Fading Furniture: 6 Ways to Prevent Sun Damage This Summer

UPDATED: 08/25/18

Summer is here, which means it’s time to throw open the curtains and let the sunshine in.

Like most homeowners, you probably want to let it as much natural light as possible: natural sunlight enhances the appearance of any room. It brings out colors, makes the space appear larger, and even brightens your mood. It almost always makes sense to let in as much light as possible.

However, there is one negative outcome that can result from natural light: it can fade your carpet, curtains, fabric, and even wood. The UV rays in the sunlight can cause something called photodegradation. That’s a process in which the UV rays break down many of the chemicals that exist in the dyes in furniture and carpeting fabric. When those chemicals break down, the color begins to fade.

What’s the solution? On one hand, you want to enjoy the season’s beautiful weather and allow sunlight into your home; on the other hand, you want to protect your furniture, carpeting, and other design elements.

Let’s look at six solutions to help you take advantage of natural light while protecting your home’s interior. Consider putting these solutions into practice this summer and the next to keep your home looking bright and colorful.

How to Prevent Sunlight from Fading Your Furniture

#1 Take care of your furnishings.

Caring for your belongings doesn’t just extend their lifespan: it also keeps them looking newer, for longer.

Consider sealing your wood furniture with varnish, lacquer, polyurethane, shellac, wax, or oil. (The sealant you choose depends on the type of wood and the finish you want.) Also consider spraying fabric items with an upholstery fabric protecter and applying conditioner to leather items.

That said, this option has a few caveats: caring for your furnishings won’t completely prevent color fading; it can only slow it down. In addition, this option works well if you have the time to regularly maintain your furniture. It might not be for you if you have a busy lifestyle or aren’t home very often.

#2 Choose decor mindfully.

If you are building a new house or redecorating your current home, you can help preserve your home’s interior just be choosing the right colors and fabric. This is because not all furnishings fade at the same rate.

Certain colors fade faster than others. Dark colors, in general, fade faster than lighter colors; red is the color that fades the fastest. If you love the color red, consider using it as an accent color instead of your main color: you can switch out faded red pillows far more cheaply and easily than switching out a red sofa.

Also consider your fabric choices. Certain fabrics fade faster than others. Silk will fade quicker than cotton, for example. Fabrics labeled for outdoor use will also be sturdier than “indoor” fabrics because they are engineered to withstand the elements.

#3 Install window treatments.

You can protect your home’s interior is by hanging curtains, blinds, or other window treatments. Open them when you want to let light in and close them to keep the light out.

Of course, this isn’t a perfect solution. The problem with this solution is that you don’t get as much natural light—which probably isn’t what you want. In addition, some window treatments can be costly: in order to block the most UV rays, curtains have to be made of heavy fabric. (Heavy fabric is more expensive than lighter fabric.) If you have a lot of windows or very large windows, the cost of replacing your curtains can add up.

Still, this solution might be right for you if you just want to protect your pieces from the harshest mid-day summer sun. If that’s the case, consider closing your window treatments in the afternoon and opening them in the evening.

#4 Rearrange the space.

If you have just a few pieces that you are worried about—say, an antique chair or a valuable work of art—consider redecorating.

You can rearrange the layout of the room so that the most vulnerable pieces aren’t in direct sunlight. You might also try using other design elements, like throw blankets and pillows, to cover up couches and chairs that are susceptible to fading.

This option is good for homeowners who enjoy changing it up and for those who are on a strict budget: rearranging the layout of most rooms is completely free. However, this option won’t work for you if your room’s layout is fixed.

#5 Apply window film.

Applying film to your windows is a great option for most homeowners—it’s an option that is cost-effective and doesn’t require regular maintenance. For those reasons, it’s perfect for the homeowner on a budget and the busy homeowner.

Window film is a thin laminate that can be installed on the inside or outside of your home. Today’s film improves the energy efficiency of your home (another bonus) and blocks up to 90 percent of UV rays.

The best part is that window film doesn’t restrict your view or decrease the amount of light coming in to your home. You’ll get the benefit of natural light without the damage that can come from UV rays.

While you can apply window film as a DIY project, it’s usually best handled by professionals. If it is applied incorrectly, you could have unattractive air bubbles in the film. With professional application, you won’t even be able to tell that there is film on your windows.

#6 Install new windows.

Finally, you may want to think about new windows as an option. Many window companies offer solutions that filter out UV rays, protecting your furniture and other belongings from fading.

New windows not only protect your furniture, they also boost your home’s energy efficiency. Today’s double-pane windows are designed to better insulate your home (keeping your rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer), thereby lowering your energy bills.

If your home has old, inefficient single-pane windows, now may be the time to upgrade.

Call Us Today

Ready to protect your furnishings from sunlight fade? Call us today to discuss window film, new windows, or other solutions. Our residential glass experts would be happy to help you safely take advantage of all the sunlight this summer.