Creating a healthy sleep routine is an important step to staying healthy and productive. If you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to choosing the right window treatment for your needs and space, looking at blackout curtains is a good idea, especially for bedrooms. “Darkness helps regulate our circadian rhythms and our production of melatonin,” said Abby Sharpe, certified pediatric sleep consultant at Hey Abby Sleep Consulting. “Sunlight signals to our brains that it is time to be up and awake, so using blackout curtains to help block that light can help babies and adults sleep better for naps and stay asleep later in the mornings.”
Bali Blackout Cellular Shades
Numerous style and color options
Not all styles come in a sample size
Might not be returnable
You would expect a custom fit like those from Bali Blackout Cellular Shades to be astronomically expensive, but these shades are budget-friendly as well as effective. You can choose your fit, with width and height options from 9 to 144 inches. Dimensions are customizable down to ⅛ inch so that you get exactly the look that you need. They are available in corded or cordless.
You can choose the type of shade as well, from single-cell, double-cell, antimicrobial, and different depth options. These can control the light getting through the window as well as provide insulation that can lower your energy costs. There are also plenty of colors, although some are more expensive than others. Some are true blackout shades, while others are light filtering. Make sure that you pay close attention when ordering so that your shade meets your needs.
With a custom-created shade, it’s important to be extra sure of your measurements, since returns can be tricky if they don’t work out. You can get a sample of some colors and styles, although not every type is available to see before you order. They are compatible with a remote control motor, which is sold separately and adds to the overall cost.
Price at time of publish: $137 to $1,695
Dimensions: 9-144 inches x 9-144 inches | Material: Fabric | Mounting Type: Inside or outside
Redi Shade Easy Lift Trim-at-Home Blackout Shade
Can customize size
Easy to install
Only two colors
Securing mechanism is not great
You can trim these shades right at home to get a custom fit without paying a ton upfront. They don’t require any special tools to install, making them a great economical choice for someone who is just starting out and might not have pricey power tools yet. They are pretty simple, with a white slat design. They stick to the top of the window frame, which requires them to sit flush with the inside mount of your window.
These are cordless shades, a great feature if you are in a home with young children or pets. Not only does it look sleeker and cleaner, but it is also much safer. All you have to do to adjust the shade is pull it down or push it up. Just be careful not to yank too hard, or it may come off the frame.
Price at time of publish: $59
Dimensions: 30-60 x 64 inches | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Inside
Pottery Barn Emery Linen Cordless Roman Blackout Shade
Match Emery curtains
Clean, classic look
Only come in four colors
While pricey, the Pottery Barn Emery window treatments are timeless and will look great, no matter your style. They are made of a linen-cotton blend and come in four neutral colors: white, ivory, gray, and charcoal. They look particularly nice as a background for Pottery Barn’s line of Emery curtains, which feature the same materials and style. These shades are cordless and fold neatly as you lift them up. The result is a clean look when they are raised, and an effective blackout feature when they are down.
There are multiple sizes available, but make sure that you measure your window well, because they are made to fit snug. You can mount them inside or outside the window frame, although your choice will impact the size that you need, so you need to decide before ordering. While there are 12 sizes available, there are only four colors.
Price at time of publish: $229 to $329
Dimensions: Various | Material: Linen and cotton | Mounting Type: Inside or outside
Best for French Doors
Flamingo P Tricia Blackout Curtain for French Door
Reduces light and noise
Available in multiple colors
Need to purchase two for a set
Double french doors can let a lot of light into a room, but if you want to create a light-free oasis or just want to insulate your room better, these blackout curtains from Flamingo P look great and reduce noise. There are 15 colors available, and each of them has adjustable tie-backs that you can use when you want the curtains out of the way. All you need to do to install is peel back the adhesive layer and stick them to the frame.
These only come in single panels, so make sure to order two if you are putting them on a pair of french doors. Fortunately, they are affordable, even knowing that you need to make multiple purchases. They are machine washable, although you should try to avoid bleach and use a mild detergent. You can also iron or dry clean them for a really polished look.
