Blackout Drapes & Shades

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Sun blocking for infant room windows

Aug 2008

We are expecting a baby in a few months and want to install blinds or curtains on our bedroom windows that will block daytime light so the baby can nap, but preferably not make the room sweltering. We are renting and the windows are oddly shaped, so we're looking for something simple to install and inexpensive. If anyone has suggestions of a type of window treatment to try or a place to shop for them, we would greatly appreciate it. Loren

I recently bought black out drapes online from Target. My windows are odd shapes but with a curtain rod it is easier to get around that. There were about $70 and have helped my 10 month old sleep 10-11 hrs at night and take two solid naps/day in her crib. Wished I had gotten them sooner! Kim

Don't use a shade, actually. You want the kiddo in the first few months to learn the difference between sleeping at night (sound sleep, uninterrupted) and sleeping during the day (short, less sound) in order to become a good night sleeper! We did get just a cheap vinyl shade for my daughter's room because the sun comes up so early in the summer mornings and they actually work like a charm! Sunny Side

Blackout Drapes

April 2008

We want to put blackout drapes in a few of our windows. We've used the pull-down shades before, but didn't feel like they did a good job of keeping light out ''around the edges.'' Our windows are very wide, which is another reason we don't think the pull-down kind will work out. So I'm thinking blackout drapes, like the kind in hotel rooms, might be better. Where can I find these types of drapes? I'm clueless as to the stores that offer them, and I'm not a seamstress at all, so making them myself is out of the question. Any suggestions or alternative ideas are much appreciated! Thanks!

We bought the blackout drapes from Bed Bath and Beyond. They did a good job blocking out most of the light, but still had the same problem with the light around the edges. Another problem we had with them, which may not be relevant to you, was that on the few occasions when we wanted to pull them back to let the sunlight in, it was nearly impossible to do so. The casing at the top that goes over the drapery bar is pretty narrow, so you can't slide them to the side, you have to use some sort of tie to gather them up around the middle and pull them back that way. But they seem to have accomplished our main goal, which was to keep our new couch from fading. Now that I'm thinking about it, though, the drapes may have come with magnets to attach and keep the bottoms and sides together...guess we should have used those...make sure you check the package to see if those are included. Albany

I happened to be in Ikea recently with my daughter, looking at window coverings. We weren't looking for blackout drapes, but I noticed that they carry a type of drape specifically recommended for people who have to sleep during the day, or want to watch TV during the day, etc., and need to keep the light out completely. They were plain-colored, and seemed to be made of a special fabric so they weren't so heavy as motel-hotel-type drapes. I thought they were pretty cool! --Rarely shop at Ikea

We got our black-out curtains at The light still comes in the edges. When I need it really dark, I just use a little scotch tape in critical areas and stuff a towel at the top and bottom. Other than that they have worked really well in terms of getting our toddler to go to bed at bedtime now that it is still light out. Darkened Room

Bed, Bath and Beyond has black out drapes. Bring your 20% coupons in-- one for each curtain! LogicalMama

We got some from Bed Bath & Beyond 3 years ago- not cheap but they get the job done (save up those 20% off coupons!) They have a nice feature where you can thread a magnetic strip down the edges, and thus get nice closure down the middle. These blackout curtains can be used solo, or you can hook them onto the back of preexisting curtains. We did the latter, which helps them span the width a little better (we have some very wide windows and two blackout panels alone just barely cover the window. ) Linda

I am no seamster (?) either, but I was able to get the ''blackout'' fabric at the fabric store on Broadway (at College) and use big loop stitches to existing drapes. They look the same from the front, but they block out the light nicely. Depending on how you hang them, light can still leak out around the top/edges, even with blackout drapes. There are L shaped plastic things that are attached to the inside edges of the window edges that will address that. You'll find them in hotel rooms. I couldn't find them locally but you can order them online. I've also tried using the blackout shades, with fabric (window dressing) hanging down the sides and top. Rich

2004 - 2007 Recommendations

Blackout Shades & Curtains

March 2006

My baby's room has french doors that let in a lot of sunlight. I would like to buy or make curtains for the french doors that keep the sunlight out. Where can I purchase blackout fabric? Also, can I sew this fabric to the back of the curtains? anon

We bought blackout panels at Bed Bath Beyond. They were about $40 for two panels with a magnetic strip down the middle. We're using them to cover a door as well, and they really do block out the light. The package might not make this clear, but they do have loops along the top to attach to curtain hooks. The directions explained how to do this. We're just using them plain (less attractive, but easier!). You might open the package in the store to see if it's what you're looking for. Rebecca

We had the same problem, with sliding glass doors in our new baby's room, facing the rising sun each morning. I went to Bed Bath & Beyond and bought some thick dark denim/navy blue curtains (the tag says ''ink''). They don't block out 100% of the light, but I'd say a good 80%--perfect for the baby to sleep in daylight, but so we can still see what we're doing if we go in there.

