The 9 Most Effective Blackout Shades to Block Out Light in Your Space

The Bali Blackout Cellular Shades are our top pick

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The 8 Best Blackout Shades of 2022

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

By blocking all outdoor light, blackout shades can help you fall asleep—and, perhaps more importantly, stay asleep—while making your home more energy-efficient. We interviewed two experts and researched today's top options, narrowing down sets that stood out in terms of appearance and effectiveness.

Bali Blackout Cellular Shades are our top choice on account of the high-quality design, ample customization options, and impressive features.

Ahead, the best blackout shades available today.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bali Blackout Cellular Shade

4.6
Bali Blackout Cellular Shades
Courtesy of Blinds.com.
What We Like
  • Lots of customization options

  • Top-down/bottom-up design

  • Motorized controls available

What We Don't Like
  • Potential delay on custom orders

What makes the Bali Blackout Cellular Shades stand out most is their versatility. There are nearly 80 colors to choose from, including neutrals and chic statement hues to complement a variety of decor. In terms of size, there's room to customize them down to an eighth of an inch. Their functional design makes them a great pick for any space in the home—from your bedroom to living spaces or even a home theater.

These shades come in single- or double-cell materials—both provide a blackout effect, but the double-cell options offer a bit more sound absorption, insulation, and energy efficiency for your home. Standout features include a top-down/bottom-up configuration for convenience, along with adjustable light filtration.

You can also initiate cordless controls for child and pet safety, with the option to upgrade to Bali's Z-Wave motorized adjustments that can be controlled from 65 feet away. Interested in smart window coverings? The Z-Wave feature can even pair with your mobile device.

Dimensions: Custom | Material: Fabric | Mounting Type: Inside/outside mount

Expert Buying Tip

"Custom shade vendors will come out and measure your windows to ensure that your dimensions are accurate, but if you are purchasing more affordable 'off the rack' options, you will need to measure yourself."Maria DeLucia, Interior Designer and Owner of Square One Studios

Best Budget: Redi Shade Easy Lift Trim-at-Home Blackout Shade

Redi Shade Easy Lift Cordless Cellular Blackout Fabric Shades
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Cordless

  • Trim-at-home design

What We Don't Like
  • Limited colors/sizes

On a budget? There are some excellent affordable blackout window treatments out there. We're loving the Easy Lift Cellular Shades from Redi Shade. They're made of a crisp polyester fabric and feature a honeycomb structure to ensure all outdoor light is blocked while giving your home an energy-efficiency boost.

The cordless lifting mechanism makes them safe in homes with kids and pets while creating a clean, tailored look. These shades are only available in two colors (white and beige) and four sizes. But if your windows are a standard size and you're in the market for a neutral hue with an affordable price tag, you can't go wrong. If they aren't the exact right dimensions, the trim-at-home design allows you to cut them to a custom fit.

Dimensions: Four sizes available | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Inside window

What Our Experts Say

"Blackout shades can definitely help with sleep, especially for those who may sleep outside of traditional hours."Logan Foley, Managing Editor at SleepFoundation.org

Best Luxury: Pottery Barn Emery Linen Cordless Roman Blackout Shade

Emery Linen Cordless Roman Blackout Shade
Courtesy of Pottery Barn.
What We Like
  • High-quality fabric

  • High-end appearance

  • Cordless

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you've got a higher budget for window coverings, you should definitely consider Pottery Barn's Emery line. The Roman Blackout Shades feature a blend of 73 percent linen and 27 percent cotton on the front and a poly-cotton liner on the back to ensure complete room darkening and total privacy when you want it, plus insulation and sound absorption.

Each panel is 64 inches long and available in five widths ranging from 26 to 48 inches. If you have shorter windows, the Roman-style design will fold any excess fabric into smooth pleats at the bottom. There are five neutral colors to choose from: charcoal, gray, dusty blue, oatmeal, ivory, and white. What's more, the cordless lift system and concealed handle make for a child-safe, streamlined appearance.

Dimensions: Four sizes available | Material: Linen-cotton blend | Mounting Type: Inside/outside window

Best Roller: iFit Cut-to-Width Cordless Blackout Roller Shade

Cut-to-Width Cordless Blackout Roller Shade
Courtesy of The Home Depot.
What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Thermal coating

  • Pre-mounted to headrail

What We Don't Like
  • Pull tab isn't very durable

For those partial to roller-style window treatments, we recommend the iFit Blackout Shade. Available in your choice of five neutral colors ranging from moody black to stark white, the front is a smooth textile. On the back, you've got a white thermal-coated polyester material for complete light blockage and heat reflection to help your home stay cool during the summer.

Unlike the roller shades of yesteryear, these are cordless. When you want to open or close them, all you have to do is gently pull the bottom. (The plastic pull tab may not be the most durable, but positioning your hands on either side of the bottom hem will provide a better grip anyway.) iFit shades are also pre-mounted to the headrail for quick, easy installation.

