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What Are Blackout Curtains Made Of? The Best Fabrics to Go For!


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Sometimes you just want to lay down and block out everything to get a restful night’s sleep. You might even need blackout curtains to truly block out everything. Blackout refers to a foam-back, opaque fabric used to blackout light.

Blackout curtains can be found in hotel rooms, baby nurseries, media rooms, and we find that more and more people are wanting them in their own bedrooms. But, what are blackout curtains made of? Blackout curtains are mainly made from polyester or nylon. They are manufactured by coating fabric with multiple layers of black foam, creating the blackout effect.

Read on to learn more about what blackout curtains are made of and which fabrics to choose.

Why Use Blackout Curtains?

We’ve all been there! Either we’ve worked the night shift and need to sleep during the day and find it very difficult to do so due to the light coming through the window. And no matter what we do, it’s hard keeping the light out.

Or we weren’t able to get to sleep during the night for whatever reason and found ourselves needing to make up for it during the day to no avail because of the gleaming light.

Whatever the reason, there have been times when we wished we had less light interfering with our much-needed sleep. Investing in blackout curtains could solve your problem.

Curtains give a room character. It adds fluidity to the solid and practical lines of a room. To get the room as you desire, you can style a room with many different styles of curtains. Curtains are the most versatile window treatment out there. Blackout curtains, which were widely used in hotels, are increasingly becoming more popular in homes.

Blackout curtains were first used in Britain during WWII for the complete opposite of why we use them today — to keep interior light from shining outwards. The objective was to prevent Nazi pilots from seeing the light coming from occupied buildings because that put people at risk of being bombed. With their lives on the line, they designed their blackout curtains with layers of black cotton fabric to prevent the light.

3 Major Benefits of Having Blackout Curtains

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1. Blackout curtains block 99% of the light from going into your room

Unlike curtains that have one layer of fabric that allows an element of light to filter in a room, blackout curtains have room-darkening features built into the fabric. That makes for a thicker fabric. Blackout curtains possess the dark room-darkening characteristics built into the cloth, making for a darker fabric than regular curtains.

2. Blackout curtains can block noise

Blackout curtains have also been proven to help dampen noise, allowing you to work peacefully or relax comfortably at home.

3. Blackout curtains can help conserve energy

A lot of energy loss in the home is due to air coming in through the windows. The tightly woven fabric in blackout curtains also provides insulation.

During the hot months, blackout curtains help you conserve energy costs by keeping the room cool even while the hot sun is coming in through the window. And during the cooler months, they keep your room warm while keeping the cold winter air out.

They also protect furniture and floors from sun damage and fading, which causes them to last longer, saving additional costs.

How Are Blackout Curtains Made?

Blackout curtains are manufactured by coating fabric with multiple layers of black foam, creating the blackout effect. A white or lighter-colored layer is then applied on top of the black layers. A two-pass blackout is created with a layer of black foam, then the lighter layer. A three-pass blackout is created with two lighter-color layers of foam and a layer of black in between.

Colors of Blackout Curtains

That’s right! Blackout curtains are available in more than just black colors. Blackout curtains are available in multiple colors from ivory to black, so you don’t have to settle for a dark color to block out the light.

Best Fabrics For Blackout Curtains

Blackout curtains are one solid layer of blackout fabric, usually made of polyester or nylon fabric, and are great for rooms that need total darkness. Blackout drapes have the typical room’s darkest feature built into the material, making for a heavier fabric than regular curtains.

Although the fabric for drapes is a bit heavier, they still look lighter in weight and look more like regular curtains than heavy curtains. Heavier curtains may have more than one layer of thick fabric with blackout features. Here are some of the best fabrics:

Thermal Insulated

This type of fabric has enhanced reduction in heat transfer. They reduce heat transfer by insulating the room. That will keep your room cool in summer and warm in the winter. Some brands include:

  • Europatex Style: Anopsia – This very heavyweight fabric is 100% polyester. It can be used as a stand-alone curtain and comes in almost every color except black. The fabric insulates against noise and is also water-resistant.
  • Trend Style 02692 – This medium-weight fabric is 100% polyester and is budget-friendly. It drapes elegantly and looks natural. It is dry clean only.
  • Roc-Lon Blackout Drapery Fabric – This fabric is a medium-heavyweight blend of polyester and cotton. It’s durable and can be used as a stand-alone or as a liner.

3 Pass Blackout Technology

The effectiveness of blackout fabric is measured in ‘passes’. That refers to the layers and linings added to the fabric to get the blackout effect. With this fabric, a white foam is added as the outermost layer to reflect light, followed by a black layer to block light. A final white layer is added to form the back-drop for the fabric door.

Flame Retardant Fabric

Blackout curtains used in commercial establishments like hospitals, hotels, care homes, or nurseries are usually paired with flame-retardant properties. That is even a good choice for blackout curtains that will be used in the home. Flame retardant fabrics are treated chemically to achieve high resistance to flames. Some brands include:

AbbeyShea Style: Handsome Fr

The medium-heavy weight fabric is 100% polyester, durable, and has many different uses. It can be used in commercial properties like schools or the workplace but can also be used in homes. It helps muffle sound and is dry clean only.

3D Blackout Curtains

This fabric is created to look like pictures or sceneries of your choice to add a distinctive character to the room. They can also be flame retardant and moisture-resistant. Some brands include:

Hanes Drapery Lining Serenity

This medium-heavy weight fabric is 100% polyester. It can be used on its own or as a lining to block the sun. It’s extremely soft and durable, can insulate against heat and noise, and is water-resistant.

Different Styles of Blackout Curtains

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It’s good to know your options when it comes to blackout curtains, to make the most of your blackout experience. There are different header styles, linings, drapes and curtains.

With so many options to choose from, it’s important to know first, if you want total blackout or just less light than you currently have. Your needs will help in determining what style of blackout will work best for you.

Blackout Curtain Header Styles:

Grommet – Curtain headers are installed by looping the fabric with metal rings.

Rod pocket – Curtains have a slit for easy, slip-on installation.

Tab top – Curtains use loops to hang off the curtain rod.

Pinch pleats – Curtains are pinched at the top for a pleated look.

Blackout Curtain Linings:

Blackout-lined – Blackout curtains use heavier polyester that makes the drapery stiff but achieves a complete blackout.

Foam-backed – Blackout curtains keep the soft folds of the drapery but don’t guarantee complete blackout.

Thermal-lined – Blackout curtains use heat-trapping fabrics like flannel but don’t guarantee complete blackout.

Privacy-lined – Blackout curtains use polyester and a cotton weave to keep softness and filter out light.

Blackout liners – These are placed behind your current curtains (regular, or otherwise) to provide blackout without having to do a major overhaul of curtains.

Similar-Type Curtains

Room-Darkening Curtains – These curtains give a more subdued look than blackout curtains. They allow a little light to come in, but not enough to disrupt your sleep. The inner lining isn’t as thick as with blackout curtains.

Light-Filtering Curtains – These are created with semi-opaque fabric, and filter out a portion of the sunlight so that only a small amount enters in the room.

Interested in Getting Your Own Blackout Curtains?

If you are looking for blackout curtains then I recommend you read our blackout curtain buyers guide. In the guide we show our top three recommendations, what to look for in blackout curtains, their pros and cons and why we would consider using these ourselves.

Niklas Lampi

My name is Niklas and I'm the author and content operator at The Bedding Planet. I've always had a big interest in bedding and more specifically sleep. If I find something that makes me sleep better, whether that's a lifestyle change or a better bedding environment, I'm ready to share it with the world!

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