A blackout curtain covers the window behind the front door. It provides privacy but does not block out light. A shade covers the window behind the front door, but also blocks out light. A blackout curtain is just an ordinary curtain that is not meant to block out light, but a shade is meant to hold up a window. What are the differences between these two window coverings?
Besides safety, there are many other advantages to blackout curtains. Blinds are heavy, cumbersome, and they maintain heat. The amount of heat they generate can be detrimental to your home. Curtains can be light, easy to fold and store, and they block the sun. If you want to sleep in the morning, shades are not the right choice. We recommend blackout curtains.
Whether you’re looking for blackout curtains for sliding doors or shades for the windows, we’ve done the research for you and compared the best products for these and other types of window treatments.
Here we share blackout curtains vs shades comparison guide including the differences for benefits, types, pleats styles, fabrics, mounting tips and ideas on how to get a total blockage from the sun. There are two things we love to do in complete darkness, sleeping and watching movies, and what better way to achieve that total darkness than by using blackout window treatments.
According to the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, individuals who are exposed to light while sleeping get approximately 10 minutes less sleep each night.
Other severe side effects for shift workers or those exposed to street lights include fatigue, decreased daytime performance, and excessive drowsiness. In other words, the brighter your surroundings are, the less sleep you receive.
When not in use, blackout curtains or shades are a simple but effective method to block out light. Blackout window coverings are also useful for creating a cinematic atmosphere in movie theaters, nursery rooms, and conference rooms.
The Advantages Of Using Blackout Curtains And Shades
- Completely dim the lights in a room.
- Increase the level of privacy.
- Reduce the amount of background noise.
- Insulate the space.
- Reduce the amount of UV damage.
- Lowering your energy costs
What Are Blackout Shades and How Do They Work?
Blackout Shades are a kind of window treatment made of solid or opaque fabric such as PVC, flax cloth, or mylar, and its purpose is to keep light out of confined spaces. For a more breathable fabric, organic materials like bamboo, organic cotton, and hemp are popular options.
There are many different designs to choose from. To fit your room’s style, window form, and quantity of light blocked, you may choose from a variety of fabrics, colors, thicknesses, and kinds.
Shades That Block Light
You have the option of using either motorized or manual blackout blinds. There are motorized blackout blinds that can be operated with your smartphone, a remote controller, or even your voice.
The covering of your window treatment is controlled by a continuous loop cable or pull chains that draw up or down. Here you may see a variety of curtain styles.
What Are Blackout Curtains and How Do They Work?
Blackout curtains are a kind of window treatment that works similarly to Blackout Shades and is composed of loose cloth that drapes freely across the window from a standard curtain rod.
Blackout curtains, unlike regular curtains, contain built-in fabric that blocks light from entering. It’s thicker than a standard curtain yet lighter than curtains.
Suede, polyester, cotton, mineral wool, and velvet are popular fabrics for blackout curtains. Microfibers and fiberglass are ideal textiles for blackout curtains since they can also be used as noise-canceling window coverings, although they are more expensive than standard fabrics.
When Should You Use Blackout Curtains vs. Shades?
Both blackout curtains and shades are excellent at totally blocking out light. However, proper installation and fabric selection are required. Which version is preferable depending on your requirements. Assess them using the following criteria:
Shades that block out light:
Blackout shades are a good choice for contemporary homes because of their clean and minimalist appearance. With remote-controlled versions, they also provide full control. With the appropriate size, blackout curtains fully cover your windows.
Blackout curtains, on the other hand, have the ability to allow light in from the top, bottom, and sides since the cloth flows freely and does not fully cover your window frames. To prevent light from seeping through the bottom border of your blackout curtain, add a valance on top with a lower hem.
This is the best option for pet owners. To keep your pet from being caught in the loose strings, go for cordless ones or roman blackout shades. Roman blackout shades have been precisely flashed on your window opening and do not have slats that a cat might claw through.
The best option for children. It keeps your children from tripping over curtain hems.
Ideal for floor-to-ceiling windows. Blackout shades are a more efficient and contemporary option if your window glass covers the majority of your wall. Here’s where you can learn more about whether or not curtains should touch the floor.
It’s also more convenient to use remote controls or smart devices to control it. Even if there is a little space between your top window sill and the ceiling, blackout blinds may be fitted.
Curtains that block the light:
Unlike blackout shades, which often have restricted color choices for a specific fabric or pattern, blackout curtains have a variety of styles to pick from.
The best for displaying windows. Blackout curtains are a great choice when your windows are the main point of a room and you want to block out light when required. They also have a larger and more formal appearance.
Because you may design your curtain fabric with pleats to give dimension to the appearance, you can add fabric layers.
For use in a temperate indoor environment. With just one fabric layer, most blackout curtains are lighter, enabling the space to breathe, particularly during the summer. Blackout shades, on the other hand, are often heavier and thicker, obstructing the passive air movement.
What Pleat Style Is Best For Blackout Curtains & Shades?
It may be difficult to find a blackout curtain that is both attractive and effective in blocking light. You should know which pleats to utilize and which to avoid.
Pleats of the highest quality
Pleat in a pinch. A precise pleating that fits perfectly above your top window, creating an attractive, consistent, and classic appearance while providing complete covering is known as French Pleat. It features flat gaps between the pleats, which are a few millimeters apart, and is a variant of the pencil pleat.