Dimensions: Varies | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Inside/outside pre-mounted headrail

Expert Buying Tip

"Consider the addition of curtain panels to increase the amount of blackout effectiveness."Maria DeLucia, Interior Designer and Owner of Square One Studios

Best Roman: Arlo Blinds Cordless Bottom Up Blackout Fabric Roman Shade

Cordless Bottom Up Blackout Fabric Roman Shade
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Reasonably priced

  • Energy-efficient

  • Cordless

What We Don't Like
  • Slightly wrinkly at first

For those interested in Roman-style window treatments, we highly recommend Arlo Blinds. The brand's Cordless Blackout Roman Shades are made of a thick yet drapey fabric and feature an opaque white backing that blocks all light and reflects heat to help keep your home cool during the sunny season.

These reasonably priced blackout shades come in over 30 sizes of varying heights and widths. If you don't see the exact dimensions you need, you can order a slightly longer panel, and the Roman-style design will fold any excess material into smooth pleats. The fabric might be somewhat wrinkled out of the box, but any creases and crumples should relax a few days after installation. You can also steam your shades if needed.

Dimensions: Various sizes | Material: Fabric | Mounting Type: Inside/outside window

Expert Buying Tip

"Longer windows that are divided can be ordered in several ways—inside-mounted with individual shades, one large shade, or one large valance with several separate shades."Maria DeLucia, Interior Designer and Owner of Square One Studios

Best White: Home Decorators Collection White Cordless Blackout Cellular Shade

White Cordless Blackout Cellular Shade
Courtesy of The Home Depot.
What We Like
  • Energy-efficient

  • Cordless

  • Motorized controls available

What We Don't Like
  • Tricky installation

  • Loud motor function

Can blackout window coverings be white? You bet! We like the Cordless Cellular Shade from Home Decorators Collection. With honeycomb construction, it has little air chambers that help insulate your space and boost your home's energy efficiency.

One thing to note is that DIY installation is a little complex, so you might want to hire a professional to mount this shade. You can buy just the panel or upgrade to an app-controlled motorized lifting mechanism. The optional motor is powerful and convenient, but it's somewhat loud, so manual lifting might be best when other people are sleeping.

Dimensions: Various sizes | Material: Fabric | Mounting Type: Inside/outside window

Best Fade-Resistant: Eclipse Faux Silk Blackout Cordless Lined Roman Shade

Faux Silk Blackout Cordless Lined Roman Shade
Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond.
What We Like
  • Energy-efficient

  • Cordless

  • Designer-recommended

What We Don't Like
  • No customizations

Recommended by interior designer Maria DeLucia, these window coverings are ideal for year-round sunny climates, as they prevent your furniture and the panels themselves from fading. A white foam backing promises to block 100 percent of outdoor illumination while absorbing sound, reflecting heat, and making your home more energy-efficient. Available in five neutral hues, Eclipse Roman Shades feature a luxurious faux silk material on the front.

The cordless design ensures they're safe for kids and pets, and a concealed handle makes for easy lifting and lowering. While there aren't any customization options, they come in five sizes. And like other Roman shades, if you don't see the dimensions you need, you can always opt for a longer panel, as it'll fold any excess fabric into pleats at the base.

Dimensions: Five sizes available | Material: Faux silk polyester, foam | Mounting Type: Inside/outside window

What Our Experts Say

"Layer your window treatments with interesting textures, colors, and patterns to compliment and accentuate your room design style."Maria DeLucia, Interior Designer and Owner of Square One Studios

Best Insulating: Levolor Blackout Cellular Shades

Levolor Blackout Cellular Shades
Courtesy of Blinds.com.
What We Like
  • Lots of customization options

  • Energy-efficient

  • Motorized controls available

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

The best insulating panels are undoubtedly Levolor Blackout Cellular Shades. Featuring a unique honeycomb construction and a white outward-facing material, they boast superior light control, full privacy, and sound absorption while helping your home stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Available in any height and width between 6 to 144 inches, you can order custom sizes down to an eighth of an inch. We also like that there are nearly 150 fabrics and colors to choose from, including single- and double-cell designs—double-cell offers a bit more insulation. Customizable upgrades include continuous cord loops, top-down/bottom-up lifting, day/night light filtration, and motorized controls. Though these shades are on the pricier side, we'd argue that they're worth the investment.

Dimensions: Customizable | Material: Fabric | Mounting Type: Inside/outside window

Best for Nurseries: Pottery Barn Kids Linen Cordless Blackout Roman Shade

Pottery Barn Kids Linen Cordless Blackout Roman Shade
Courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids.
What We Like
  • Cordless

  • Safe for kids and pets

  • High-quality design

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

  • Limited sizes/colors

When buying window treatments for a children's room, we recommend opting for a cordless option. In this category, the Blackout Roman Shade from Pottery Barn Kids is our top pick. The front panel is a linen-cotton blend, and the back is a poly-cotton fabric designed to block all outdoor illumination.

