Planning and Controlling Interior Light
Natural light is one of the simplest ways to elevate the style of your home. Ask any photographer and they’ll tell you there just isn’t a substitute for natural light. In the same way that salt lifts the flavours of food, light enhances the features in your home; it illuminates natural stone and highlights texture in timbers, while contrasts in matte materials are further emphasized by natural light in a way that man-made light just can’t imitate. Designers work hard to incorporate as much natural light as possible, from choosing the aspect and size of windows, landscaping and even choosing light reflecting paints to maximise how much of this mood-altering resource can enter your home. Your window furnishings must work in harmony with all these carefully considered design features.
And so, many people think of curtains and blinds as a way of keeping light out, but when choosing your window furnishings you should also consider how much light they will allow in. We spoke to DIY Blinds to get their top tips for choosing window furnishings that will enhance rather than hinder the light in your home.
How can the choice of curtains and blinds in a home dictate the type of light inside?
Many people think of curtains and blinds as a way of simply keeping their bedroom dark while they're trying to sleep, but the right choice of window furnishing should help to enhance the lighting as much as it has the ability to eliminate it.
Sheer curtains or light filtering roller blinds can reduce harsh western sun to a soft gentle light that creates a dreamy glow; the slim profile of roller blinds let you showcase your window in full while creating on-demand privacy; and shutters and Venetian blinds create drama with their contrasting shadows. Block-out curtains and blinds, either on their own or paired with a more sheer window furnishing allow you to have complete control over the light in your home, letting you sleep in for as long as you like or removing the glare from your TV.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to someone who is looking to get new curtains or blinds in their home?
While light is an important consideration when choosing your window furnishings, curtains and blinds also play a huge role in two other areas: privacy and temperature control.
Before choosing your window furnishings, ask yourself these three questions:
- How much light do I want in this room?
Bedrooms: To really enjoy your Sunday sleep-ins, you want a way to eliminate as much light as possible. Block out curtains and blinds or plantation shutters are the best options for this, but a lot of people prefer to layer their window furnishings. If you prefer the look of sheer curtains but still need to eliminate light then you can layer your window furnishings. This can be in the form of a block out roller blind behind a curtain or double roller blinds, with a combination of sunscreen, light filtering or block out Rollers. If you need complete darkness, block-out curtains are an ideal choice or you can install channeled roller blinds where blinds fit in a special frame on both sides of the window so almost no light can escape.
Living Areas: For living areas and lounge rooms, you might just want to diffuse harsh sunlight to reduce the glare of your TV or computer screen. Sheer curtains or light-filtering blinds and sunscreen blinds are ideal for these areas – and still, allow you to see outside.
Sun-screen blinds can also reduce UV light that can cause your furniture and floors to discolour over time
- How much privacy does this room need?
The material used to make your blind can affect the level of privacy you have in a room, but it can also affect how much light comes in. So while you might choose a high-privacy fabric for a bedroom at the front of the house, a south-facing living area that opens onto a private courtyard would benefit from a blind that allows more light.
As a general rule, curtains and blinds with more tightly woven thread provide more privacy. Block out curtains and blinds provide the most privacy but don’t allow much light in while light filtering blinds provide daytime privacy but at night you may be able to see silhouettes from outside. If privacy isn’t as important to you as maintaining your view to the outdoors but you still want to eliminate the glare on your TV or computer and UV rays, you should consider roller blinds or sheer curtains with a more loosely woven thread. Great options to achieve this are curtains from our Aesop, Burano, and Morton range or sunscreen roller blinds in our Onescreen range.
- How much temperature control do I want from my window furnishings?
Many people forget the ability of window furnishings to help control temperature. With the right choice of fabrics, you can keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, making your heating and cooling much more efficient. Some block out curtains including our Belmore range have an acrylic backing that reduces the amount of heat transferred through the window. Before you commit to more expensive fabrics, take into consideration the quality of glass your windows are made from. Double or tripled glazed windows can protect your curtains for longer, or if you have single glazed windows you can line sheer curtains to preserve the front-facing fabric for longer.
Aside from the practical, the best advice for someone choosing window furnishings is to take your time. While we have a range of express fabrics that can be shipped within a matter of days if you’re after something special we can source materials from renowned fabric makers both in Australia and overseas. These take a little bit longer but can be well worth the wait.
If you’re unsure of the right choice of blinds and require a solution quickly, order block out roller blinds fitted on the face of your architrave. This is the most forgiving installation and you can always layer them later by upgrading to a double roller blind or, for a luxe feel, add soft S-fold sheer curtains.
Once you’ve lived in the space for a month or two, your lifestyle and use of your space will dictate how much light, privacy, and insulation you require. By experiencing the home first hand, you’ll learn where you’ll need the light defused, or blocked.
What are some of the best DIY blinds options for someone looking to create a lot of light in their homes?
To take advantage of large windows, it pays to plan ahead. A recessed installation for both curtains and blinds creates a seamless design, with roller blinds practically disappearing once raised. When the blinds are open, you’ll barely notice they’re there. Motorised blinds can hide window furnishings even more by eliminating the need for blind chains.
You can also opt for a face-fit for both curtains and blinds, that allow you to extend the curtains and blinds past the edge of the window, allowing maximum light and also making your windows appear larger.
How can someone maintain privacy while also allowing lots of natural light into their homes?
Depending on your preferred choice of window furnishing, there are many techniques to increase privacy in your home without sacrificing natural light. One of the most popular choices for street-facing window furnishings in period homes is our plantation shutters. You can adjust light and privacy by simply tilting the shutters, while the structure lines enhance curb-appeal, especially for weatherboard homes.
If you need complete darkness in the morning, but light with added privacy during the day we recommend a double roller blind or layering blockout blinds with a sheer curtain. This option gives you the most control over both privacy and light, allowing you to choose the option that suits you best for any time of day.
If you’re unsure about how much privacy any of our fabric ranges provide you, we suggest ordering free samples and taping them to your window. Pay attention to the sample at different times of the day to see how much light and privacy they provide both from inside and outside the home.
What are the biggest trends you’re seeing when it comes to blinds?
The biggest trend to window furnishing is the rise in popularity of S-fold curtains. These loosely-structured yet still flowing curtains are easy to maintain and you only have to set-up the shape once, offering true effortless luxury. This compares to more traditional structures like pinch pleats, knife pleats, or pencil pleats. Although they look fabulous in glossy mags, what most people don’t realise is that the effort involved in dressing them. Dressing a curtain involves physically manipulating the drapery by hand so that the curtain folds and drapes in an aesthetically pleasing way. This often involves a steamer and a 30min fight with gravity.
With S-fold curtains, all the hard work is done within the structured heading, so if you’re DIYing you can achieve a pristine look without the effort of dressing. Another reason S-fold curtains have grown in popularity is the long vertical lines created by the structured S-fold. These long lines help to elongate the wall make smaller spaces appear tall and grand.
Plantation shutters and Venetian blinds are also making a return thanks to their geometric design and durability. Our Polylux shutters hold up in even humid rooms like bathrooms, making them a popular choice, while Venetians are an ideal choice for modern mid-century design. Not to mention the luxe factor, and how S-fold curtains help to soften and elevate a space. Wall to wall curtains and floor to ceiling curtains were once only seen in multi-million dollar homes, or hotels. You can now get the same designer curtains for 1/2 the price by buying direct from the factory. And if you’re not comfortable DIYing the install, we offer measure and installation services in most metro areas in Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, and ACT, as well as some regional areas.
You can explore more of DIY Blinds products on their website.