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Wake Up When You Want: Super Affordable Blackout Shades and Curtains

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: mountain house reveal: our soft yet secretly sultry downstairs guest bed + bath

We all love the look of a soft, light-filtering curtain or roman shade in our bedroom. That is until the sun rises and the blazing sun wakes you up WAY before your alarm clock. Especially if you are someone who can’t seem to fall asleep till 1 am it’s tragic (that’s me and I am working on it). I mean all we really want is a sensible, no light allowed sleeping cave, right? Fortunately, there is a simple and VERY effective solution to this life-disrupting issue…the blackout curtain (or shade).

Yes, there is a special kind of window treatment that will block out the sunlight, giving you the ability to sleep in longer and even have movie nights in the day time (aka no more sunlight glare). Plus they can help regulate the temperature in your home because its job is to block out the outside elements. I’m not mad about any of this:)

However, like most things great, they can be pricey thus potentially killing your dreams of properly sleeping in ever again (or tricking your children into sleeping in). So to help, we have rounded up our favorite and very affordable options. Here we go…

Curtain Panels

photo by tessa neustadt | from: elliot’s nursery reveal

If you already have a curtain rod set up (FYI here is the right way to do it if you need help) then switching out your more sheer curtain panels for blackout ones seriously couldn’t be easier. Since finishing the LA house, Emily has installed them in nearly every bedroom in every house she has designed since. It just makes staying asleep longer so much easier (the dream – and many more REM cycles). And like I hinted earlier, it’s almost 10000% necessary for kids’ bedrooms (i.e. naptime and sleeping in). This way there is far less chance of them seeing the sunlight and thinking they are done sleeping. You need as much spare time as you can get!

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: portland master bedroom reveal (and how to pull together your own dreamy suite)

So if you are in the market here are our favorite affordable curtain panels.

1. Chambray Blackout Curtain Panel | 2. Bryce Solid Max Blackout Thermal Curtains| 3. Heritage Plush Velvet Single Curtain Panel | 4. Black Buffalo Blackout Curtain | 5. Small Check Curtain Panels | 6. 2-Pack Blackout Curtains | 7. Blackout Pompom Curtain | 8. SANELA | 9. Block Curtain Panels | 10. Seaton Textured Blackout Curtain | 11. Heritage Plush Velvet Single Curtain Panel | 12. Aruba Blackout Curtain Panels | 13. Edalene Curtain Panels | 14. Henna Blackout Curtain Panel | 15. Room Darkening Draperies

If you are looking for color, I personally love #1 and #3. The texture of the fabrics with not only protect you from sunlight but will add extra visual depth to your space. But I am a sucker for a white curtain so #6 gets my vote. However, it’s pretty hard to resist the awesome and classic pattern of #4.

Now, if you aren’t into full-on panels, may I interest you in a roman shade??

photo by tessa neustadt | from: master bedroom refresh with parachute home

Roman shades are a big EHD favorite. You can find at least one in almost every project. They are clean, sophisticated and down right elegant. But what is important to keep in mind when buying blackout roman shades, is that you are going to want to make sure that you pick an inside mount. Why? Well if you mount the shade on the outside of the window frame, there is a high chance that the light you are so desperately trying to block will come pouring out. No good, if you ask me.

BUT, if you want the best of both worlds (window treatment edition) then you can always have a blackout roman shade with curtain panels on the outside. This way you can have a guaranteed TOTAL, NO LIGHT room situation. Or you can use more sheer curtains if you simply like the look but still want the blackout option for sleeping.

These are our affordable blackout roman shade picks…

1.Achim Cordless Blackout Window Roman Shades | 2. Luxe Roman Shades | 3. Dover Cordless Roman Shade | 4. Lifestyle Roman Shades | 5. Modern Roman Shades | 6. Porch & Den Blanton Grey Cordless Blackout Roman Window Shade | 7. Classic Roman Shade | 8. Cordless Fauxsilk Roller Roman Shades | 9. Insulating Cordless Blackout Roman Shade | 10. Crossweave Cordless Roman Shades & Blackout Lining | 11. Room Darkening Cordless Lift Blackout Roman Shades | 12. Handmade Custom Roman Shade

I really love #9 and #10 but I also think that #4 could work in almost any room. But after I was done searching, I came across this one in beige and I think would bring a ton of texture to a room. Just wanted to share the wealth:)

So in conclusion, if you are looking for ways to help you sleep a bit better, or have a job with irregular hours, OR have children then I hope this little post helps. May a “no light allowed sleeping cave” be in your near future.

Love you, mean it.

How do you all feel about blackout window treatments? Any tips when shopping or personal affordable recommendations? We want them all:)

Opening Photo Credits: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | From: Mountain House Reveal: Our Soft Yet Secretly Sultry Downstairs Guest Bed + Bath

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4 years ago

I personally hate a blackout shade! I want to be woken up (at least a little) by light, otherwise I feel like I am living in a cave. We do double-hung curtains with sheers for daytime and a non-blackout fabric curtain to pull closed at nighttime. I pretty much always wake up to pee at 5am, and the first thing I do is throw open the heavier curtains and get back into bed to enjoy that natural light!

