an effective way to reduce both heat and glare in your conservatory in the summer, but still help the room feel cosy in the winter.
The LifeTime shutter from Thomas Sanderson is made from lightweight uPVC and are guaranteed not to distort, crack, fade or chip. They’re so sure of their durability that they come with a 25 year guarantee.
If it’s the heat coming in through the top of your conservatory that’s a particular problem, then roof blinds are a good option.
Different forms of roof blinds are available, including pleated blinds with Solartex or Duette® blinds.
The Solartex blinds are designed with non-metallic backing, so they let the light in, but help prevent unwanted glare. They’re operated easily with the use of a telescopic pole and the pleats are designed so that they lie flat in the roof and give a fresh and clean look.
Choosing a conservatory blind company
Getting the look right, as well as the function, is something that’s often a key priority. You want the right style of blinds or window coverings to fit with your décor, and ideally something that won’t date or go out of fashion quickly.
For a professional finish, it’s a good idea to opt for a company who’ll fit the blinds for you too. It saves an enormous amount of hassle, especially if you’re not a fan of DIY, and ensures that your windows are measured by an expert in the first place.
Companies such as Thomas Sanderson offer a free measure and fit, as well as a design service. Their products are all handcrafted and individually made to fit your windows.
It’s not necessarily the cheapest company to buy from, but they’ve been a leading light in the industry for around 25 years and it can pay to opt for a quality service. What’s more, you don’t have to have one type of blinds or shutters – you can opt for both or a mix of several different types. They’ll help you asses what will work best for your needs.
For more ideas on making your conservatory a room you can use all year round, check out the tips in this helpful video:
As much as it’s good to focus on the inside of your home, the outside matters too. The finish of your windows and doors can make a strong impact, adding to the character, style and charm of your home.
A lot of homes these days have uPVC windows, but wooden window frames are just as good. I’ll admit that I used to be a little wary of them, assuming that the upkeep and longevity of wood window frames would be worse than uPVC. But having moved to a home with wooden windows and doors, I’ve gradually been convinced otherwise.
Rather than being a poorer alternative to uPVC, good quality wood window frames can last twice as long. Plastic windows can become discoloured and brittle with age, wear and exposure to the sun, yet wood can be more easily maintained.
Depending on the building in question, wooden window frames can look a lot more in keeping with the design and style. They work well with both traditional and modern homes and add character and charm. Wood as a material is popular in interior design terms, helping to add colour, texture and interest to a room.
Dressing your windows
As well as looking after the wood, how you dress your windows can help show them off to their full potential – both inside and outside your home. The type and style of window dressing you choose affects how much light the room benefits from and could help add warmth to a cold room.
Blinds are nice alternative to curtains and, depending which type you choose, can be adjusted to provide as little or as much light as you want. If you’re a dab hand with a sewing machine, and have a favourite fabric lined up, you could get creative and make your own.
If you want to make the most of light coming through your windows, but still want to retain a degree of privacy, there are some excellent window films available. They’re relatively easy to apply and are reasonably long-lasting. You can put them on just a few panes of glass, half a window, or cover the whole window with them.
Or, if your room isn’t overlooked, perhaps you don’t need a window dressing at all? Leaving the windows exposed like this shows off the wood in all its glory. Plus, it lets plenty of light into the room and helps the house link to the garden more effectively.
Celebrate your love of solid wooden windows by following @woodwindowall on Twitter or use the hashtag #WindowsForLife.
It’s amazing what a difference a new pair of curtains makes – and not just in terms of colour, style or design.
One of the common ways in which heat is lost in your home is through the windows. They don’t have to be open to be losing heat either. Any tiny gaps in the frame or fitting can let heat in and if you don’t have curtains or any form of window covering, heat from the room can be lost.
During a season when we typically need to have the central heating turned on, or a log burner in action, there’s nothing worse than paying for heat that isn’t properly retained.
So if you’re looking for ways to ensure you don’t lose heat in your home, here are some top tips for using curtains to retain heat.
Measure up carefully
When it comes to choosing curtains, you need to get your measurements right. Not only will this affect the look of your curtains – you want them to look attractive and be the right length for your window – but it can also affect the draught-proofing ability of your curtains.
For example, if your curtains don’t meet in the middle properly, don’t come to the end of your curtain poles or are too short, they won’t provide the full cosy potential.
If you need some extra assistance with measuring up, check out this useful guide.
Choose a warm fabric
When you’re choosing curtains for use as draft prevention, then opting for a product made from a thicker, warmer material makes sense. They’ll keep more warmth in during the winter and will help your room feel cosy.
A warm colour can help too, but if you’ve set your heart on your favourite design or shade and it’s pale in shade, don’t panic. You can always add some extra warmth to them if required, through the use of linings.
