Design Inspo

The 6 Best Blackout Curtains of 2023

Curious about the Little Black Dress of home decor? Discover the best blackout curtains of 2023 for your design style with our guide here.

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Is that a solar eclipse, or do you have blackout curtains? Today’s topic is home decor that can make or break a good night's sleep: blackout curtains. Blackout curtains, in a nutshell, are your secret weapon against the bright morning sun, the pesky street light, or that annoying LED glow from across the room. 

They're a superhero of sorts, coming to the rescue when you need some serious shut-eye or want to create a cozy den for a movie night. Their contribution extends beyond the practical. When chosen with care and intention, these curtains can become integral to your home's personality.

Our goal is not only to equip you with the knowledge of what blackout curtains are and how to use them but to inspire you to envision how they might enhance the spirit of your home. Let’s get to recreating that relaxing, well-rested feeling you feel every time you wake up from a good hotel sleep.

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From Past to Present

Blackout curtains were first used during World War II, not for catching some shut-eye, but for an essential reason — to prevent any stray light from escaping that could potentially guide enemy aircraft. After the war, folks started to realize, "Hey, these things are great for blocking out light!" And so, the popularity of blackout curtains for everyday use began to take off.

Fast forward to today, and blackout curtains have become a design staple. They've evolved beyond their military origins, coming in a variety of colors and styles that not only help you get that refreshing night's sleep but also add a touch of personal flair to your space.

Why Blackout Curtains?

Have you ever noticed how much better you sleep in a darker room? It's not just a personal preference. It’s science! Our bodies have this internal clock, called the circadian rhythm, which responds to light and darkness to regulate our sleep.

When it's dark, our bodies produce a hormone called melatonin, which makes us sleepy. Bright light, especially the early morning sun, can disrupt this process. Enter blackout curtains: They work like a charm to block out light, helping our bodies produce melatonin undisturbed. By simply hanging up blackout curtains, you're creating an environment that can significantly enhance your sleep quality.

Blackout vs. Room-Darkening vs. Light-Filtering Curtains

Let's delve into the nuances between blackout, room-darkening, and light-filtering curtains:

Blackout curtains are the ultimate light blockers, cutting out nearly 100% of incoming light. They create a pitch-dark environment appreciated by light-sensitive sleepers or those who want an immersive home cinema experience. However, this complete darkness can feel a bit enclosed.

Room-darkening curtains, a step down, block out most, but not all, light. Typically appearing in cordless styles, these balance deep darkness and some light penetration, offering more flexibility for those who prefer a slightly illuminated environment.

On the other hand, light-filtering curtains softly diffuse sunlight, creating a warm, inviting glow. They offer the least privacy but retain an open and airy feel in your room, making spaces appear larger and more welcoming.

Each type has its own perks, so it's all about choosing what aligns best with your needs and aesthetic preferences.

Blackout Curtain Liners: What To Know

We’ll get into the aesthetics of practical window treatments in a moment, but first, we have to go over the real star — the liners. The amount of light you want in your space, along with the visual effect of the drapery, will determine which of these top picks you go for.

Foam-Backed Liners

One common type of liner is foam-backed, usually made of polyurethane or acrylic foam. The layers have an excellent blackout effect because of their density; they're essentially sponge-like materials that absorb light instead of letting it through. 

Foam-backed liners provide thermal insulation, helping keep your room warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which can contribute to environmental and energy savings. On the downside, they can give curtains a stiffer feel and might be prone to discoloration over time with exposure to sunlight.

Triple-Weave Fabric

Another innovative liner is created through a triple-weave process: This type of lining involves weaving a dense layer of black yarn into the fabric itself, sandwiched between the front and back layers. (The thicker the fabric, the better the noise reduction too.) It achieves a blackout effect without requiring a separate liner, giving the fabric a more consistent feel. 

While effective at dimming a room, it might not provide the same total darkness as foam-backed options. As such, triple-weave fabric blackout window curtains work well for living rooms.

Rubber-Backed Liners

Another option is rubber-backed liners, which block light and help insulate windows. They're a solid option for extreme climates due to their excellent thermal properties. Note that they can have a distinct odor when new and might not drape as elegantly as other fabrics due to their weight.

Thermal Liners

While not necessarily blackout curtains, thermal curtains are worth mentioning here. They’re similar to foam-backed liners but with an extra layer of reflective metal, typically aluminum. Such materials help block heat in summer and retain it in winter, making them a highly energy-efficient choice. They provide suitable darkness but might be stiffer and heavier than other options.

6 Blackout Curtains That Match Your Design Style

Now that we’ve covered the nitty-gritty on blackout curtains, it’s time to cover the six best blackout curtains based on a home’s particular design style.

1. Contemporary Blackout Curtains

Contemporary design is all about clean lines, neutral colors, and a blend of comfort and sophistication. 


