What is Blackout Curtains – A Complete Window Treatment Guide in 2022

Rebekah Purnel

As much as lights are important for human civilization, it’s important to be without light sometimes too! It’s no surprise, is it? Actually, a dark ambiance is necessary.

It’s directly connected with resting, relaxing, productivity, resilience, and so on. Here, I will broadly let you know about blackout curtains. There are so many aspects to know about.

If you are planning on buying blackout curtains, you must learn about them first. Otherwise, you would be confused at the shop while buying a set of blackout curtains.

Besides, people at the shops might not be as helpful as you want them to be. So, you don’t have to risk the decision. It’s better to have some knowledge ahead.

This will provide you with other benefits. The salesperson at the shop might persuade you to buy a set of curtains that you do not like or want to buy.

If you know enough about blackout curtains, you will be able to choose them yourself. And, you can take some help from shop attendants too.

So, what are blackout curtains?

You might think the definition is not at all essential right now. It is essential. Because, we are dealing with two different terms here- blackout curtains and window treatment.

They are used interchangeably these days. I will be using these interchangeably too. But to help to avoid confusion, I want to identify the distinctions to you.

Read: Best Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains

Window treatment:

Basically, this process means beautifying windows by hanging drapes, curtains, shades, blinds. There is an umbrella term for all 4 categories- window covering. Anyway, let’s see what the blackout curtain is.

Blackout curtains:

You can already tell by the name, it’s some sort of curtain, right? Now, let’s consider window treatment again. I just told you that, it’s mainly done for decoration in the window.

In connection to that, blackout curtains can be utilized for both decorative and not-decorative reasons. There is more to it.

Blackout curtain has a very special purpose. People use them to entirely stop the light to get inside a room.

The other window coverings will still let some of the light seep in. In other words, a room will have some light through the coverings. But a blackout curtain won’t let the slightest amount of time get in.

Keep reading. More differences with other window coverings and blackout curtains are coming in the next sections.

Benefits of blackout curtains – How effective are blackout curtains

You have learned that blackout curtains are for completely blocking various lights from outside. Since it has a special purpose, it’s made especially too.

Let me give you a clearer idea. Generally speaking, blackout curtains are made from double-layered, tightly knitted fabric. For the making, they are comparatively thicker than other window coverings.

Now, it will talk about the benefits in detail. That way, you will know their uses as well. You can have a quick look at the benefits right now!

  • Durable
  • Blocks light entirely
  • Glass wall necessity
  • Reduced electricity use
  • Prevents noise pollution
  • Ultimate privacy and security
  • Heat control inside the house
  • Sleeping ambiance any time of the day
  • Decorative too, AKA window treatment

Benefits of Blackout Curtains

Now, let’s have a look at the benefits in detail.

Blocks light entirely:

We all don’t get up with the sunrise. Even if you need to wake up for work early in the morning, it can still be sunny. In that case, blackout curtains will stop the morning glare of the sun from hitting your eyes.

Because some of us get up after some time the sunlight first reaches the windows. That can be near or far away from the time you set for the alarm to go off.

Moreover, outside the natural lights, there is light pollution too! In big cities, the nights are colorful with lights from different places.

Such as billboards, decorative lights on buildings and streets, lights from vehicles, lights in the signboards and nameplates of shops, and many more.

All these lights can travel through the window coverings. But, with blackout curtains, no light will affect you by unexpectedly getting through the windows in your bedroom.

Part of a glass wall portion & glass doors:

Many of us live in an apartment that contains glass walls and glass doors. And, blackout curtains are indispensable for glass walls, and doors.

Light will thoroughly travel through the glasses. Glass windows with frames and full glass door/ wall has the same disadvantage in this case.

You might think that stickers on the glass doors and walls will solve the problem of invasive lights. But they won’t be much help. They will partially block light from outside.

They are more like the other window coverings. Hence, you expect total covering of unwanted lights then blackout curtains are the best solution on earth!

Decorative details around the house:

We already talked about window modification. And, blackout curtains might or might not be decorative for windows.

Well, the decision here depends on what you want. Considering that, if you want to beautify windows you can buy some better-looking blackout curtains.

As a result, they will both block lights and add something to the interior of your apartment at the same time.

Heat control in the house:

As long as the sun is there, there will be light. And, there will be heat too, right? Alongside blocking light, blackout curtains will tackle the temperature as well.

