If your sleep is often disrupted by sunshine or bright lights outside your window, you might want to consider investing in blackout curtains — these look like typical curtains but include a blackout lining that stops light from filtering into your room, experts told us. Blackout curtains can also help regulate how well you sleep overall — studies have found that shifts in exposure to light before you rise can reduce your quality of sleep, disrupt circadian rhythm (the internal process that regulates sleep) and make you feel fatigued much earlier in the day.
If you’re considering adding blackout curtains to your home, we spoke to experts about what to consider when shopping for them and how you can get the most use out of them. We also highlighted expert picks for the best blackout curtains to shop.
Top blackout curtains to shop
- Best overall blackout curtain: West Elm Fair Trade Blackout Curtain
- Best budget blackout curtain: Amazon Basics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains with Grommets
- Best blackout curtain for kids’ rooms: Pottery Barn Kids Evelyn Linen Blend Ruffle Bottom Blackout Curtain
How we picked the best blackout curtains
In addition to their ability to block out light, blackout curtains are a decor element just like other shades, blinds or curtains you’d install. Because of this, the one you choose largely depends on your personal preferences and your home’s aesthetic. With that being said, experts recommend thinking about the following factors while shopping for blackout curtains overall:
- Curtain style: Blackout curtains come in many patterns and colors, and some have other elements like fringe or feathers. Your selection is based on your personal style.
- Drapery style: Drapes can hang a variety of different ways from a curtain rod, so think about what style you like best for your space.
- Curtain sizing: Experts said it’s usually best to measure at least 8 to 10 inches from the sides of the window so curtains are wide and block light leaks. For floor length curtains, you want them to be an inch or so above the ground.
The best blackout curtains to consider
The blackout curtains below are all highly rated, are available in various sizes to fit your windows and include multiple drapery style options to fit your preferences. We highlighted options recommended by experts and Select staff, too.
Best blackout curtains overall: West Elm
“This selection accomplishes all of your needs for a beautifully designed blackout curtain that’s still reasonably priced,” said Beth Brown, an interior designer and owner of Beth Brown Interiors in Atlanta. The curtain is offered individually or in a set of two and you can purchase separate ring clips for ease of use.
Material: Polyester | Size: 44 inches wide and 80 to 104 inches long | Drapery style: Pole pockets | Care: Dry clean
Best affordable blackout curtains: Amazon Basics
“This is a super economical choice that ships quickly and comes in a multitude of colors and patterns,” said Brown. “Given the fabric type, they do a nice job of blocking outside noise and insulating rooms for energy efficiency.” These blackout curtains come with two panels, are machine-washable, have Velcro ties to pull them back and are made in an Oeko-TEX standard factory. Plus, with their reasonable price point and range of styles, Brown noted that they’re an ideal choice for rooms that change often — like kids’ rooms — or for those who are renting.
Material: Polyester and a triple weave fabric | Size: 42 to 52 inches wide and 63 to 96 inches long | Drapery style: Grommets or rod pockets | Care: Machine washable
Best high-end blackout curtains: The Shade Store
For buyers looking to spend a bit more on their drapes and curtains, Brown and Pamela O’Brien, principal interior designer at Pamela Hope Designs, recommended The Shade Store as a great resource to customize the exact type of blackout curtain for any room in your home. “With over eight drapery styles and more than 650 fabric materials, you can basically create whatever type of blackout curtain you have in mind,” said Brown. However, due to the customization feature and their overall quality, both experts added that The Shade Store will cost more than your average home goods or big box retailer stores.
Material: Customizable | Size range: Customizable | Drapery style: Customizable | Care: Depends on fabric you choose
Best linen blackout curtains: Pottery Barn
O’Brien recommended Pottery Barn's blackout curtains due to their array of styles and colors “that work well with most people's houses.” The brand’s Emery Linen Blackout Curtain is “a wonderful linen curtain at an affordable price point,” said Susan Peters, owner and interior designer for 9108 Designs. It’s sold as a single panel and Peters said “it doesn't give off a “blackout” vibe.” The curtain comes with hooks to use with the built-in fabric loops, or you can purchase clips or round rings separately.
Material: Linen and cotton blend | Size range: 50 to 100 inches wide and 84 to 108 inches long | Drapery style: Fabric loops, rod pocket or back tabs | Care: Dry clean
Best stylish blackout curtains: PBteen
These woven curtains have a gold stud trim and are available individually or in a set of two. They come in three colors: Nude Blush, Black and Ivory. Peters emphasized PBteen’s combination of quality and design details. “Don't let the ‘teen’ part fool you — this curtain is appropriate for all ages,” she added. “Pottery Barn across the board makes some amazing blackout curtains.”
Material: Cotton canvas | Size range: 52 inches wide and = 63 to 108 inches long | Drapery style: Pole pockets | Care: Dry clean
Best bedroom blackout curtains: NICETOWN
These thermal insulated drapes can block up to 99%, according to the brand, and I previously hung them in my bedroom to keep warmth in and light out. Brown agreed that they can be a good option for the bedroom. The curtains are available in 24 fade-resistant colors and they come with two panels per package to accommodate various types of windows and styles.
Material: Polyester blend | Size range: 29 to 55 inches wide and 45 to 96 inches long | Drapery style: Grommets | Care: Machine washable
Best blackout curtains for kids rooms: Pottery Barn Kids
The experts we consulted agreed that Pottery Barn Kids offers good quality blackout curtain options for a nursery or child's room. “They have really set a high bar for the style of blackout curtains by selling an abundance of unique, stylish curtains in various colors,” said Peters.