Pottery Barn's patented AeroLife lift system calls on a cordless, kid-safe roller mechanism. Opening and closing these Roman-style shades is easy—just gently pull down on the base. While these are on the pricier side and come in limited sizes and colors, they're an all-around high-quality option made to last for several years.

Dimensions: Four sizes available | Material: Linen-cotton blend | Mounting Type: Inside/outside window

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Bali Blackout Cellular Shades, which have a versatile, design-forward appearance and ample customization options. If you're looking for something a bit more affordable, you can't go wrong with the Redi Shade Easy Lift Blackout Shades. They're cordless and energy-efficient, with an effective honeycomb construction.

What to Look for in Blackout Shades

Blackout vs. room-darkening

When shopping around for window coverings, you'll see many options described as "blackout" and "room-darkening." Keep in mind these aren't the same thing. "Think of room-darkening products like your typical curtains or blinds: they will block out direct light, but you'll still notice the room will get lighter when the sun rises," explains Logan Foley, Managing Editor at SleepFoundation.org. With the blackout variety, you won't notice the sun rising at all: "When used properly, your room should stay completely dark, even when it's light outside," she says.

Inside vs. outside frame mounting

Most blackout shades can be mounted either outside or inside the window frame. To ensure a true blackout effect without any strips of light peeking out from the sides or bottom, outside installation is the way to go. Some people prefer the look of inside mounting, in which case you might want to hang curtains over your shades to cover all cracks of outdoor illumination.

Materials and colors

Blackout shades come in various materials, including natural textiles like linen and cotton and synthetic fabrics such as polyester. Linen and cotton tend to offer a slightly more high-end look, but you can find some excellent faux silk and textured poly blends as well.

Your window coverings can be any color—even white—as long as they have a blackout lining on the back to block all outdoor light. Statement hues can enhance the overall design of your space, but when in doubt, go with a neutral tone. "I prefer to style windows with the same consideration I do when I style the room: in layers using [a] pattern, color, and texture," says DeLucia.

FAQ
  • Is it better to have blackout curtains or blinds?

    "This really comes down to personal preference," says Foley, explaining that all types of window treatments—from blinds to shades to drapes—can be made with blackout technology.

    To increase the energy-efficient effect and ensure every spec of light is blocked while enhancing your home's aesthetic, consider hanging curtains over your shades or blinds. "Combining a great patterned blackout shade with a textured solid curtain (or vice versa) and contrasting hardware will create a unique complement to your room decor," says DeLucia.

  • How do you measure for blackout shades?

    "For inside dimensions, simply measure from the inside of the left/top frame corner to the inside of the right/bottom frame corner both horizontally and vertically, and then add 3 to 6 inches vertically," says DeLucia. The additional vertical slack will ensure you don't have any cracks of light on the bottom. "For an outside mount, measure horizontally from the left edge of the window frame to the edge of the right-side frame and then add 1.5 to 3 inches to each side so that it overlaps."

  • Do blackout shades help retain heat?

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you lose roughly 30 percent of your home's heating energy through the windows. Since blackout shades are insulating, they reduce this effect by helping your home retain heat. This makes it so your furnace doesn't have to work as hard during the winter, potentially reducing your power bill. Coupled with a sunlight-reflecting back panel, the insulating effect also helps your home stay cool in the summer.

Why Trust The Spruce?

Theresa Holland has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019, where she covers home decor, textiles, furniture, and lifestyle products. From personal and professional experience, she has a keen understanding of the different types of window coverings, including styles, materials, and installation requirements.

For this article, Theresa looked at dozens of blackout panels from various brands, combing through product specs, poring over reviews, and referencing the U.S. Department of Energy Efficiency's guidance on insulating window treatments. She also spoke with two experts in the field—Logan Foley, Managing Editor at SleepFoundation.org, and Maria DeLucia, Interior Designer and Owner of Square One Studios—for additional insight.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Paksarian, Diana et al. "Association Of Outdoor Artificial Light At Night With Mental Disorders And Sleep Patterns Among US Adolescents". JAMA Psychiatry, vol 77, no. 12, 2020, p. 1266. American Medical Association (AMA), doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1935.

  2. Energy Efficient Window Coverings. Energy.gov. https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-window-coverings

  3. Paksarian, Diana et al. "Association Of Outdoor Artificial Light At Night With Mental Disorders And Sleep Patterns Among US Adolescents". JAMA Psychiatry, vol 77, no. 12, 2020, p. 1266. American Medical Association (AMA), doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1935.

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