As sunlight returns, your fabrics are in danger of fading. Richard Bond of Jamie Hempsall Interior Design looks at options to filter those rays streaming through your windows.
Although the net curtain has fallen out of favour in recent years, there is still a need for many of us to ensure our homes retain an element of privacy; not to mention protection from direct sunlight for delicate fabrics and furniture.
Voiles are the obvious choice and have developed over the last few years into a sophisticated product, usually made from cotton, polyester or silk and available in an array of patterns and colours. They work best made up as pinch pleat or wave system curtains to keep the look unfussy, but dramatic.
In the last few years, strings have become a fashionable option after serving their apprenticeship de-marking VIP areas in some of the trendier nightclubs. They inject a contemporary update to any interior scheme. Many come in the form of vertical blinds allowing the householder to vary the impact of direct sunlight and external view.
Despite appearances String Blinds are incredibly hard-wearing and perfect for high traffic areas such as patio doors where you can keep them closed, but still pass through easily. The product is usually laser cut to the exact length you require and most companies offer them in a wide array of colours that should satisfy even the most vibrant interior scheme.
Semi-translucent gauze roller blinds are simple to install and perfect for places such as dining rooms where delicate woods can become easily damaged by direct sunlight. Opting for a more ornamental finish ensures confidence that these blinds will enhance your scheme, rather than being a necessary evil.
You should certainly consider installing remote control operated blinds for windows that are harder to access, as battery and solar powered options now make these a more cost effective option.
Sometimes privacy is actually the main concern, particularly at night when voiles and translucents effectively become see-through when back-lit.
The traditional Venetian blind offers one of the best ways to block out the exterior, whilst allowing light in. The sheer range of finishes that are now available, from natural woods to slats that can be custom colour-matched to your walls, make these a terrifically versatile product. They work best with modern interiors and in places where you do not have other window dressings.
If you are considering venetian blinds in a bedroom as your main window treatment and your sleep is affected by light, be aware many mechanisms still allow some light pollution when fully closed. Therefore, you may want to consider New England style shutters are now more common in UK homes. They cost more than venetians and provide a very definite style statement, but they are incredibly effective and, if made-to-measure, can help provide excellent solutions to non- standard window shapes.
Should you be looking for the ultimate in day-time privacy, but want to avoid blinds or shutters take a tip from Hollywood and look directly to your windows.
One-way glass where the occupant can see out, but the outsider just sees a mirrored finish is now commonly available, if a little pricey.
If you do not want the expense of replacing your window glass and have a meticulous eye for DIY then you can achieve a similar effect by applying a mirrored window film (available on-line from just a few pounds).
Some pounds invested wisely in this way can help protect valuable possessions for a considerable time.
Richard Bond is MD of multi-award winning interior design consultancy Jamie Hempsall Ltd.