Blackout Shades, Blinds and Curtains
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Last updated: Friday, May 9, 2008 | 11822 Views

Whether you are planning a home theater, baby nursery or need to sleep during the daylight hours, then you probably need a way to completely shut the light out of your room!

There are some tradeoffs to consider in terms of higher cost and design and attractiveness with any of the options available that can make your room entirely dark versus typical blinds and window treatments.

Read on to learn what options you have to make your room dark when required, but still giving you total control over light and privacy in your home or business setting.

There are many situations in which typical window coverings simply aren’t adequate to control the light entering an interior space through windows and doors.

Typical situations that require total blackout window treatments include:

  • Home Theater Room – window glare greatly reduces the picture quality of most projection and large screen HDTV televisions.
  • Baby Nursery – your baby or toddler will nap much more restfully if the nursery is completely dark.
  • Bedroom – if you work night shifts or suffer from insomnia and need to sleep during the day, studies prove that you will sleep better in a completely dark room.
  • Studio or Darkroom – if you are a photographer and still like the quality of film versus digital images, then a darkroom is required. Also, if you have a photo or art studio, then blackout shades or curtains are a necessity.
  • Business and Commercial – many business and commercial interiors have need for a completely dark environment to conduct operations like research, customer demonstrations and audio/video presentations, etc.

The ultimate in luxury and convenience, motorized blackout shades make any home theater room completely dark for better enjoyment of a large screen or projection TV system.

When and Where Blackout Shades, Curtains or Blinds are Important

Window Blackout Options

While there are some types of Venetian and mini blinds that can be made to block out most window light, these will typically be quite expensive compared to blackout shades or blackout curtains.

The best options to consider if you need a completely dark room include:

  • Blackout Roller Shades – probably the most effective option to darken your interior, blackout roller shades are made with special opaque materials to block virtually all light from entering the room when the shade is lowered. The blackout fabric is attached to a spring-based roller bar and can be easily drawn up or down using a manual or optional motorized lift mechanism. Special guides on either side of the shade keep light from entering from the edges where it meets the window opening. The top and bottom of the shade are likewise designed to keep light out. With all these design considerations, you can expect to pay a premium price for blackout shades.
  • Blackout Cellular or Pleated Shades – while you will pay a premium for pleated blackout shades, pleated or cellular blackout shades mounted inside a window opening are more stylish in many cases than the roller blackout shades. As with the roller shades, some of the more expensive cellular or pleated blackout shades are also fitted with guides and rails to further block out window light.
  • Blackout Curtains – curtains made with blackout liners can be effective for blocking light from entering a room but are unlikely to completely darken the interior like blackout shades can. You can find these available commercially or make your own blackout curtains.
  • Blackout Blinds – available with the route-less feature, some window blinds are intended to darken a room more completely than typical Venetian or mini blinds. Add blackout liners if you want the look of window blinds but need to completely darken your room.

Materials and Options for Blackout Window Coverings

Various materials can be used to make blackout shades or blackout curtains; more expensive materials contain approximately 50% fiberglass, while most are a combination of plastic and vinyl materials. Most of these materials will be coated for fire resistance.

If your budget allows, a great option is to get motorized power blackout shades, which will give your commercial interior or home theater room added convenience and style, enabling you to raiser and lower the shades with the touch of a button.

The motorized option is also convenient with hard to reach or very large window spaces, and makes it significantly easier to darken or lighten the interior as you desire.

You can purchase most types of blackout shades online or through local specialty retailers. As with any other window blinds or shades, careful measurement is required before ordering.


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