Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 5 ideas on how to black out a window

Everyone needs their sleep. If your neighbour's lights or the moon itself are keeping you from it, then read on. Other than cardboard on your windows or completely drywalling your windows in.... it can be tricky trying to figure out how to black out a window. 

If you're not getting your sleep because of too much light in your bedroom, you're probably not feeling your best.

Whether you sleep at night or need to sleep during the day, if light is the issue, here are some suggestions for how to black out a window. It may help you have more energy and feel like yourself again.

Suggestions 1, 2, 3 are great for night time sleeping. 

Suggestions 4 and 5 are better for day time sleeping.

1. Fully closing black out drapes

Because drapery is mounted outside the trim, this is one of the best options.

Choose a darker, heavier fabric if it suits, lined with black out lining, not regular or dim out lining.
Take the drapery at least 4" past the trim on both sides.

Take the drapery to the floor.

If using a pair of drapes (instead of 1 panel) make sure they overlap when they meet in the middle, otherwise you can get an annoying light gap down the middle.

Add returns to the drapery to close out any light sneaking in the sides.

Avoid using brackets that extend too far out, the closer to the window the better.

2. Honeycomb blinds with black out backing

Honeycomb blinds come in a variety of ways.

The most popular is Architella from Hunter Douglas.

This blind is made with an inner layer for extra light reduction and makes an amazing insulator for your window.

Choose a honeycomb blind that has a black out backing.

If mounting inside the window, be aware that you will get light gaps down the side. This can be annoying. Although this darkens your room significantly, there's always that annoying gap. This is really only an issue if you're sleeping during the day. Look at number 4 or 5 if day sleeping is the case.

Add drapery side panels that are stationary or functional and this will reduce the light coming in.

3. Roman Shades

These can be made from any type of fabric, preferably dark and a heavier texture.

Line them with blackout lining.

If complete blackout isn't necessary but you want to room darken, then dim out lining works nicely on roman shades.

Because roman shades need rings sewn on the back, for some reason the blackout lining can show through the tiny holes where the rings are sewn on. (black out lining is generally white or light grey)

For best results, mount the roman shade on the outside of the window. Have the shade made so it passes the trim by about 1/2" to 1" (you can go more if you like, but it may look like the shade wasn't made for the window)

Have the blind extend past the trim at the bottom of the window by at least 3-4".

Companies such as Hunter Douglas and Graber have roman shades also. You're limited to certain types of fabric. Having roman shades made from your favourite fabric is a nice way to go.

4. Roller Shade with side channels

If you want the ultimate sleep experience, choose a blind that has side channels down the side, like Altex has. You can find these blinds in hotel rooms, board rooms, anywhere that needs complete black out.

5. Multiple Layering

How to black out a window has to do with layering. Layering your window coverings is good energy efficiency, its also a great way to get really good coverage and minimize light gaps.

Choosing a blind inside your window with drapery panels on the outside is a great combination.

You can add sheer in front of the blind and behind the drapery for an extra layer.

Choose a blind or shade (roller shade) that's opaque. Avoid blinds with slats, these tend to have unavoidable gaps.

Choose to mount the blind inside the frame for a clean look or outside the frame to reduce more light gaps.

Choose side panels or fully closing drapery panels.

Sleep tight!

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  1. I need help blacking out my windows 100%. bought the blinds,, but there is light gaps on top and bottom! How do i block light on top?

    Let me know!

  2. Hi Sue, what type of blinds are they? Do you have a valance at the top?