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Survive the Summer in Style: The Best Window Coverings to Keep Heat Out


Temperatures aren’t the only things rising come summertime. 2018 was the fourth hottest summer on record, which means higher utility bills all summer to keep our homes cool. Finding ways to beat the heat without breaking the bank is harder than ever before.

Luckily, the summer sun doesn’t have to mean a rocketing utility bill. A savvy homeowner or renter can use tricks of the trade to reduce their utility consumption and keep those electric bills low. Read on to find out the best window coverings to keep heat out!

Reducing Heat Penetration

The key to keeping your home cool with window treatments is to reduce radiant heat from the sun. You may think those sheer treatments that allow circulation will keep temperatures down, but that isn’t always the case. It also doesn’t work to use plain dark window treatments that heat up by absorbing solar energy.

It is smart to keep curtains open and air circulating through areas that are not in direct sunlight. However, for areas directly facing the sun, you’ll best reduce heat penetration by bouncing solar rays away from your windows and back outside.

Darker areas, such as the interior of your home, absorb sunlight (and the sun’s heat with it.) Dark colors retain the most heat. Light-colored and reflective window treatments can stop sunlight from ever penetrating indoors, to begin with, meaning your indoor temperature will stay cooler from the start.

Best Window Coverings to Keep Heat Out

Solar Shades

If you hate blocking the view outside with drapes or blinds, solar shades might be the best window treatment for you. These screens reduce glare while still allowing a view similar to that of sheer draperies.

Solar shades are made of a high-tech mesh screen that effectively controls heat and light transference. Though they do not block light completely, these screens filter out harmful UV rays and bounce solar heat away from your rooms. Light or white solar shades provide the best heat reflection.

Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains have a backing layer made of white vinyl or plastic. This opaque backside reflects light and does not allow any rays to pass through.

Not only effective for keeping your bedroom dark while sleeping, but blackout curtains also keep the heat at bay. While you can purchase curtains that are already lined, you can also buy separate blackout liners to hang behind your existing curtains.

The best way to hang a blackout curtain is to mount it tightly to the wall from floor to ceiling. The more space these drapes occupy, the less light can penetrate through along the edges.


Adding some shade to your windows with an awning can reduce solar heat absorption by as much as 65-77%. The Department of Energy recommends light-colored awnings that reflect the most sunlight. Use awnings along with other window solutions to maximize your benefits!

Consider using retractable versions, so you don’t lose the option to bring more sun during the colder months. The best awnings are made of resistant materials such as acrylic, polyvinyl laminate, or other synthetics with a long lifespan.


Cellular Shades

Also known as honeycomb shades, cellular shades are designed to insulate. Their surface is covered in hexagonal cells, which form a protective layer against your window. The air pockets within the honeycomb lattice are a barrier against heat or cold since air is a poor heat conductor.

The honeycomb structure diffuses the light and heat, preventing it from filtering into your home. Their sleek and simple look pairs well with other window treatments, such as drapes.

Reflective Blinds

Think of a reflective blind like a pair of sunglasses for your house. The backside of these blinds has a special film that bounces light back outside instead of letting it penetrate indoors.

Reflective blinds are most often white or light-colored. Unlike dark colors, which absorb light, pale blinds reflect light.

Depending on the architecture of your home, you may even be able to try exterior blinds. Similar to shutters, these weather-resistant window coverings help control light before it can even pass through your window panes.

A Proper Fit

With any window covering, you’ll achieve the most effective result if you hang them correctly. Curtains, shades, and blinds should fit snugly within the confines of your window space.

Anything meant to create a barrier cannot have gaps for cold air or warm light to get through. Mount your curtains tightly to the wall, and make sure they close over the whole window.

An expert blind service like the pros at Fifty Shades and Blinds can help you get the perfect fit. Using a service may be the only way to find window coverings in the dimensions you need for unusual or oversized windows.

So Bright, You Gotta Hang Shades

The best window coverings to keep heat out will often depend on the unique features of your home. Someone with fewer sun-facing windows will need less heavy-duty coverings for their windows. Someone with multiple sliding glass doors might want to get custom treatments for a perfect fit.

Depending on your home’s architecture, you might find that combining two or more window treatments is a good solution. Why not use awnings over sun-facing windows on the exterior while using shades and drapery on the inside? Having customizable options depending on the season and weather patterns will allow you the most control.

If you’re looking to reduce further your energy costs for the life of your home, replacement windows can be an extra safeguard against summer temps. Finding yourself in need of a window upgrade? Visit our guide on how to choose the best new windows for your home today.

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