You’ve invested in beautiful, vibrant drapes for in your sunny north-facing living room. Or maybe a fabulous couch decked out in the latest upholstery fabric. Everyone comments on them. They’re gorgeous! Greay choice! They’re stunning! They’re … fading?! Attacked by Mother Nature.Carolinian home furnishings are prone to be affected by damaging sunlight conditions, and the sunlight does not even have to be direct. Soft furnishings and upholstery can be damaged if left exposed to UV light over time. Natural yarns like cotton or silk are particularly at risk.Why does it happen?It’s science! Ultraviolet light causes a reaction between the water present in all fabrics and atmospheric oxygen to create hydrogen peroxide. This is a bleaching agent and breaks down the chemical bonds that give dyes their colour. There’s even a fancy word for it – photodegradation. So it’s not the fabric fading, it’s the dye that treated it.And it’s not just the colour. As the chemical bonds break down, the fabric fibers will become brittle and prone to breakage.Prevention is the best medicine.Protection from direct sunlight is recommended to stop the early breakdown of your fabric. All fabrics will eventually fade, but you can take some steps to delay the process considerably.Consider UV-filtering glass if you’re thinking about window replacements, It will help prevent ultraviolet rays from wreaking havoc on your home furnishings.Window tinting – some tints can block 99% of harmful UV rays!Quality sunscreen lining will protect your drapes, and your home furnishings.Quality linings not only provide insulation but will help to protect your curtains from sun damage.Invest in sheer curtains that remain closed during the day, not only does this reduce the effects of the sun, but provides privacy as well.Incorporate shades and blinds into your decorating scheme. Blinds and shades take the brunt of the sun’s rays, and in the process protect your draperies, which otherwise would be the first line of defense.Other Free ideas:Arrange your décor so fabrics are kept out of direct sunlight, and try to rearrange regularly to reduce constant exposure of one side.If your furniture has removable cushions, make sure you flip and rotate them regularly to minimize exposure of one upholstery surface.Install the drapery track wide enough so curtains can be pulled back from the window.Swap curtains occasionally from one side of the track to the other, to avoid having one edge constantly exposed to sunlight.Make sure the curtains are sufficiently full to allow for re-edging if the fabric does fade.Fully closing blinds or lowering shades when the draperies are drawn will protect them further. If you’re out for the day, make it a practice to close the blinds before you leave.Preventing other damage to your investments.Watermarks are among the most difficult to remove stains on draperies. If your windows sweat (build up condensation) take measures to keep your draperies away from them. The condensation will cause water rings, the nemesis of draperies.Make sure your draperies are not in front of the air intake or discharge vents.Don’t forget a good seasonal maintenance schedule regular deep cleaning of all decorative fabrics, just for the health of it.By taking some of these simple steps, you could extend the life of your soft furnishings and upholstery and keep it beautiful for years to come!