Choosing Curtains for Sun Protection

Choosing Curtains for Sun Protection

Window treatments play a huge role in summer energy efficiency, so it’s important to choose curtains for sun protection. They’ll filter the harshest of the sun’s rays, helping reduce heat transfer, so you don’t have to crank up the AC. Drapery also protects your furniture and carpets from fading, which can be an issue in south- and west-facing rooms. Finally, the right sun-protecting curtains will introduce a fresh, summer-iffic vibe to any space.

Consider switching out your curtains twice a year for a high-impact facelift – especially in social spaces like living rooms – and to offer season-specific home-comfort (sun protection in spring/summer; insulation in fall/winter). Here are six great curtains for sun protection, and stylish summer living.


1. Blackout curtains

The ultimate sun protection curtain, blackout curtains are lined with a special barrier to prevent any light from passing through. They’re an especially popular choice for urban bedrooms, kids’ rooms, and home theatre rooms. As an added bonus, they block noise, too.

Sun protection factor: Maximum.


2. Lined curtains

Curtains backed with lining offer better sun protection than single-layer fabric curtains. Linings make drapery hang better with their additional weight, so lining is as much as aesthetic choice as a sun protection one. Regular lining increases any fabric curtain’s sun protection factor, but for maximum sun protection, opt for a blackout lining.

Sun protection factor: High to very high, depending on lining.


3. Light-coloured curtains

Lighter hued curtains reflect rather than absorb sunlight. This reduces the amount of solar energy entering a room, although without a lining or under-treatment such as a shade, this is a solution for rooms with minimal sun-protection needs, such as a sunroom or north-facing room.

Sun protection factor: Light. Boost it with lining or an under-treatment.


4. Layered curtains

Layered window treatments offer fantastic versatility when it comes to sun protection. Start with an under-treatment such as a blind or shade, and then install drapery overtop. Choose among sheers, curtains, even a valance. Open or draw the layers depending on how much sun protection versus view you want at any time of day.

Sun protection factor: Moderate to high, depending on choice of lining or under-treatment.


5. Reflective curtains

Reflective curtains are made from a silvery, opaque material that reflects light rather than letting it into the room. Visible from the exterior, they won’t be from the interior when layered beneath the fabric of your choice.

Sun protection factor: High.


6. Fabrics for curtains

Although practically any fabric can be used for curtains, traditional drapery weight fabrics are the best choice if you want an unlined solution with enough weight to act as a curtain for sun protection. Because drapery weight fabrics are woven tightly (hence the sun protection), they are durable enough to be used elsewhere in the room too, on upholstery or cushions.

Sun protection factor: Moderate. Boost it by adding a lining or under-treatment.