In summer, blackout curtains will save you from heat like a real friend. Yeah, they are truly life-savers.

Less use of electricity:

This section is directly related to the point I talked about above. Anyway, in order to adjust the temperature of the house you have air conditions, and fans. This results in a huge amount of electricity use.

You might think that’s a big deal! But this is our duty to save energy. Furthermore, think about the electricity bill you pay every month. Don’t you want to have an electricity bill with a lesser amount?

If you use blackout curtains, they will firstly block the light. As the light will be totally covered, the heat won’t affect the temperature of your room too.

Do you remember that I said that these particular curtains are thicker in nature? That’s why they can easily prevent undesired light rays and maddening summer heat.

So, you won’t have to use AC or a fan a lot to adjust the temperature. And, you will have a smaller electricity bill.

Helps with noise control:

Are you surprised by this? It’s very normal to think that, how can some fabric layers reduce noise. Let me explain- HOW.

The front and backsides of blackout curtains are made differently. The backside contains some insulators to stop the lights.
That insulator is fairly capable of mitigating external noise.

Note that, I am saying these curtains can reduce noise, not entirely block the noise.

The level of noise reduction will certainly make you think after installing the curtains- NOT BAD FOR A SET OF CURTAINS.

Sleeping any time of the day

On the other hand, some of us are night owls. If you are one too, I understand how much you hate it when the light gets in during the daytime.

Since you are up all night, you will fall asleep at the dawn. And, soon it will be morning. The sunlight will be torture in this aspect. At least, it is torture to me!

In addition, consider the sleep routine of the people who work in shifts. Let’s say you are a police officer. You sometimes go to duty at night.

You get back home early in the morning. And, all you want is to take some rest in a completely dark room. Also, think about the night guards, and doctors. These people will have to sleep in the daytime.

Moreover, you might have a project proposal to complete, you couldn’t sleep well. And now, you need a power nap. That’s why you need to use blackout curtains.

Longer life span of blackout curtains:

As the curtains are thicker, they last longer than other curtains. Besides, they are made with such materials so that it truly remains helpful to us.

They might cost a little higher than other window covering, but it will be a good investment. Meaning, you won’t have to change curtains for a long time.

If you are someone who is okay with spending life with the same stuff for years after years, you will be really happy with blackout curtains.

Complete privacy and sense of security:

It’s not like over-window covering won’t provide you enough privacy. But, it’s clearly different with blackout curtains. It’s more about how you will be felt.

You might drop the coverings for privacy. But you can also feel like you are being watched. Maybe not always but sometimes when no one is actually spying on us.

Don’t feel attacked! We all feel this way once in a while. So, you are not alone here. However, with a blackout curtain, you will be at peace knowing that the window is fully covered.

In addition, blackout curtains are often used in hotels and restaurants. So that, guests can enjoy the timeout fully with optimum privacy.

What’s the difference between room darkening and blackout curtains?

I already talked a little about the other window covering and blackout curtains. Now, I will introduce to you another idea or term I may say, that is related to managing lights outside lights inside the house.

The idea of room darkening: Room darkening is done with drapes, curtains, shades, blinds. And, people have to adjust the amount of light from the outside. Let’s see how this process is different from blackout curtains.

Amount of light: The main idea is to control the light. In terms of room darkening, you will have some fading light from outside. Meaning, you don’t want the room to be completely dark.

So, you choose to slightly darken the bedroom. That can be your living style or maybe just sleeping style. On the contrary, blackout curtains completely obstruct the light from outside.

Different arrangement: The first difference is, you can carry out room darkening with all these- drapes, curtains, shades, and blinds. And, they will still provide you with some external light.

For complete darkening, there are blackout ‘curtains’. That means drapes, shades, blinds are not the arrangement you would need to stop external light.

Fabrice thickness and insulation: Blackout curtains are thicker in comparison to drapes, shades, and blinds. Also, that won’t have extra insulation on the backside. Blackout curtains are double-layer. On the other hand- drapes, shades, and blinds consist of one layer of fabric.

Blackout curtains vs drapes – What’s the difference?

We have 4 kinds of window treatment so far- curtains, drapes, shades, and blinds. They are used interchangeably. But they have subtle differences. In this section, I will point out the difference between drapes and blackout curtains.

