Where are drapes that block the most light?
October 13, 2007 11:56 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for curtains or drapes that I want to block out most of the outside light. What should I be looking for and where do I buy them?
posted by asuh to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You want to look for "light-blocking drapes" or "blackout drapes," and they are sold almost anywhere that regular draperies are sold. You can get them online by Googling for them, or you can get them very cheaply at places like Target and Walmart.
posted by amyms at 12:01 AM on October 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

AKA 'privacy' drapes.
posted by artdrectr at 12:14 AM on October 14, 2007

I had a pair of blackout curtains that had a magnetic stripe down the middle of each curtain. They fastened together tightly and didn't let any light in through the crack, which was pretty awesome.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:38 AM on October 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

If aesthetics aren't a big thing, try aluminum foil. When I was up in Barrow AK I noticed it was the light block material of choice there. For something less tacky, we've had excellent luck with dark felt, which you can buy relatively cheap at any department store. It's highly light-absorbent and can be fashioned into something curtain-like.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:55 AM on October 14, 2007

Our theatre studio had blackout blinds but you have to make sure they fit the window perfectly else light creeps in around the sides.
At home we have some great thick velvet curtains that block nearly 100% of the light (theres an occasional gap in the middle if we don't shut them properly) but any really thick curtain will work. When shopping, try taking a flashlight and shining it through the fabric to see its light blocking abiliy.
posted by missmagenta at 12:56 AM on October 14, 2007

I'm just using some reasonably dark teal curtains, which were over twice as long as the window is tall. Pinned up to themselves so they fold double, they eat a lot of light.
posted by Myself at 1:40 AM on October 14, 2007

Maybe buy some velcro strips for the sides so light doesn't leak in there.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:18 AM on October 14, 2007

I second blackout cloth. You can fix it to the back of your regular curtains.

Tin foil works well but tends to be peppered with tiny holes. You'll get a few holes in blackout cloth but they're easy to deal with.

If you want total darkness, two layers of blackout cloth will work fine. You should be able to buy the material from your regular habidasher.
posted by popcassady at 3:59 AM on October 14, 2007

Blackout fabric from your local haberdasher. Actually, if you don't mind the look of it (you can usually get it in something like white), ALL you need is blackout fabric, no curtain material, no lining etc.
posted by londongeezer at 4:19 AM on October 14, 2007

Blackout curtains seem to be the most straightforward solution. But if you're currently using curtains you would like to keep, just add a simple vinyl roll-up blind behind them. Pull down the blind and draw the old curtains for total light blockage.
posted by maudlin at 6:07 AM on October 14, 2007

My SO has vinyl/pleather/PVC curtains and they do the trick.
posted by lizzicide at 6:08 AM on October 14, 2007

(Not to derail but I think this is the longest an ask.mefi question has sat at the top without being bumped. Seven hours and counting.)
posted by zek at 6:30 AM on October 14, 2007

with the roll-up shade, you still have to be sure to get a light-blocking one. some materials are thinner than others. i had one for my east-facing, top-floor window and finally could sleep past dawn. also, it will lower your cooling bills in the summer.

i got mine from jcpenney, but they have these at home depot, lowes, etc. just call first to find out what exactly you need to meaasure to get the right size (inside of window sill, or the outside of the sill, etc). then you just screw in the brackets on either side of the window and pop the shade in. if you want to gussy it up, just get the shade in a neutral color, then get a cheap tension rod and hang a pretty sheer over it.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:49 AM on October 14, 2007

Not a curtain, but this style of rod will assist in blocking out the light because you don't get the light creeping in on the edges.
posted by slowfasthazel at 9:40 AM on October 14, 2007

Smith + Noble lets you add blockout liner to most of their window treatments. They sell everything from simple bamboo blinds to frou-frou drapes.
posted by missmerrymack at 11:08 AM on October 14, 2007

These are pretty good. They are fire retardant and have a magnetic closure that seals the seam in the middle between the panels. You will still have a little bit of light coming in at the top (depending on how you hang them) but they come with an offer from the manufacturer for a small extra strip to cover the top for a couple of dollars.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:09 PM on October 14, 2007

I know this isn't exactly what you were asking, but I find that a sleep mask works great to block light for sleeping, and is portable too. The tempurpedic ones that Brookstone sells are the bee's knees.
posted by Philbo at 7:47 PM on October 14, 2007

Before ordering the blackout curtains I tried a sleep mask by Eagle Creek, but I couldn't keep it on all night. It was too irritating.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:47 PM on October 14, 2007

For my former condo, which was very bright and sunny, I made myself attractive cream jacquard drapes, and then "dim out" curtains, which I hung behind the good drapes. You could easily make or have made dim out or black out curtains and hang them behind your existing nice curtains.
posted by orange swan at 9:44 PM on October 14, 2007

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