This post is part of the blackout curtain buyers guide.
Redecorating your home can pose quite a challenge, particularly if you embark on it as a DIY project. Every space in your living quarters requires a unique set of materials to achieve the look you desire. An area to consider is your windows. The debate is between blackout curtains vs. blackout blinds and which are better?
Blackout curtains provide more design choices, more privacy, better thermal insulation and better noise reduction. While blackout blinds take up less space, are better in hot and humid areas, are cheaper, easier to install, easier to maintain and often come with a remote control.
Both room-darkening solutions offer you unique benefits in terms of practicality and aesthetics. The following is a description of each solution and the factors to consider when selecting a suitable window treatment for your home.
What are Blackout Curtains?
These are soft flowing fabrics that cover the entire window wall. Additionally, they include a blackout liner that is excellent at blocking light and provide some thermal insulation.
Furthermore, you can avail of them in custom colors that incorporate exquisite patterns and prints. Blackout curtains are a common feature in luxury hotel rooms and movie theatres, where light can impede the room’s ambiance.
What are Blackout Blinds?
Blackout blinds feature an opaque fabric within a cassette. Unlike blackout curtains, they also include side channels through which the material runs to prevent any light from seeping through the edges.
However, very few blinds exist that offer you an opacity of 100%. Therefore, you need to be very keen on the design features when going for this room-darkening solution.
Essential Factors to Consider When Selecting a Blackout Solution For Your Home
How much space do you have?
To install blackout curtains you require lots of space. Aside from the fabric itself, you will require a curtain box or holder brackets larger than the window. Additionally, you will need to provide a space to draw them when they are not in use.
Conversely, blackout blinds are ideal for settings that have minimal space. This is because the fabric rolls into the cassette and is flush with the window frame.
However, the compact nature of blinds makes them less effective in blocking light. To mitigate this, look for roller blinds that feature a fabric retention system. For example, installing a plastic spline with your blinds ensures that the opaque fabric remains secure when you lower the blind.
The design specifications
Over the years, curtains are slowly losing favor, with blinds being the preference for most contemporary interiors.
However, there is more variety with blackout curtains regarding fabric, color, pattern, and texture. Consequently, bold blackout curtains make a more impactful statement to your décor as compared to blinds. Just look how beautiful the use of blackout curtains can be:
How much privacy do you require?
Is the blackout solution for your bedroom or living room? Your choice will ultimately rest with where you want to install the room-darkening solution.
As mentioned earlier, most blackout blinds are unable to offer 100% opacity. On the other hand, curtains are best when you want to achieve maximum privacy for rooms such as your child’s nursery or the master bedroom.
Conversely, areas like the kitchen and foyer do require some amount of natural light. Therefore, you are better off using blackout blinds in these areas.
Another thing to consider when selecting a room-darkening solution is the type of furniture in the room. Too much light exposure can cause damage to your precious furniture. For example, sofas and recliners with viscose fabric are susceptible to bleaching from continuous exposure to natural light.
Furthermore, houseplants require exposure to natural light. They need sunlight to make food that is essential to their health. Therefore, blackout blinds are the ideal solution for such areas.
Do you live in an area that experiences extended periods of cold weather? If so, using blackout curtains as your window treatment solution offers you the best chance of maintaining the heat within your living quarters. Consequently, you will notice a substantial decrease in your energy bill.
Check out our post “are blackout cutrains energy efficient?” to learn more.
On the other hand, blackout blinds are highly effective in hot and humid areas. The opaque fabric that most manufacturers use is light enough to allow heat to dissipate through the glass windows. Therefore, consider the weather when deciding the appropriate window treatment for your home.
Do you live in a townhouse or the countryside? Unfortunately, both environments do experience varying degrees of noise pollution from time to time. You may not realize it, but fabrics and other soft textiles are excellent for noise absorption.
Therefore, if noise cancellation is within your redecorating plans, you had better start investing in some blackout curtains. The extra layers that they come with play a significant role in reducing noise levels. Furthermore, adding a few pieces of fabric furniture to the room will also enhance your room’s ability to muzzle the excess noise.
