The 10 Best Blackout Curtains
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in March of 2015. The last thing you want when you’re trying to catch up on sleep over the weekend is an early morning wake-up call courtesy of blinding sunlight. These blackout curtains are a nice solution. Many offer thermal insulating and acoustic deadening properties as well, which makes them useful for night shift workers who need to get some shuteye when everyone else is up and about during the day. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
March 31, 2020:
Although attractive, and even popular, the Best Home Fashion Colorblock and the Nicetown Solid simply do not block light as well as many other choices, so we have elected to remove them at this time. And, due to issues with availability, we've had to remove the Acelitor Sleep Well and the H.Versailtex Traditional, as well. But there are plenty of options still available, including the AmazonBasics Panel, a simple but effective solution to unwanted light in the bedroom. It comes in both grommet and rod pocket versions, is relatively affordable, and works for many types of windows. Offering great light-blocking abilities are also the Flamingo P Draperies and the Half Price Drapes Faux Silk Taffeta. Note, though, that with the latter, as with many other choices, the darker colors do a better job of blocking light than do the lighter colors, including white and beige. If total darkness is a must, then, you might stick to black or navy.
For something a little different, we added the Blackout EZ, a panel that you affix to your window with Velcro. This means it's removable, although if you are going to put it on and take it off every day, curtains, or even cordless window shades, are probably a better bet. And for travelers, we selected the Easyblinds Easynight, a nifty little curtain in a bag that goes where you do. It's a great choice for parents on the go who need to ensure that their little ones have a dark room for nap time, too.
CustomCurtainsBeyond Linen If you've tried and tried to find the right size, but keep coming up empty-handed, then the CustomCurtainsBeyond Linen might just be the way to go. They are not exactly cheap, but they are offered in a huge range of sizes, can be custom ordered if necessary, and have professionally finished edges and hems. etsy.com
Sebastian Rod Pocket Insulated to help maintain a comfortable temperature in the room, the Sebastian Rod Pocket reduce noise and light thanks to a sturdy blackout lining. There are plenty of sizes available, including a huge 144-inch panel, so there should be an option for just about every window. bedbathandbeyond.com
Freemansburg Room Darkening Many choices look functional and utilitarian, but not the Freemansburg Room Darkening. They don't have tons of fancy flourishes, but even so, they are sleek, handsome, and a welcome addition even to formal rooms. They're dry clean only, however, a deal-breaker for some. birchlane.com
Are True Blackout Curtains Right For You?
For people who have significant light sensitivities and for those who work night shifts, blackout curtains can be a lifesaver.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the dead of night or the middle of a sunny afternoon — quality blackout curtains, if properly installed, envelop you in a pitch-dark environment. According to a variety of studies, total darkness provides the optimal conditions for superior sleep for most people.
Whether or not they’re the ideal solution for you and your family depends on your sensitivity to light, whether you typically sleep during the day or at night, and whether you will be using the curtains to prevent light from reaching napping children. For people who have significant light sensitivities and for those who work night shifts, blackout curtains can be a lifesaver. You can say the same for those who live in a remote area where the sun may be out for the vast majority of the 24-hour day.
Conversely, for children who frequently nap during the day, a complete absence of light can throw off their circadian clock and disrupt their sleep patterns. For some people, total darkness isn’t a necessity, though it doesn’t necessarily hinder their sleep either. Some experts recommend standard shades or dim-out curtains for the general population and true blackout curtains for those with specific issues. Dim-out curtains prevent most of the light from entering the room, while blackout curtains block everything, often reducing noise and regulating temperature, as well.
Some believe blackout curtains make it more difficult to wake up in the morning, but the validity of these claims is up for debate. Either way, blackout curtains are essentially an all-or-nothing proposition. If you want to have the ability to control the amount of light entering the room, you’re probably better off going with standard window blinds.
While quality sleep is the primary driver behind the demand for blackout curtains, there’s no shortage of ancillary benefits associated with these pieces of light-blocking décor.
The Perks Of Darkness
Those who like peace and quiet to go with their dark environment will appreciate the blackout curtain’s ability to considerably reduce the amount of noise that gets in to a room. Minimizing everyday sounds like traffic, construction, lawn mowers, and loud children can go a long way toward creating a pleasant atmosphere. And if your neighbors are having a loud party late into the night, any solution that doesn’t involve calling the police is a nice option to have.
Beds, dressers, and carpet installation services do not come cheap — by extending the life of these items, you’ll enjoy cost savings over the long run.
If you value complete and utter privacy, blackout curtains will suit your lifestyle well. Think about it — if your curtains are completely blocking light from entering the room, it stands to reason that they’re preventing light from exiting the room, as well. Because of this, people on the other side of the window won’t even be able to see a shadow, let alone catch a glimpse of anything inside your home.
Your furniture and carpet stand to benefit from blackout curtains, as well, as they’ll have additional protection from damage and fading due to exposure to the sun. Beds, dressers, and carpet installation services do not come cheap — by extending the life of these items, you’ll enjoy cost savings over the long run.
By limiting the amount of sunlight and UV rays that enter the room, blackout curtains help reduce energy costs, as well. They’re effective in trapping heat in your home during the winter and pushing it out during the summer. Not only will this positively affect your utility bill, it will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases present inside your house. The thicker the material, the more effective the curtain will be in this regard.
Some probably think of blackout curtains as more utilitarian than decorative, but those who do so are mistaken. Plenty of brands are stylish and elegant, available in a variety of sizes and designs to match the existing décor in your home.
Selecting, Installing, And Caring For Your Curtains
While these curtains don’t vary significantly in terms of overall design, there is a certain degree of diversity to the options available. Some models consist of a single layer of fabric, and these are usually rather thick with a resilient coating on the back. Two-layer styles feature a fabric and a separate liner. Inexpensive curtains are typically made of polyester, though you can find higher-end options in cotton, linen, and other types of fabrics, as well.
While these curtains don’t vary significantly in terms of overall design, there is a certain degree of diversity to the options available.
We’re assuming you’re looking to create true blackout conditions wherever you’re installing your curtains — in order to achieve this, you need to set them up properly. Although you install blackout curtains in the same manner as standard curtains and drapes, it’s wise to measure several inches beyond the window frame on each side and below to guarantee total darkness. You can also use a wraparound rod to achieve this, which will stretch the curtain all the way to the wall.
Make sure to check the care label for handling and washing information — most blackout curtains seem to be dry clean only, though some will allow you to wash on gentle settings. Curtains made with linen and cotton tend to get wrinkled more often, an issue you can easily remedy by using an iron to get rid of those creases.
If all you want to do is get rid of dust on the surface of your curtains, use the brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner. By vacuuming up and down the length of the curtain, you should be able to take care of most of the debris. Do this at least once a month or whenever you’re vacuuming the rest of the room to prevent the accumulation of dust.
Once your curtains are clean and properly hung, you can go ahead and put your sleep mask back into storage — you won’t be needing that anymore. Now turn off the lights and go grab some well-deserved shut-eye.