It’s tough to know what truly makes each of these types of shades different. People in the blinds and shades industry use these terms interchangeably all the time.
Here’s the difference in a nutshell:
Blackout shades use a fabric that blocks 100% of all incoming light, while “room darkening” usually refers to almost any shade that uses a fabric that blocks between 95% and 99% of the light that enters your room. Anything that blocks less than 95% of the light is usually referred to as light filtering.
What You Need to Know about Blackout Shades
When they’re actually installed, blackout shades make your room almost completely dark. However, no shade can totally block out all light, so it’s impossible to make your room pitch black. There will still be light that shows on the sides of your shades during the day. With blackout shades, there’s a little “halo” of light that sneaks through around their outer edges.
Blackout shades typically use an opaque material like PVC or Mylar to line the fabrics used, and they’re also designed to fit tightly to your window casing. This drastically reduces light seepage.
Most often you use blackout shades for rooms like your:
- Home theater
- Dark room (if you are a photographer)
Some types of blackout shades cut out almost all light, giving you the darkest possible room. They reduce the light that seeps through that little “halo” we talked about earlier. These include:
- Roller shades with side channels
- Blackout curtains with tracks
- Multi-layer treatments that combine either side panels and a cornice box or valance
If the room you want dark gets direct sunlight when you want to use it, blackout shades make good sense.
A Little More on Room Darkening Shades
Because there is confusion when this term is used, let’s shed some light on the matter. Room darkening generally refers to any window treatment that dramatically reduces the incoming light to your room.
However, they won’t make your room nearly pitch black like blackout shades. They just make it noticeably darker than before.
Common types of room darkening shades include roller shades, sheer shades, pleated shades, and maybe even drapes. You can purchase all of these window treatments with opaque materials that block much of the light that normally enters.
You can also use room darkening shades for your bedroom or home theatre. But didn’t we mention blackout shades are commonly used for these rooms?
In reality, you can use either. What really matters is how dark you’d like it to be in each of these rooms.
Room darkening shades and blinds work best when direct sunlight does not shine into your room. Or, if you are a heavy sleeper and do not need blackout shades, they make a good fit for your bedroom.
Does that Clear Everything Up?
That should clarify the difference between room darkening and blackout shades for you. Now, the next time you’re ready to buy either, you can find exactly what you want online or communicate it to a store associate at Blindster.com!