Inexpensive light-blocking window treatments for WIDE (6 feet) windows?
March 8, 2015 12:20 PM   Subscribe

I am fortunate to have two very wide windows in my bedroom - each is approximately 6 feet wide. I'm looking for an inexpensive (ideally under $200, less is better, more could be spent if necessary) way to cover them. Special snowflake details after the fold.

-I need the window coverings to block light pretty well at night because I have sleep issues. Total blackout options would be awesome, but at minimum if it's roller shades or mini-blinds, they can't just be the light-filtering kind, they need to be light-blocking.
-One window is deep enough (3") for inside mount, the other is a hair over an inch deep so inside mount would be difficult for that one.
-I want it to be easy to open the shades/curtains/etc to let lots of light in during the day. With miniblinds this is easy, with curtains...maybe tiebacks?
-For the shallow window, something low-profile would be best--there's a closet door that opens up and bangs into the current curtain rod (which is 3 or 4 inches out from the wall.) Tie-backs that are wall-mounted would also have this problem.
-If curtain rods end up being the best solution, I can make blackout curtains, so the cost of those is not a huge issue. I just can't see an easy way to hang them so they don't conflict with this closet, and so that they are not super far away from the window (thus letting light in on the sides) and so that they're easy to keep open all the way.

My big concern is that many options would sag in the middle. Is this an issue with miniblinds? Roller shades? If you've had a good experience with either of those on really wide windows, I'd love to know the brand. I don't want to have two separate shades because this will leave a crack where light will get in. I have a tension rod up on one window right now and it definitely sags/falls down due to the weight of the curtains.

Also, how completely do light-blocking mini-blinds block light? Does inside or outside mount matter? Again, I'd love to hear how specific brands hold up. The Bali cut-to-fit ones at Home Depot are within my price range, but I'm not sure how well they will block light or hold up.
posted by needs more cowbell to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think for real blackout roller shades are better than miniblinds. Sagging shouldn't be an issue, but do inside mount on the one you can.

These ones from look pretty good to me and sneak in under your price limit (unless the windows are also very tall). Sites like these have new sales every week so while it looks like cellular shades are on sale right now these might be later. I'd get them in one of the dark colors.

I'd add, though, that learning to sleep with an eye mask on totally changed my life as a person who has trouble sleeping. I use this one. It's soft and has a raised portion under the eyes that seriously blocks light out completely while still letting me move my eyes around underneath. It might be worth a shot for you before you spend too much time and money trying to darken your whole space.
posted by brainmouse at 12:36 PM on March 8, 2015

I bought roller shades in white, heavy plastic from a Canadian outlet called Blinds to Go for all the windows in my house almost 10 years ago. Two of these windows are 72+ inches wide and the blinds still block light perfectly and roll up and down perfectly without sagging. The roller unit is held up by brackets on each end that can attach to the vertical inside edge of the window frame (inside mount) or flush on the top, horizontal part of the frame (outside mount, which is what I chose). The brackets and roller unit stick out about 2.5 inches from the frame and 3" from the wall, but this would be less if you chose inside mount. I chose outside mount to make sure I got complete privacy as well as light blocking.

I can roll them up completely for all the light I want. If you have pretty curtains to go over it to make your room look less stark / let in partial light during the day, the combo would be perfect.

They were under $200 10 years ago (Canadian funds) and the online calculator currently suggests a price of CAD$170 for a window 72" x 60" for a similar model. You can probably find an equivalent or cheaper price locally.
posted by maudlin at 12:37 PM on March 8, 2015

What brainmouse links looks like my shades, too. You can roll them up to any intermediate height. One potential drawback for the bedroom, though, is that open window + roller blinds can leading to a lot of clattering when there's a breeze. I put foam tape on the back of my bedroom blinds and that did reduce but not totally eliminate the noise. If your sleep issues make noise an issue, I would go with blackout curtains instead of a roller shade.
posted by maudlin at 12:40 PM on March 8, 2015

No mini blinds have a black out effect. Mini blinds let is SO much light from all the slats. Can you hang your curtain rod really high so it's above the closet door? Also if you hang the rod a full foot wider than the window on each side it gives you lots of space to open the window fully. Finally you would need to use a middle support bracket for the rod.
posted by saradarlin at 12:41 PM on March 8, 2015

Thinking about the noise issue again: there's probably some cheap and easy way you can create a tiedown effect for the roller blinds and the bottom part of the window frame (e.g. grommet and hook, or just velcro ) or even ask the store if they have an option that would hold the bottom of the roller shade fast without letting it blow in the breeze.
posted by maudlin at 12:47 PM on March 8, 2015

These cellular blinds work well. The cheapest are the single cell type. They are fabric cells on the outside that are lined on the inside with light blocking mylar. They will send you color samples for free.

For 6 feet you use three mounting brackets across the top and no sagging. You can order for inside mount where you have depth clearance or wall mount where you don't.

The fabric cells are very light weight and easy to raise and lower with a manual cord.

Installation is pretty easy for anyone basically handy with just an electric drill and a screwdriver. Takes just a few minutes.
posted by JackFlash at 5:00 PM on March 8, 2015

I've had good luck covering very wide windows with ceiling-mounted curtain tracks, like this. There's no chance of drooping in the middle, and you don't have to worry about inside/outside mounting. They're also quite effective for blackout curtains because there's very little space at the top for light to leak through. You can find the parts at hardware stores or at Ikea.
posted by neushoorn at 2:49 AM on March 9, 2015

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