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Conservatory blinds – the finishing touch for your conservatory and home
Conservatories, once the sole preserve of hothouse plants, are now much in demand as an additional living space. And whether it is used as a lounge, dining room, playroom or office, no conservatory is complete without blinds. For the ability to control heat and glare means that you can enjoy the many benefits of your conservatory all through the year. And having invested a significant sum of money in this additional room, it makes sense to spend a little more so you can get maximum use from it.
What are the advantages of Conservatory blinds?
- They reduce glare from the sun
- They provide shade from excessive summer heat
- They help retain warmth during winter months
- They offer essential privacy
- They are aesthetically pleasing and add the finishing touch to your furnishings
- They reduce UV light and help prevent fading and sun damage to furniture and carpets
So you can see that blinds are pretty indispensable. All you have to do now is decide which of the various types best suits your conservatory, your taste, your lifestyle and your pocket.
It makes sense to think long-term.
- Which material will best retain its good looks?
- Is the material resistant to dust and mildew?
- Are the blinds treated to repel UV rays?
- If so, with aluminium (which can, in time, develop unsightly marks) or with a thermal coating?
- Will the style quietly complement the conservatory rather than overwhelm its charm?
- What sort of guarantee does the manufacturer offer?
- What colour will enhance the mood I want to create?
So what are the options?
- Pleated blinds
- Roman (pinoleum) blinds
- Roller (aluminised fabric) blinds
- DIY drapes or shutters
- Vertical or Venetian blinds
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Pleated blinds are probably the most popular choice, as well as the most effective, since they reflect up to 83% of the sun’s heat – a blessing on a hot summer’s day! Available in a vast range of colours and patterns to complement all interior design styles, they are very easy to maintain especially if treated to repel dirt and damp. For maximum effectiveness, it is recommended that they are also treated with a special solar finish.
Before buying check the width of the pleats – the slimmer the pleat, the neater the overall look. Pleated blinds ‘concertina’ away tidily and can be automated for remote operation – an increasingly popular feature for a generation that uses a remote control to switch television channels!
Roman blinds are a more traditional alternative. Although available in a number of materials the usual choice is French pinoleum, which comprises thin strips of woven wood. A popular choice since Victorian times when it was installed in the landed gentry’s summerhouses, French pinoleum filters sunlight very gently and has first-class solar properties. This classic wood-weave style perfectly complements the rattan and wicker furniture often chosen for a conservatory as well as providing a neutral backdrop for modern furnishings. Like pleated blinds, Roman blinds can be automated for remote control.
Note that some materials used for Roman blinds – such as bamboo – are not suitable for roof blinds.
Roller blinds can be produced in a wide range of fabrics although the best choice for conservatories feature special solar-reflective aluminium backing to provide essential control over temperature and glare. Probably not the best-looking option, these blinds nevertheless undoubtedly offer a highly efficient way of deflecting heat build-up and glare.
DIY drapes or shutters can be a cost-effective choice if you’re handy with a sewing machine. Although these won’t offer the same degree of protection from heat and glare as professionally installed blinds, they will soften the light and cool the atmosphere – how much will depend on the fabrics chosen, and the world is your oyster in this respect. Fabrics like muslin and voile – both available in a range of colours – although unobtrusive and pleasing on the eye, will be least effective.
Freestanding tall timber shutters, which are available at most DIY stores, can be positioned to reduce glare through the windows; useful if you want to watch television or use a computer. Alternatively smaller shutters can be fixed to the windows externally although this is not a DIY project and will need to be undertaken by a professional carpenter.
Vertical and Venetian blinds, available in wood, wood effect and aluminium, are another option but they can be difficult to fit. What’s more, they are some of the most highly efficient dust traps known to mankind!
Whatever blinds you choose (apart from DIY drapes), you should have your conservatory measured by the supplier who will also fit the blinds. Once they are in place you will find that they significantly enhance the conditions in your conservatory, making it a pleasant and enjoyable place to work, rest and play all through the year – rather than a greenhouse in the summer and a fridge in the winter.
A word of (w)awning!
An awning is often claimed to be the most effective way of keeping a conservatory cool as it prevents the sun’s rays from reaching the glass in the first place. While this is undoubtedly true, not all conservatories are suitable for awnings so in many cases interior blinds are the only option. Furthermore, while awnings reduce the temperature in a conservatory, they don’t offer all the other advantages, detailed above, that you get with blinds.
However, if you want to extend your living space still further, an external conservatory or patio awning is perfect for creating an ‘outdoor room’ in your garden.
Images courtesy of:
Sanderson ~ Specialist Supplier Of Pleated Blinds
Blinds ~ Specialist Supplier Of Pinoleum Blinds
~ USA Supplier of Made To Measure Blinds and Conservatories
To view a video on the Thomas Sanderson Range of Conservatory Blinds Click Here
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