Sunlight can be hard on fabrics and other materials, causing color fading and ultimate deterioration of the fabric. This is bad news for some window treatments, which are often hung specifically to block bright sunlight from entering rooms and damaging the furnishings inside. While window shades and curtains protect furniture, rugs, and other items from fading, they take the brunt of the damage from the sun. It’s no surprise that window treatments are most in danger of fading and sun damage, especially when hanging from bright, sunny windows. In order to keep your window treatments looking fresh for years, choose window treatments that can stand the test of time.
Light colors reflect sunlight, while dark colors absorb it. This makes light-colored fabrics naturally more resistant to sun damage, because most of the sun’s rays bounce off the fabric. This is especially true for the ultraviolet wavelengths in sunlight, which cause the most damage to fabrics. Light colors also don’t show the loss of color as quickly as dark fabrics, because there is less of a color range the fabric can change to.
Dark fabrics can be the worst choice for a sunny room, not only because they will absorb all of the sunlight but because they will show the effects of fading more quickly. Fading can become more readily apparent in dark colors than light ones, especially if window treatments match the color of other items in the room.
One of the best ways to guard fabric window treatments against fading is to use a protective lining to keep the sun directly off the fabric. Many high-quality shades are constructed with white linings, which present a clean look from the outside and reflect sunlight away from the window treatments. A heavy lining such as those in blackout curtains can also keep your home cooler by keeping out extra sun, boosting your home’s energy efficiency. If you use a separate liner behind a drapery or window shade, your window treatments are still at risk of fading around the edges or anywhere the lining doesn’t adequately cover the fabric. Shades designed with built-in linings are the best to ensure your window treatments are completely protected from the sun.
Choosing the right materials for window treatments also makes a difference in preventing sun damage, not only of the treatments themselves but of the surrounding furnishings and flooring. Specifically made fade-resistant fabrics will repel much of the damaging sunlight that would affect other fabrics. A fade-resistant window shade will look good for years, even when hung in a sunny window.
Natural and manmade fabrics each have their own strengths and weaknesses, including their resistance to sun damage. Cotton and linen are natural fibers that have a good resistance to fading; many manmade fibers, however, are also resistant to fading, including acrylic, polyester, and rayon. Many of the high-quality window shades designed with fade-resistant fabrics also provide insulation and let in varying amounts of light, ranging from sheer to blackout shades. Bottom up/top down window shades enable you to control the level of light in your rooms, while preserving privacy and keeping direct sun off of your furniture. Horizontal sheer shades are extremely durable and allow you to see the world outside while protecting your home from ultraviolet light.
Blinds can also help keep out sun and resist fading. Wood shades effectively keep out sun, protecting everything in the room from extra sun damage. Both real wood and faux wood resist fading over time, but real wood is the best choice for bright sunny windows since it is more resistant to damage from the sun over the years. Faux wood is made to look like real wood and is a great choice for high humidity areas like the bathroom.
Good window treatments improve the value of your home in many ways, adding to your decor, increasing energy efficiencies, giving more control of the light levels and privacy in your home, and protecting your furnishings and flooring from sun damage. Hanging window treatments in full daily sunlight puts them at risk for fading and other damage, even as they protect the rest of your furnishings. Choosing high-quality blinds or shades made from fade-resistant fabric paired with a protective lining is the best way to ensure your window treatments stand the test of time.