Annually we wait with bated breath for the first rays of spring sunshine to peep through the clouds, then the next moment we're frantically fanning ourselves in an effort to help keep cool in the increasingly stifling summertime. But while we can't control our fickle climate, we can invest in intelligent window treatments that protect ourselves and our interiors.
More adaptable than curtains and more versatile than voiles, the newest shutters and blinds can be found in a complete host of modern materials and super-chic colours, that not merely create a feature of one's windows, but provide flexible sun protection too.
The most recent trends for blinds and shutters
'Wow colours such as for instance yellow, red, orange and juicy green are back, both in textiles, lacquered steel and coloured plexi '. Christina Widholm, chief designer and trend forecaster, Faber.
'We've seen a rise in sales of wooden Venetian blinds with cotton tapes. For summer, I'd expect this to carry on with neutral slat colours and contrasting tapes in coastal blues.' Rebecca Brooks, marketing manager, Novatec and Eclectics.
'Our up-and-coming trend is for high gloss shutters in dark wenge or black. These look stunning with dark floorboards.' Mark Carter, company director, Shutterly Fabulous.
'Following in the footsteps of the US, we're seeing much bigger louvres. We do slats up to 114mm for a truly modern look.' Aideen Smith, marketing manager, Shaftesbury Shutters.
'Our sliding shutter mechanism is great for small spaces and for using shutters as an area divider.' Harriet Shackleton, sales manager, The New England Shutter Company.
Modern blinds do a great deal more than simply provide privacy. The latest fabrics also offer solar protection, so you can forget faded fabrics or floors. In addition they filter heat, so rooms stay comfortable minus the air con - an eco-friendly means of keeping cool. With moisture-resistant, anti-fungal and dust-repellent options too, it's easy to keep window completeshutters in top condition. And if it's too hot to even pull a cord, many feature a motor selection for the greatest in operational ease.
If you need to lessen glare, pick one of the many sheer fabrics offering an effective and modern option to nets.'A mid-tone grey will remove glare but nevertheless provide good visibility,' says Georgina Clark, showroom manager at Silent Gliss.'White reacts with the light and is harder to predict, whereas black gives the very best visibility but will become totally transparent through the night - fine if you're not overlooked, but otherwise you will need a secondary window treatment to offer privacy.' These mesh blinds work in a similar method to car screens, gently filtering the sun's rays without completely blocking out a beautiful day, making them ideal in the event that you work from home - no further struggling to see your screen if you're sat near a window.