By Ed Voos
Blackout curtains may be one of the greatest inventions of all time to make a bedroom perfect for sleeping. Studies have shown that people sleep better in a dark room, but achieving this can be difficult for day sleepers or people living under the shine of a streetlamp or neighbor’s porch light.
To achieve the optimal benefit from blackout curtains, put the rod as near to the ceiling as possible and bring the drapes right down to the floor. If you want to be able to clear the window when the curtains are open, you need to overhang the window width by 30 to 40 percent, depending on the fabric. For example, if you have a window five feet wide, it will take about a foot of stackback on either side to clear the window.
If you do not want to go floor to ceiling with the drapes, you will want the drapery to extend past the window a minimum of 4 inches on the top, bottom, and sides. When selecting a curtain rod, look at how far it comes out from the wall. This is called the return. Standard gathered or rod pocket drapery rods may be the best choice for a blackout curtain because they usually have the smallest return, keeping the drape close to the wall. More decorative rods can stick off the wall several inches. Having the drape that far off the wall leads to more light leakage at the top. The further away from the wall the drape hangs, the higher over the window you will want to hang it to minimize light bleed.
Besides darkening your rooms, quality curtains do a lot to reduce heat loss and gain through your windows. Blackout linings often have thermal properties as well, which reduces the amount of heating or air conditioning you lose through your windows. Even the best windows are a source for energy loss, and an energy efficient window covering can reduce that loss considerably.
Blackout curtains are a great addition not only to a bedroom, but also to a media or tv room. Nothing contributes to that authentic home-theater experience like having a completely darkened room for your home movie viewing. With the drapes drawn, the outside world ceases to exist.
You can find blackout curtains in the most regal and sumptuous of velvets to really dress up your home theater. Fabrics like velvets and chenilles add visual warmth, sound absorption, and elegance in addition to the room-darkening features. These can be found in rich solids or intricate and flowery brocades and jacquards. No matter what the face fabric is made of, the key to good blackout qualities is in the lining. The least expensive usually have a rubberized backing applied to the face fabric. Nicer drapes have a face fabric and a separate blackout liner. To get the most life out of your curtains, look for fabrics with linings that can be washed at home. That doesn’t mean you can’t take them to the cleaners, but if the fabrics are sturdy enough to be washed at home, they should hold up well for many years.
There could be several reasons why a person would want blackout curtains, and if you have trouble sleeping due to light from next door or the sun, then you have a definite need for these unique curtain types. Learn more at my site about black out curtains and shades to get more of an insight on whether you need them or not.
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