People first used room-darkening curtains during World War II. Now mainly people who work third shift and sleep during the day use them when sunlight becomes a problem. Room-darkening curtains filter out sunlight as well as heat and cold. You can make your own room-darkening curtains fairly simply.
Types of Fabric
Start your search for fabrics by choosing a dark color. Light fabric colors may be beautiful, but they do little to darken a room. Heavier fabrics work better than lightweight fabrics. Lighter fabrics can be translucent allowing some sunlight to pass through. Choose your fabric from the drapery section of your fabric store. They may even have fabrics specifically used for the purpose of darkening rooms called blackout cloth.
Make sure you buy plenty of fabric. Curtains that exactly fit the windows are less darkening than curtains that fully and completely cover the windows with fabric to spare.
Add a lining to your curtains for extra protection. Choose a heavy lining instead of a lightweight lining. Here again, look for linings that indicate they are specifically for room-darkening. It usually comes in a dark color as well.
Choose a style of curtain that completely covers the window. You want your curtains to hang over both sides of the window casing so that as little light as possible sneaks in. Also, you want your curtains to close in the middle of the window with the panels overlapping each other. Overlapping eliminates that stripe of light that often comes from the curtain panels not completely meeting in the middle.
You can also make quilt curtains to cover your windows. The layers of fabric and batting help to darken the room. Add a pocket for the curtain rod to the back of your quilt. Make sure you choose dark fabric colors to help with the darkening.
Use a curtain rod that completely covers the glass of the window. Do not use spring tension rods that fit inside the window casing as these allow light to enter the room on either side of the curtains. Do not use any curtain rod that comes out from the window casing too much. Conventional curtain rods are best for this type of project. The casing of the curtains covers the rods completely, helping to block out the light. Sash-style rods also work well with room-darkening curtains since they hug the window casing, blocking out as much light as possible.
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