How to Keep your Conservatory Cool in Summer and Warm in Winter
Living in a house with a conservatory has a number of benefits. Whether you want a place to sunbathe in November, an extra dining space, a morning yoga spot, or simply a space for your dirty walking boots, there are so many unique ways to use these rooms.
Despite this, there is one conundrum that conservatory owners face year after year in the UK: how to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Because the walls and ceilings of conservatories are made out of glass, they are prone to allowing both light and drafts in more than most other household rooms. This makes it difficult to regulate temperatures; when temperatures are colder, cold air can easily leak in and make it harder to keep warm, which can also drive up heating costs. Likewise during longer, sunnier days conservatories are a bit like greenhouses, retaining lots of hot air – which is an issue during naturally hotter months.
However, what many conservatory owners don’t know is that there are a number of different methods and hacks which can be used to keep conservatories cool in the summer and warm in the winter – many with very little cost and life disruption.
Open and close your blinds (at the right time)
You can keep conservatories as warm as possible during colder times of the year by simply paying attention to when you open and close your conservatory blinds.
During daylight hours, you should keep your blinds open to allow sunlight in. This will naturally warm up your conservatory and any adjoining rooms. As the sun begins to set, close your blinds. This prevents heat from the day’s sun from escaping, and stops drafts getting in during the course of the evening and night.
Equally, during hotter times of the year, such as in the height of summer, it is advised to shut any blinds covering windows that directly face the sunlight as the day moves on. For example, when the sun rises in the morning, you should draw any blinds or curtains over windows facing the East. As the day goes on, watch where the sun moves in relation to your conservatory and try to preemptively draw your blinds to match this. This will prevent too much heat building up in the room during the day.
Choose the right blinds
Anyone who has built their own conservatory will have likely spent a great deal of time, energy and money ensuring it looks the way they want and is an aesthetically pleasing place to relax and spend time.
However, when temperatures drop, conservatories naturally lose a great deal of heat, making them potentially quite uncomfortable during this time of year.
One way to really easily get round this is to install good-quality conservatory blinds.
There are several varieties of blind to choose from, depending on the shape and style of your conservatory. These include:
- Venetian blinds: consists of horizontal slats which can be pivoted to control the amount of light that passes through it.
- Roman blinds: fabric blinds that fold up and down using a pleating technique.
- Pleated blinds: often also referred to as ‘pleated roof blinds’ or ‘skylight blinds’, these blinds cover the roof of conservatories and draw down using a pleating technique.
- Roller blinds: fabric blinds that unroll and extend down from a tight coil.
- Vertical blinds: consists of a series of vertically-aligned pieces of fabric or wooden slats which can be twisted to either reveal light or cover the window.
When selecting the style of blinds, think about the shape of your conservatory’s structure and the size of the windows – ideally, you want the blinds to cover the whole window, without gaps, when closed. This will ensure drafts can be minimised and heat from the daylight can be kept inside more effectively during dark hours.
This will also help to keep conservatories cool during the summer months, when light needs to be minimised. Selecting pleated roof blinds is an ideal option for conservatories with transparent roofs, as this will allow you to block out light and drafts during the evening and night, and keep heat in more effectively.
The material of your blinds is also an important consideration if you want to keep the room as warm as possible in cold weather.
Thermal blinds, for instance, are made using especially insulative material, to help keep cold air out and hot air in. This is ideal if you want to keep using your conservatory as a functional room during the winter months without breaking the bank. Thermal roller blinds for windows and roofs, for instance, are designed to act as essentially a second layer of insulation with windows, to make conservatories more energy efficient during autumn and winter in the UK.
Alternatively, opting for blinds made out of thicker and heavier fabrics – such as pleated roman blinds and fabric pleated roof blinds – are also a great option for keeping in warmth.
Just make sure you are able to easily draw these to fully reveal and open windows and conservatory draws during hotter weather.
Think about your colour scheme
Believe it or not, the colours you use to decorate your conservatory will also influence how easily you can regulate its temperature, and can make a huge difference on how much you’re spending on heating bills over the year.
Darker colours, like black, dark grey and navy blue absorb heat. This means that during periods where light is allowed in, they will become hotter and retain heat throughout the day and into an evening. If you have lots of soft furnishing (like rugs, throws and cushions in these kinds of colours) you can effectively keep spaces warmer for longer during the winter.
Likewise, paler colours – like pastels, creams and whites – are ideal during the summer, as they stay cooler. These make ideal choices for a summer conservatory’s colour scheme, especially if you’re planning to be sitting in the conservatory when temperatures are high – as they are much more comfortable to walk, sit and lay on.