ISO best blackout shades

polaris1492June 17, 2007

I'm hunting for good blackout shades. I've been getting up with the predawn at 4:30AM, and it's got to stop!

I found these blackout shades on

"3/4" single cell blackout shades are made from a honeycomb fabric lined with Mylar, which acts as a light barrier. The fabric rejects 100% of both visible light and UV rays which is perfect for bedrooms, media rooms, nurseries, or anywhere complete light blockage and privacy is desired. In addition the shades are spectacular insulators with an R-value of 5.0. The 3/4" single cell blackout fabric is a high quality polyester that won't fray, repels dirt, resists stains, and cleans easily."

Has anyone had experience with these or similar blinds? Any other recommendations? In addition to the blackout functionality, I'm hoping for something that keeps the house a bit cooler so we can run the A/C less.

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I bought something similar from Smith and Noble. They work quite well for keeping a room dark. Not sure about energy savings

    Bookmark   August 23, 2007 at 5:12PM
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Stay away from Smith and Noble. Stay far, far away.

I ordered 6 shades. I paid Smith and Noble to come measure. When the shades arrived, 5 of the 6 were about 1/4 to 1/2 inch too wide for the windows. I asked to return the shades to get my money back. Turns out their "satisfaction guarantee pledge" means that they won't give you your money back, no matter what.

They insist on coming back to re-measure, but a) I can't take time off from work again for this, and b) why would I want to run the risk of further screw ups and hassle?

Their customer service staff come across as Soviet-style bureaucrats. Evidently, Smith and Noble could care less about disappointing their customers and engendering ill will.

I guess my next steps are to file complaints with the BBB and my state's attorney general, as well as dispute the original charge with my credit card company. I'll probably send the shades back to the company's president for good measure.

Keep in mind that Smith and Noble's "partner sites" (i.e. sister companies) include Ballard Designs, Grandin Road, Garnet Hill, TravelSmith, Frontgate, and others. You can rest assured that I won't be giving any of them my business in the future either.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 2:55PM
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I put insulated, room darkening curtains in our bedroom and got them from K-Mart. You can also find room darkening panels at Lowe's and Wal-Mart.

What I did that was a little different, I put a (spring) tension rod in both the bottom AND the top and placed them UNDER the existing Levolor blinds. This way they fit tight to the window (no cracks of light around the edges) and you can easily remove them.

Levolor also has room darkening blinds. You can check Lowe's for prices/styles.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2008 at 7:52AM
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You probably know this already, but it is important that the shades or curtains are not cut too narrow or too short for the window. You -don't- want light peaking in around the edges of the blackout material. :-)

You may be able to get by with something cheaper than blackout shades depending on your location.

Our bedroom window faces south (where the moon and sun go across the sky in my part of the world), and I used to wake when the moon shone in at night or when the sun began to lighten the sky at dawn. One layer of curtains made of medium dark flat sheets gathered onto a curtain rod has cut enough light that I don't wake anymore. The Offspring is pleased with the two tablecloths s/he 'borrowed' and placed in her/his bedroom window. You may even be able to get adequate material at the thrift store :-)

If you decide to go with tension curtain rods and one or two curtains in your window, then make sure the curtains are gathered so that they press against the window edges.

If you decide to go with a curtain rod that attaches to the wall, make sure it extends at least six inches to either side of the window, and is mounted about six inches above the window. The curtain should extend well below the window, or be "puddled" on the window sill so light can't sneak in under them, either.

Don't know how the blackout shades you are thinking about attach to the wall or window, but these thoughts may apply to them, also.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 6:35PM
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Polaris, have you considered changing your bedroom to one without an eastern exposure? Maybe on the northwest side of your house. And at 4:30 in the morning, is it LIGHT which brings you awake? or perhaps the sound of birds beginning to stir, or a train whistle or a dude coming from/going to work?

Everyone has a different sensitivity to light, and different preferences as to HOW we like to be awakened as well. My DH wakes up very early too, and cannot go back to sleep. He lies there and watches me sleep w/o a problem.
I've seen these old movies where people use eye masks to black out the light. That is a lot cheaper than shades. But of course, no good for reducing the heat gain in your home.

I am presently making some roman shades out of 90% shade cloth and Thermalsuede lining. They will go on the north wall of our bedroom, behind floor to ceiling drapes. On the west wall, with intense latitude 30 North sun beating on the glass much of the year, I am not making roman shades of the material, but I am mounting the same fabric in flat panels floor to ceiling behind floor to ceiling drapes. This exposure faces the street, so I probably won't be opening them often.

The shade cloth is normally used outdoors. You could order it from Home Depot in various lengths, but I opted for the 100' roll which is quite wide. If you have a way to make a seasonal shade mounted to your roof eave outside, this would be the material to use. Either weight it at the bottom or better yet, skewer the bottom corners to tiedowns to keep it from flapping and waking you up too. But it would cut down the solar gain a LOT.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 2:31AM
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