Thickness of fabric: Drapes are thicker. The same goes for blackout curtains. But, might or might not be double-lined and tightly knitted. Blackout curtains are always made with double-lined fabric. Also, they are more tightly woven in relation to drapes.

Insulation: Blackout curtains will always have insulation on the flip side. Otherwise, it won’t serve the purpose. In contrast, drapes do not have insulation on the backside.

Designs: Blackout curtains have a simpler design. That is plain from top to bottom. But drapes are some details made with fabric at the top.

Colors and variations: Drapes can have different colors in one set. But blackout curtains will have a single color. Besides, drapes will have different designs. But, blackout curtains are just plain in every aspect.

Purpose: Drapes won’t block the light as much blackout curtains will do. If you want some light, drapes will be a good option. For total darkness, people go for blackout curtains.

Drapes can be used in all places. From the hotel room to your bedroom. But blackout curtains won’t be the only choice all the time. Because blocking the light might be always necessary for people.

Types of Blackout Curtains

There are different kinds of blackout curtains. The variations mainly depend on the styles. To be more specific, the heading styles. I will talk about the heading style separately.

The 4 primary kinds, such as- Rod pocket, Grommet, Pinch pleat, Tailored pleat. However, there are a few more. Let’s talk about heading style first. Then I will tell you about the different heading styles.

Blackout curtains heading style

First, you need to know what is the heading of the curtains. It’s a very simple idea. The top portion of curtains where rod passes through from one end to the other end. And, that allows the curtain to hang.

Now, we will take a look at all the available categories/styles/heading styles for blackout curtains.

Back Tab Curtains

Back tab curtains have fabric loops on the backs of the panels. That gives them a neat, fitted appearance.

In order to enhance the appearance, you can slide these loops straight onto the curtain rod. Or, you can attach rings with clips to the loops.

If you don’t want the curtain rod to be visible, back tab curtains are ideal.

Grommet Top

Grommet curtains are also known as eyelet curtains. In this heading style, there will be rings implanted in the header. And, that will function as a curtain pole guide.

The firmness of the grommet creates well-defined and even pleats. Besides, stiff fabrics look better with grommet top curtains. Because the fabric hangs more exquisitely.

Pleated: Pinch pleats and pencil pleats

Pleated blackout curtains come in two varieties: Pinch pleats and pencil pleats.

Pinch pleats are larger and use more fabric than pencil pleats. The style is securely hand-sewn. And, you can choose them if you want a more sophisticated, fitted look.

Rod Pocket

This heading style is the most common. Rod pocket curtains are also known as pole top or casement curtains. They promote a traditional elegant look.

In this style, the rod is hidden behind a casing sewed onto the back of the curtain panel at the top. And, panels are gathered in folds on the rod for a soft, clean look.

Tab top

The exposed loops or tabs of fabric on tab top curtains are known as tabs. This is something you’ll see on a lot of drapes. A curtain rod or pole is used to form these loops.

Tab top curtains were the only heading style of curtains available before other curtain hanging methods were introduced.

Build material for blackout curtains

Basically, drapery fabric is what you need for making blackout curtains. But, all fabrics are not suitable for these curtains. There are commonly 5 kinds of fabric for blackout curtains. Find out about them below.

Polyester

This fabric is most commonly used for making curtains. The reasons are- they offer longevity, sturdiness. Besides, they are affordable.

In addition, polyester curtains are low maintenance. They won’t get wrinkled, stretched. Also, they don’t shrink after washing.

Polyester Blend

You will find fabric that has polyester and blends of fabric, such as- cotton, linen, and nylon.

For instance, linen and polyester mixture will render you dust-resistant, hypo-allergic sturdy curtains. However, for blended fabric polyester and cotton is most popular.

Cotton

Pure cotton is also a good idea for a blackout curtain. Cotton is even more affordable. With that, they are durable, efficient.

Linen

Linen has the most effective insulation. During winter, you can save electricity bills for heating. Moreover, this material is eco-friendly, and durable too.

Nylon

Blackout curtains are heavy because they are thicker. If you still want a thinner fabric for a blackout curtain, you can go for nylon blackout curtains. In addition, nylon looks better than other fabrics.

Blackout curtains by privacy & protection

I will focus on a few more things here. That is related to privacy and protection. I already talked a little about privacy and protection in the benefits. This section is an extension of benefits. Learn more below.