If you have a little area above your window sill, use pin hooks instead of curtain rings. Double pleats, Dutch pleats, and single pleats are examples of variations.
Pleat in reverse. This is created by bringing the two folded edges to the material’s center point on the outside, which creates a box plot on the inside. The pleats elegantly flatten against the top window sill, giving the inverted pleat a modern appearance. You’ll usually have a sequence of pleats that are 5 inches wide.
Pleated Flat Panel. Also known as a Flat Drapery Pleat, this is the simplest basic pleat in which the hooks are placed at the back of the panel and connect to the curtain rings’ eyelets. The flat pleats elegantly flash over the window sill when completely stretched.
Pleats to Stay Away From:
Curtains with a Wave Heading or a Pencil Pleat
Because blackout curtains with pencil pleats have an uneven and unstructured appearance, light may leak through.
The gently curved contour of wave curtains is achieved. It has a comfortable, modern appearance, yet it is insufficient in preventing sunlight from flowing through.
Which Blackout Fabric Should You Use?
Polyester or a mix of polyester and cotton is frequently used in blackout curtains. These are great fabrics since they are both durable and inexpensive. It’s also improbable that they’ll shrink or wrinkle.
1. Polyester and cotton-based fabrics are the best for reducing heat transfer. These are textiles with the greatest thermal insulation qualities, meaning you’ll have a space that keeps the heat out in the summer and keeps it in throughout the winter.
- Anopsia is a Europatex style.
- Fabric: RocLon Blackout Drapery
- AbbeyShea Fashion
2. Lining in three passes. The assessment of its capacity to blackout light is referred to as passes. There is a final white coating on these textiles. Unlined, self-lined (two layers of the same fabric), and 3-pass blackout are all lining choices.
- Fabric Ivory Minerva Crafts 3 Pass Blackout Thermal Curtain Lining
- Drapery Lining by Hanes
- Drapery Fabric Eroica Blackout
3. Fabric that is flame retardant. The best blackout fabric for media rooms, hospitals, and nurseries. This is also a good option for houses.
- BS5867 is a British Standard for Flame-Retardant Fabrics.
- Flame-Retardant Blackout Curtains by BEGOODTEX
How Do I Get Complete Sun Blockage?
Consider blackout curtain header designs for blackout curtains to keep light out of the top window seal, particularly if the rods are low.
On your upper window sill, hang a curtain pelmet. This acts as a barrier, keeping light and drafts out. A pelmet may help keep hot air from escaping into other areas of the room.
At least three passes of blackout lining should be used. A 3-pass fabric is one that has a lining layer of white foam put to the back of the fabric to hide light. The dark layer blocks off light and traps heat from outside.
Consider using twin rods that are overlapping. A double layer of curtains guarantees that the center region may be completely closed while the second layer prevents any leaks from going through.
However, in hot and humid climates, this may lead to an increase in heat build-up. Installing air conditioning may help to mediate. For home theaters or media rooms, double coverage is ideal.
Use blackout shades or a Valance to provide covering to the upper sill if using blackout curtains.
The full potential of your blackout curtains and shades can only be realized with proper installation.
The Inside Mount should be used. Though it’s not as popular (and it depends on the aesthetic you’re aiming for), mounting your curtain rods on the inside allows for the greatest light-blocking. The curtain is fastened from the inside of your window frame, giving it a streamlined look.
Curtain Rods with Protective Caps and Expandable Design are a good choice. The inner mount rods, which have protective covers and are extensible, will provide a tight fit that will keep light out.
Allow for a 6” allowance. As a general guideline, measure a couple of inches beyond the window frame on all sides, regardless of mounting method (outside or inside), as your blackout curtains will appear nicer. More information on how high to hang curtains may be found in our guide.
Once you’ve measured twice, you’ve cut once. Though it’s an old saying, it’s always a good idea to measure twice and leave no room for mistake.
Customize your blackout curtains and shades as much as possible. Eyelet or pencil-pleat curtains are common, which means there are gaps at the top of the curtain where light may pass through.
Engage the services of a skilled curtain manufacturer. It is advisable to employ a professional curtain manufacturer if you are covering a large window space. This saves you time and money by reducing the number of mistakes.
Opt for easy-to-wear pop-in colors. These are blackout blinds that may be quickly installed by pressing down on the shade’s end and removing the glue. Just above your window sill, the blinds are secured.
There are currently a limited number of materials available for no-drill blackout blinds, which are mainly cellular shades in construction.
Visit our drapes versus curtains design guide page for additional inspiration.
Blackout Curtains or Shades? Shading Up or Down? It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding the perfect pair of shades for you, but when you’re in the market for blackout curtains, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for. There are so many options out there, so how do you know which one will work best for your home? Here are some tips to help you create the perfect blackout curtain.. Read more about are blackout curtains good for you and let us know what you think.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are blackout curtains or blinds better?
Blinds are better because they block out light and allow you to sleep in.
Are room darkening shades blackout?
Room darkening shades are not blackout. They do block out some light, but they will still let in a bit of light.
Do blackout curtains block 100% of light?
No, they do not block 100% of light.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- benefits of blackout curtains
- blackout curtains or blinds
- blackout curtains meaning
- are blackout curtains worth it
- blackout curtains that actually work