By: Karen

We recently got a new living room set. We started with a new area rug (an oriental with a lot of deep warm colors), ended up ordering new furniture (couches and chairs), and then finished off the project with new end tables and coffee tables. I absolutely love the way it turned out – it is probably bolder than I have ever decorated before – the furniture is a gorgeous burgundy, and the wood is a deep mahogany color. I was extremely bored with the boring neutral palette I had in the house for the previous 25 years and decided it was time for a change.

The one snag that we ran into was that we have seven windows. They are wide open. Now this was never a problem before, three of them face the woods, and the rest face the backyard. There are beautiful views all around, and I never wanted them covered. With the light colors we had in the room before, it never mattered if they faded a little, because they were so light you could hardly tell – but with the darker colors, we need to get something on the windows – and fast.

I did some quick research – and learned that for the best UV protection, the way to go was with cellular shades. They block out a lot of the direct sunlight, and are designed to keep out the harmful rays that end up fading furniture. The good thing about them also is they close up extremely tight, so if we want to be able to see outside we would have that option.

The next logical choice was blinds – being that you have more control and can tilt them up or down depending on where the sun is at different points of the day. The problem is, they are big and bulky, and block out a lot of the view that I’ve always loved.

Of course, there are the sunshades that everyone is raving about. They are made of a mesh material that will cut out the UV – and again protect the furniture in the room. The downside is I think they are really casual, and being that I just invested a good deal of money into upgrading the room, I don’t want to dress the windows with something that wouldn’t go.

Then I landed on a great option – the serenity shades. They are a combination of a blind and a shade, a sheer material with a thicker piece of material in between that can be tilted open and closed. I would have never considered them for protecting my furniture, but it turns out that they block out almost 80% of the UV. They are extremely elegant looking, and they open up all the way if I want a clear view out my window. I’m so happy I did my research because they look gorgeous and now I don’t have to stress about my new furniture being ruined!!