Energy Efficient

Sunlight can easily heat up the house. We all know how it is in the summer. Just 5 minutes after opening the window, you will sweat all over. You might even open the window and the sunlight will get in somehow. As a result, you use AC for an extended period. That brings about more use of energy.

Noise Reduction

While taking a nap, or if you need to sleep in the daytime for some reason, blackout curtains will protect you from all sorts of knowledge. They won’t musk the noise but they will reduce the loudness.

Thermal Insulated

This aspect is related to saving energy. However, some blackout curtains come with thermal insulation. Those capable of blocking the heat out and out!

UV Protection

They can protect you from UV rays. We use sun protection while going outside. UV can will be at your house too. For that, you can use a blackout curtain with thermal insulation.

Weather-resistant

Curtains can fade over time as sunlight will keep on blazing. Gladly, blackout curtains are weather-resistant alongside being durable.

Blackout curtains by care

You can’t all sort of curtains in the same way. Let’s learn more about it.

Machine Washable

If you buy machine-washable curtains, you need to keep in mind a few things. Firstly, you need to clean them gently.

And, the water should be lukewarm or cool. If you want to add detergent, you should use them very mildly.

Machine washable fabric: Polyester, Nylon.

Tumble Dry

To tumble dry, you should take out the curtains when they are 95% dry. So that, you can set them to dry naturally.

Tumble dry fabric: Cotton, Nylon.

Line Dry

Hanging the curtains in a line is called line drying. For line drying, we use clothespins, hangers. This process ensures a longer lifetime of fabric and helps to hold on to its efficiency.

Line drying fabric: All blackout curtains fabrics.

Dry Clean Only

If you want to carry out washing in the dry cleaning process, you need to wash one piece at a time. Also, you should do it really gently.

Dry cleaning fabric: Linen, cotton, polyester.

Gentle Cycle

It’s very simple. And, the term is explaining itself. You need to clean by mixing mild detergent and cool, or lukewarm water.

Gentle cycle fabric: Cotton, linen.

Hand Wash

If you need to wash the fabric by hand, make sure the detergent is completely dissolved. Also, the water needs to be lukewarm, or naturally cold.

Handwash fabric: Cotton, Linen.

Most popular blackout curtains Pattern

Blackout curtains are comparatively plain and simple. Some of the companies are attempting to make variations these days. They are producing blackout curtains in different patterns. Find the most popular pattern now!

Floral

Floral design is always on trend! Designs may have changed slightly over time. But the overall flowery concept has barely changed. Floral curtains are a great example of how fashionable floral patterns have become.

Geometric

This is a modern design. And, geometric shapes are versatile. If you want a simple yet modern window treatment, a geometric blackout curtain will be a good choice for you.

Gingham

It’s a checkered fabric with even-sized checks in a checkered pattern. The color combination can be anything! But the base will always be white.

Moiré

When an opaque ruled pattern with transparent gaps is placed over another similar pattern, it generates moiré patterns.
The two patterns must not be precisely similar. Otherwise, they won’t be making any interference in the design.

Paisley

Paisley, is also known as a paisley pattern. This particular one employs boteh/buta and a teardrop-shaped element with a curved top end.

Patchwork

It’s a design made with pure needlework. Small fabric pieces are woven together to make a big design.

Plaid

This design has a layout that features stripes. The stripes are placed both horizontally, and vertically.

Polka Dot

This is a classic pattern style. And, it consists of equally sized and evenly distributed filled circles.

Print

Simply put, curtains will have anything printed on them. Many modern and contemporary printed curtains are available on the market. You can choose from a wide range of colors.

Solid

This means the curtains will have a single color. If you don’t have any print or designs, single-colored curtains are there for you.

Striped

This design is also popular. When you can be confused opt for a striped design! This design consists of bands or strips that are often the same width and color all the way.

Best place to use blackout curtains

Now, I will tell you the places where you can install blackout curtains.

Blackout curtains for bedroom

This option is already clear to you. People mostly put blackout curtains in their bedrooms. I bet- you are also thinking about hanging them in the bedroom. Because this is where you need them the most. To sleep properly, blackout curtains in the bedroom will surely be a good idea.

Blackout curtains for living room

You can install these curtains in the living room too. Although sunlight is okay in the living room. But there are other sources of light. And, you will hate them as much as you hate external light inside the bedroom.

Some people might fall asleep in the living room. And, that can include various reasons. A pair of blackout curtains will let you sleep tight in the living room as well.