Price at time of publish: $26
Dimensions: 26 x 68 inches | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Outside
Best for Skylights
Tipiace Manual Pattern Cellular Shades Cordless Honeycomb Blinds
Blocks light and insulates
Good for summer or winter
Multiple color options
Custom made requires careful measurements
Skylights are great for letting in natural light, but they don’t work well if you want to black out your space. These blinds create a light barrier for your skylight that also provide insulation that keeps your space cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. They have tin foil built into the interior that can help keep your energy costs down. They are available in 15 colors, including one that is meant to replicate a beautiful blue sky day.
You will need to operate these blinds manually, which may require a step stool or long-handled tool. If you have a particularly high skylight, these might not even be reachable. These are custom-made and typically ship within one week, depending on how long it takes to make them. That means you need to take very careful measurements, since the metal track has to fit your skylight window exactly in order for the shade to work.
Price at time of publish: $78
Dimensions: Custom | Material: Aluminum | Mounting Type: Inside
Best for Nurseries
Pottery Barn Kids Classic Cordless Woven Blackout Shade
Free of harmful materials
Classic, neutral style that will last for years
When it comes to blackout shades for nurseries, safety is just as important as function and style. These classic shades from Pottery Barn Kids look great with any style of decor, reduce light and noise, and operate without a cord. You won’t need to worry about your child or pet getting caught up in a cord, which can be a major safety hazard. They are also made without lead, formaldehyde, or heavy metals.
These shades are a bit expensive and are relatively simple in design, but the superior attention to detail and the extra safety features make them a great value for the nursery. They only come in two colors, white and gray, but they provide a neutral, classic look that will work even as your child grows, and their interests change. So, while pricey up front, you’ll be able to use them for years.
Price at time of publish: $250 to $400
Dimensions: 24-50 x 66-84 inches | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Inside or outside
Best for Travel
Amazon Basics Portable Window Blackout Curtain
Velcro can customize the size
Doesn’t require installation
Comes with carrying case
Cutesy design may not suit all styles
This simple blackout shade suction cups directly to the window, making it the perfect option to take on the go. You can use the sewn-in velcro to customize the size and suction cup them to the window to keep them in place. These shades also have a carrying case, so even packing them is easy.
The shade does feature a moon-and-stars pattern, which doesn’t impact the performance or its ability to block light and sound. Just be prepared for a look that suits a nursery. It is still a great option, even if you aren’t using it for a child’s room. If you are using it to help with your baby’s sleep, it is a useful tool. “One concern parents may have with using blackout curtains is that the baby may only be able to fall asleep with complete darkness and is often associated with sleeping away from home while traveling or daycare,” says Sharpe. “However, there are so many incredible products easily available to make sleeping away from home with baby easier.”
Price at time of publish: $27
Dimensions: 50 x 78 inches | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Suction cup
Yoolax Motorized Smart Blind for Window with Remote Control
Can be controlled via remote, smart home device, or app
May require additional hub
These roller blackout shades can be operated via remote control as well as by using a smart home device, such as Alexa or Google Home. They are made of vinyl, which is durable as well as wipeable. The size is fully customizable, so take careful measurements when ordering.
Depending on the version that you get and your smart home device, you may need a separate hub to get them to connect. Fortunately, Yoolax provides a helpful guide so that you know exactly how to set up your system. Unfortunately, all of these extras add to the already high cost of these shades.
Price at time of publish: $169
Dimensions: Customizable | Material: PVC | Mounting Type: Inside
Levolor Trim+Go White Blackout Cordless Roller Shade
Comes in multiple materials
Can be cut to custom widths
Multiple light-filtering options
Mounting hardware sold separately
There are plenty of options in this roller shade with a variety of features, materials, and price points. You can opt for a light-filtering option, room-darkening shade, or full blackout shade. They come in 37-, 55-, or 73-inch widths. You can further customize them by getting them cut in the store before taking them home. Just keep in mind that once you get them cut, you can’t return them.
These can be mounted inside or outside. You will need to purchase the mounting hardware separately, however. They are also cordless for added safety and a clean, classic look. They only come in one color, white, but they are a good neutral option that checks all of the boxes for energy efficiency and blackout features.
Price at time of publish: $30 and up
Dimensions: 27-73 x 78 inches | Material: Fabric, solar, or vinyl | Mounting Type: Inside or outside
NICETOWN Living Room Blackout Shades
A lot of color options
Block light effectively
Come in most common window sizes
Not available in custom sizes
If you prefer a looser look, try blackout curtains like these from Nicetown. They come in 15 solid colors and 15 different sizes. They drape well and are made of three layers of woven fabric. Not only does this keep the light out, but it also muffles sound and adds a softer look to your entire room.
