Many people choose to have conservatories installed in their home so that they can enjoy bright sunlight and relative warmth without having to leave their home and venture out into the unpredictable British weather. Whether using the conservatory as a dining space, a place for relaxation or somewhere to entertain, they’re a wonderful – and valuable – addition to the home.
One thing that all conservatories need, however, is a way to control the sunlight that streams in from every angle. Having blinds installed is a great way to do this – there are a multitude of options designed to suit your own needs, and they give you full control over how much sunlight manages to creep into your conservatory. Here’s how to ensure you choose the right blinds for yours:
Type of conservatory blinds
The first thing you’ll need to think about is what type of blinds you want to have installed. There are four types of blind that rank among the most popular for conservatories in the UK:
Roman blinds – these blinds consist of a horizontal rail and a section of fabric, which can be pulled downwards manually for total control. Simple, elegant and effortlessly stylish, these blinds come in an almost inexhaustible range of colours, patterns and design style, so it’s easy to choose blinds that work with your existing conservatory décor. You can even have them lined to provide total blackout when they’re extended, if you fancy breakfast in your conservatory without blinding morning light streaming through!
Roller blinds – simple, effective and enduringly popular, these blinds provide privacy and ambience when they’re pulled down, but when they’re rolled up fully, they almost disappear into the window frame, allowing the largest amount of light to come through. Most manufacturers can provide a made-to-measure service for your roller blinds, to ensure they’re tailor-made to your conservatory space – and as with the Roman blinds, there are a multitude of styles and designs to choose from.
Pleated blinds – a stylish alternative to roller blinds, the ‘concertina’ effect that the pleats on these blinds provide injects some interest into the room. If you want to make a focal point of your blinds, rather than simply installing them as a necessity, pleated blinds make a great choice. They do take up more window space than any of the other popular options – but for those who are making a feature of their blinds, this is likely to be an advantage; it means they’re always on show!
And lastly.. venetian blinds – usually made of wood or metal, these blinds are great if you want to be able to adjust the amount of light that comes into the space. Horizontal venetian blinds are also great for creating an illusion of space.
Choosing a blind material
When choosing the right material for your blinds, you need to think about what you’re installing blinds for. Are you looking to increase the privacy in your conservatory without blocking too much light? In this case, a thinner material would be perfect – it obscures the view from the outside without plunging those inside into darkness! Are you getting blinds to keep your conservatory cool when the sun is blazing down? You’ll need to consider thermal fabrics for heat control. If you’re simply getting blinds to make you conservatory look fabulous, choose any material you like – as long as it fits with your interior style!
Measuring the space
In order to ensure your blinds are inch-perfect, you’ll need to provide very accurate measurements to your blind specialist. Here’s how:
Step 1 – Identify if your window has a recess – and if so, decide whether your blind will slot into the recess or sit just outside it. Make sure there’s nothing that can prevent the blind from hanging straight downwards, including window handles or permanent fixtures.
Step 2 – Using a metal tape measure (they’re more accurate), measure the width of your window at three different points to ensure you get the same reading. If you’re planning on getting Roman or Venetian blinds, reduce the total width by 1-2cm to ensure the blind can extend smoothly.
Step 3 – Measure the length of the windows using the same approach – choose three separate points and measure straight down. Again, reduce the length by a small amount to prevent fabric from clattering into your windowsill every time it’s extended.
Step 4 – If you want your blinds to cover the whole window without a recess, measure the outside of the window frame and add around 10cm to the measurements (so you’ll have a 5cm overlap on every side, great for light-blocking).
Do you want your blinds to be as low-maintenance as possible, or are you happy to give them a clean once every week or so? Roller blinds and Roman blinds are perhaps the blind types that require the least maintenance – there’s no surface for dust to settle on, which means they’ll stay pristine for longer. Venetian blinds, especially if they’re horizontal, do tend to gather a lot of dust – but all you need to do is give them a quick once-over with a feather duster or a microfibre cloth every week to keep them looking perfect.
Other things to think about
If you have a particularly large window in your conservatory, consider breaking it up into two or three separate blinds, rather than having one large one – this will allow you further control over heat and light.
Always request fabric samples before you commit to buying – you don’t want to place an order for a set of blinds and discover the material clashes with something in your home!
Be sure to shop around. There are a multitude of blinds available out there, with different retailers and manufacturers offering plenty of variety. Don’t just settle for the first blinds you lay eyes on!
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