Look towards cotton or polyester (or a cotton/polyester blend) for a crisp, clean drape. Polyester blackout curtains have a streamlined appearance that blends seamlessly with the minimalist nature of contemporary design. Mid-weight polyester blackout shades can also have noise-reducing powers for extra-awesome sleep. You might also consider a triple-weave fabric for a consistent texture and feel. 

Many of these options are machine washable (making them pet and family-friendly fabrics), but check the retailer’s instructions before making a big whoopsie. 


When it comes to color, stick with neutrals like whites, grays, and blacks or muted tones that won't overwhelm the space. A monochromatic palette will maintain the sleek, modern feel. If you prefer a pop of color, opt for deep, saturated tones like navy blue or emerald green.


In contemporary design, less is often more. Solid colors will work best for a clean, uncluttered look. Or, if you incorporate a pattern, go for something geometric or abstract with a limited color palette.


While contemporary design tends to favor simplicity, adding a touch of texture can prevent your space from feeling too stark. Consider a subtle herringbone or a faux silk fabric to add interest without straying from the modern aesthetic.


Don't forget about the hardware. A grommet-style curtain with a brushed nickel finish would fit beautifully into a contemporary space. It has a neat, uniform look, and you just can’t beat that easy installation process. 

Choosing the right blackout curtains can accentuate and enhance the contemporary aesthetic of your home while also providing the practical benefits of light control and insulation. Remember, the key is to maintain a balance between function and style.

2. Mid-Century Modern Style Blackout Curtains 

Mid-century modern design, a style that emerged in the mid-20th century, is characterized by its clean lines, gentle organic curves, and a mix of different materials. It often includes bold, retro-inspired colors, making it a fun design style to play with in terms of textiles and colors.

midcentury modern curtains
On the Spot Curtains by Annie Selkie - $131


For a truly mid-century feel, natural fabrics like cotton or linen complement the organic, relaxed vibe of this era. A cotton curtain with a triple-weave blackout layer could be the ideal combination of aesthetics and light blockage.


Mid-century modern design isn't afraid of color, favoring bold hues like teal, mustard, burnt orange, or olive green. Don't shy away from retro-inspired patterns either — geometric shapes or abstract prints. Remember that balance is key: If your space already has bold elements, you might want to stick with a neutral shade for your curtains.


Geometric patterns or organic forms were popular during the mid-century period. Abstract shapes or lines can add a touch of nostalgia to your curtains without going overboard.


Subtle textures can add depth and interest. A tweed or woven look can create that added layer of mid-century appeal.


Hardware should be simple and functional: Rod pocket or pinch pleat curtains work well here. A simple, unadorned rod in a brushed brass or matte black finish would complete the look.

When chosen thoughtfully, blackout curtains can enhance your mid-century modern aesthetic and add the practical benefits of darkness and privacy when needed. The (not-so-secret) secret of great design is finding the Venn diagram sliver where style meets function.

3. Modern Farmhouse Blackout Curtains

The modern farmhouse style is characterized by a cozy, rustic charm combined with modern simplicity. It leans towards a soothing, monochromatic palette, often punctuated with natural textures and materials.


For the modern farmhouse aesthetic, you can't go wrong with natural fabrics. Linen and cotton bring a snug, cheerful vibe that complements this design style. Blackout curtains in these materials, possibly with a thermal lining, can add to the cozy factor by insulating the room against heat and cold.


Stick with a palette of neutral colors — whites, creams, soft grays, and muted earth tones. These shades contribute to the soothing and inviting ambiance synonymous with the modern farmhouse style. For a bit more interest, opt for a subtle stripe or check patterns in a light, tonal variation.


Generally, solid colors work best for this style, but if you love a pattern, it should be simple and not too busy. Ticking stripes or a classic plaid can add visual interest while still fitting the farmhouse aesthetic.


Adding texture is a great way to add depth and warmth to your space; try a textured linen or a chambray fabric to enhance the rustic, homey feel of the room.


As for hardware, a rod with a rustic finish, such as distressed wood or wrought iron, complements the farmhouse style nicely. Tab or grommetheading curtains have a relaxed, casual look that works well with this aesthetic.

In a modern farmhouse setting, blackout curtains can bring a sense of comfort and warmth while providing the practical benefits of light blockage and energy efficiency. It's all about enhancing that welcoming atmosphere that makes farmhouse-style interiors feel like home.

4. Coastal Blackout Curtains

Coastal style is all about creating a light, airy atmosphere that mirrors the beach and ocean. It often features soft, muted colors, natural materials, and a relaxed, laid-back vibe.


Natural fabrics with a light, breathable quality, like cotton or linen blackout curtains, offer an airy, breezy feel that's ideal for coastal settings. For the blackout effect, look for these materials with an integrated light-blocking layer or a separate liner. 


The color palette for coastal design is inspired by the sea and sand — soft blues, sandy beiges, and crisp whites. For a touch of nautical charm, add stripes in navy blue or soft aqua.

coastal inspired curtains
Riviera Striped Curtains by Pottery Barn -$109


For coastal style, patterns should be minimal and nature-inspired — subtle stripes or organic, abstract patterns reminiscent of waves or water. Generally, solid colors often best maintain a serene, tranquil ambiance. 