These aren’t completely customizable, but they do have the most commonly found window sizes. You can get curtains in the same color to go all around the room or your house, even if your windows are different sizes. Unlike some other blackout curtains, these have the same fabric on both sides of the curtain. This creates a nice look from the outside of your home as well as from the inside.
Price at time of publish: $26 and up
Dimensions: 34-52 x 30-84 inches | Material: Fabric | Mounting Type: Rod pocket or clips
Blindster Deluxe Light Filtering Double Cellular Shades
The most customization options
Can get sample of color and material
A lot of size options
Can’t return after ordering
These insulating shades from Blindster boost your window’s R-value, the way that insulation is measured, by 4.5. It uses a double honeycomb design that provides two layers of insulation. This keeps your space cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. It comes in 17 colors, and you can even order a sample to see whether a particular color works in your space.
Once you decide on the color that you want, you can customize the size for the best fit. Widths are available between 8 and 120 inches. Height ranges from 12 to 120 inches. After your custom order is processed, you won’t be able to return it unless there is a defect, so make sure that you measure carefully before finalizing your design. That's also why it’s a good idea to get a free sample of the material and color. You can choose from an inside and outside mount, a single shade or a split design, corded, cordless, continuous cord, or motorized, hold-down hardware, and spacer blocks. Fortunately, after going through so many steps to customize your design, you can save your window to your profile so that you can reorder in the future without remeasuring.
Price at time of publish: $58 and up
Dimensions: 8-120 x 12-120 inches | Material: Polyester | Mounting Type: Inside or outside
Our top pick, the Bali Blackout Cellular Shades, are a customizable option that comes in a number of colors, styles, and widths. You can opt for corded, cordless, or motorized shades. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Redi Shade Cordless Blackout Fabric Shades. We love that you can cut them for a custom fit and don’t need any tools to install them.
What to Look for in Blackout Shades
One of the most important things to do when ordering blackout shades is to measure your window accurately. Some blackout shades can be customized, "but if you are purchasing more affordable 'off the rack' options, you will need to measure yourself," says Maria DeLucia, Interior Designer and Owner of Square One Studios. On many retailer pages, you'll find some common window sizes and shades that are based on either inside or outside mounts.
Look for a blackout shade that meets your needs, whether that is an easy-to-use roller shade or something that has more texture, such as a curtain or linen shade. They can also come in inside-mount or outside-mount types.
Care and Maintenance
Generally, you can clean and maintain your blackout shades by wiping them clean or using a handheld vacuum cleaner or attachment to vacuum up dust and dirt. Some are wipeable. There are a few that can be put into the washing machine, although these are often temporary, portable styles.
Blackout vs. Light-Filtering vs. Room-Darkening
The amount of light that shades restrict varies, based on the material, thickness, number of layers, and other factors. Light-filtering shades diffuse and soften light but still let light into the room. Room-darkening shades block some light. Blackout shades block the most light and can muffle sound and UV rays, as well.
Do blackout shades really work?
According to Sharpe, blackout shades can block up to 99 percent of light, preventing sunlight "from coming into the room in early-morning hours and during naps." Many options can also help muffle sounds, which can further contribute to a healthy sleep routine.
How long do blackout shades last?
High-quality blackout shades typically last for a few years at least, and some can last for many more. Keeping them clean and free of dirt and dust can help them last longer. If you want blackout shades that will last the longest, look for those with a protective coating or material that blocks UV light.
What is the difference between room-darkening and blackout shades?
The main difference between room-darkening and blackout shades is the amount of light that they block from entering the room. Blackout shades block more light and can also block sound and UV rays. “Room-darkening shades typically do just that–darken the room," says Sharpe. "Blackout shades are typically thicker and aim to block out all light to make the room very, very dark."
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Melynn, a freelance writer who specializes in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. To compile this list, she considered the styles and effectiveness of various blackout shades, as well as her own experience choosing the right window treatments for the bedrooms in her own home. She also talked to certified pediatric sleep consultant Abby Sharpe at Hey Abby Sleep Consulting about how to set up a bedroom that promotes restful sleep.
Maria DeLucia, an interior designer and owner of Square One Studios, provided additional insight.