Help me curtain!
August 13, 2019 12:19 PM   Subscribe

What is your advice on how to curtain? Does it make a difference whether I go with double curtains-- a sheer inner and opaque or black-out outer? Natural fibers vs. Manmade fibers? Colors that work well?

Here's what I need: 84" inch curtains to block out super bright morning sunlight and safety lights that shine directly into the bedroom at night through sucky vertical blinds.

I bought a double curtain rod and two sets of greyish panels (might use one set for bedroom and other for livingroom). One is a cotton/poly blend that filters in some light. Another is a polyester blackout curtain that isn't really totally blackout on testing.

Do I need an inner layer seeing that some light still filters through both? I kind of like a bit of light showing through so that I don't feel like I'm in a cave.

Walls are painted a khaki color and lamps and boy's bed/crib are gray. I like neutrals a lot. The only pop of color I'd like is bluish tones, but I think it'll make the room feel smaller than the gray. I thought gray would be nicer that another khaki neutral and white seems too shower-curtain like.
posted by jj's.mama to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I thought The Wirecutter's article on blackout curtains was very thorough, and they have a number of different recommendations based on your preferences. They include a couple options that still show a bit of light and won't turn your room into a cave.
posted by capricorn at 12:27 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]

I have kind of rubbishy sheers on a springy tension curtain rod over my blinds, but it's not just one panel covering the width of the window, it's 4 full window-sized ones all scrunched up together on the bar so the many folds block an enormous amount of light. It was a lot cheaper than blackout curtains or anything heavier weight and it works very well for sunlight, although idk about the bright safety lights. Mine are burgundy and were like $6 for a pack of 2.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:37 PM on August 13 [2 favorites]

Here in the land of the midnight sun, I use a double-layer of fleece as blackout curtains. If the fleece is not dark, it will let in a small amount of light filter through the curtains.

So if you like a set of curtains but want them to black out more light, you can put a layer of fleece behind them...
posted by leahwrenn at 9:53 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]

Some materials are worse with UV light breaking them down than others. Cotton or linen seems to last longer than poly-anything as the sun-facing layer, in my experience. Cotton and linen, however, are creasefests after laundry, not that my curtains get much of a view of the inside of my washing machine. They seem to cope better with occasional vacuuming, plus I'm a slob. I would choose an outer layer I like for appearance and a synthetic inner liner to block light and heat.

If you're into fabric curtains from a rod or rail, you want the flat fabric width to be 1.5-2x the window width for a decent hang, and the more the better. That isn't a light thing as much as a 'looks weird' thing, but it does help some with light blocking.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 10:27 PM on August 13 [1 favorite]

Curtain rod placement is going to matter if you choose heavy fabrics like blackout. Just make sure you’re drilling into studs or using drywall anchors.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 4:26 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]

I have the Wirecutter's recommended Sebastian Insulated Total Blackout Window Curtains, and they're exactly as described. They're weirdly shiny, but they work really well and block nearly all light, when hung correctly. I found the darker stone colors looked less like plastic than the lighter sand colors.

As with any blackout curtain, hang them as flush with the wall as you can, for the most light blocking.
posted by answergrape at 11:51 AM on August 14 [1 favorite]

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