Should I Choose Blackout or Light-Filtering Window Treatments?

The question should be, “Do you want any light in your room?” Because if you like light, but just need the glare, harmful UV rays filtered, and a little privacy there are better options than a blackout shade. On the other hand, if you need to sleep during the day or have a toddler that needs to take a daily nap, then a blackout shade or blackout curtain would be your best choice.

When shopping for window treatments it can be a little overwhelming and confusing. Often you may be presented with just two options: a thin standard lined shade or blackout. With Budget Blinds we have an entire array of products with different opacity levels.

First, what is opacity?

Opacity is the amount of light that passes through a shade or other window treatment. Opacity varies from sheer to blackout. The opacity effects the look of window treatment, the light control, and privacy it provides.

Is There an Option That Filters Light and Gives Privacy Too?

Yes, there are window treatments that do both. For example, if you like light but need privacy we have translucent roller shade fabrics that let a glow of light in but provide a level of privacy. Or woven shades with a light weight liner that allows light to filter through, but no one to see in your windows. This option also allows for the wonderful texture of the woven shade to be enhanced and not completely washed out by the harsh sunlight streaming through an unlined shade. Or the ever-versatile cellular shade with a range of fabric opacities and options like top-down/bottom up.

Light Filtering Roller Shades Living Room Lutron (1).jpg

This is another reason to call your local Budget Blinds consultant who will bring the samples to your home and show you how each fabric works with the light coming through your windows.

Do Blackout Shades Have to Be a Dark Color?

No, your blackout shades do not have to be black! In fact, they do not even have to be a dark color. The “blackout” effect of the shade is not determined by the color of the shade but the backing or layer of the blackout treatment in the construction of the material.

Roller Shades Bedroom.jpg

For example, you can have a light-colored woven shade, or fabric Roman Shade, lined with a blackout liner. The blackout liners even come in shades of white, beige and greys. You can also choose a lighter color for a roller shade as long as it has the blackout backing, it will do the job of darkening your room. This is another reason to call your local Budget Blinds consultant who will bring the samples to your home and show you how each fabric works with the light coming through your windows.

Where Should Blackout Shades Be Mounted?

There is a lot that goes into determining how and where to mount a shade. The choice of inside or outside mount is determined by the way your windows are constructed and how the product you choose is designed. This is where the assistance of a professional like your Budget Blinds consultant helps you save time, money, and frustration! Their knowledge of how each product is made and how it fits will help you receive the right product with the right functionality for the job. Whether it is blocking light, filtering light, providing privacy or both.

Roller Shades Bathroom Lutron (2).jpg

Will There Be Light Gaps?

Even with a custom order and measure, inside mount window treatments will normally have small light gaps on the side of the shade or blind. It is the nature of how each product is constructed. Window treatments must have a gap so the product will function up and down correctly and not scrape the inside of your window frame. Different products have different sized gaps, so it is essential to work with a professional window covering expert like your local Budget Blinds design consultant. They know how each product works and how it fits. They can also show you hand samples or photos of jobs they have installed, so you can see what to expect. You will not get this level of experience with an on-line or “off the shelf” purchase.

Do Outside Mount Blinds or Shades Block All Light?

Yes and No. Even an outside mount blackout shade may have a slight “glow” around the edges during the day, or at night if there is a bright streetlight nearby. One option is adding light blocking side rails. Depending on the vendor there are options for products like roller shades to have light blocking side rails to keep all light out when lowered. This works great for those who suffer with migraines or have light sleeping toddlers who need total darkness at naptime.

Another option to help this issue, is to layer lined curtain panels on either side of the window. Again, the benefits of hiring a professional, and ordering curtain panels with a good lining, is essential to achieve the light control you want. Unlike “off the shelf,” readymade panels custom curtain panels with the right drapery hardware create a “return” back to the wall on the sides blocking out the unwanted light. Plus, with custom panels you have options for the size of the panels, the lining, and the style in which they are made.

Woven Shades Drapery.jpg

Do Blackout Curtains have to be thick and heavy?

The answer is NO! Despite what you have read, custom blackout curtains are determined more by the lining and not the face fabric. So, yes you can use a lighter weight fabric combined with a blackout lining to get all the light control and privacy you need.

As you can see there are a lot of things to consider when selecting the right window treatments! Budget Blinds is here to help. We bring years of experience, and a van load of samples directly to you. We will assist you in finding the right product that fits your style, your needs, and your budget. To get started simply visit our website and enter your zip code to find your local design consultant and schedule your complimentary in-home consultation.

Ready for some inspiration? Check out our new Design Guide here.

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