Room Darkening vs. Blackout Shades – Which Is Better?

Most people shopping for blinds have a set of criteria, the factors most important to the purchase. One of these criteria may be light filtering: How much light do they block? In some cases, such as a living room, you may want minimal light filtering, instead opting to let the natural daylight flood the room. But when you’re trying to sleep, it’s a different story.  

All window coverings offer some level of light control and privacy, but a couple of treatments take this coverage a step further, including room darkening and blackout shades. The terms are used interchangeably, but in fact, they are different.

Room darkening refers to all shades that block from 95 to 99 percent of light. Any shade that blocks less than 95 percent is called light filtering. In contrast, blackout shades block all light from entering a room. But which is best for your situation? Here’s a quick breakdown to find out.

Blackout Shades

Blackout shades make a room completely dark. These shades are built with materials that fit tight within the window casing, leaving minimal space between the shade and window casing. Consider using blackout shades in the following rooms:



Movie room

Home studio (i.e., for a photographer)

If you want the maximum darkness possible, always opt for blackout shades.

Room Darkening Shades

Room darkening describes any shades that reduce the amount of light coming into a room. They don’t necessarily make your room pitch-black, but they will make it darker.

This type of shade can also be used in a bedroom or a nursery, but ask yourself one question prior to making the choice: “How dark must this room be?” If the room should be the darkest possible, such as in the case of a home photography studio, opt for blackout shades. If you just want the room reasonably dark, open up your available options to include room darkening shades.

If you select room darkening shades and find that it’s still not dark enough, use blackout curtains over the existing treatment for additional coverage.

Do you need assistance with selecting the right window coverings? If so, we can help. For more information, simply call 203-580-3362 today.

Request a Free In-Home or Virtual* Consultation

Provide your contact information and we'll be in touch via phone, email or text to schedule your free window treatments consultation and more.

*Virtual consultations are not available at all locations. All fields are required. Review our Privacy Policy.

Call Us Today at (203) 580-3362

How did you hear about Budget Blinds?

(select all that apply)