light-blocking curtain vs blackout curtain

How to buy a blackout curtain (+ shopping list)

Are you tired of being awoken by the early morning sun or struggling to sleep in a room that is too bright? If so, it might be time to invest in a blackout curtain.

Blackout curtains are a practical and stylish solution for anyone looking to block out light and create a darker, more restful environment in their home.

But with so many blackout curtains on the market, how do you choose the right one?

This blackout curtain buying guide will provide all the information you need to make an informed decision and find the perfect blackout curtain for your home.

So say goodbye to sleepless nights and hello to good night’s rest with this blackout curtain buyers guide!

What is a blackout curtain?

A blackout curtain is a window treatment to block light from entering the room, creating an environment of complete darkness.

Blackout curtains are typically made of thick, heavy curtain fabric with a tight weave and are lined with a special blackout lining or layer that helps with blocking light.

They are often used in bedrooms or areas where people want a blackout effect for sleeping or relaxing.

venitian blinds
While Venetian blinds are popular, the gaps between slates lets sunlight through

What are the benefits of blackout curtains?

Compared to regular curtains and drapes, blackout curtains do a much better job of blocking light from entering the room. This is why blackout curtains are popular for many homeowners and renters.

Besides blocking light, they also offer privacy, insulation, and noise reduction, making them a versatile addition to any room in the home. It can also be a great addition to your home decor if planned.

How do blackout curtains improve insulation?

Blackout curtains can improve insulation in several ways:

  1. Reduce heat loss: Blackout curtains can help reduce heat loss through windows by providing an extra layer of insulation. The thick, heavy fabric of blackout curtains can help to keep heat inside the room, making them a good option for people who want to save energy and reduce their heating bills over winter.
  2. Reducing heat gain: Blackout curtains can also help reduce heat gain by blocking sunlight and preventing solar heat from entering the room. This can be especially useful in the summer when the sun’s rays make a room feel hot and uncomfortable.
  3. Reducing drafts: Blackout curtains can also help to reduce drafts by reducing airflow around windows. This can be especially useful in older homes with poorly-insulated windows or rooms that are drafty with cold air.

Blackout curtains can help improve insulation and energy costs by reducing heat loss, heat gain, and drafts. Investing in blackout curtains can create a more energy-efficient home and save money on heating and cooling bills.

Can blackout curtains help block outside noise?

Yes, blackout curtains can help block outside noise.

Blackout curtains are typically made of thick, heavy fabric with a tight triple weave fabric, which can help to absorb and reduce noise.

In addition, the lining of some blackout curtains is designed to block out noise, further increasing their sound-dampening properties.

It is important to note that blackout curtains are not as effective at blocking out noise as other soundproofing measures, such as double-paned windows or wall insulation.

A great alternative to reduce the effect of outside noise is by using a white noise machine.

Regardless, blackout curtains still reduce noise and are a good option for people who want a quieter environment without major renovations done.

How much light does a blackout curtain block?

There are typically three levels of blackout curtains: light-blocking, room-darkening, and blackout.

Light-blocking curtains are designed to block out little light and reduce glare, but they do not completely block out all light. These curtains are good for areas like the living room that get a lot of natural light but still need some light to filter through.

Room-darkening curtains are designed to block out most light but not all of it. They are good for bedrooms and other areas where you want to create a darker environment but still need light to filter through.

Blackout curtains are designed to achieve a full blackout effect, with minimal light entering the room. This makes them ideal for bedrooms and other areas where you want to create a completely dark environment. These curtains are especially useful for night shift workers or people who need to sleep during the day without being woken up by sunlight. A sunrise alarm clock is a great addition to any bedroom with blackout curtains.

light-blocking curtain vs blackout curtain
light-blocking curtain vs blackout curtain

Which blackout curtain should you get?

When deciding which level of blackout curtains to get, ask yourself these questions:

What is the purpose of the curtains?

What do you want the curtains to accomplish? Do you want to block out all light for a completely dark environment, or do you want to reduce glare from the sun but keep your lights off?

Where are the curtains located?

Where will the curtains be hung? Consider heavier blackout curtains if the curtains are in a bedroom or other area where you want a blackout effect.

If the curtains are in an area where you still want some light to filter through, such as a living room, consider light-blocking or room-darkening curtains.

How bright is the room?

Consider the amount of sunlight that the room gets. If the room gets a lot of natural light, you may need thicker blackout curtains to block the light completely.

Light-blocking or room-darkening curtains may be sufficient if the room gets little natural light.

How do you choose the best blackout curtains?

When buying a blackout curtain, there are several factors to consider to choose the best one for your needs.


The first step in buying a blackout curtain is to measure the window size and determine the desired coverage.

Do you have one or two panels of the window frame? Do you want full coverage from the top of the window to the floor or only partial coverage?

Based on these measurements, you can determine the appropriate size of the blackout curtain.


Next, consider the fabric and lining of the blackout curtain. Look for curtains made of a high-quality fabric that is durable and easy to care for.

