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Blackout Curtains vs. Blinds vs. Window Film (What’s Best?)

A woman pushing aside the curtains to let in natural lighting.

Depending on your light preference and the general aesthetic that your interior has, here are the factor to consider between blackout curtains, blinds and window film.

While sunshine is undoubtedly nice most of the time, sometimes, you just need to block out the sun, cool down your room, and relax. Whether you live somewhere that’s too bright too many days a year, or you just need to get some better sleep, finding the best window cover for your house is important.

Whether you’re in need of some new blackout curtains, blinds, or window films, we’re here to help you understand which type is best for you and your home. Below, you can learn everything you want to know about all of these different kinds of window covers.

All About Blackout Curtains

BGment Blackout Curtains for Bedroom - Grommet Thermal Insulated Room Darkening Curtains for Living Room, Set of 2 Panels (42 x 63 Inch, Navy Blue)
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When we talk about blackout curtains, we’re referring to thick, opaque curtains that are designed to block out the light of all kinds.

These are typically backed with foam to ensure better protection, blackout curtains are used specifically for places that are extra bright and need light to be kept out. Usually, when you stay at a hotel, these are the types of curtains that are used.

AmazonBasics Room-Darkening Blackout Curtain Set with Grommets - 52" x 63", Light Grey Herringbone
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Despite their name, these curtains don’t have to be black, either! Like in hotels, you can find blackout curtains boasting all types of patterns depending on what best matches your home’s look.

Benefits

Blackout curtains are the best type of curtain for those who are looking for extra privacy. These curtains don’t allow for any extra light to come in, so you cannot see in at all from the outside. Even if the light is on in your home, these blackout curtains will make it nearly impossible for anyone from the outside to see in, and vice versa.

For places that don’t see much darkness, especially during the nighttime hours, blackout curtains are the ideal choice. Sleeping while it’s light out can be nearly impossible for some of us, and blackout curtains make this possible all times of the day. Whether you’re trying to put your baby down for a nap or you’re trying to get some shut-eye a little early, blackout curtains make this more than feasible.

More than just light, blackout curtains are also heavy enough to keep out sound from the outside world. While they won’t totally block out every noise that occurs, it dulls them into subtle, quiet sounds that you’ll barely even notice. Once again, this can be ideal in nurseries that need extra privacy or even just your bedroom in a noisy apartment complex.

Negatives

Of course, whenever you do want a bit of light in your room, blackout curtains do make this a lot more difficult. You can’t really have a middle ground: these curtains either block out all light or put them to the side and let in all light. This can be frustrating when you’re just hoping for a little bit of line to shine through during the mornings or afternoons.

Blackout curtains are also going to be much more expensive than your typical curtain. While it makes sense for the extra material that they require, it is going to be a harder hit in your bank account than regular blinds will be.

How to Install

AmazonBasics Room Darkening Curtain Rod - 48" to 88", Black
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To install your own blackout curtains, the first thing you must do is measure your window. This ensures that your curtains are going to cover the window perfectly. If you’re using a curtain rod, we suggest adding four inches to the length to have some extra coverage. When it comes to the width, you’ll want to multiply your window’s original width by 2.5 to ensure your blackout curtains cover enough of your window adequately.

Place marks above the window where you want to hang your curtains. Your blackout curtains will come with some plastic wall anchors. Then, using a drill, fasten these anchors to the wall with screws.

From here, you can hang your curtain on the curtain rod itself and then place the rod atop the wall anchors. That’s all it takes!

All About Blinds

Achim Home Furnishings Cordless Morningstar 1" Light Filtering Mini Blind, Width 35inch, Pearl White
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Blinds are going to be much different than blackout curtains. Blinds are considered “hard” window coverings because they’re made of plastic materials. Blinds consist of slats that move up or down to either let light in or block it out. These hard window covers can also be pulled up completely to let the entire window show.

YUYEON Nyunu [ Natural White, W21 x H64 ], Custom Cut Zebra Roller Window Blinds, Woodlook Fabric Dual Layer Windows Blind Perfect for Living Room/Bedroom/Kitchen
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Blinds come in various different colors and styles depending on what you’re looking for. They can easily match whatever room they’re being added to. With how easy to use they are and easily installed, blinds are some of the most popular windows covers available.

Benefits

Blinds are great for keeping out light during the day and adding a layer of insulation that keeps out heat nicely. This can cool down your room in the summer. Then, you can open your blinds at night and let the fresh air in with ease.

These window covers are also great for keeping out damaging UV rays. UV rays are not ideal for you and your body, but they can also damage your furniture and leave your things looking damaged and pale. With blinds, though, they keep these out sufficiently.

