Sunlight: The Silent, Deadly Killer


Summer is drawing near and the age-old problem of saving your prized possessions from the heat of the sun once again becomes a relevant topic.


Sunlight illuminates damage on a wooden deck.


As much as we lament the damage done to our Arts & Crafts furniture by pets, guests, vacuum cleaners, mops, children and, of course, our own carelessness, there is one silent, invisible killer on the loose – the sun.

And as much as we love sunlight streaming through our windows and our panoramic views – even if just of the neighbors’ yard – we might as well be leaving our doors open to burglars when it comes to protecting our furniture, textiles and carpets.

The ultra-violet rays of the sun, those same rays that can damage our skin and our eyes, are slowly, steadily bleaching the color and the life out of any wood, stain, dye, fabric or leather they can reach – even if just for a few minutes each day. You’ve seen the evidence: dark areas beneath rugs, bleached out backs to leather couches, lightened sides of bookcases and pale table tops over dark bases.

Re-arranging our furniture doesn’t always solve the problem. Besides, how many different places can you fit an Arts & Crafts sideboard?

Here, then, are some solutions to the problem – and their inherent drawbacks.


1.) Close the drapes, curtains or shutters. This method works, provided you have them on key windows. If you do, then this is an inexpensive solution to the problem. If you don’t, then you have to compare the cost to other methods. The drawback, too, is that the late afternoon sun is the most damaging, and that’s generally when we are home enjoying the view and the sunlight.

2.) Install retractable awnings. This, too, can be expensive, but it may preserve your view while blocking the sun. If you live in an historic house, you have to also consider the impact awnings would have on it.

3.) Have tinted film installed on your windows. The percentage of U-V rays that tinted film can block varies, so do your research carefully. The biggest drawback, especially to the less expensive films, is that they darken your window. Like sunglasses, people claim you quickly get used to it. And unless you have experience, let the professionals do it. Often the do-it-yourself films end up with distracting bubbles and creases.

4.) Install new windows. Big gulp. Not only are windows expensive, but the glass that can block as much as 99% of the U-V rays is even more expensive. Probably not your solution for the existing house, but if you are undertaking a renovation or building a new home, that would be the time to invest in them.


Good Luck!

– Bruce Johnson

This article has been republished. Original date of publication: August 21st, 2018.