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Window dressing
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Window dressing

The return of sunshine is definitely a welcome thing, warming up our bodies and minds, making flowers bloom and perhaps enabling us to have a few early barbecues; however, brighter light can also bring downsides for many people.

Firstly, it is very unforgiving on dirt. Every speck on a window will reveal itself when the sun shines, as does any dust or dirt inside the house. Secondly, although natural daylight is a lovely thing, it definitely raises the temperature inside the house. This is great during autumn and winter when that solar gain is needed; however, sunny rooms can get very, very hot in the summer.

With the sun rising earlier and earlier, the morning light can kick start our biorhythms and wake us up far earlier than we might like. If you have children, you will know that they are less keen to go to bed when it is light and the younger ones can take a lot of convincing that it is bedtime when it is still light outside!

Luckily, there are plenty of options when it comes to ‘window dressing’, ranging from the traditional to the very modern.

Despite the rise in popularity of blinds, many of us still have curtains. They are functional in addition to being decorative and some people find that rooms without curtains look very bare. You really can’t beat curtains for creating a sumptuous and luxurious effect, although curtains can be as light and delicate or as thick and insulating as you like.

Thermal linings are very useful in draughtier houses, as they are excellent draught excluders and will also keep the heat from the sun out. Blackout linings will also help with insulation and will keep light out; however, the best thing about them is that you can have them in whatever colour or pattern you choose and on a plastic rail or a wooden or metal pole - the options are almost endless. You can even get blackout blinds to help with those pesky light mornings and evenings.

Plantation shutters have become very popular in modern and traditional homes alike. They are louvered and can be adjusted very easily to keep the glare of the sun out as the angle of the sun changes throughout the day. You can also have split shutters so that you can open up the top half, leaving the lower half closed. Increased demand means that the price has come down a little, and you can also choose plastic, MDF or wood depending on your budget. They are still a more expensive option, however, as they have to be custom made for each window to ensure the proper fit.

Blinds are a great option if you are on a budget and can be extremely good value, whether you go for roller, Roman, Venetian, vertical, wooden, fabric or paper. A popular choice for bathrooms and kitchens, the increased choice available these days means that you can have just about any colour or fabric finish of your choice.

Thin voile blinds are a more stylish alternative to net curtains, with thicker ones adding colour and warmth to a room.

Currently gaining in popularity are ‘day and night’ or zebra blinds, which are a double-layer roller blind. Each layer of the blind has alternating stripes of sheer or solid fabric. You can then adjust the two layers so that the panels line up, letting in light, or so that the solid panels overlap, blocking out light and providing greater privacy.

The choice really is yours and even made-to-measure blinds won’t break the bank. Prices for made-to-measure can start at around £20 for a small window. If you are buying and ordering online, measure and then measure again to be sure of the size!

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