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They say the sunsets are best on the West Coast, and we tend to agree. There’s no denying the magic of sun-kissed days in vibrant Orange County and Southern California. From light-bathed coastlines to golden rays filtering into homes through backyard palm fronds, Californians understand the power of sunlight as an incredible life and health resource. A sunny home is a happy — and healthy — one. Basking in a light-filled sunroom increases serotonin, boosts vitamin D development, decreases anxiety and can help stave off seasonal affective disorder. While the sun offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to understand the adverse effects of prolonged sun exposure. Ultraviolet radiation from sunlight can increase the risk of premature aging and cancer. Just as UV rays damage skin, they can also degrade your home interior over time. Sunblock may work wonders to protect your skin from harm, but how can you safeguard your home and furniture exposed to UV rays every day?
UV Light Effects on Home InteriorsSunlight can do a surprising amount of irreversible damage to your home if left unprotected, especially to the following belongings.
- Furniture: Fabric-covered furniture is particularly susceptible to color fading. Textile dyes contain chromophores — color components that absorb light. Whenever we see color, we view the light wavelengths reflected by specific chemical bonds. UV exposure changes furniture’s color because it alters the chemical bond in the material.
- Flooring: Long-term exposure to UV rays will lighten or discolor wood flooring. This photodegradation varies by wood species, stain treatment and sealant finish.
- Artwork: Even lower light levels may damage wall decor, paintings, drawings and photographs if exposed for long enough periods. UV radiation causes photodegradation, which changes art at the molecular level, resulting in faded colors and paint cracking.
5 Ways to Protect Your Home From UV RaysWith NASA scientists finding the amount of UV radiation reaching Earth has increased over the past 30 years, it’s now more imperative than ever to learn how to protect your home from sunlight. While you can’t slather your furniture in sunblock, the good news is that you can take the following protective steps to shield your belongings from UV damage.
1. Cycle or Rearrange FurnitureThere’s no better feeling than curling up in your favorite sun-warmed chair on a cozy afternoon. However, daily exposure to natural light will take a toll on your furniture. From faded fabrics to wood discoloration, your furnishings are vulnerable to the effects of prolonged UV exposure. Extend your furniture’s life by cycling pieces seasonally. Swap your sunbathed living room couch with the loveseat from your windowless den twice a year. Evaluate your furniture layout and rearrange items to move them out of direct sunlight. Consider using light-colored couches and chairs, as the amount of fading in lighter fabrics is less noticeable.
2. Cover Your FurnitureOne of the most desirable features among today’s homebuyers is natural sunlight throughout the home. Whatever your reason for letting in the light, sometimes you can’t avoid placing furniture in the path of those UV rays. Maybe you keep the blinds open because your cat loves to watch the birds outside. Or perhaps you’re one of the numerous houseplant enthusiasts with a growing collection that needs sunlight to thrive. In high-exposure rooms, cover seating with UV-blocking slipcovers and use tile, glass and stone-topped tables instead of wooden furniture pieces.
3. Protect Your FloorsDo you have a specific floor area continuously blasted by direct sunlight? Cover smaller sunny spots with rugs and runners. Be mindful that placing rugs in a light-filled, hardwood-floored room may lead to lightened wood around the rugs. Those telltale rectangular patches are visible in many older homes, signs where each rug lived for years at a time. If sun-bleached floors are a concern, wall-to-wall area rugs are the safest option for even coverage. Wood floors with water-based pigment stains keep their color far longer than oil-based finishes. You can also treat wood flooring with a UV-inhibiting finish, which reduces the intensity and rate of fading. Like fabrics, darker colors fade faster, so choosing lighter floors improves your chance of avoiding discoloration.
4. Add Window FilmUV-protection window film is a translucent polyester or vinyl sheet that clings to your window glass. Through your home’s windows, sunlight can fade carpets, furniture and art. Installing UV-protective window film blocks up to 99% of UV rays, shielding your furniture and family against adverse effects of sun exposure. As a bonus, UV-filtering film improves heating and cooling efficiency and diminishes glare — making this an ideal window treatment for offices with computer monitors and living rooms with television screens.
5. Install Custom Window TreatmentsOne of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to protect your home from UV rays is to install window coverings suited to each room based on its sunlight exposure and your usage preferences. Custom drapes, curtains, blinds and shades provide different levels of defense and come in a wide array of styles to complement your home furnishings. Read on to learn how UV-blocking custom window treatments will safeguard your furniture and loved ones for years to come.
How to Protect Your Home From UV Rays With Window TreatmentsNot all window coverings are equally capable of shielding your belongings from harmful UV rays. Talk to window treatment professionals about solutions that fit your lifestyle, aesthetic preferences, budget and home’s sunlight levels. Here are some of the best window treatment solutions to improve energy efficiency and prevent damage from prolonged UV exposure.
- Custom outdoor shades: In sunny Southern California, homeowners expand their living spaces outside, adding usable square footage the whole family can enjoy. Patios, verandas and open-air transitional California rooms extend the indoor environment, combining the best of indoor comfort with outdoor airflow and nature. These indoor-outdoor entertaining spaces house furniture and decor just like traditional rooms — and they require special protection from UV rays and the elements. Perfect for outdoor spaces, custom outdoor shades handle rain and wind gusts up to 60 mph and are available in motorized options for convenience. Durable outdoor shades protect your furniture, family and pets from direct sunlight.
- Roman shades: Timeless and functional, Roman shades cover the window as a smooth, flat panel when closed or let in the light when open as attractive layered pleats. One of the oldest window coverings on record, these shades trace back to ancient Romans who used cloth window treatments to keep their houses cooler and prevent dust from entering their homes. Today, made-to-order Roman shades are available in hundreds of fabrics and patterns, offering superior style, privacy and UV protection. Roman shades stop thermal transfer so you can maintain a comfortable temperature level inside all year.
- Sunscreens and room-darkening shades: Sunscreen window shades are available in different transparency options, filtering the ideal amount of natural light to provide a warm ambiance while reducing glare and providing privacy. Room-darkening shades live up to their name — their opaque nature significantly reduces light, offering a much higher level of UV blockage.
- Custom drapes: While most curtains block at least a little light, some fabrics are more translucent than others, and different styles offer varying degrees of sunlight protection. Custom fabric drapes feature higher-quality construction, material choices and UV-blocking options, resulting in window coverings as protective as they are beautiful. Unlike with off-the-shelf coverings, custom drapery manufacturers measure their products to a precise fit, so closed drapes provide maximum UV protection. And custom looks are available in numerous styles and patterns, ensuring the finished look works seamlessly with your decor.