The Problem With Sunshine
Having a naturally sunlit room is wonderful but really it’s a matter or luck whether the light pours in or not. Those of us living in the UK tend to welcome sunlight, as it’s good for our health and makes us feel cheerful. We actively seek out sunny rooms and houses that are south facing command higher prices for this reason. As far as your furniture is concerned, however, too much light can be a problem. Things like the direction your house faces and the size of your windows make a big difference to the amount of light your rooms get – but that’s not something that’s easy to change! Here are a few thoughts about how to make sure sunlight isn’t going to damage your furniture.
Which way are you facing?
If your lounge or bedroom is south-facing, chances are it will be well lit – certainly better than one that faces north. That’s the good news but as far as your furniture is concerned, you will need to be careful not to place it in direct sunlight. Wood and soft furnishings will fade and the fabric itself will gradually deteriorate over the years. Modern dyes are much more resistant to the effects of ultraviolet light from the sun but red dyes in particular seem prone to fading.
Shading your room
There is no cure for this kind of damage: prevention is key. Either ensure your furniture is away from direct sunlight or shade the windows during the brightest hours. Vertical blinds can be used to allow a certain amount of sun in, while keeping direct light away from furniture – especially useful if you need to put your sofa near the window. Alternatively, close the curtains or consider applying a film to your windows that prevents ultraviolet light from getting into the room.
The Problem With Sunshine – Cover up!
Covering the furniture itself can help prevent sun damage. Your granny (or great granny!) knew best: she used decorative cloth covers known as antimacassars to keep dust, men’s hair oil and sun light away from the back of the sofa. Heavy tablecloths were used to protect the table from spills, dents and the long term fading brought about by exposure to the sun. She also moved the furniture around, to make sure it wasn’t constantly in the light.
Danger – reflected sunlight
Direct sunlight isn’t the only problem as far as furniture is concerned. Light reflected by mirrors, or focused by ornaments and cut glass onto soft furnishings has been known to start fires. It’s best to keep your best crystal vase away from the windowsill and check that mirrors don’t reflect light onto your sofa or cushions. Remember to look at different times of day and in different seasons, as the angle of the sun changes throughout the year.
On the rare sunny days we get during our British summers, it seems a pity to shut out the light but your furniture will thank you and you’ll notice that it stays looking good for longer.