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The best blackout curtains to shop in 2022, according to experts

Blackout curtains can help promote uninterrupted sleep — experts explain how to shop for blackout curtains and share their recommended picks.
You can avoid letting light in while you sleep for a better night's rest — these expert-recommended blackout curtains are a good starting point.
You can avoid letting light in while you sleep for a better night's rest — these expert-recommended blackout curtains are a good starting point. Pottery Barn ; Amazon

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Studies suggest that exposure to light can reduce your quality of sleep and disrupt circadian rhythm (the internal process that regulates sleep). The CDC says your circadian clock is most sensitive to light about two hours before your usual bedtime, through the night and about one hour after you usually wake up in the morning, which means exposure to light at these times will likely affect when your body is ready to fall asleep. If the sun is up before you are, or if light outside your window is starting to disrupt your sleep cycle, blackouts curtains can be a worthwhile investment — experts told us they look like typical curtains, but feature a blackout lining that stops light from filtering into your room.

In addition to filtering out light, there are several benefits to blackout curtains — as long as you choose the right one for your home. We spoke to experts about what to consider when shopping for blackout curtains and how you can get the most use out of them. We also highlighted their picks for highly rated blackout curtains to shop.

SKIP AHEAD The best blackout curtains | How to shop for blackout curtains

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, explained Beth Brown, an interior designer and owner of Beth Brown Interiors in Atlanta. 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. According to Pamela O’Brien, principal interior designer at Pamela Hope Designs, blackout curtains can have a “muffling effect” that softens the noise from outside.
  • 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, according to Jennifer Hunter, interior designer and owner of Jennifer Hunter Design.

Best blackout curtains to shop in 2022

We talked to our experts about the benefits of blackout curtains and how to shop for them, and we highlighted their recommendations below for the best blackout curtains to buy across various price points and styles. 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.

Best blackout curtains overall: West Elm

West Elm Fair Trade Blackout Curtain

Available in three different sizes ranging from 80 inches to 104 inches in length, these curtains with pole pockets can be a simple yet effective choice, explained Brown. “This selection accomplishes all of your needs for a beautifully designed blackout curtain that’s still reasonably priced,” she said. The curtain is offered individually or in a set of two and you can purchase separate ring clips for ease of use.

Best affordable blackout curtains: Amazon Basics

Amazon Basics Room Darkening Blackout Window Curtains with Grommets

These blackout curtains are made of 100 percent polyester and a triple-weave fabric, according to the brand. They feature two panels, as well as your choice of 1.5-inch grommets or rod pockets. “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.”

According to Amazon, these blackout curtains are machine-washable, come with 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.

Best high-end blackout curtains: The Shade Store

The Shade Store Ripple Fold Drapery

For buyers looking to spend a bit more on their drapes and curtains, both O’Brien and Brown 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.

Best linen blackout curtains: Pottery Barn

Emery Linen Blackout Curtain

O’Brien recommended Pottery Barn blackout curtains due to their array of styles and colors “that work well with most people's houses.” Sold as individual panels, the brand’s Emery Linen Blackout Curtain is made from a linen and cotton blend and includes curtain hooks to use with round or clip rings. You can select from two widths — 50 inches and 100 inches — as well as three lengths: 84 inches, 96 inches and 108 inches.

Best stylish blackout curtains: PBteen

The Emily & Meritt Studded Blackout Curtain

These cotton canvas woven curtains feature a gold stud trim and pole pockets. They’re available individually or in a set of two and they come in three colors: Nude Blush, Black and Ivory.

Susan Peters, owner and interior designer for 9108 Designs, 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.”

Best bedroom blackout curtains: NICETOWN

NICETOWN Blackout Curtain Panels

For your bedroom, these thermal insulated drapes can block up to 99 percent of light, according to the brand. I previously highlighted these curtains as my favorite sleep aid during cold New York winters when I need complete darkness, and Brown agreed they can be a good option for the bedroom. Available in 24 fade-resistant colors and 10 sizes, the brand says they come with two panels per package to accommodate various types of windows and styles.

Best blackout curtains for kids rooms: Pottery Barn Kids

Evelyn Linen Blend Ruffle Bottom Blackout Curtain

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 cotton weave curtain with four-in-one top treatment so you can pick from pole pocket, belt loop, clip rings or drapery rings depending on the look you want. While the ruffles can add some fun details, they’re also available with a simple pleat design if you’re looking at gender-neutral options.

Best blackout curtain liner: Rose Home Fashion

Rose Home Fashion Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtain Liner Panel

Placing a blackout curtain liner under your regular curtain can be an effective way to get the blackout effect, according to Peters. “With this feature, 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, is machine washable and blocks out up to 99 percent of light, according to the brand.

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 works best and what makes sense for your long-term lifestyle needs,” said Brown. If you’re looking for patterns, ruffles or any other stylish elements, she 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 more something to them,” Brown said. Buying curtains from kids’ sites can also save you a little money, 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. To help with your decision-making process, our experts highlighted your options below and their recommendations for each.

Drapery style

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.

Curtain sizing

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.

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