How to Darken a Room

Darkening a room can be harder than it seems, and depending on the reason for darkening, the best methods vary. The most common reason for darkening a room is to make a better environment for sleeping, and the most common light source is windows. This article will focus on the best ways to black out light from a window.

Do-it-yourself window blackout vs. custom window treatments

For darkening or blacking out a window, there is a large range of options to choose from. Do-it-yourself options can be very effective at darkening a room, and many are tempted to do it themselves – but unless you are a very skilled seamstress who can also create hardware and the operating mechanics, DIY options will probably not meet your standards for aesthetics and will be a short-lived.

If you are contemplating room darkening for the purpose of making a room better for sleep, DIY solutions are probably best for testing the idea of darkening to improve sleep. Once you’ve established that, yes, darker is better, you are ready for a proper solution. When you have a proper solution that fulfills the need of room darkening or blackout and that opens and closes smoothly and looks great – you’ll have a good solution that you’ll be happy with.

How to select the best blackout window treatment

1: How dark do you really need the room to be?

How dark are you trying to make the room? For many, making a room significantly darker is enough, for others, the room must be totally blacked out.

As it turns out, ‘dark’ is far from simple or objective. There are degrees of opacity of the material, and the construction and installation options also influence the amount of light coming in from a window. Remember, room darkening and blackout aren’t the same and you may or may not need true blackout. To keep it simple, decide if you want your room totally dark or mostly dark. If totally dark is your goal, go for blackout and then choose your style. If not, choose the style you like and then decide if it provides sufficient darkening. If you need help, call a pro.

2: How much do you want to spend?

Is this for an apartment window that you will leave behind in a year – and no extra spending is justifiable, or are you settled in a home with a very distinct style that you would like to maintain or improve, and you’re willing to purchase quality?

The least expensive kind of window treatment that will darken a room is roller shades. While these will darken a room and they may be great for your needs, these are not truly blackout shades. (More info below on roller shades.)

3: What is your style?

Is this purely utilitarian where a simple, even spartan look will do, or should the function of the blackout window covering be ‘invisible’ to visitors, who will only see a beautifully styled window treatment.

For most window treatments, blackout is achieved by sewing a liner onto the window treatment. For this reason, the ‘interior styling’ of the window treatment is virtually unchanged and blackout can be considered an a la carte option.

Blackout and Room Darkening Roller shades – From utilitarian to chic

Blackout Fabric and Vinyl roller shades are fashionable and economic solutions. Fabric roller shades are coated on the back of the fabric to provide light blockage. This provides a fashionable front to match your style, and in several cases, allows you to match other semi-opaque roller shades in other parts of your home. Vinyl roller shades in a simple, solid color are hard to beat where darkening (not full blackout) on a budget is the goal and very simple styling will do. Available in many colors, these are the most commonly known type of window shade for room darkening and some of the least expensive window treatments. The reason these are room-darkening and not true blackout is because the mounting hardware requires a gap along both sides, which allows some light leakage.

Full blackout capability is available with a specially enclosed headrail, along with side and bottom rails.

Another option for better room darkening: There is an installation option for roller shades that improves the room darkening properties, but may be a less aesthetic solution. By installing roller shades outside of the window itself, the shade material can cover the entire window vs. leaving the edges uncovered. Some light will still seep around, but it will be much less than an in-window mount.

Works for windows:

Fits up to 144″ wide x 144″ high

Blackout Natural/Woven Wood shades – Natural windows and doors

Blackout natural shades or woven wood shades offer natural materials like bamboo, reeds, grasses and other woven materials with varying textures, colors, trim and options. The blackout is achieved with a liner, so any natural shade can be turned into a blackout shade. Because of the way the hardware works, the shade material can be made to fit very closely to the edge of a window frame, offering a true blackout window treatment. Natural shades can also come in top-down, bottom-up and various cord options, including cordless and motorized.

Works for windows and doors:

Fits up to 96″ wide x 108″ high

Blackout Honeycomb/Cellular shades – Lots of options

Honeycomb/Cellular shades (blackout or regular) offer a large selection of colors and styles also – along with a few features not available in others, like superior thermal insulation based on the air gaps in the material and additional mechanical options. Live natural shades, honeycomb shades can also come in top-down, bottom-up and various cord options, including cordless and motorized. Also, cell or honeycomb shades are available in smaller and larger cell sizes to create a matching theme among different size windows

Works for windows:

Fits up to 174″ wide and 144″ high

Blackout Vertical Cellular Shades – Great for large openings

Vertical honeycomb shades are unique application of honeycomb blackout fabric. Utilizing a special headrail, the fabric closes left to right, making it great for sliding doors and as room dividers. Using the same fabric a regular honeycomb shades, vertical honeycomb shades will perfectly match the rest of your room.

Works for windows and openings:

Fits up to 190″ wide x 120″ high

Blackout Panel Track Blinds – Also great for large openings

Panel track blinds are the only type of blackout blind (vs. shade). Available as opaque panels or woven materials with a liner, similar to panels of a natural shade/woven wood blind, panel tracks are great for sliding doors and as room dividers.

Works for windows and openings:

Fits up to 261″ wide x 144″ high

Style and Service for Every Budget

Just Right Window Treatments wants you to know that they can help you find to right room-darkening or blackout solution for your home. Let us provide you with designer high-quality custom window treatments that will fit in your specific price range. Call 757-955-7999 today to schedule your FREE, in-home consultation. Don’t let your budget stand in the way of having high-end, custom window coverings.

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