Room Darkening vs. Light Filtering vs. Blackout Curtains
If you’ve ever listened to anyone talk about curtains, you may have heard the terms “blackout,” “room darkening,” and “light filtering” tossed around interchangeably. Although all three of these curtain types reduce light exposure and increase privacy, not all of them turn a room into a cavernous retreat.
In this post, we’ll explore the differences between light filtering, room darkening and blackout curtains, and we’ll also talk about the pros and cons of each. It helps to know exactly what you’re looking for when it’s time to upgrade your window treatments. Choosing the right curtains can be the difference between a good night’s sleep and waking up in need of a nap.
Blackout Curtains Pros and Cons
If you no longer want to wake up to the sensation of sunlight dancing on your eyelids, you may be ready to invest in a set of blackout curtains. Blackout curtains often refer to drapes that are made of a double-lined, tightly woven fabric. Blackout curtains are designed to block light completely. The only way light gets into a room with blackout curtains is through gaps around the window.
You can prevent light from seeping in around the edges by accurately measuring the window before you purchase the curtains and by consulting with a professional to ensure proper installation. You might also consider installing a layered window treatment if you want maximum darkness in a room.
Overall, if you want a room to be as dark as possible, blackout curtains are the best choice. These types of curtains may be ideal for bedrooms, nurseries, home theaters, or any room used for napping or resting in the middle of the day. If you own a hotel, restaurant or other business and want to provide optimal privacy for your guests, you can’t go wrong with blackout curtains.
Pros of Blackout Curtains
The greatest benefit of using blackout curtains is they’ll block light better than any other curtain. Other benefits of blackout curtains include:
- Blackout curtains improve energy efficiency by helping to insulate a room.
- Blackout curtains are thick, so they also help soften outside noise.
- Blackout curtains are available in a range of colors and sizes.
- Since you can’t see through blackout curtains at all, they increase privacy better than other curtain types.
- Blackout curtains block sun rays and therefore protect surfaces within the room from fading.
- With blackout curtains in the room, you can eliminate glare on TV screens and computer monitors, and enhance your viewing experience.
Cons of Blackout Curtains
Although blackout curtains make excellent choices for bedrooms or other rooms reserved for rest, they may not be the best option for everyone. Here are a few disadvantages to help you consider if blackout curtains are right for you:
- Blackout curtains can make a room pitch black, which means you’ll have to rely on electric light sources to see.
- Blackout curtains are heavier than other curtain types and require sturdy rods.
- Although blackout curtains can be custom-made to suit any color scheme, they are otherwise usually available in dark colors, which may or may not work with your style.
Room Darkening Curtains Pros and Cons
Like blackout curtains, room darkening curtains are designed to block light, but they aren’t exactly the same. Room darkening curtains are made with a fabric liner that’s not quite as thick as the one used with blackout curtains and which allows a small amount of light through. As a result, you won’t block light entirely as you would with blackout curtains, but you will still get a significant darkening effect.
If you placed a flashlight behind a blackout curtain, you would see zero light shining through the fabric. If you shined the flashlight behind a room darkening curtain, about 5% of the light would seep through.
Room darkening curtains may be a perfect choice if you don’t want a bedroom or nursery to be completely dark, but still want to shut out enough light to promote good sleep. Room darkening curtains can also be an excellent option for restaurant owners or other business owners who wish to create a certain ambiance and level of privacy for guests without blacking out the room completely.
Pros of Room Darkening Curtains
Not sure if room darkening curtains are right for you? Here are the benefits of room darkening curtains to help you decide:
- Since room darkening curtains aren’t as thick as blackout curtains, they typically cost less.
- Room darkening curtains offer similar benefits as blackout curtains, such as increasing privacy, reducing energy bills, blocking noise and protecting floors and furniture from sun damage.
- Room darkening curtains don’t completely block light like blackout curtains but still darken a room significantly.
Cons of Room Darkening Curtains
Depending on your needs, you may find that room darkening curtains aren’t the solution you’re looking for. Here are a few disadvantages:
- Room darkening curtains may not provide the level of darkness you want in a room.
- Similar to blackout curtains, room darkening curtains are thick and require sturdy hardware.
- You’ll still need to use electric light sources to see well when room darkening curtains are closed.
Light Filtering Curtains Pros and Cons
Light filtering curtains allow the most amount of light into a room compared to blackout and room darkening curtains. These curtains are thinner and lighter than the other types and may be made with loosely woven fabric which allows light to come through. Light filtering curtains enable you to fill a room with a warm, soothing glow, and you can still see without the need for lamps or other light fixtures.
You might install light filtering curtains anywhere you want natural light and some level of privacy. These curtains might be ideal for living rooms, offices, dining rooms, or as part of a window treatment in a bedroom or nursery. Business owners who want to soften the light shining into their restaurant or store can create an inviting, comfortable atmosphere with light filtering curtains.
Pros of Light Filtering Curtains
Light filtering curtains are available in a wide range of fabrics, colors and patterns. You can easily find light filtering curtains to enhance the style and mood of any room. Other benefits of light filtering curtains include:
- They can be used to complement existing drapes or shades.
- Light filtering curtains allow a breeze to enter the room — perfect for spring weather.
- These curtains are lightweight, meaning they may be easier to install.
- With light filtering curtains, you don’t darken a room completely, so you can reduce the use of electric light sources.
Cons of Light Filtering Curtains
Not everyone prefers light, breezy curtains. Here are reasons why you may wish to reconsider adding light filtering curtains to your space:
- If light filtering curtains are used without shades, blinds or drapes, they only provide moderate levels of privacy.
- Light filtering curtains do not block light, which may make them unsuitable for bedrooms or home theaters.
- Since these curtains are generally lightweight, they do not block sound or insulate a room as well as blackout and room darkening curtains.
Request a Free Consultation With Allure Window Treatments
We hope we illuminated the differences between each curtain type, but we understand if you still feel uncertain about what you want. In reality, any of these curtain types can be custom designed to include the light-blocking features you need while beautifying your space. At Allure Window Treatments, we’ll help you make the right choice.
We’ll work with you from the beginning stages to create a window treatment that meets your privacy and light-blocking needs, while also enhancing the elegance, mood and architecture of a room. First, we need to get to know you and your space. That’s why we begin our process with a free on-site consultation. During the consultation, one of our designers will visit your home, take measurements and listen to your vision. Once our designers dream up a design you love, we’ll get to work hand-making your custom curtains or drapes, and then send our professional installers to put your new, breathtaking window treatment in place.
With curtain experts waiting to assist you, there’s no need to feel left in the dark. Reach out to us at Allure Window Treatments today and request your free consultation!
Shani is the Marketing Director of Allure Window Treatments. She has over a decade of experience in the home improvement and window treatments industry.