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How to Choose the Best Blackout Window Treatments for Your Home

A nursery with Bali Roman Shades

Spring is officially here (hooray!), bringing with it longer days and more sunlight. Which is wonderful, unless you have a baby that starts waking up at 5:00 a.m., or you work the night shift and need to sleep during the day, or you're watching a show and the sunlight is glaring off the TV.

If any of those situations sound familiar, have you ever considered blackout shades? When closed, they can block out nearly all the incoming light, making a room totally dark, even in the middle of a sunny day. We just installed a blackout shade in our son's nursery and it is a game changer. I was so impressed by the difference it made! And as an extra bonus, blackout shades and blackout drapes will also reduce energy costs and protect furniture and floors from sun damage.

One, darker room with a blackout Bali Roman shade contrasted with a bright room with a light-filtering Bali shade

To show you the (dramatic!) difference in light, I took a photo from our hallway on a sunny day at noon. On the left is the nursery, with the blackout Roman shade pulled closed. On the right is the other upstairs bedroom, which will eventually be our oldest son's room. It has a light-filtering Roman shade that's also pulled closed. Same time of day, rooms that face the same direction, and both Roman shades (just different fabrics). Yet there's a huge difference in the amount of light. The blackout fabric really makes it feel like nighttime in the nursery, even during the middle of the day!

A dark nursery with blackout Bali Roman Shades

There's still a little bit of light coming in through the gaps on the sides. If we wanted to 100% block out the light from this window, I would get some blackout drapes and layer them in front. But honestly, I don't think that's necessary—the room is plenty dark right now.

Bali Classic Roman Shades: Hoehne, Soft Gray 3562

Bali Classic Roman Shades: Hoehne, Soft Gray 3562

Besides the fact that it's going to give us all better sleep, my favorite thing about this shade is how beautiful the fabric is. If you're imagining blackout window treatments as dark, heavy, and stiff, think again. Bali Roller Shades, Cellular Shades, and Classic Roman Shades come in several soft, beautiful fabrics ranging from light neutrals to deep colors. (I chose Hoehne, Soft Grey.) And if you're doing custom drapery or tailored Roman shades, you can choose from any of their fabrics and simply add a blackout liner. The liner is white, so it still looks good from the street!

Blackout Bali Classic Roman Shades in a nursery

Whether you're considering blackout window treatments for a nursery, media room, or bedroom, here are the best options to darken your room and look great while they're at it.

Roller Shades - Roller shades are clean and straightforward, complementing just about every design aesthetic.

Cellular Shades - Cellular shades trap air in their honeycomb-shaped cells to add a layer of insulation to your home, saving you money on your energy bills.

Classic Roman Shades - This is what we chose for our nursery. Classic Roman shades offer crisp lines and a timeless style.

Tailored Roman Shades - Tailored Roman shades give your room a high-end look, with lush fabrics, hand-sewn tailoring, and lots of customization options. Instead of choosing a fabric based on its level of light control, you can choose from any fabric, then simply add a blackout liner.

Custom Drapery - Drapes and custom curtains are a luxe choice that adds softness to a room. Similar to tailored Roman shades, you can choose from any fabric and add the blackout liner.

Lastly, you can combine custom drapery with any of the first four options for maximum privacy and light control. Simply choose the blinds or shades that you want, then layer drapes on top to cover any light gaps and give you maximum flexibility with your light control.

If you're considering blackout window treatments for your home, I would recommend that you start by ordering swatches. If you're looking at one of the first three styles, you'll want to filter your swatches by "Light Control." That way, you can see the options you have for blackout fabrics. If you're considering tailored Roman shades or custom drapery, simply order swatches based on the style and color you like, knowing that you can add a blackout liner.