Room darkening curtains are the perfect way to control the light and temperature of any room. Other than making it easier to sleep, room darkening curtains also help keep a room cooler during hot months by diffusing the heat from the UV rays that enter the room. During the cooler months room darkening panels offer thermal efficiency, ultimately saving you money by blocking cold drafts and maintaining the heat within the room.

Many curtains are room darkening, however only a true blackout curtain will block 99.8% of light.


Light blocking curtains fall into two categories: blackout curtains and darkening curtains. Which you choose depends on if you want to eliminate light or simply reduce it.

Blackout curtains are those that use a fabric which blocks out 100% of outside light. Do keep in mind that unless you layer curtains to maximize this effect, you will experience a slight halo around the curtains. Blackout curtains are often used for the following room types:

  • Media rooms – blackout curtains can reduce glare on screens
  • Bedrooms – particularly for those who need to sleep during daylight hours
  • Nurseries

But what if you want privacy without blocking 100% of the light coming through? Room darkening shades are those that block out between 95% to 99% of the light. This is ideal when you are looking for privacy, but would still like to feel the difference between day and night.

Room darkening curtains are often used for the same rooms as blackout curtains. Which is best for you depends on personal preference as well as window direction. If you have a bedroom or media room that never experiences direct sunlight, darkening curtains can work just as well as blackout curtains. Additionally, for those who would like to wake up with the sunrise, room darkening shades can be the best option.

What if you want the best of both worlds? This is where layering comes in. Layering is a great way to increase the functionality of your light blocking curtains. You can balance the benefits of light filtering shades, room darkening curtains, and blackout shades through layering. At Empire Custom Windows, we have many options that we can help you filter through. Whether you are looking for a simple, elegant look or something with a bit more personality, we have what you need to accomplish the design goal you have in mind.


Other types of room darkening shades:

  • Roller shades
  • Drapes
  • Pleated Shades
  • Sheer Shades