As daylight hours increase, so does the need for drapes that can darken a room in the early hours. In fact, for overall health and wellness, The National Sleep Foundation encourages the use of blackout curtains “to keep your body in sleep mode until it's time to wake up and start the day.”
Fortunately, a good night's sleep doesn't require a major investment-in fact, it can work out to just between $7 and $30 per panel. And they do more than just block out the excess natural light in summer. Year-round, top-quality blackout curtains also filter out some noise pollution (another disruption to your body's natural rhythms) and promote energy savings. In winter, these special fabrics trap indoor heat, while, in summer, they block light and radiant heat from entering your home. In any season, you win by conserving energy and saving money on utility bills.
Ahead, get to know what to look for when selecting a set and why we consider these five to be the best blackout curtains:
- BEST FOR BEDROOMS: Miuco Blackout Curtains for Bedrooms
- BEST VALUE: Eclipse Blackout Curtain for Bedrooms
- BEST PASTEL COLORS: Best Home Fashion Mix & Match Curtains
- BEST FOR LARGE WINDOWS: NICETOWN Grommet Top Blackout Curtain
- BEST OVERALL: PONY DANCE Blackout Window Curtains
Despite the heavy, dark image that the name evokes, blackout curtains can still be aesthetically appealing. They come in a range of fabrics, styles, and colors to suit any bedroom, home office, and living room. As you compare options, focus on the following three considerations.
Most blackout curtains come in standard widths (42 or 52 inches per panel) and a range of lengths. However, you can find blackout curtains in extra-small and extra-large widths and lengths, depending on your window's shape and size and the rod you choose to install with it. Follow these tips to maximize light-blocking effectiveness:
- First, raise your curtain rod above the window so no light can seep in from above.
- Similarly, extend the rod two to three inches on either side of the window frame. You can choose to use wraparound rods, which connect the ends of rods to the wall, to block even more light from entering.
- Then, once the rod is installed, measure from the top of the rod to the bottom of the window frame-or floor, depending on how far you want your curtains to extend.
The two most common styles for blackout curtains differ in how they hang: grommets versus a rod pocket.
- Rod pockets allow the fabric to slip directly over the curtain rod, preventing more light from entering your room. This tends to have a classic, sleek finish.
- Grommets often feature wide holes for curtain rods to pass through. With this style, it's extra important to position the rod high enough on the wall so that the grommet holes do not hang over the window and let in light. These metal accents, however, are favored for a slightly more modern, contemporary touch they bring to the windows.
Some blackout curtains also feature a weighted bottom hem or magnetic strip to further seal off any light seepage. If you choose this, install these curtains according to brand instructions, making sure the magnetic strip is not visible when curtains are drawn back.
While some curtain claim to be “blackout,” pay attention to the material, color, and the denseness of the weave-all of which affect the curtain's ability to keep light out. Look for brands that offer triple-weave polyester fabric and provide a specific percentage of light blocked. Blocking between 85 and 98 percent of light is best for bedrooms, for example, where you may want a tiny bit of ambient light in order to navigate the room in the dark.
Even when a brand advertises 100 percent light-blocking, this claim is dependant on how much light is entering your home, whether it is natural or artificial, and whether it shines directly into your room. If you want to get as close to 100 percent light reduction as possible, aim for black or darker fabric. While lighter fabrics can still block out a significant portion of light, black absorbs heat, light, and sound better.
The following five curtains standout combine our favorite features (like triple-weave fabric and weighted hems) and optimal opacity levels. Check 'em out!
1. BEST FOR BEDROOMS: Miuco Blackout Curtains for Bedrooms (two panels)
These room darkening panels come in a rainbow of colors (18 hues total) and three different lengths (52-inch by 63-inch, 52-inch by 84-inch, and 52-inch 95-inch) so that every consumer can find exactly the right fit for their room's design scheme. Each panel goes up easily with eight metal grommets and falls wrinkle-free thanks to weighted hemlines. The fabric itself-a double-sided polyester blend fabric with triple-weave construction-offers a thick, luxurious look and feel. Perhaps most importantly, this means that darker colors can provide 90 to 98 percent light and UV (ultraviolet) blockage.
2. BEST VALUE: Eclipse Blackout Curtain for Bedrooms (one panel)
The industry leader's curtains are constructed with Thermaback Technology, a special foam coating that increases insulation to block both light and sound. At Eclipse's Blackout level, this particular set is designed to block 98 to 99 percent of light-and 40 percent of noise-from entering your room. This opacity level is ideal for bedrooms, where you need enough darkness to sleep but not so much that you can't navigate around obstacles at night. Choose from five rich colors and three lengths: 42-inch by 63-inch, 42-inch by 84-inch, and 42-inch by 95-inch. Reinforced metal grommets provide easy installation.
3. BEST PASTEL COLORS: Best Home Fashion Mix & Match Curtains (four panels)
Lighter colors don't block light as effectively as darker tones, so it can be difficult to find blackout curtains in white or off-white hues. Not for Best Home Fashion's Mix & Match line, which features 29 soft color combinations in 63-inch and 84-inch lengths. This set layers two tulle sheer panels on top of two blackout curtain panels for an overall light and airy look that still boasts up to 99 percent light blockage. One benefit of the versatile layered look is that, when arranged on double curtain rods, you can opt to leave only the sheer polyester tulle panels over y our windows during the day for maximum light. Then, close the thicker blackout curtain beneath before bed for added privacy, energy conservation, and light blockage any time of the year.
4. BEST FOR LARGE WINDOWS: NICETOWN Grommet Top Blackout Curtain (one panel)
Sliding patio doors and large picture windows can finally achieve some privacy thanks to the extra-large panels offered by NICETOWN. Yes, this blackout curtain panel comes in six sizes, from 52-inch by 63-inch all the way to 100-inch by 108-inch. The fabric itself is triple-weave polyester, blocking up to 95 percent of outside light sources. The silver grommets allow easy installation, while its 14 bold colors offer plenty of options to match-or add contrast to-your living space.
5. BEST OVERALL: PONY DANCE Blackout Window Curtains (two panels)
For sleek, affordable, and effective blackout curtains, look no further than PONY DANCE. Its polyester panels come in three standard sizes (52-inch by 45-inch, 52-inch by 54-inch, and 52-inch by 72-inch) and 10 classic colors. Though the spectrum ranges from black to pure white, the manufacturer recommends darker shades for the best light-blocking power. On those, you can expect 85 to 95 percent light blockage and a significant decrease in ambient noise, too. The rod pocket installation is versatile, so you can hang the curtain directly on the rod or use your own curtain clips.