When summer comes around, you don’t want to run your air conditioning continually just to stay cool. There are other ways you can keep heat out of your house. These methods also help keep your utility bill lower and are more environmentally friendly.
Using the right type of curtain will keep your room cooler. The Department of Energy states that 76% of sunlight turns to heat as it enters your home through your windows. Even if you have double-pane windows, using a window covering will keep that heat out of your home.
There are different types and styles of curtains. Some fabrics and colors work better to keep your room cooler, so read on to make sure you get the best curtains for your home.
What Are Curtains?
Curtains are a specific type of window covering that you use inside of your home. Designers size them to fit the window. Other coverings, like blinds and drapes, can also keep sunlight from heating your home, but they’re not as effective or stylish as curtains.
Blinds can have vertical or horizontal slats. You can find blinds made from wood, metal, or plastic, and come in various colors and widths. But there are still gaps where the sun can slip through and heat your room.
Drapes are similar to curtains in that they hang on the inside of the window. Drapes are longer, reaching to the floor instead of ending at the windowsill.
Because curtains fit the exact size of the window, they are the most efficient for keeping rooms cool. They won’t let in gaps of sunlight or add the bulk of extra material to your interior.
It might be tempting to open your curtains on beautiful days so you can see the sun, but this will cause your room to heat up. Keep curtains closed in rooms where the sun is shining. As the sun moves across the sky throughout the day, you can open curtains and enjoy the beautiful day without raising the interior temperature.
What Color Curtains Make a Room Cooler?
Darker colors might seem like they would keep heat out because they block the light that comes through. However, dark colors draw in the heat and will pull it into the room. Therefore, you want to choose lighter-colored fabrics to use for curtains that will best keep the heat out of your room.
Light-colored curtains go well with neutral rooms and are timeless in terms of style. Light colors not only keep your home cooler, but they’ll also help your space look larger. Dark colors tend to make spaces seem smaller because they keep out the light and make a room feel like a cave.
Another benefit of choosing light curtains is that they won’t fade from the sun. If you hang dark curtains in a window that gets direct sunlight, the color will wash out quickly and you’ll have to replace them.
You might already have a set of dark curtains that perfectly match your decor. Instead of throwing them out to buy all new curtains, consider getting a thermal liner and hanging it between the window glass and the curtains.
These liners will prevent heat from entering the room, and they will also keep the sun from leeching the color out of your dark curtains.
If you’re worried that light-colored curtains will show dirt and dust easily, pick a fabric that is easy to spot clean or wash. Doing an extra load of laundry every few months is more efficient than cracking up your air conditioning to ensure you stay cool all summer.
What Fabric is Best for Curtains?
Almost any curtain is better than no curtain, but you probably want to stay away from silk. The material is so thin that it doesn’t do much good—the sun will stream right through them. Many light-colored fabrics are also thinner, though not as thin as silk.
So, even if you choose light-colored curtains, you’ll want to ensure the fabric is thick enough to keep out the heat.
Closed-weave fabrics like cotton will insulate better than open-weave fabrics, which let air pass through more freely. Higher thread counts will also prevent heat from penetrating the curtain. Using multiple layers of these types of fabrics will ensure your room stays cool when you keep the curtains closed.
The best fabric to keep heat out of your home is a triple-woven fabric. Many thermal curtains use two layers of this material and work well to keep the room cool. Just because thermal curtains are thick doesn’t mean they’ll make your home dark; you can find this fabric in many colors and prints.
The thicker the fabric, the more effectively the curtains will keep the heat out of the home. Some curtains even have plastic or thermal backing that provides a barrier between the glass and the curtain itself. If your curtains don’t have these, you can buy them as liners and add them to your curtain rod.
You can also hang blinds and cover them with curtains. This will give you two layers of protection from the sun’s heat, but you’ll get the decorative benefit of curtains on the interior.
Anything you do to keep your room cooler in the heat will work for you in cold weather as well. Having multiple layers protecting your window will keep heat from escaping in winter, which again will lower your utility bill.
In addition to keeping curtains closed against the sun, make sure they’re installed so they hang as close to the glass as possible. Heat will enter through the glass, so if you have curtains right next to the glass, there will be less room for the heat to get inside.
You can also install a cornice at the top of the window. This will keep the sunlight’s heat from rising and entering the room from the gap at the top of the curtains.
Make sure you have enough curtain width to cover the sides of the window as well. To keep the curtains closed, you can add Velcro in the center to keep them from drifting apart and letting heat into the room.
You can use reflective screens or film on your window to prevent the sunlight from heating the glass. If you still feel too much heat coming into your room, consider installing more energy-efficient windows.
If you’re wondering “Will curtains keep a room cooler?” then the answer is yes. You can pick from different materials and colors to get the most out of your curtains. Since they’re so versatile, you’re sure to find something that not only keeps your room cool but also looks nice with your decor.
Even if you pick a plain, light-colored fabric, you can still elevate the decor in your home. Neutral colors are classically stylish and will make your interior spaces seem larger than they are. Whether you have them closed against the heat or open to let some natural light in, they’ll look great in your home.
Anything you do to keep the heat out of your home in summer will benefit you in winter as well. Keeping thermal curtains closed against the cold will ensure the heat stays inside your house. With light-colored curtains made of the right fabric, you’ll be comfortable year-round.
To maximize the benefits of using other window coverings to lower your utility bill, consider visiting the Department of Energy to see what they recommend in addition to curtains. Using exterior awnings and glass coatings will ensure your house conserves energy no matter the outside temperature.