They're cotton/polyester, but look like cotton, & have an abstract floral/leaf pattern (but all the same dark blue color, so you have to look closely to see the pattern). The top has those contemporary ''tab top'' loops, so we just installed a bar across the top with 2 holders attached to the wall at either end (also available at BB & B), and it works GREAT. The tag says Brentwood Designs. The curtains will also be usable and stylish for years to come, when it's no longer a baby's room! Good luck, Heidi

I hand stitched black out fabric to one set of curtains and machine stitched it to another. They have it at poppy and stone mountain and daughter. it is sometimes called 'eclipse' it is basically rubberized muslin. recently it was on sale at the outlet on san pablo and ashby. it is well worth the effort! Jessica

I bought some blackout fabric panels on ebay. I used it to line some roman shades and it works great -- comes with hooks to attach to inside of existing curtains and magnetic tape for closures. MKM

You can get blackout panels at Bed, Bath and Beyond. If you want more eco-friendly try Gaiam. Good luck! anon

poppy fabric sells blackout fabric on broadway near college ave and you can sew it to the back of your curtain, though if you want the room to be really dark, my husband cut pieces of wood to fit in the window like a frame and put the fabric around the wood so no light seeps in around the edges. simple to do if you have a saw. day sleeper

2003 & Earlier

Black-out shades

Nov 2003

Our neighbor has very sensitive motion-detector lights. When it's windy, they go on and off all night, keeping our 22-month- old from sleeping. We currently have towels on the window. We'd like to buy black-out shades, but, since we rent, don't want to pay to have them custom-made. Where can you buy black- out shades? sleepy

I just recently ordered blackout curtains online through . They come in several ready-made sizes, and the prices are reasonable. I can't comment yet on how effective they are, because I haven't yet received them, but this was the cheapest source I could find. Diane

Joanne's carries blackout fabric if you are making your own.

I got black poster boards and taped them onto the window using packing tape. May not look very appealing but so far works. I just cover them with the regular blinds so they are out of sight. Inexpensive solution. Sarah

I actually have some very nice brand new (in original packaging) black out roman shades that I had purchased a month before we (unexpectedly) moved from our old house. We moved just past the 30 day refund period so I have been holding them hoping to find someone interested. I would be happy to email you specifics and would be pleased to get 50% what I paid for them. Let me know if you're interested. LESLIE

I recommend Alcatraz Shade and Blind Shop on the corner Telegraph and Alcatraz. They have ''ready made'' plain black out shades that are cut to length while you wait (about 20 minutes). You need to provide the window measurement. I found this to be the most ecomonical way to get total black out. lap

Most motion detectors have switches to contol sensitivity, have you asked your neighbor to make an adjustment? If that's not a possibility perhaps it's something you might be able to yourself on a windy night when no one will think twice about the light going on and off.

As for curtains, if you're handy you can buy pretty dense cutains at IKEA (there is no place cheaper). Use Sew On Velcro for the curtain and affix Sticky Back Velco to the inside of the window and you can get a pretty tight seal.

For Velcro try The first link on the left is for exactly what you need (I'd suggest Black Sew On Velcro ''Loop'' fo the curtain and beige Sticky Back Velco ''hook'' for the window)

If you're not handy, and no one has a better sugestion, how about a nice cotton eye mask. They're also quite useful for travelling. Not sure where to get one, though.

bed bath and beyond has blackout shades (in el cerrito at the el cerrito bart station shopping center), i recall they were pretty reasonable and also long. anon

I would recommend buying roller shades at Home Depot. They are available in a ''room darkening'' thickness. Measure the window and then Home Depot will cut the shade to size for you. I think they block the most light when you mount them on the exterior of the window vs. the interior - i.e. buy it big enough to cover part of the molding, not just the window glass. These block much more light than blinds, and you never have to worry about cords posing a choking hazard. If light leaks in from the sides, you can always hang curtains too. I have also heard you can buy blackout curtains at Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I've never looked for them there. anon

I bought some at the longs in the shopping center at 51st and Broadway in oakland. Last isle toward the back. They are made to fit any range of windows. They install easy. I put them up with my 12 month old ''helping''. I think they were pretty cheap , too. $10 -12 each? Email me if you need more info Rochelle

Hello. I don't know where you can buy actual shades with blackout fabric, but, if you want to be economical, you can buy blackout fabric and just hang it on the windows like a curtain. Call around to several fabric stores to see who carries it. Good luck! Elaine

Go see Dave at the Berkeley Shade Shop on University. They had the lowest prices I found in Berkeley and he will cut the shades for you. We too have sensor lights and had them readjusted to point towards our house so that they wouldn't go into our neighbors' windows. Have you talked to your neighbors about doing this? Elizabeth