Discover the Benefits of Blackout Curtains

Window Treatments
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Some individuals are sensitive to lights and sounds and fail to fall asleep if sunlight or background noises creep into their room. Doctors and employees who work the third shift also might need to sleep during the day, requiring a bedroom that is not impeded by sunlight. Window coverings can solve the problem of light invading the home and rousing homeowners awake. The best window coverings for darkening the room are blackout curtains (or drapes). Here is what to know about the construction and styles of these drapes and alternative window coverings, too.


Blackout curtains and shades block out sunlight and other light nuisances. These window coverings are ideal for those who need to sleep during the day, are sensitive sleepers (and are bothered by light), or those who want to increase the energy efficiency of their home.

Blackout Drapes Are Not Black Drapes

Don't confuse black draperies or curtains with blackout drapes. The blackout construction of draperies features a specialized blackout lining. To ensure absolute opaqueness, homeowners must choose a full drapery. Blackout curtains or drapes feature a floor-length structure to encase the window fully and block as much light as possible. Blackout drapes are not black drapes, although homeowners can choose a black fabric for their blackout drapes. The term "blackout" simply denotes that the drapes fully block light to create a dark (or black) bedroom or space.

Do Black Curtains Darken the Room?

Black draperies are not necessarily blackout drapes. Homeowners might wonder, though, if black fabric or black curtains darken the room efficiently. Heavy black fabrics can provide some room darkening, but they are not designed to black out the room completely. Some black fabrics are sheer and provide minimal light coverage. The color of the drapery does not provide the darkening effect of the blackout drape; a blackout panel sewn inside the drape protects the room from sunlight and darkens the space.

Room Darkening Shades

Sunshine Drapery offers other alternatives to blackout drapes for homeowners who prefer to avoid installing fabric window coverings in their bedroom or another area of the home. Certain types of shades also provide a nearly complete darkening impact and opaqueness for the room. Room darkening shades are not the same as blackout shades. Room darkening shades minimize the light in the room, but they do not provide complete coverage because of light seepage on the sides. Blinds also serve as room-darkening window coverings; homeowners can adjust the room's light by opening the slats, but some sunlight spills into the room. Blackout cellular (honeycomb) shades comprise cells of material versus a flat fabric; this composition provides added energy-saving properties. These shades help keep warm air in the home and block hot sunlight during the summer days. Remember that shades are installed inside a window for ease of functionality; there could be slight gaps on the side of windows for this reason.

Types of Blackout Shades

Honeycomb (cellular) shades provide the most blackout impact for individuals who need complete darkness in a room. In addition, Sunshine Drapery also offers several other varieties of shades that darken the space. Blackout screen or roller shades provide homeowners with customizable room design options. These shades add opaque protection to windows and can be installed beneath draperies, too.

How Blackout Shades Improve Sleep

Some individuals sleep during the day and work at night. This reverse schedule means that a dark room is essential for mimicking the feeling of nighttime and tricking the body's circadian rhythm to adjust to this schedule difference. The body wakes to sunlight, but darkness signals sleep. Those who work during the evening hours need to create a hospitable environment for sleeping; blackout drapery and blinds provide the necessary coverage to transform a sunlit room into a dark oasis for sleep. Blackout curtains for a bedroom can provide this level of comfort for those who need it. Some individuals work a standard 9 to 5 schedule but cannot sleep if light penetrates their room. Blackout shades for a bedroom not only keep out sunlight, they also block streetlights, headlights (from street traffic), and even the moon's bright light.

Say Goodnight to Skyglow

Skyglow–a term referring to all the lights that create nighttime brightness–could damage our health. An article published by Vogue that cited two separate medical studies reported that Skyglow disrupts REM sleep and contributes to numerous health risks, including heart disease, obesity, and even Alzheimer's Disease. The popular fashion magazine sang the praises of blackout curtains as the solution

Feeling Exhausted? Sleep Deprivation Might Be the Culprit

Lights shining through the window create restless nights, leading to bad days. Individuals who wake up at night only to toss and turn because Skyglow is invading their bedroom might suffer from sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, many people assume they can get by with very little sleep. However, sleep deprivation causes sneaky symptoms–loss of concentration, forgetfulness, lethargy, and maybe even moodiness. Are you getting enough sleep? Check out the sleep chart with data from the National Sleep Foundation:

Age Sleep Recommendation
Newborn (birth to 3 months) 14 to 17 hours is the optimal recommendation
Infant (4 months to 11 months) 12 to 15 hours is recommended
Toddler (1 to 2 years) 11 to 14 hours is recommended
Preschool (3 to 5 years) 10 to 13 hours is recommended
Elementary and Middle School (6 to 13 years) 9 to 11 hours is recommended
Teen (14 years to 17 years) 8 to 10 hours is recommended
Young adult (18 to 25 years) 7 to 9 hours is recommended
Adult (26 years to 64 years) 7 to 9 hours is recommended
Seniors (Older than 65) 7 to 8 hours is recommended

Who Needs Blackout Shades?

Blackout shades or blackout drapes are a popular request. Not only can these window coverings dramatically reduce the light in the room to create an ideal sleeping environment, but some of these products also improve the home's energy efficiency, blocking out UV rays and keeping the home cool during summer. Who needs blackout shades and drapes? The answer is, who DOESN'T need these impactful window coverings?

Blackout Curtain FAQ

What is the downside of blackout curtains?

There are no downsides to blackout curtains; however, homeowners should work with designers to discuss the level of darkness they prefer. Some clients ask for blackout curtains but just want room-darkening curtains.

Do blackout curtains work?

Yes! Blackout curtains block out nearly all the sunlight from the room, creating a dark and peaceful space for relaxing and better sleep.

Do blackout curtains block 100 percent of light?

Blackout curtains blackout the room, but a few tiny glints of light could leak into the room if homeowners do not close the drapes properly or are incorrectly installed.

Why can I see light through my blackout curtains?

Light can enter the room if the curtains are not completely closed, don't fit the window properly, or are incorrectly installed. If light seeps through the fabric, then the drapes might not be a blackout design.

How do you blackout existing shades?

Please don't try to DIY existing shades into blackout shades. Instead, schedule a design consultation with the interior designers at Sunshine Drapery to create customized window coverings that provide the opacity you need.

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