sitting area in a contemporary bedroom of a duplex apartment

Cooling your home with blinds and curtains? It’s easier – and more affordable – than you think

Summer is coming, and with that comes the heat and the extra light that we as Australians love but also have a secret loathing for.

With this summer set to be one of the hottest on record, you won’t be blamed for thinking about what cost-effective things you can do to keep cool over the next three to four months. What doesn’t normally spring to mind is the power that window furnishings can provide to cut the heat out, whilst also saving you a buck that would otherwise be chewed up by investing in a cooling system.

Curtains and blinds are ideal as a simple tool to keep the heat out. One, they’re easy and quick to install, and two, they don’t really need any additional infrastructure to work – just a simple moulding and a few screws.

But what types of blinds or curtains help to keep the house cool, and where are they best suited? Vertical blinds might be good in some parts of the home, but in others they might not suit, nor will they particularly tie in with the overall look and feel of the house design.

In this article, we’re going to be breaking all of this down for you. We’ll be looking at the three key areas of the home that can suffer from the heat, and going through what type of window furnishing will be best suited.

We’ve also chucked in a few design style tips for you to consider too, so that you aren’t just getting blinds or curtains that help to keep you cool, but ones that will suit your home and your particular style of decor.

Lounge room

The lounge room, all year round, is the hub of the home, and one where setting the right temperature and ambience is crucial to making the most of it.

During summer, the last thing you want to deal with whilst watching the television with friends or family is the feeling that you live in a sauna, so let’s start off by saying for true protection from the summer sun, you’ll be looking at blinds.

Blinds, as any cursory glance at a blinds store or brochure will suggest, come in all forms. You have venetians, verticals, romans, rollers, or in some cases a combination of the two in the form of dual roller blinds.

These window furnishings, if used with the right type of material, will prove to be more than adept in keeping the lounge room both cool and dark during the day, and depending on which you choose, won’t break the bank either.

Of the most common choices for protection from the summer heat are hard surface venetians or verticals, such as a timber or even PVC, as well as roller blinds with a darker shade.

Both these types will effectively cut the harsh light and heat out, whilst keeping the room at a liveable temperature.

Bedroom

Similar to the lounge room, adverse heat, especially for those balmy nights, will make sleeping a particularly arduous task.

Also similar to the lounge room, blinds will work a treat. However, given the bedrooms personal and intimate nature, you may be looking for something a little more comfortable, without imposing the harsh opaque nature of blinds that, whilst suited for the lounge room, perhaps are not for this area of the home.

Two options will fulfill this requirement for a softer approach in plantation shutters and roman blinds. Roman blinds, in particular, with their highly customisable nature and softer look and feel, will be particularly apt and keeping out the heat from the bedroom.

The best part about roman blinds is that typically they are manufactured from thicker fabrics and materials, meaning that you don’t need to strictly look at darker shades to get the same cool-down factor. This allows you to tailor your roman blinds to the overall scheme of your bedroom.

Plantation shutters, meanwhile, will act in a similar manner to venetians or verticals, but as they offer a more homely feel due to their traditional build and look, won’t be as obvious in the bedroom setting.

Shutters will be particularly great for those who own an older weatherboard or period home, as it will blend in seamlessly with the exterior of the property.

Kitchen

No one really wants to be sitting over a hot stove when the temperature is exceeding 30°, but it is also imperative that some light does get in so that you can see what you’re doing.

In reality, kitchens would only need a slight screening blind or curtain to stay cool, of which again there are plenty of options that can be easily tailored to suit to any design scheme.

Plantation shutters will be ideal for this, as you will be able to adjust their angle to let in as much or as little light as you need. Unlike venetians or verticals, which effectively do the same thing, plantation shutters tend to be made from more durable options, which will be of great importance in an area like the kitchen where splashes and accidents can happen.

Light screening curtains, and even roller blinds, will also help to at least cut some light out whilst also minimising the heat that comes in. To maximise this effect without cutting the light out completely, opt for mid range greys or off colour whites.