What Should I Consider When Buying Room Darkening Shades?

A Kaminsky

People who sleep better in darker rooms, or whose bedrooms face east, may find room darkening shades to be a boon to assist in their sleep. Room darkening shades are window shades that block out significantly more light than a regular window shade. They are useful for any room that receives so much light that sleep is uncomfortable or restless.

Room darkening shades can usually be installed using a hammer and small nails.
Room darkening shades can usually be installed using a hammer and small nails.

Room darkening shades are usually purchased according to the size of the window, and whether the buyer wishes to mount them inside the window facing or outside the window facing. The buyer will probably need to purchase the appropriate brackets for the desired use. These can usually be installed using just a hammer and the small nails provided.

Someone who is restless may benefit from room darkening shades.
Someone who is restless may benefit from room darkening shades.

Shades are always purchased by length and width, so the buyer should measure the window, paying attention to measuring the width by whether the shade will be on the inside or outside of the facing. An inside facing position might be better if drapes are in place. However, an outside facing will usually block out more light. Length is important as well, since the shade needs to cover the entire window in order to be effective.

A buyer also needs to think about how much light a particular shade brand blocks. Some shades just darken a room slightly, while others will ensure the room is nearly devoid of outside light. The degree of light filtration is usually expressed in a percentage and can be found on the shade packaging. Shades that just filter light might also be called “light filtering” shades, as well as room darkening, while shades that block most light may be called “light blocking” or “room darkening.” A buyer should then look at the percentage of light blocked in order to make the best choice.

Some people might need a little light coming into the windows in the morning in order to wake up, while others may live near a 24-hour shopping center or car dealership whose bright lights shine all night. Those who like a little light may want the light filtering shades, while those living near the shopping center will probably opt for the light blocking shades.

Room darkening shades are sold in discount stores, home improvement centers and in interior design stores. They may vary in price from $10 U.S. Dollars to $50 USD, depending on the manufacturer and individual retail outlet. Most room darkening shades that work effectively can usually be purchased for about $15 USD.

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Discussion Comments


In my experience, you really need to double up. Room darkening blinds or shades are a good start, but if you're really going for dark, cover them up with blackout drapes. Drapes can start well above and hang well below the window, which gives better area coverage than you can get with just blinds or shades alone.

My sister works the night shift, so she knows all the tricks to darken a room during the day time. She actually tapes her drapes to the wall to prevent any light from sneaking in around them! It's not super attractive, but it does work.


One of the easiest room darkening materials and most attractive thing you can buy are bamboo shades. These make great room darkening shades, even if they aren't originally advertised as such. I think it is because of the thickness of the material that you really can block out a lot of light.

Another thing I like to use if you don't want a more Asian look are pleated room darkening shades. These look really stylish and while a bit more expensive than some of the other room darkening shades, they can be worth the investment if you want something really nice for your home.


When I was working night shifts I really needed good room darkening shades because I would have to sleep through most of the day. I found that room darkening roller shades were a good choice, as they were cheap and easy to install.

My wife also liked that the roller shade was easy to hide behind the curtains so it didn't detract form her decor. I think the hardest part of picking roller shades was finding ones that fit our oddly sized windows. We ended up having to use three different sizes of roller shades to cover the entire width of our window.

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