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.

Wooden Window Shutters

Unique to Australia is the heightened importance of the simple window covering – whether it be a set of blinds or curtains.

We need our blinds and curtains to perform two crucial tasks: Keep us warm during the winter, and make the house cool during summer. To varying degrees, there are many products out there on the market today that do just that with ease.

However, we are yet to create something that can stop the sun coming in whilst also letting it shine through because, let’s face it, it’s impossible.

You could ditch the curtains and the blinds and install a form of venetian or vertical coverings over your windows, but for true lovers of the former, the latter may detract from their preferred interior design.

So for many years, homeowners right across the country have had to compromise – blockout shades for the summer to keep the sunlight out, or screening shades for the winter to let the warmth come through.

But what if there was another way? What if, it was just as simple as being able to have both at the same time?

This can be done, through either one of the hottest properties on the market in double roller blinds, or through simply utilising two curtain rods. It’s not as cumbersome as you might think to have both working in tandem, and it’s easier to install and use than you think.

In this article, we’re going to explain just why investing in double rods or double rollers is being seen as a much more viable and convenient alternative to that terrible compromise.

First off, the weather

As we started off the article with, ideally you would want to block the sun out during the hotter months, and let it shine through in the winter months, whilst being able to maintain some form of privacy for the latter.

Until now, you either had to live with one or the other, or in the most extreme case, change them as per the following season.

With a dual window covering setup, no more will you have to compromise nor perform undue labour in changing them all the time. They can be easily deployed too as per the seasons, acting with a a dual cord mechanism which is no different to what you probably have now.

Guaranteed privacy all year round

For those that went down the compromise route and chose blockout shades, you might have been a bit uneasy by having to open your windows up to let sun in right throughout the winter months.

With a dual setup, no longer will you have to forego privacy, as even the thinnest of screening blinds and curtains will still hinder visible eyesight, and protect your interior and daily routine from prying eyes.

This is great for those especially in inner city suburbs, where passing foot and car traffic would be otherwise able to see in, basically rendering your privacy non-existent during winter.

It does wonders for your interior design, too

Anyone that is a connoisseur of curtains and blinds will tell you that a big part of their allure is their ability to easily allow you to tailor the mood inside the home.

Having two options at once, depending on the occasion, can instantly help you set the right tone for practically any moment.

It also allows you to incorporate colour into your interior design, too. Having two coloured curtains or blinds working in tandem alongside the rest of your home’s layout will give your abode a wonderful sense of dimension, whilst also allowing you to redecorate and incorporate your favourite elements of designs your please.

Practicality personified

If it’s accessibility that is most on your mind, dual rollers and rods will deliver this in spades. What’s more, you can even have them motorised for even greater ease of use, as well as delivering a real sense of convenience.

This convenience comes from greater control. Essentially, it is possible to have the screening blinds deployed during the day, whilst also changing them over to the blockout shades should the weather make a sudden turn – all from the press of a button, whether you are at work or out shopping or socialising.

Whilst this is true for single blinds and curtains as well, the motorised aspect definitely does transform dual rollers and rods into something spectacular, and allows you to fine tune your home’s look and feel in an instant.

blinds in a sitting room

Blinds are all the rage as far as affordable home improvements are concerned.

Quick and simple to be installed, hassle-free in terms of the options available and the benefits that they provide, as well as the accent they can provide to the home interior, it’s little wonder why so many blinds providers have popped up all over the place in recent years.

Blinds come in all forms, each offering their own unique characteristics, not just for aesthetic detail, but for convenience and purpose.

In this article we’ll run through a few of the more popular types of blinds, what their best use is, and exactly which type of home they will suit, both for interior decorating purposes and functionality.

Venetian blinds

Venetian blinds have come a very long way from the old aluminium and frail window dressings that once existed many years ago. Now available in a wide range of materials, vibrant colours, and built to last, venetian blinds can be a great addition to your home.

They suit a wide variety of interior styles, as they can be made to perfectly fit the aesthetic look of both modern and traditional appearances. The more popular of these are PVC and timber, which offer excellent light blocking qualities, whilst seamlessly fitting into the home’s appearances.

Venetian blinds now are also very easy to use, and even easier to clean if you go the PVC or large blade aluminium route, and are a great choice for those who are perhaps too busy or lack the time to devote as much of it to maintenance.

Blockout blinds

Blockout blinds are arguably the most popular interior addition in Australia at the moment. Their simple function, simple appearance, and popular contemporary appearance means they’re a staple in many new home builds, and a great option for those who want a similar interior style.

Blockout blinds were created with the purpose in mind to be able to shield interiors that otherwise suffered from prolonged periods to sunlight. This purpose has not changed, and they are still definitely ideal if your home has this issue during the summer months.

These types of blinds have also lately been used in more commercial applications, often having brands or other promotional material printed on them to heighten the exposure of the shopfront on a busy main street.

Screening blinds

Screening blinds provide the complete opposite of what their blockout cousins do, but that offers a great benefit to many homeowners.

As the name suggests, these window coverings screen and magnify the light that passes through them, and can often make otherwise darker parts of the home lighter and more welcoming.

Screening blinds can work seamlessly with traditional interior spaces, and can often be used in conjunction with curtains to add to the style, whilst also offering a blockout feature. Screening blinds can be a bit tricky to clean though, given the lighter colours they come in, so bear that in mind if you are a person that is busy and time poor.

Roman blinds

Roman blinds have undergone a bit of a revolution in recent times, with their very traditional and recognisable folding design being appropriated to create a new wave of modernistic romans that are suitable for many contemporary homes.

Their strong folding construct means that they are adept at hosting many different types of fabrics, from soft satins, to more rigid fabrics. This allows them to seamlessly fit a blockout or screening function, as well as working solely as a decorative instrument in the home interior.

Roman blinds, however, can be problematic to clean and use. So if you are looking for convenience and accessibility, you may be better off looking at roller blinds such as screening or blockout ones.