How much are you willing to spend? Your budget is crucial in determining the type of window treatment solution to use. Keeping this in mind, blackout blinds tend to be cheaper as compared to curtains. This is because they are limited in variety and tend to follow a standard design across all types.
However, their low price point means you have to compromise on other benefits such as thermal regulation, opacity, and noise cancellation.
Although there are affordable blackout curtains in the market, it is doubtful that they will offer you the same benefits as custom-made ones. Ready-made blackout curtains may fall short in terms of quality and design specifications for your home. If you want an ideal solution for your windows, loosen up your purse strings a little.
In our post “are blackout curtains expensive?” we touch more on this.
Upkeep and Maintenance
Do you have toddlers or pets in your home? There are specific scenarios where using blackout curtains is a bad idea. For example, your kids can create quite a mess, especially in their play area. Keeping this in mind, certain types of blackout curtains are not machine washable. Consequently, they are not suitable for areas that experience a high volume of human traffic.
Blackout blinds are a more cost-effective option when it comes to cleaning. All you need is a wet cloth or vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dust that accumulates on the fabric.
Additionally, greasing the rollout mechanism in the cassette will ensure its longevity. However, your blinds can become an eyesore if you neglect their regular care. For example, the fabric may start to fray, and rust may begin forming on the cassette. As a result, you may end up replacing them much earlier than expected.
Considering all the points above, blackout curtains tend to be a more worthwhile investment compared to blinds. Despite their higher installation costs, they will last you much longer with proper care and maintenance.
Ease of installation
There is no doubt that it is much easier to install blackout blinds as compared to blackout curtains. This is because you will only need to install the mounting brackets and attach the cassette to them. Furthermore, they fit flush with your existing window frame, which significantly lowers your installation times.
Conversely, blackout curtains involve lots of measuring and drilling. Firstly, you have to measure your window size. Then, you will need to add a few extra inches to the length so that your curtain covers the window perfectly.
Furthermore, you need to offer an additional allowance to the curtain’s width to exceed the window frame if you want total opacity. For example, most interior decorators multiply the window’s width up to three times to ensure that the blackout curtains cover the window adequately.
Therefore, if you are looking for a quick fix for your excess light problem, blackout blinds are the way to go.
Nearly all types of blackout blinds feature some form of automation. For example, depending on where you buy them from, they can feature a remote that operates the rolling mechanism you use to draw them. Keeping this in mind, this automation bears little impact on the installation costs.
On the other hand, curtains tend to be bulkier because of the amount of fabric they use to achieve the desired levels of functionality. As a result, the cost implications of automating them are far more significant. Furthermore, the extra allowances of length and width make automatic blackout curtains a custom feature.
Therefore, if you are looking for a cheap yet functional window treatment solution, blackout blinds are the most suitable option.
Finally, blackout curtains offer you more leeway in terms of creating a unique look for your home. Depending on your supplier, there is an unlimited variety of designs and styles to suit your dream décor.
For example, you can choose between eyelets, rod pockets, or tab tops for your curtains. Furthermore, you can also add different curtain accessories for your final design, including crystal end balls and extendable curtain rods.
Blackout blinds are more rigid in their design. You can either have them as a single opaque fabric or in the form of slats. Regardless of your choice, there is very little room for customization with this type of window treatment.
As you can see, it is incredibly challenging to determine which is better in the blackout curtains vs. blackout blinds battle. However, by referencing the above points, your decision becomes much easier.
Blackout Curtain Buyers Guide Parts:
1. What Are Blackout Curtains And What Are They Used For?
2. Are Blackout Curtains Worth Getting? The Pros & Cons of Having a Dark Bedroom
3. What Are Blackout Curtains Made of? The Best Fabrics to go For!
4. Are Blackout Curtains Expensive? The 7 Best Priced Curtains of 2021
5. Are Blackout Curtains Energy Efficient? Can They Lower My Energy Bill?
6. What Color Should Blackout Curtains be in?
7. Blackout Curtains vs. Blackout Blinds: Which are better?
8. How To Measure for Blackout Curtains: A step by step guide
9. How To Clean Blackout Curtains: A step by step guide
10. Best Blackout Curtains For The Bedroom: A Buyers Guide (2021)