The Zero Stress Guide to Conservatories


What You Need To Know Before You Buy a Conservatory

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Conservatory Blinds

Top tips

  • Pleated blinds are considered the most effective style
  • Pinoleum blinds give a more traditional look and feel
  • Free-standing shutters can reduce glare

The ability to control heat and glare is essential if the conservatory is to be usable throughout the year and blinds are the traditional way of offering protection from the sun in the summer and helping to retain heat in the winter.

The available range of styles and materials means you’ll be spoilt for choice but, as with all home furnishings, your decision will be dictated by your budget and your lifestyle.

Conservatory BlindsPleated blinds are the not only the most popular choice, but also the most effective, since they reflect up to 83% of the sun’s heat. Available in a wide range of colours and patterns, they are very easy to maintain, especially if treated to repel dirt and damp. Remember to check the width of the pleats before buying – the slimmer the pleat, the neater the overall look. Pleated blinds ‘concertina’ away tidily and can be automated for remote operation.

For maximum effectiveness, it is recommended that they be also treated with a special solar finish.

Roman blinds provide a more traditional alternative. Although available in a number of materials the usual choice is French pinoleum, which comprises thin strips of woven wood that filters sunlight very gently and has first-class solar properties. This classic wood-weave style perfectly complements the rattan and wicker furniture often chosen for a conservatory. However, note that some materials used for Roman blinds – such as bamboo – are not suitable for roof blinds. Like pleated blinds, Roman blinds can be automated for remote control.

Roller blinds can be produced in a wide range of fabrics although the best choice for conservatories feature special solar-reflective aluminium backing to provide essential temperature and glare control. Not necessarily the most aesthetically appealing option, these blinds nevertheless offer a highly efficient way of deflecting heat build-up and glare.

Creative types with a sewing machine might prefer the more cost-effective option of DIY drapes or shutters. They won’t offer the same degree of protection from heat and glare as professionally-installed blinds, although they will soften the light and cool the atmosphere – how much will depend on the fabrics chosen.

Free-standing tall timber shutters, which are available at most DIY stores, can be positioned to reduce glare through the windows; they are particularly useful if you want to watch television or use a computer. Alternatively, smaller shutters can be fixed to the windows externally although this is a task that should be entrusted to the professionals – it’s definitely not a DIY project.

sun blindsVertical and Venetian blinds, available in wood, wood effect and aluminium, are another option but they can be difficult to fit. What’s more, they are highly efficient dust traps!

Unless going down the DIY route, do have your conservatory measured by the supplier who will be fitting the blinds rather than providing the measurements yourself.

Once they are in place you will find that they significantly enhance the conditions in your conservatory, making it a pleasant and enjoyable place to work, rest and play all through the year – rather than a greenhouse in the summer and a fridge in the winter.

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