Have you ever gotten annoyed by sunlight streaming into your face while trying to sleep in your bedroom? Or how about while taking a short snooze on your sofa? You can easily solve this problem by installing some blackout shades. In this post, you'll discover what these devices are, how they can help you, and conclude with a discussion of the best blackout shades to put an end to that irritating glare once and for all.
Mirage Cordless Blackout Shade
Sleepy Time Magnetic Tracks
Achim Home Furnishings Darkening Window Shade
Redi Blackout Pleated Paper Shade
Levolor Peel To Width Roller Shade
What Are Blackout Shades?
Like blackout curtains, blackout shades are window treatments used to prevent unwanted light from entering a room (source). For our purposes, this is crucial since sleeping in total darkness helps to stimulate the production of melatonin, leading to better sleep (source).
The simplest and often cheapest types of blackout shades are roller shades. A more attractive solution are motorized shades or standard pleated shades. This latter type comes in a wide variety of colors, fabrics and thicknesses, each contributing to the blackout effect.
For example, some shades are so thick that they completely block all light from entering a room, making them perfect for professional work like photography. Others are less thick, allowing a gentler glow to seep into your room.
To maximize the effect of a blackout shade, you'll want to make sure it covers your window completely, which means taking exact measurements to determine the correct size before installing it.
Moreover, most blackout shades give you the choice of installing them either inside or outside your window casing depending on what works best for you. Generally speaking, shades mounted inside have a cleaner look while those mounted outside serve to cover up nicks, dents, and peeling paint, among other reasons.
What Are the Benefits of Blackout Shades?
As mentioned, having too much light in the room you're trying to sleep in can negatively affect your sleep and even cause long-term health problems like diabetes and heart disease (source). Creating a dark sleeping space also extends to babies who can easily be awakened by light.
Aside from night-time sleep, blackout shades have other benefits (source):
Aids daytime sleep – If you have a job that requires you to work the graveyard shift, or find yourself having to sleep at odd hours during the day, blackout shades can make a big difference.
Lowers energy costs – Blackout shades help keep air conditioned air inside during summer, and hold in heat during winter, thereby saving you on energy bills.
Filters noise – If you live on a busy street or in an apartment complex with close neighbors, thick blackout shades may help reduce environmental sounds.
Disadvantages of Blackout Shades
While there are several benefits to using blackout shades, there are also a few drawbacks to bring to your attention:
Expensive – High-quality blackout shades can be more expensive than ordinary shades. That said, there are always sales and coupons available, not to mention plenty of more budget-friendly options too, like those reviewed below.
Difficult to install – Installing professional grade blackout shades may involve more labor than ordinary shades. But while it may demand more of your time, the benefits are usually worth it. Or you could opt for a less expensive shade which is often easier to install, such as the ones mentioned below in this article.
Time intensive cleaning – Blackout shades can be more difficult to clean than ordinary shades because they're often made of different materials, including various textures and extra layers. Depending on your lifestyle, this could become a burden, or just a small price to pay for total darkness in your bedroom.
How to Choose a Blackout Shade
Much of your search for a blackout shade depends on the criteria you find most important, starting with your window size and budget, light-filtering capabilities, and other factors like these:
- Fabric or material
- Ease of installation/cleaning/replacement
For more guidance, be sure to read reviews and recommendations from friends, family and the general online community to assess opinions.
Reviews of the Best Blackout Shades
While you're in the process of searching for quality blackout shades, let us help you with some brief reviews of the best affordable choices we've found...
Constructed with non-woven polyester, this light-brown colored blackout shade is one of the most durable available. Even better, it's easy to vacuum or dust.
While you have the choice to install this shade either inside or outside your window casing, you'll need to know the exact width since it's not trimmable. The installation is more involved than some other brands but the process is relatively straightforward and only requires some basic tools and the included hardware.
This cordless set of shades raises and lowers easily, seamlessly transitioning your bedroom from a light-filled environment into a blacked out space. Overall, the Mirage Cordless Blackout Shade is a solid pick.
If you're concerned about light creeping into your bedroom via the exposed sides of your shades, then this is the device for you. Instead of installing blackout shades for your windows, these magnetic tracks work with your existing blinds or shades to provide even more darkness for your bedroom.
It works by placing the adhesive magnetic tracks vertically on both sides of your window, then fitting your existing blinds or shades into the tracks to block out any extra light from spilling in.
It comes with two 60 inch tracks but longer lengths can be specially ordered. The installation is quick and easy and requires no tools.
Sleepy Time Magnetic Tracks is among the best simple solutions to an annoying problem.
Designed for any room, this blackout shade can be cut into any size you need to fit most windows. Moreover, installation takes mere minutes simply by pulling off the adhesive and sticking the shade to the top of your window.
Adjusting the blind is also easy by lightly tugging the single pull-string hanging down the center of the shade. However, the pleats in the blinds straighten out when left down for an extended time, which may make the blinds more difficult to raise. That said, the Achim Window Shade is a decent option, especially given the affordable price.
You might not think a blackout shade made of paper would be effective at keeping out unwanted light, but this shade is impressively suited to the purpose. Like the Achim Window Shade, the Redi Shade can be cut to the dimensions needed to fit your window and installed via a simple adhesive strip stuck to your wall or window casing.
Parents of small children will especially appreciate this shade because it's cordless, making it safe to use in nurseries and kids' rooms. Renters will also favor this shade because it provides a non-permanent way to black out a room. You can even use it with existing blinds as an extra layer of light prevention.
Since the Redi Shade is made of paper, it's more susceptible to damage than some other materials and thus requires extra care during installation and use.
For windows 36 inches in width or more, this roller blackout shade may suit your purpose. The length and width is customizable via perforations, allowing you to remove some of the shade material from each direction to better fit your specific window. (If your window is less than 36 inches wide, this shade won't work for you).
As a roller shade, this product is child-friendly, but the rolling motion can become locked or difficult to use at times. Still, the Levolor Roller Shade adequately blocks out light and thus worth your consideration.
What Is the Best Blackout Shade for You?
The clear winner from this batch of best blackout shades is the Mirage Cordless Blackout Shade. With exceptional quality and sturdy construction, this blackout shade does a solid job at blocking out light for your bedroom or other spaces. Moreover, it's easy to clean and safe for every member of your family. While the Mirage Shade may be slightly more difficult to install, the payoff is worth it.
If, however, you already have shades that do a fair, but incomplete job at blocking out light, Sleepy Time Magnetic Tracks may finish the job for you. Another option is to combine the Mirage Cordless Blackout Shade with the Sleepy Time Magnetic Tracks to create the darkest, most restful space possible.
Now Over to You!
What are your thoughts about blackout shades? Leave your comments below!