4 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

Ditto that. I’m a morning person and love it in the summer when the morning light comes in to wake me up. The rest of the year, I get up when it’s still dark so no need for blackout anything.

4 years ago

I love blackout shades. I need total darkness to sleep. I have a very simple cordless white cellular shade that I got cut to size at Home Depot. At the time, it was much better than the broken shades that had been there since I moved in. I would like to make a little prettier though – maybe I will add some curtains to distract from the shades when they’re open and pushed up during the day.

Jess, I also go to sleep at 1…lately I’m trying to get in bed around midnight or even 11:30 if I’m feeling really advanced. Then I read a book/kindle (and try to stay off Instagram) and will usually be interested in turning off the light and falling asleep earlier than 1!

4 years ago

Thanks for sharing these sources, I really enjoy the affordable options posts!

When it comes to choosing window treatments, do you try to have a unified design for all the windows throughout the house? TIA!

4 years ago

I never realized how important blackout shades were till having a kid. He has blackout roller shades behind shutters. I would have made quite a few different window treatment decisions in the rest of our bedrooms, if we had a kid sooner.

4 years ago

I have dark red curtains (from Ikea, though no longer available) that block out all the light in my bedroom and on weekends, I end up sleeping in unbothered until noon. I love the pop of color they add, and wouldn’t want to live/sleep without them!

Jennifer Barguiarena
4 years ago

I am legitimately shocked to hear someone say they DON’T want black out shades or curtains. But maybe living in city makes it a necessity? Also, having children and wanting them to nap or go to bed before 10:00 mid summer may have something to do with it! Anyway, we have black out shades and the kids have blackout shades AND curtains, you know, incase of sunshine emergency:)

4 years ago

I’m on the lookout for organic blackout curtains (or shades). Have returned a few non-organic ones in the past that had awful offgassing that just never went away so that didn’t help with sleep at all.

Amazon had some last year but they seem to be all gone. Hilariously, when you do a search on Amazon for them right now, pages and pages of sleep masks are the only thing that come up–and it’s not even the same search words!

4 years ago

One of my design agonies has been window coverings. In general, I want shades that allow light (after all, that’s why we bought a house with a ton of windows). But, in the bedroom, I want the option of blackout for the few days a month I have worked overnight in the hospital and need to sleep during the bright sunny California daytime. Our house is modern farmhouse, and I feel like double roller shades would be too modern, and I love the softness of roman shades but that seems difficult to do in terms of having both light filtering and blackout shades. In the meantime, we’ve been living with the “temporary” paper shades for the past few months!

4 years ago

This is great! Can you please give some decorating tips to using different window treatments in a home? I’m moving into a new house and trying to determine if we should purchase wood panel shades on every window, or if/how to use a combination of Roman shades (bedrooms) and panel curtains (living/dining area).
Thank you!

4 years ago

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I have been following your page for a long time and I find it really useful. I am very happy to read the text of valuable people like you. I wish you continued success. Yours truly.

4 years ago

Got any recos for good blackout shades for French doors?

4 years ago
Reply to  Laure

Yes, I am also seeking for recs for wide curtains for French and sliding doors. Please help!

4 years ago
Reply to  Cse

These are often on sale for around $50 for two panels. You can get 2 sets and use super inexpensive iron-on hem tape to connect them. That’s what I did for the sliding doors!

4 years ago

Another option is to find curtain panels you really love (even if they’re not blackout to begin with) and add some basic blackout panels of a similar size on the back, using the same rings or clips. That’s what we did in our bedroom, and we’re happy with it!

4 years ago

My daughters room had plantation shutters when we moved in. They are beautiful (and so expensive) but the neighbors porch light shines right in the window. Can you do a blackout roller under a shutter?

4 years ago
Reply to  Kate

That’s what we have in our son’s room. Works very well.

4 years ago

The struggle is real! I’m a fall-asleep-fine-and-then-wake-up-at-2am-and-can’t-fall-back-asleep person, and any light at all gets translated by my brain as “time to be awake!”

My life-changing discovery:

Use at least 2 kinds of light blocking things. A curtain AND a shade. And you have to use thumb tacks to pin the sides of the curtains to the wall or window frame if the sun or a streetlight shines directly in the window.

As a renter who moves every few years, I generally get the temporary paper shades to use behind my curtains, because I’d rather throw my money away on something more interesting than shades I can’t use at my next place. Plus I think they’re recyclable.

But for best results, also remove all power strips and electronic devices with a little glowing light on them!

4 years ago

When my boy was little I made curtains out of “pant weight” dark blue fabric. It did a good job of blocking the light. Not perfect, but cheap and good enough.