One of her favorites is this curtain. While ruffles add fun details, they’re also available with a simple pleat design if you’re looking for a more basic option.
Material: Cotton weave | Size range: 44 inches wide and 63 to 96 inches long | Drapery style: Four-in-one top treatment, choose from pole pocket, belt loop, clip rings or drapery rings | Care: Dry clean
Best blackout curtain liner: Rose Home Fashion
If you're looking at a specific curtain that’s not offered as a blackout option, or if you simply want to keep the curtains you already have in your home, placing a blackout curtain liner under your regular curtain can be an effective (and often more economical) way to get the blackout effect, according to Peters. “You can buy any curtains that fit your style and pair them with a blackout curtain or blackout curtain liner,” she said. Our experts recommended this blackout liner that comes with two panels and drapery rings, and blocks out up to 99%, according to the brand.
Material: Fabric | Size: 27 to 50 inches wide and 59 to 92 inches long | Drapery style: Fabric loops | Care: Machine washable
How to shop for blackout curtains
The best blackout curtains for your room depend on several elements, including drapery style, size and price point. “It’s important to think about how these curtains are being used and where they’ll be located in the home to evaluate what makes sense for your long-term lifestyle needs,” said Brown. Below are some factors experts recommend thinking through while shopping.
If you’re looking for patterns, ruffles or any other stylish elements, Brown suggested looking in the kids and teens sections, even if you’re not shopping for a kid’s room.
“Blackout curtains for grown-ups tend to be more plain — kids' options usually offer a little something more to them,” she said. Buying curtains from kids’ sites can also save you a little money since they’re usually much cheaper than adult styles, she added.
No matter what style you choose, you should always read the fine print before making your final purchase to avoid potential disappointment. “Be sure that you see the word ‘blackout’ in the description as opposed to ‘room darkening’ or ‘light filtering,’” said Peters. “These other two options may not block as much of the light from your room.”
While there are multiple drapery styles and curtain sizes to choose from, experts agreed these all depend on your personal preferences and the shape and size of your windows.
The experts we spoke to explained that the drapery style — or how the drapes hang from a curtain rod — is one of the most important things to consider when shopping for blackout curtains. Blackout curtains typically come in a variety of drapery styles:
- Grommet: Rings or holes in the fabric that the curtain rod goes through
- Ring: Fabric panels that hang from rings at the top attached either by clips or smaller grommets
- Single-rod pocket: A channel is sewn into the fabric that allows the curtain rod to slide through
- Fabric loop: As the name suggests, small loops of fabric are sewn to the top of the panel for the curtain rod
“Using draperies with rings is much more user-friendly, and if you want blackout-lined drapes, you will likely open and close them every day,” said O’Brien. She added that rings tend to glide along a rod easily, while rod pockets and grommets are “clunky, more difficult to open and close and don’t look as pretty and polished.” Ultimately, though, this decision comes down to personal preference.
O’Brien also noted that curtains with blackout lining are heavier than typical curtains, so investing in a good quality drapery rod is important. “Don’t buy the thinnest, least expensive rod — you don’t want it to sag or break,” she said, adding that shoppers should look for a rod that has a larger diameter of about 1 inch that can hold more fabric. And while there’s a price jump, both O’Brien and Brown recommended a traverse rod, which features a baton or string that you pull to open and close the curtains for additional ease.
Minimizing how much light leaks into the room can be a matter of sizing. “You don't want to buy drapery that’s exactly the size of your window because light is going to leak out along all the edges,” said O’Brien.
Depending on the length of your ceiling and where the window is located, Brown recommended measuring at least 8 to 10 inches from the sides of the window, if possible, so the curtains are wider than your actual windows. And as a rule of thumb for floor-length curtains, Brown suggested they “kiss the floor,” meaning curtains should be an inch or so above the ground. Our experts emphasized that hiring a professional to measure the right size curtain can help avoid mistakes and costly replacements.
What are the benefits of blackout curtains?
The term “blackout curtain” often refers to drapes made of a double-lined, tightly woven fabric designed to block out light completely, Brown explained. There are also built-in blackout liners made to completely block out light, which is accomplished through “a coating that’s applied to the fabric [that] blocks the little pores in the weave,” said Brown. “This material is thick and offers thermal insulation benefits, blocks out noise and creates ultimate privacy.”
Besides keeping the morning sun out of your eyes, our experts explained the additional benefits of blackout curtains:
- Absorb outside noises: Blackout curtains can have a “muffling effect” that softens the noise from outside, O’Brien said.
- Insulate the room from drafts or heat: Because there’s a thick liner attached to blackout drapery, O’Brien said they can help keep your room a little warmer by limiting the cold air seeping through the window (it’s even more effective if you choose a thermal curtain). And by blocking direct sunlight, they can also make the room a little cooler during the warmer months.
- Protect furniture and decor from fading: Ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause interior surfaces like furniture, fabrics and carpeting to fade or become damaged. By blocking sunlight, blackout curtains create a decent barrier between the sun and your furnishing.
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Beth Brown is an interior designer and owner of Beth Brown Interiors in Atlanta.
- Pamela O’Brien is a principal interior designer at Pamela Hope Designs.
- Susan Peters is the owner of and an interior designer at 9108 Designs.