Blackout Curtains – Darken a Room Any Time of the Day


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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How to Make Simple Kitchen Curtains

By Janice Wood

Kitchen curtains are relatively easy to make because:

  1. you only have to be able to sew in straight lines
  2. kitchen windows tend to be smaller than other windows in your home – and so do the curtains – no huge lengths and widths of fabric which can be difficult to deal with
  3. washable light cotton curtains are best for kitchens and these fabrics are easy to handle when sewing

Here are the easy steps to make your kitchen curtains.

1. Measure your Curtains


Measure the width of the rod – this will be the width of each finished curtain panel in a pair of curtains if you want to achieve a reasonable fullness after gathering.


Take the length (or drop) of your curtains as starting from the rod to two or three inches below the sill for window- length curtains or to the floor for floor length curtains (shorter is generally better in an informal room like a kitchen).

2. Work Out How much Fabric You Need

On top of the length you will need about 4 inches for a top header and 6 inches for a bottom hem and about 4 inches on top of the width of each curtain panel for the side seams. (Remember to include both curtains in your calculations when working out how much fabric you need).

Fabric comes in fixed widths. Try and get the right width so that you only need one width for each curtain panel. Don’t worry if it is a bit too wide. You can increase the gathers. If the fabric is not wide enough you can join lengths together. Remember to include the additional seams in your calculations.

If your fabric has a pattern you will need to line it up between the two curtains. Take any wastage here into account. You don’t have to worry too much with a small pattern repeat.

If the fabric is not pre-shrunk add a 10% allowance for shrinkage.

3. Prepare the fabric

Wash and iron the fabric so that any shrinkage takes place BEFORE you make your curtains.

Cut out the pieces as required making sure to match up any large patterns and have the pattern running in the right direction on both curtains.

4. Sew

Join any lengths together as required for wide curtains. Pin, sew and press the seams. Then fold and sew the side seams of each curtain panel to neaten the edges. Fold over the top 4 inches of the curtain panels towards the inside and press, then fold under 2 inches and press to make a 2inch hem. Stitch this hem close to the bottom of the seam (leaving an approximately two inch channel for the curtain rod).

5. Hang and Finish the Curtains

Leaving the bottom hems untouched hang the curtains on the curtain rods then pin up the hems. (This is the best way of getting the right length). Take the curtains down and finish off the bottom hems neatly after folding, pinning and pressing. Don’t cut off excess material within reason – a larger hem will be heavier and will help the curtain hang well. Just fold under an inch or so then press for neatness and then create a 4 or 5 inch hem to match on each curtain panel.

If you want more help with choosing kitchen curtains or help with measuring up has all the information you need. Find out how to get the best kitchen curtains for your windows and how to save money on your purchase.

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