Having trouble sleeping? You're one of more than 160 million Americans who struggle with sleep at least once per week, according to the National Sleep Foundation. One culprit is a little too much light before bed or during sleep, which can disrupt your natural sleep cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). But the easiest fix? A pair of blackout curtains.
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According to Kyle Cox, CEO and founder of Blindster, these helpful window treatments can not only help you get a better night's sleep but also provide insulation (aka save you money on electricity bills) and can even prevent furniture or floors from fading in intense direct sunlight. Additionally, blackout curtains are also noise-reducing and can help minimize sound traveling into your home, especially in bustling cities.
Contrary to the name, not all blackout curtains are heavy and dark. They come in a variety of styles, fabrics, and designs, some of which will please even the most stubborn decorator. When choosing the type of blackout curtain that's right for you, consider these factors:
Width and Length
Most blackout curtains come in standard widths of 42-inch and 52-inch panels and a variety of lengths. If you have difficulty finding the exact length to match your window, hang the curtain rod higher, which will also help keep light from sneaking into your home.
Grommet vs. Rod Pockets
Most blackout curtains come in two mounting styles: grommet or rod pockets. Grommets feature holes for the curtain rod to pass through, similar to a standard shower curtain. Rod pockets allow the fabric to hang directly over the curtain rod. Some blackout curtains even have a weighted bottom or a magnetic strip to further seal off any light.
When selecting a blackout curtain, pay close attention to the fabric, color, and density of the material — all of which can affect the curtain's ability to cut off light and noise. Darker, thicker materials will block more sunlight, whereas more opaque colors block less. Another feature to look out for is multiple layers of fabric. "Most products are labeled as 'blackout' because they have an additional fabric backing," Cox tells Hunker. "With that backing, it doesn't matter what color or fabric you choose (light or dark), it will block 100% of light."
You may also see curtains that are considered "light filtering" or "room darkening," both of which won't block 100% of light, but can do the trick depending on your space and preferences.
Best Blackout Curtains
These Nicetown curtains are not only among the top-rated blackout curtains on Amazon, but they're also affordably priced. Made from a triple-weave insulated microfiber, the classic gray hue is said to provide 90% shading performance. They have a 4.7-star rating, with more than 75,000 reviews raving about the curtains' noise reducing and light-blocking effects.
These blackout curtains from The Home Depot are sold as single panels and come in a range of colors and sizes. They have weighted hems to keep your curtains in place and feature a 3-inch pole pocket with a hook belt and back tabs for versatile styling.
While IKEA's Marjun blackout curtains do not block 100% of the exterior light, these room darkening drapes are perfect for homeowners who want style and performance at an affordable price. These curtains have a 4.7-star rating on IKEA's website, with many customers praising them for their easy installation. The only downside is that they're only offered in one size: 57 inches in width by 98 inches in length.
These curtains are an Amazon favorite, with a 4.5-star status and more than 32,000 reviews. They're machine-washable, made with triple-weave polyester, and well-regarded by reviewers for insulating against heat, cold, and noise.
With nearly a 5-star rating on Amazon, customers love the Deconovo blackout curtains for their durability, style, and energy efficiency. They're lined with a silver-coated fabric that reflects the heat outside of the home, while the sturdy triple-weave polyester blocks light from entering. They come in an amazing array of colors — 23 in all — and 13 different sizes.
Target's Room Essentials room darkening curtains come in two sizes and five solid and stylish colors: dark gray, gray, navy, pink, tan, and white. Not only do they block out light, but they're also Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certified, which means they're made with dyes and materials free from more than 300 harmful chemicals and substances. Plus, they're equipped with rod pockets for easy assembly.
The Quinn grommet blackout curtain is one of Bed Bath & Beyond's best sellers. It's made with polyester that's woven and textured to block light, absorb heat, and reduce noise. The curtains come in seven sizes and 12 different colors to add a little style to any space.
This luxe option from Crate and Barrel is chic and totally functional as a blackout curtain. The high-quality, dry-clean-only curtains — made with silk, linen, and a 100% polyester liner — are perfect for dressing up both casual and formal spaces. They also come in three sizes and five subtle (but equally stunning) colors.
The Emery linen/cotton rod pocket blackout curtain panel is one of Pottery Barn's bestsellers, coming in six sizes and nine neutral colors from Oatmeal to Blue Dawn. The Fair Trade certified curtains are made with a blend of linen and cotton with flax fibers and a 100% cotton blackout liner for "enhanced light filtration." The dry-clean-only curtains come equipped with curtain hooks but have three different hanging options: pole pocket, hanging loops, or ring top.
These Sun Zero blackout curtains have a 4.4-star rating and more than 3,000 reviews. They come in a wide variety of colors (20 to be exact) and 14 different sizes. The company also claims the blackout curtains help reduce energy lost through windows and noise by up to 25%.
If you're looking to block out light without ditching bright and bold style, check out the Eclipse Kendall thermal insulated curtain panel. It comes in four sizes and 23 colors, including classic neutrals and more eclectic hues like lime and turquoise. The machine-washable curtains are made with 100% polyester to keep out sunlight and unwanted heat or cold.
If you already have a favorite set of curtains that don't keep light out, invest in these blackout panels from West Elm. It was designed to be layered under any curtain to help block light, absorb noise, and insulate against heat and cold. Plus, it helps keep your curtains, rugs, and furniture from fading.