Compared to other window covers, blinds are one of the least expensive options you can go with. They’re available in so many different styles, and you can match them in any part of the house. They’re simply a great hard window cover option.

Negatives

Unfortunately, blinds aren’t always as durable as your other window covers. They can break quite frequently and do require more cleaning and dusting than your other window covers. Plus, the cords that hang from blinds can be a hazard to babies and young children, so you have to be careful where they’re installed.

During the winter, blinds don’t do a very good job retaining heat. They’re not super thick and don’t have strong enough insulation materials to prevent cold winter temperatures from seeping in. While they’re great during the summer for keeping the room a bit cooler, during the winter, you might find that you need something a bit more protective.

How to Install

Low Profile Box Mounting Bracket Set for Window Blinds - White
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After you’ve measured your window correctly, start by marking the center of the window opening, as well as the center of the blind headrail. Test where you want the mounting brackets to go and then mark the location appropriately. Keep the brackets in their place and then drill them in with screws.

Then, you need to mark where the center bracket is going to go. From there, drill your pilot holes and then attach your bracket. Take your window blind headrail (the top of the blinds) and attach them to the brackets you just installed. It should lock right into place.

After your blinds have been attached, attach the curtain wand to the hook at the top of the blinds. Then attach the bottom rail end caps, snap on the valence clips, and you’re good to go!

Window Film

BDF NA05 Window Film Privacy and Sun Control N05, Black (Very Dark) - 36in X 12ft
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Window film is something completely different than blackout curtains and blinds. Window film is made out of thin laminate films and is applied to various different types of windows for so many different uses. Typically seen on commercial buildings, vehicles, and boats, this type of protective window covering is quite advanced.

Window film is primarily relied upon for privacy reasons, as well as blocking out UV rays and reducing heat and glare. These are ideal for places with various windows constantly having heat let in. Instead of covering all of your windows with blinds or curtains, you can let in the beauty of the outside world without dealing with all of the uncomfortable heat and glare that comes with it.

Benefits

As we mentioned, window film is one of the best ways to reduce UV glare and keep your furniture–and your skin–protected from the sun. Window film blocks out about 99% of these harmful rays, keeping your home free of sun damage and you feeling comfortable all day long.

Interestingly enough, window film is also resistant to graffiti, which is often why we see it on commercial buildings with various windows. These buildings don’t have to worry about spray pain ruining their views, as the paint just doesn’t stick anyway.

Using these types of window covers are also great for reducing your energy consumption. You’ll likely notice a reduction in your energy bill, as you won’t need as much heat to warm your home. During the summer, window film can help keep the heat out, too. No matter what time of day, your house will stay comfortable.

Negatives

Unfortunately, it’s really tough to install window film on your own, especially compared to other window covers. While it can be done, it often isn’t done as smoothly as it should, and this can look poorly. On the same note, professionals can charge quite a bit to have this type of window cover installed.

Window film can also void your window’s warranty. This means that if something happens to your window, your window company may not cover it because of the film on top of it. It’s frustrating, but some companies do offer to match it occasionally.

How to Install

Vehicle Vinyl Wrap Window Tint Film Tool Kit Include 4 Inch Felt Squeegee, Retractable 9mm Utility Knife and Snap-off Blades, Zippy Vinyl Cutter and Mini Soft Go Corner Squeegee for Car Wrapping
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There are various window film install kits that you can rely on to get the job done. However, with how difficult installation is, in general, we recommend leaving it to the professionals.

While this can be a bit pricey, window film is so tricky to install on your own. It simply isn’t worth ruining your windows or causing a bumpy looking film. This can totally ruin the look of your windows, as well as ruin the efficacy of your window film. To keep things easy, find a professional to do it for you and let the window film experts take it from there.

But, if you do choose to do it on your own, make sure to take it slow and follow the kits to a T. It’s the only way to get the results you deserve. Then, you’ll have a cool, UV-free home without any access to light or glare.

This is a view of the living room window covered with a sheer white curtain and flanked by pink curtains.

Picking Out What’s Best for Your Windows

In general, you have to consider your home, the environment, and what room you’re adding these window covers too. Taking into account these factors can help you determine which types of window cover is best for your home. Whether it be blackout curtains, blinds, or even a window film, it all depends on your personal preference.

No matter what kind of window cover you choose, make sure you follow proper installation instructions or have someone to do it for you. Installing blackout curtains, blinds, and window film can completely transform a home, and Home Stratosphere is here to ensure that you do it correctly. For any other questions about home improvement, furniture, or anything of like, we have you covered.

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