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Do "Blackout" Window Treatments Actually Exist?

Everything you need to know about window treatments for light control.

Spoiler: There is no window treatment on the market that is going to get your room 100% pitch black.

I’ve been seeing a trend lately: More and more clients are coming to me asking for “blackout” window treatments. (I guess this Florida summer is officially getting to us all?)

But, here’s the thing: Blackout window treatments don’t technically exist! More accurately, there are options for “room darkening” window treatments that will block 90-95% of outside light from entering the space. These room darkening window treatments are great solutions for bedrooms, nurseries, home theaters, and more.

Like any window treatment, room darkening window treatments should be equally focused on function and aesthetic. Translation: You want them to look great AND block light.

Here’s the one, most important thing you need to know about designing room darkening window treatments: Light Gaps = Light Leakage = NOT Blackout

Creating “blackout,” or room darkening, window treatments is all about having as few gaps as possible where light can leak in. It’s important to consider this when configuring:

  • Headrails

  • Inside mounts

  • Seams

  • Route holes

  • And more.

Generally speaking, if a client is primarily concerned with light control, I recommend pairing a cellular (also known as honeycomb) shade with a blackout-lined drapery. That way, any gaps on the side of the shade will be well-covered by drapery panels. Pairing drapery and shades is also great for the aesthetics of the space because you can pair colors/patterns in a creative and inspiring way. Check out my latest Instagram reel for some ideas!

Another tip I recommend for any room darkening window treatments is to consider top down/bottom up shades, so that you can get privacy in the space without blocking out all outside light entirely! This will be really helpful for the function of the space throughout the day.

Last thing to keep in mind! If light control is your primary focus and you really want to create an effective room darkening window treatment, you should expect to pay a little bit more. Generally speaking, we’re going to need more fabric to make sure that all gaps are covered, everything is lined, and as little light as possible will be allowed through. Because remember: Light gaps = light leakage = NOT blackout.

Contact Leone Interior Designs when you’re ready to upgrade your window treatments!

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