Our guest blogger Elyse is an NYU student who just recently managed to free herself from the college dormitory system.
When my roommates and I first found our apartment one of my personal favorite features was the gigantic, and I mean gigantic, windows in every room. As a film major/“photographer” and as someone who just really likes to nap in sunbeams, natural light in an apartment is a necessity. But I never realized it would also be the catalyst of a month-long debate with my one roommate, Rachel*. (*Not her real name.) Rachel kept insisting that we needed curtains. And I kept insisting she was just going to waste our money on something purely decorative and far less essential than, say, a couch or dining room table.
Eventually I went home and caved when I found the ridiculously inexpensive curtains I mentioned the last time I wrote. (At the Amvets, for 3 dollars!) They’re absolutely gorgeous floor-length curtains and they look great. Then I quickly discovered, much to my chagrin, that everything Rachel had been telling me for the last month was completely true. Curtains are just as essential to your home as a couch and a dining room table—and not just for the obvious privacy reasons. So I’m writing to tell you all what Rachel told me, and hopefully you won’t ignore it like I did.
It all comes down to two words. Temperature regulation. Curtains have a massive impact on the heating and cooling of a room. This summer was one of the hottest I’ve ever seen, and after we put up the curtains, we really felt the difference in our apartment. You know how cars get really, really hot when they’re left outside all day, so people put those little cardboard sunshades in the windshield? Curtains serve the exact same purpose. All those glorious sunbeams I like to lie in all day were actually baking our apartment just like the inside of a car. Once we blocked them with curtains, the apartment cooled down by, not even joking, about 10 degrees. So I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to wait for winter to resume my catnaps and enjoyed a much more tolerable interior temperature.
Speaking of winter, it turns out curtains can do a lot to warm your apartment as well. If you get thicker, dark-colored curtains you can actually contain the heat in your apartment. It’s the same principle behind hanging tapestries in medieval castles to prevent drafts from making it too cold. (And yes, even your curtain’s color can have an effect on the temperature of the room. It’s all about manipulating my sunbeam friends. Lighter colors reflect them, hence cooler temperatures, and darker colors absorb them, making it warmer.) At the moment, I don’t see us going so far as to go out and buy summer curtains and winter curtains. I’m hoping my big windows and sunbeams will do the trick…but we’ll have to see what it feels like inside once the snow starts falling.