A conservatory is a popular addition to a home and can add a new dimension due to the airy and spacious feel it gives. However, sometimes the very nature of their being a big, glassy room allowing heat and light to flood in can ironically be a limiting factor.
Sometimes, on bright and warm days, the combination of too much light, glare and excessive heat can make the conservatory a no-go area. Conversely, in the evenings and darker winter months the lack of privacy and feeling one is in a goldfish bowl when electric lights are on sees many rarely used at those times of year.
It’s a pity if the conservatory, something that may have been the cause of much investment and expenditure, may be underused due to heat and lighting problems. Fitting and using the right type of blinds is a major way to encourage increased use.
Different Lighting Demands
Just having some blinds installed is all very well, but to get the best out of a conservatory the blinds have to be the right type to manage the light at different times of the year and maybe even during the same day and evening.
When darkness falls, along with the ‘feeling on view’ factor, there is the sometimes unpleasant reflections of electric light on the inside of the windows and the mirror effect.
Blinds can help here as they conceal the conservatory from the outside and can diffuse electric light to make the space a very pleasant one to occupy during a dark evening. Choice of lighting type is also important.
How To Decide
What type of light issues are there?
- Is there a lot of glare at certain times of the day?
- What direction does the conservatory face?
- What uses is the conservatory going to be put to? (Will people be using a computer or will there be a television? If so, possible glare on the screen will need managing).
- Is the conservatory likely to be used in the evening and the daytime or mainly one or the other?
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How Adjustable Should Blinds Be?
Regularly changing needs mean the blinds may have to be adjusted frequently. In the evening all the blinds may be covering the glass so as to avoid the feel of being ‘on display’, whereas in the daytime they might be opened up to let light in.
It’s therefore important to decide on the likely light management required – and possibly factor in possible future needs. Maybe, in time, the conservatory might fulfil a function as a home office during the warmer weather? In which case, blinds that can manage light for a comfortable work environment need to be considered.
Light Managing Options
Style of Blind
Certain blinds such as the popular roller type are flexible and easy for adjustment although the right type of blind for the decor of the conservatory will inevitably be a key factor. For example, the Roman-style blinds made of thin strips of wood called pinoleum are popular when the ‘traditional’ conservatory furniture types of wicker and rattan are chosen.
Type of Blind
Are roof blinds required? Combating direct sunlight when the sun is at its highest makes roof blinds an important option – but maybe not if the conservatory doesn’t attract much overhead direct sunlight.
Arewindow blinds required? Managing light for periods when low sun slants in, for privacy, and to avoid the ‘goldfish bowl’ feeling when darkness falls and lights are switched on means easily adjustable window blinds would be needed.
A popular option is to ‘mix and match’ blind types in the interests of costs and versatility. For example, a combination of pleated blinds for the roof and roller blinds for the windows might be considered in the interests of cost-effectiveness and ease of adjustment.
Ease of Adjustment
If regular amounts of adjusting to meet differing lighting needs is required – quite likely in a conservatory being used day and evening and all through the year – then being able to do this quickly and easily is important.
Roller blinds are quick to adjust and can be ‘held’ in various different positions, so for situations where relatively frequent adjustments for natural or artificial light have to be made they’re a sound option.
For roof blinds in particular, the motorised option is worth considering. Tugging regularly at adjustment pulleys, cords and wielding adjustment poles for hard to reach roof blinds can soon become a chore – not to mention the possible dangers dangling cords can be to children and pets. Some blinds specialists offer a range of adjustment types often by remote control.
Light and Shade
To avoid the conservatory becoming a seldom used ‘white elephant’ in the home, the managing of both natural and artificial light is – along with temperature management – a main consideration in terms of making the most of the space and getting maximum use out of it.
The key priority is to assess needs thoroughly and choose blinds carefully for their suitability to meet respective lighting needs. It’s worth enlisting the help of a reputable blinds specialist who can help plan the best combination of conservatory blinds for your requirements.