Blackout curtains for kitchen

The kitchen is also a good place to hang the curtains. They can provide you with optimum privacy. That way, you can cook or be in the kitchen without any invasive light from outside.

Another important thing you should know here. Kitchens are the places where we keep utensils. They can be made from various materials.

When the sunlight hits kitchenware, they get heated. As a result, the kitchen contains an increased temperature. And, it can be highly inconvenient, to be in the kitchen with extra temperature!

Moreover, direct sunlight is not good for food. The heat might ruin the food you took painstakingly.

Blackout curtains for baby nursery room

When you have a baby, you have so much extra work to do. Life is undoubtedly harder during that time. Because it’s not easy to raise a baby.

And, putting them to sleep is one the toughest job on earth! If they sleep, they are sleeping around for the time of the day. To ensure your baby gets to sleep most comfortably, you can install blackout curtains. Frankly, that’s just one aspect of the story.

I mean, it’s hard to put a baby to sleep. However, if you get to put them to sleep, they seriously don’t want to wake for at least 2 hours. Considering all that, a blackout curtain can let the baby sleep thoroughly and have sweet dreams.

Blackout curtains for sliding glass doors

Glass doors can be see-through. Also, some doors will have stickers on them to block the view. Even if the stickers can block the view, they can’t stop the light entirely from coming through.

Some of us like glass doors, and windows, but you would not like them at all when you need some time without light, and you need some privacy.

How to choose blackout curtains: 3 things to consider

You will find more than 100 blackout curtains brands in the market. And, it can be difficult to select a set of blackout curtains from all these options. No worries I got you. Check the points below, and prepare for buying the best pair of blackout curtains.

Quality of the fabric

Don’t choose drapes made of lighter or semi-transparent fabrics. It’s true that they will provide some protection from light. But not as much as higher quality and thicker materials will do.

Polyester fabrics are the most common choice for blackout curtains. However, there are a few other options. Just keep in mind, for blocking light completely you should go for the thicker or denser fabric.

Color of the fabric

Color is another critical factor to consider. You would like to match it with the room, right?

The most common colors for blackout curtains are solid and darker. Such as black, graphite, navy blue, and gray.

Nowadays, you will find brighter colors. Also, there are many beautiful patterns. Interestingly, some blackout curtains are white. Well, there will be another layer/blackout lining at the back to block the light.

Note that, colorful blackout curtains are not as effective as darker color curtains.

Maintenance of the curtains

All curtains won’t have the same maintenance process. It depends on the type of fabric. For example, polyester and cotton blends need to be washed with cold water.

Fabrice that are thicker might require drying and cleaning. That’s making sure you check the cleaning.

Blackout Curtains FAQ

I will answer some queries that are related to blackout curtains. They might be extra help for you. Don’t skip them.

Q: Do white blackout curtains work?

Ans: Yes, they work. But it’s said that the darker the better.

Q: Are blackout curtains thermal?

Ans: They might or might not be thermal. But they do obstruct the external heat.

Q: Can you wash blackout curtains?

Ans: Yes. But all fabric can’t be washed in the same method. Check the cleaning instructions carefully. That should work.

Q: Are blackout curtains bad for you?

Ans: Well, they contain materials that are toxic to our health. Many people are using them. They don’t seem to have any severe issues so far.

Q: Should I get blackout curtains for the nursery?

Ans: Since blackout curtains are slightly toxic, you can avoid installing them in the baby’s room.

Q: Do blackout curtains block sound?

Ans: They block the sound but not the entire. Since they are thick and heavy, they inevitably block noise a little.

Q: Do blackout curtains reduce heat?

Ans: Yes, they reduce heat slightly. But blackout curtains with thermal lining will stop the heat fully.

Q: How long should blackout curtains be?

Ans: From the window frame, the curtain needs to be 4 inches to 6 inches long. Generally, 20 inches works fine.

Q: How much do blackout curtains cost?

Ans: In a retail store, you will find them from $20 to $100.

Final Words

I have discussed everything related to the blackout curtain. They have many benefits. On the other hand, they have some disadvantages. Now, you decide if you want to buy them or not.

About Rebekah Purnell

Hi, there! I'm Rebekah Purnell. Mother of three little boys and one little princess. Welcome to Curtainsly, a place for exploring curtains & window treatments and sharing inspiration. Thanks for joining my DIY journey!


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