The lining of the blackout curtain is also important. Some blackout curtains only have a light-blocking lining that helps to block out light, while others have an additional thermal lining that helps to insulate the room and reduce energy costs.

Bonus tip: Get a machine-washable fabric for easy cleaning and maintenance.


Once you have chosen the size and material of the blackout curtain, you can consider the style and design of the curtain. Consider the room’s decor and choose a style matching the overall aesthetic.

Blackout curtains come in various sizes and styles, such as panels, grommets, and tab-top.

Opt for curtains that have grommets or hanging tabs, making them easier to install and use.

Consider the color and pattern of the blackout curtain, and choose one that matches or complements the room’s color scheme. While a dark color curtain will best block light, light-colored curtains work well, too – if the fabric quality is top-notch.

Common materials used in blackout curtains

Several fabric types can be used in blackout curtains, each with unique characteristics.

Here are some of the differences between the different fabrics used in blackout curtains:

  1. Polyester – Polyester is a synthetic fabric often used in blackout curtains because it is durable, wrinkle-resistant, and easy to care for. It is also a good choice for blackout curtains because it blocks out light effectively.
  2. Cotton – Cotton is a natural fabric often used in blackout curtains because it is soft, breathable, and hypoallergenic. It is also a good choice for blackout curtains because it can block out a significant amount of light.
  3. Linen – Linen is a natural fabric that is made from flax fibres. It is a good choice for blackout curtains because it is durable and can block out a significant amount of light. However, it is less wrinkle-resistant than other fabrics, so it may require more maintenance.
  4. Silk – Silk is a natural fabric made from silkworm fibres. It is a luxurious and elegant choice for blackout curtains, but it is less effective at blocking out light than other fabrics.
  5. Wool – Wool is a natural fabric made from sheep’s fibres. It is a good choice for blackout curtains because it can block out a lot of light and is insulating and energy-efficient. However, it may be more expensive than other fabrics.

How to measure curtain panels

Accurate measurements are crucial when buying blackout curtains. To measure for blackout curtains, follow these steps:

  1. Width – Measure the width above your window frames, from one end to the other, including any window treatments or hardware. Add a few inches on either side to cover your window fully. When in doubt, go one measurement up. With a wider curtain, the fabric will bunch up together and make the curtain look wavy.
  2. Length – Measure the window length from the curtain rod to the bottom of the window, or the floor, depending on preference. Measuring the total length starting from the curtain rod brackets ensures enough coverage for your windows.
  3. Curtain rod – Measure the curtain rod length and make sure the curtain rod is longer than the distance between the two curtain rod brackets.

By taking accurate measurements, you can ensure that you buy the right size blackout curtains for your windows.

Guide to measuring length and width of blackout curtain
Make sure to choose a blackout curtain a few inches longer than the curtain rod.

Shopping list for installing blackout curtains

Here is a list of additional tools that may be needed to install a blackout curtain:

Curtain rod

Depending on the blackout curtain you are installing, you may need a curtain rod to hang the curtains. Many types of curtain rods are available, including tension, spring, and traditional rods with brackets.

Curtain rod brackets

While they typically come as a set along the curtain rod, ensure you have these before installing your blackout curtain.

Curtain hooks

Some blackout curtains have built-in hooks or loops that can hang on a curtain rod. In this case, you will not need additional curtain hooks. However, if you use a traditional curtain rod with rings or clips, you may need to purchase the hooks separately.


You will need the appropriate hardware to install the curtain rod or track. This may include screws, nails, brackets, or other mounting components. Make sure to have the correct hardware on hand before starting the installation.

Basic tools

You will need basic tools to install the blackout curtains, such as a drill, screwdriver, hammer, measuring tape, level, and ladder. Make sure to have these tools available before starting the installation.

Alternatives to blackout curtains

While blackout curtains are one of the best solutions to darken your room, they require holes to be drilled in the wall to hang the curtains in place.

If you are renting and are unable to drill new holes for curtain rods, here are some alternatives to blackout curtains that do not require home improvement:

Sleep masks

Sleep masks are a portable and affordable alternative to blackout curtains. They can be worn over the eyes to block out light, making them a good option for people who travel or who want a quick and easy solution for blocking out light.

Tinted window film

Tinted window film can be applied to windows to block out light and create a darker environment. It is a relatively inexpensive and non-permanent solution that can be easily removed if desired.

Blackout curtain liners

Blackout liners are an affordable and non-permanent alternative to blackout curtains. They can be attached to the back of existing curtains to create a blackout effect. Blackout liners are easy to install and can be removed if desired.


Blackout curtains are a low-cost and effective way to get better sleep. By blocking out light, blackout curtains create a darker, more restful environment that can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.

Whether you are dealing with light pollution or night shift work or want to create a more relaxing sleep environment, blackout curtains are a simple and affordable solution.

Investing in a good set of blackout curtains can improve your sleep and overall quality of life.