Blackout vs. Room Darkening Curtains – Difference in the Numbers

Last updated on October 12, 2023

Here’s what the difference between the blackout curtains and the room darkening curtains is in the numbers. Read on!

In a nutshell:

  • Blackout curtains block 99% to 100% of light.
  • Room darkening curtains block 85% to 95% of light.
  • Blackout curtains are heavier and have more layers.
  • Room darkening curtains can be one-layer and look like real drapes.

When choosing blackout curtains, there are two main types to choose from — blackout curtains and room darkening curtains — though there are more alternatives. Both types block light from entering a room. However, there are differences between the two.

Blackout curtains are designed to completely block light from entering into a room, while room darkening curtains only partially block light from entering into a room.

If you want to get the best value for your money, you should consider buying room darkening curtains because they cost less. However, if you are looking for pitch black, you should opt for blackout curtains because they will allow you to sleep even during the day.

What Are Blackout Curtains?

blackout curtains

A blackout curtain is a type of window treatment that blocks all daylight from entering a room. This is done by using a fabric material with an opaque layer (or multiple layers). These fabrics are usually made from polyester or a blend.

The most common use of these curtains keeps rooms in hotels, motels, and other places where people stay during long trips. People who travel often have to spend many hours in their hotel room. During this time, they need to sleep well so that they can wake up refreshed.

These curtains are also helpful when you have children who take naps during the day. They are also irreplaceable in nurseries to provide the darkness for better sleep for the baby.

What Fabric They Are Made of?

Different types of fabrics can be used to make blackout curtains. Some of the popular ones include silk, cotton, rayon, microfiber, and others. What’s essential is that blackout curtains are made of multiple layers. The layers block the light but they can also provide thermal insulation and block noises.

What Are Room Darkening Curtains?

room darkening curtains

Room darkening curtains are a little different from blackout curtains. Room darkening curtains and shades do not completely block light from entering a room but instead let some light through. This is done by making the curtains from a triple weave fabric that’s denser and lets only little light through.

You can use room darkening curtains to make rooms darker during the daytime. For example, if you live in a sunny area, you may find yourself waking up early in the morning due to the bright sunlight. To avoid this problem, you can install room darkening curtains in your windows.

You can also use room darkening curtains to help you sleep better at night as well as prevent anyone from seeing into your room. When you go to bed, you may find that it is difficult to fall asleep because of the brightness of the lights. By installing room darkening curtains in your bedroom, you can reduce the amount of light coming in through your windows.

What Fabric They Are Made of?

Room darkening curtains are typically made of triple weave fabric. Triple weaving involves weaving two threads over each other three times. The result is a denser fabric than single weaving.

They are also made from fibers such as acrylic, polyester, polypropylene, and others. However, there are no specific requirements regarding what kind of fiber you should use. You need something that will allow light to enter a room while blocking out more harmful UV rays. 

Compared to blackout curtain fabric, it tends to be thinner and thus easier to iron out the creases and wrinkles.

Pros of Blackout Curtains

There are several advantages of blackout curtains. Some of these include:

  • You can easily open and close them without any problems.
  • They are easy to clean.
  • They are available in various sizes and designs.
  • They come in a variety of colors.
  • They are durable.
  • They can block noise.
  • They are thermal insulated.
  • They are energy efficient.
  • They are easy to maintain.
  • They provide privacy.
  • They are great for kids’ bedrooms and nurseries.

Cons of Blackout Curtains

Although there are many benefits of blackout curtains, there are also disadvantages.

  • They are not suitable for every home.
  • They are not recommended for areas where there is a lot of moisture.
  • They can be expensive.
  • They can be hard to install.
  • They can be heavy.
  • They can be hard to remove.
  • They can be hard to repair.
  • More difficult to cut the length.
  • Less variety of styles.

Pros of Room Darkening Curtains

Compared to blackout curtains, room darkening curtains have more pros than cons.

  • They are easier to install.
  • They look like typical drapery.
  • They are cheaper than blackout curtains.
  • They can come with a rod pocket whereas blackout curtains are typically too heavy and can only use grommets.
  • They are easier to care for.
  • They are lighter than blackout curtains.
  • They are more flexible than blackout curtains.
  • They are easier to clean than blackout curtains.
  • They are more cost-effective than blackout curtains.
  • They can be used for a wider range of purposes.
  • You can wash them in a washing machine on gentle cycle.

Cons of Room Darkening Curtains

Like blackout curtains, room darkening curtains also have their own set of disadvantages. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • They are not as effective as blackout curtains to block the light completely.
  • They cannot be used in all types of weather conditions.
  • They do not work well when there is direct sunlight.

The Verdict

Both blackout curtains and room darkening curtains are good choices for window treatments. However, they each have different sets of features and benefits. If you need to buy one type or the other, you should consider your needs first before making your purchase decision.

If you need pitch black – choose blackout curtains. If you’re fine with some light coming through and you care more about the style – choose room darkening curtains.


Is room darkening the same as blackout?

No, they are two different things. A blackout curtain will completely block the light from entering a room, while a room darkening curtain will only let in enough light so that you can still see clearly.

Do blackout curtains make the room hotter?

No, they do not make rooms warmer or cooler. They usually keep rooms cooler by blocking the heat from coming in.

Can I use blackout curtains in summer?

Yes, you can use blackout curtains in summer. However, you should remember that they might not be ideal for this purpose since they are designed to block all light.

How long does it take to dry blackout curtains?

It depends on the type of material you are using. The best way to tell isto wait until the material dries out completely. If you don’t know what type of material you are using, then leave them hanging in your closet for a few days.

Are blackout curtains safe?

Yes, they are very safe. You should always check the instructions before using any type of curtains. Make sure that they are made of vinyl or polyester.


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