Add thermal curtain linings
If the curtains you choose aren’t particularly thick, or you’d like to add extra warmth, add some thermal curtain linings or blackout linings to them.
If you don’t want to use the linings all year and would prefer to take them out during the warmer months, then keep them as loose linings.
Think beyond windows
Curtains are of course primarily used for windows, but if you can feel a draught coming in under a door, then adding a door curtain might help.
All you need is a simple rail above the door on which to hang the curtain. Normally, for a single door a single curtain will do the job perfectly.
You don’t have to have the curtain in place all year. In the summer you could take it down, or replace it with a lighter voile curtain.
Accessories to cosy up your living room
Of course, there are other ways to help cosy up your home for winter and make a room such as the living room feel warmer. A few specially selected home accessories can pull a room design together and add an extra feeling of warmth and cosiness.
For example, a throw or two on the sofa to cuddle up under at night, some cushions in warm colours or simply lighting some candles can all add a sense of warmth to your living room.
Here are a few suitably apt accessories from the range at Homebase that will enable you to do just that. Best of all, they’re all priced at £25 and under.
Treat your windows to a new look, with the help of patterned roller blinds.
There are numerous options available on the market, from subtle designs to vibrant patterns, in ready made and ready to hang format, or made-to-measure to exactly suit your window size. Here are some fab examples:
How well dressed are your windows? Windows can be a key focal point in a room, so deserve just as much attention when it comes to interior design as the rest of your decor. One popular way of dressing your windows and improving their look is to use blinds.
Blinds come in a variety of designs and styles and can be used as an alternative to curtains, or alongside them to liven up your windows and add a decorative touch. They’re also beneficial for adding much needed privacy in a room, to add blackout abilities in bedrooms or to help prevent too much bright light coming into a room. Although there are a variety of different blind styles available, two of the popular styles for modern and contemporary homes are roller blinds and vertical blinds.
Whether your windows are large or small, roller blinds can be made to fit your space and are easy to operate and use.
These functional blinds are available in a wide variety of colours and designs and a really good way of creating a focal point in a room. Choose a blind colour that complements and tones in with your interior design scheme, or use your blinds to add colour and pattern to a room.
If you can’t find your perfect blind design, specialist blind companies now also offer the opportunity to design your own blinds.
If you have a favourite good quality digital photo, such as a favourite holiday view, a memorable beach, a landscape snap you love or a family picture, it can be uploaded and made into a blind featuring your design. This is a lovely way of totally personalising your blinds and making them unique to you.
Vertical blinds, as the name aptly describes, are designed to hang vertically, as opposed to the horizontal nature of roller blinds.
Vertical blinds work well on large windows or patio doors, where you want to add an element of privacy or help control the amount of light coming into a room. The blinds are fully adjustable, so you can alter the position of the blinds and tilt them to open them up more or less depending on your preference.
Like roller blinds, vertical blinds are available in a wide choice of designs, fabrics and colours, from textured weaves and neutral colours, to bold, vibrant shades. When you order from a company like Web-Blinds, the blinds are made-to-measure so they fit your windows perfectly.
Vertical blinds work well in living rooms and can be useful to help prevent fabric furniture, such as a sofa or chairs, fading from the harsh effects of sunlight.
The conservatory is a great place to sit and relax, absorbing the bright sun while being shielded from wind and the occasional rain shower. However, on hot summer days, it can quickly become something more akin to an oven. If you’ve been enjoying a day out, the heat can build up in your conservatory to such a degree that it is uninhabitable when you get back.
The best way to avoid this situation and get the most out of your luxurious extension is to – where possible – keep the sun out while you are away. In this respect, curtains will do the job excellently, but blinds offer far more versatility, don’t have to plunge the space into blackness, and are usually more cost effective. While for some, the idea of blinds reminds them of staid office buildings and schools, there is now a great range of effective, made to measure blinds out there that will suit any taste.
What style you choose depends on personal taste, as well as how much control you want to have over the amount of light you let into the conservatory and the temperature you want to maintain. Specialist solar control blinds will cut out harmful UV rays, effectively acting like sunglasses for your window. The added bonus is that this material protects any fabrics from fading.
Solar control blinds typically come in the roller pull-down style, but this is not to everyone’s taste. Another option is the Venetian style, which allows you to moderate the amount of sunshine that comes into the room and the angle of the rays quickly and easily.
Whichever style you choose, just remember that it’s worth paying that little bit extra to get high-quality made-to-measure blinds that are individually measured and expertly installed on side windows and roof panels. Your conservatory is a valuable space, so you’ll want a bespoke service that will allow you to relax and enjoy the summer.
***This post is in association with Direct Blinds***