Slubby linen or soft, brushed cotton can add a tactile element that feels comfortable and lived-in. Subtly-textured window curtain panels create a sense of depth and interest.


To complete the coastal look, use a curtain rod with a distressed or weathered finish or even whitewashed wood. Grommet curtains have a laid-back, casual look, while back tab curtains have a more traditional, cottage-style feel.

In a coastal setting, blackout curtains can help create a serene, tranquil atmosphere with the practical benefits of light control and privacy. The goal is to create a space that feels as peaceful and refreshing as a day at the beach.

5. Art Deco Blackout Curtains

Art Deco is all about glamor, sophistication, and geometric forms. This style emerged in the 1920s and '30s, featuring bold color options, luxurious materials, and intricate patterns.


Velvet is a quintessential Art Deco fabric. Its rich texture and light-reflecting quality add a sense of luxury and drama, perfect for the Art Deco aesthetic. Velvet curtains have a sumptuous feel while efficiently blocking light.


The Art Deco palette is all about bold, rich hues like royal blue, emerald green, and deep red. For a more neutral look, try metallics like gold, silver, or bronze, which were popular during the Art Deco era.


Geometric patterns are a hallmark of Art Deco. Indulge in curtains with a subtle, geometric pattern, such as a chevron or a stylized fan shape. Alternatively, a solid, richly colored curtain would be a dramatic backdrop for other Art Deco elements in the room.


In terms of texture, aim for luxe and tactile fabrics. As mentioned, velvet is an excellent choice, but other options could include silk or satin with a smooth, glossy finish.


For curtain rods and hardware, go for a metallic finish, like gold, bronze, or brushed nickel. Keep the design sleek and geometric. Eyelet curtains, for instance, can provide a clean, uninterrupted line that suits the Art Deco style.

In an Art Deco setting, blackout curtain panels bring drama and sophistication with the practical benefits of light control and privacy. Art Deco is about striking a balance between bold design and understated elegance.

6. Traditional Style Blackout Curtains

Traditional style is about timeless elegance, refined furnishings, and a comforting sense of order and symmetry. It favors richly detailed design elements, dark wood tones, and a color palette that's calm and predictable. It’s a go-ahead to go wild at your local antique store. 


For traditional-style homes, fabrics like damask, brocade, silk, or velvet can add a touch of grandeur. They offer the ultimate blend of luxury and timelessness, particularly if fitted with a blackout lining for practicality.


Traditional palettes lean towards muted and pastel hues, such as soft blues, greens, creams, or roses. Rich, dark colors like burgundy, mustard, or navy can also work beautifully, particularly if the rest of your home decor is on the lighter side.

mustard traditional style curtains
Velvet Pinch Pleat Curtains by Twopages - $148


Incorporate classic patterns like damask, paisley, or floral designs. They should be understated, though, not overwhelming. If you have patterned upholstery or rugs, rely on solid color curtains to balance things out.


Texture in a traditional setting often leans toward rich and opulent. High-quality silks and velvets have a sumptuous, tactile quality, while patterned weaves can add visual depth and interest.


Prioritize timeless elegance when choosing your curtain hardware. A polished brass or antique bronze rod with decorative finials can add a classic touch. Pinch pleat curtains or those with an elegant draping effect complement traditional aesthetics.

In a traditional setting, blackout curtains can bring an added layer of warmth and refinement while offering the practical benefits of light blockage and privacy. The key is to balance the visual grandeur of traditional style with functional, modern elements.

How To Hang Curtains for Maximum Design Impact

Firstly, let's talk about height. To create an illusion of taller ceilings and larger windows, aim to hang your curtain rod closer to the ceiling rather than the top of the window frame — about halfway between is a good rule of thumb. This trick can really elevate your space and give it a grand, airy feel.

Next up: length. Curtains that slightly "puddle" on the floor have a luxurious, elegant feel. Curtains that barely touch have a more practical, casual look. This is also a great choice if you have pets or kids and want to avoid wear and tear at the bottom of your drapes.

Lastly, ensure your curtains are wide enough so that they still generously cover your window when fully drawn. This will ensure optimal light blockage and privacy, plus it just looks better!

Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be hanging your curtains like a pro.

Keep the Light Out and Sleep In

Blackout curtains have become an essential element in modern interior design, combining style and functionality to create a harmonious living space. 

Whether you seek timeless sophistication, modern minimalism, or a whimsical touch, these curtains will transform your space into a sanctuary of comfort and style. Embrace the power of blackout curtains to enhance your unique design style, providing privacy, reducing outside noise, and creating the perfect ambiance to relax and feel at home.


Life During the Blackout | The Guardian 

How to Hang Curtains Like a Designer | The Spruce

Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms | NIOSH | CDC

Melatonin: What It Is & Function | Cleveland Clinic

To see how the curtains on your wishlist would look in your real-life home, whip up a room mock-up with our room visualization tool

Date Posted
October 25, 2023



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