In my four decades of living with Arts and Crafts furniture, I have had to deal with some unfortunate accidents, from cat scratches on a leather-topped table to my young son putting his foot through a glass bookcase door.
But the most damage in my home and many others has been done by the silent and invisible ultraviolet rays of the sun. And what many don’t realize is that even on cloudy days those damaging rays are fading our furniture, fabric, and artwork.
Short of living in a darkroom, our solutions are only partially effective, but any protection we can provide while still enjoying the view of our gardens is better than none. Here, then, are some suggestions from the experts.
Windows – Standard windows let in about 70% of the sun’s rays. Energy efficient windows only lower that down to around 60%. Skylights are considered the worst culprits, for most people have no means of blocking the sunlight coming through them. The effectiveness of stained glass windwos will be totally dependent on how much colored glass there is versus clear glass.
Curtains, blinds, and shutters – Unless they block 100% of the light, some damage might still be done. Their greatest drawback is that they are often unsightly. Regardless, be sure to keep them closed when no one is in the room.
Solar roller blinds – These are considered less intrusive than traditional curtains, and continue to grow in in popularity. The percentage of ultra-violet rays that are blocked is dependent on the brand and the fabric, so do your research before investing.
Interior window film – This is presently considered the most effective and least obvious means of blocking the rays of the sun. This film is best applied by a trained professional, as it can be a challenge to install without getting unsightly wrinkles and bubbles. The best are 99% effective. Once properly installed, the film can be washed just like a window, except without ever using anything sharp. Note: some window warranties are voided if a UV film is applied, so if your windows are new, inquire first. Some film firms will offer an override warranty on your windows.
Rearrange your furniture and accessories – Obviously, this doesn’t solve the problem so much as it prevents one or two pieces in your collection from taking the brunt of the rays. In addition, since some sunlight is always in your house, move your accessories around to avoid having a dark circle left under one of them.
– Bruce Johnson