Can I Hang Blackout Shades Behind Wood Blinds?

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Window coverings not only enable you to control the amount of outside light that enters your home, but they also provide privacy and add elements of design to your space. With interior windows, no aesthetic is complete without the addition of shades, blinds, or curtains. To create a layered look that allows you to adjust and filter incoming light as you desire, consider a combination of window treatments. Blackout shades installed behind horizontal wood blinds, although inconspicuous, can make a noticeable impact on your light control, as they can be drawn to create a private, darkened space when required or lifted to allow the light in when necessary.

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For ultimate light control, it's possible to hang blackout shades behind wood blinds. But first, make sure this solution will suit your windows, needs, and style. Be sure to determine the depth of your window frame in order to decide whether inside- or outside-mount blinds are best over your blackout shades.

Blackout Shade Basics

Blackout shades are far more effective than room-darkening shades, blocking nearly 100 percent of the outside light and making them a perfect choice for nurseries and night owls. Not only do they diminish light, but they can also reduce noise and even lower your energy bills by providing a layer of thermal insulation. Whether you like to enjoy an afternoon movie without a glare on the television screen or just want to sleep past sunrise on the weekends, blackout shades are an ideal addition to your windows.

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Layering Blackout Shades Behind Wood Blinds

Although they're good at keeping the light out, basic blackout shades may not be the design you had in mind when reimagining your space. Minimalists might be fine stopping here, but if you want to soften the look, add some visual appeal, or simply want an alternative to total darkness, adding a layer of wood blinds over your blackout shades can offer a stylish opportunity to filter in the natural light at your discretion.

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The key to getting this look right is to carefully consider the room and windows in question. First, take note of the space. How many windows are there? How far apart are they? Are the windows a standard size or will you need to find shades that come in custom sizes?

Most important, measure the interior depth of the frame, or jamb, surrounding the windows to determine if you should use inside- or outside-mount treatments. You'll want to be sure there's enough space inside the jamb to accommodate both the shades and the blinds along with any mounting hardware required. For deep windows, installing both inside the frame will guarantee a crisp, clean look upon completion.

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Outside-Mounting Options

Some window frames aren't deep enough to accommodate inside-mount shades and blinds, but there are plenty of outside-mount blinds that not only look great but actually block out even more light by extending over the window frame and therefore covering the gap where light can trickle in along the sides of the shades. These systems install directly on the wall a few inches wider than the window, and you won't have to worry about the precise measurements that are crucial for the inside-mount variety. Some provide a finished appearance along the top of your window frame in the form of crown molding, but you can always install a valance to complete your project.

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While wood blinds provide several options for filtering light by lifting, lowering, and tilting, they do require care and cleaning. For those who don't want to worry about dusting blinds every few months or kids tangling cords, curtains may be a better final layer to install over your blackout shades. Like outside-mounted blinds, curtains can cover the gaps between the window and the shade, ensuring darkness when needed. Unlike blinds, though, curtains offer an array of design possibilities, including opacity, length, texture, pattern, and even decorative mounting hardware and tiebacks that can enhance the personal style of your space.

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