4 years ago

I used to have a LOT of trouble sleeping, well, falling asleep. The key game changer for me was what’s called “SLEEP HYGIENE”. It’s what you do BEFORE you want to fall asleep that cpunts: no caffeine, no busy-mind activities like a fast moving or scary TV show, lower the lighting (candles are grrreat for getting the mind to wind down), NO devices or TV in the bedroom, no electric alarm clocks or clock radios in the bedroom, you get the idea. Basically … putting effort into preparing for sleep. I learned one-on-one yoga breathing techniques that literally Changed. My. Life. I work from my feet up to my crown chakra and sometimes even fall asleep before I get there now. I’ve been practising for several years, so I’m much, much better at it than I was in the beginning. Then, only a couple of years ago, I went into settings on my phone and tablet and switched to BLUE LIGHT FILTER, ON! This handy gizmo, filters the blue light out of your screen. Basically, it prepares the brain to sleep. How? BLUE LIGHT = morning light = the brain wants to wake up! YELLOW LIGHT = sunset = time… Read more »

4 years ago

The best combo we’ve found for kid sleep is the super-cheap IKEA Tuppler blackout shades (inside mounted) combined with Amazon blackout curtains for the light leak. It is mega dark with that combo and the IKEA blackout shades are $15 for a 24″ wide window, I don’t mind replacing them down the line if they break/don’t last.

Roberta Davis
4 years ago

Do you ever drive around and look at huge windows from the street? Whether they are living rooms or bedrooms, I find that (in the city) they are almost always completely covered by a shade or curtain, even during the daytime, and most of them look pretty dismal. I’m not one who looks for a bedroom with a lot of natural light. I look for ways to have the window open and privacy/safety at the same time. Off-topic but maybe relevant for future discussions of bedrooms and light! I agree that having a tiny bit of light come in to wake me up is nice- except that in Seattle in summer, that is sometimes at 4:30 am! I like the overall level to be pretty dark. But I also like to have the window open and fresh air coming in (no AC in many places up here), and a blackout shade would prevent that. But I know that many of my grand kids have needed blackout shades or they would never nap. For myself, I use plantation shutters. They allow for air flow and privacy, and do leak tiny bits of light into the space. Anyway- these are good ideas… Read more »

4 years ago

black out shades are a MUST for kids! I have an almost two year old and she has slept so well due to these (at least I think that’s one of the main reasons). One thing I would add is that Roman shares aren’t really kid safe (even cordless ones have string on the back). I have romans in my living room but decided to do a roller shade with curtains in my kid’s room! The roller shade is pretty ugly tbh but better safe than sorry

Beth Morrison
4 years ago

Thank you for the post ! Is the tree in the first main picture real or faux ? Of faux, can you share where you found it ?! I love it!!

4 years ago

Great post. Thank you. Could you all please do a post on *styles* of drapes? I adore EH’s LA house’s principal bedroom drapes but have been desperate to know the actual pleat style as I haven’t seen that style before, I love it, and I want to replicate in my bedroom. Would “unironed two-finger Euro/French/Parisian pleats on a French return rod” be accurate to say? Please advise. Thank you. 🙂

Kay S
4 years ago

For kids who truly need the dark, I think the combo of a shade plus blackout curtains is basically a necessity! Even our super heavy duty cellular blackout shades when cut perfectly to size have a lot of leak when it’s super sunny out, and blackout curtains let the sun in through the top and bottom. The combo makes a dark night time like feeling even on the sunniest days.

4 years ago

We’re struggling with this right now for the nursery we’re putting together. Want: roman shades and we’ve been looking at the select blind ones. Unfortunately, they’d have to be outside mounted and they take up SO much of the 1 window in the room- I fear a loss of natural light. May end up settling for a curtain to get the job done, but I’ll be missing the modern look of the shade.

Rachelle Seguin
4 years ago

This is also super important for anyone doing shift work. Working nights and sleeping during the day…
I have been doing it on and off for 18 years as a nurse. It is super hard on the body (apparently will take years off my life… but hey, hospitals don’t get to shut down over night…ever… and now the situation is even more bananas then normal… we all know why!).
I have the Sanela Ikea curtains in dark gray, white sheers under those with a double rode plus a vinyl pull down, it works really well. Also my room is a darker cozy grey and I painted the ceiling too (the paint is called Fusion by Benjamin Moore). I kept the dressers white/cream and my duvet is an off white linen plus a colourful quilt at the foot of the bed.. so it’s not a sad grey room at all.
I would like to switch out the vinyl to a nicer roman shade one day… so it looks nicer, but it’s functional now. Stay safe everyone!

4 years ago

I’m actually currently in the process of looking for roman shades for several rooms, so this is helpful! I do have a question, though. I have a mix of types of windows in the same room, and some I want to hang curtains on and others won’t really work with curtains. But I want roman shades in all for a privacy option. Is it acceptable to put fabric roman shades and curtains on the same window?