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What Are Blackout Curtains?

Wondering what your options are to combat the blazing sun from passing through your windows? Check out our post on blackout curtains to find out.

Whether you want to sleep in longer, block the sun out to get more sleep before your night shift, or create the perfect at-home movie watching atmosphere, blackout curtains have the ability to prevent light from penetrating through your windows and can even lower your energy bill. In this post, we discuss everything you need to know about blackout curtains, including where you can get your hands on them.
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Why Purchase Blackout Curtains?

When I (loansonline.store member McKenzie Dillon) lived in my old house, my bedroom was located on the second story facing east, directly in the path of the rising sun. This might not have been so bad, except the only thing that stood in between me and the sun was a “wall” of giant glass panels. Instead of a normal concrete or brick wall, my wall was made out of sliding glass doors because it led out to a balcony. And while I loved that balcony, I didn’t love being greeted at sunrise every morning with a mighty powerful sun glare.

You might be wondering, why didn’t you buy window curtains? Unfortunately, I realized the sun was no match against them after two failed attempts with two different sets of regular curtains. My only saving grace turned out to be blackout curtains.

what are blackout curtains
An example of regular, non-blackout curtains

After buying blackout curtains, my room was not only darker, but it stayed warmer in the winter by trapping the heat inside, and cooler during the summer by blocking heat from coming in. This also makes them ideal for anybody looking to save energy every month during both the cold and hot seasons.

Some brands claim their blackout curtains also help reduce noise from the outside, which I can’t fully back because mine certainly didn’t. With that being said, some companies might manufacture their curtains with technology that does the job. So it might be worth a try if you live in a busy neighborhood or off of a noisy highway.

How Do They Work?

Blackout curtains were first used in Britain during during WWII for the complete opposite reason they’re used for today — to keep interior light from shining outwards. The objective was to prevent Nazi pilots from seeing the light coming from occupied buildings, because that put citizens at risk of being bombed. With their life depending on it, you bet your bottom dollar they designed their blackout curtains with layers of black cotton fabric to be pretty imperviable.

what are blackout curtains
Aside from around the perimeter, blackout curtains block almost all light

Companies still use black cotton fabric in their blackout curtains, but the fibers are woven extra tight so it blocks 99.9% of light. Alternatively, there are blackout curtains with woven fibers between two layers of fabric so you can’t see the black cotton, but you still reap all of its light-blocking benefits.

Where To Buy Blackout Curtains

You can find blackout curtains at almost any major retailer including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Macy’s, or Bed Bath & Beyond. I purchased mine at Bed Bath & Beyond and spent about $50 on each curtain, which is moderately priced compared to some of the $100 curtains you can find. With that being said, you can find perfectly good blackout curtains for $20, and some go for even less. It all depends on your budget, and how big of a space you need to cover.

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Blackout curtains are available in an array of different colors and designs from ivory to black, so you don’t have to settle for a dark color just for the sake of blocking out light if you don’t want to. If you don’t already have a curtain rod and curtain rod brackets, you’ll want to purchase those separately. As far as we know, most blackout curtains won’t come with them included.

How To Hang Blackout Curtains

Hanging blackout curtains are pretty much the same as hanging up average curtains, and it should take you no longer than 25 minutes or so.

  • First, you’ll want to determine where to put the rod — it should be high enough to cover the top of the window or else you’ll have a significant amount of light peeking through. Most people do theirs about 4” higher than the top of the window, or a little higher if you want the illusion of taller windows. The rod should also be wider than your window so the curtains hang properly and cover enough of the sides.
  • Next comes the curtain rod brackets. We suggest using a pencil to mark where you want your brackets to go, and use a level to ensure the markings are aligned. If not, go back and adjust — that’s why you’re using a pencil!
  • Drill small pilot holes where you made your pencil marks, and gently hammer in the plastic wall anchors if they were included with your brackets. Wall anchors are meant to prevent damage to your wall by helping hold the weight of the curtains, since they can be significantly heavier than normal ones.
  • After putting in both wall anchors, line up the hole in one of the curtain brackets with one of the wall anchors. Hold the bracket steady, and drill the screws in to the wall anchor to secure the bracket to the wall. Repeat with the other side.
  • Once you have your brackets on the wall, slide your rod through your blackout curtains. They should either have loops, rings, holes, or a hem for the rod to easily fit through.
    Hang up your curtains and rod on the brackets, and voila — you have yourself a set of blackout curtains.

Blackout Liners For Existing Curtains

If you’re already in love with the curtains that are currently hanging on your windows, you have the option to save money and purchase blackout liners instead. They can either clip on to the inside of your curtains, or they will come with loops that you can slide your curtain rod through. Just make sure you measure your curtains so you don’t waste time and money on blackout liners that don’t fit.

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