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What is the Difference Between Blackout and Room Darkening Shades?

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Plus the Benefits of Blackout Shades and Room Darkening Shades


There are endless possibilities for light control in your home or business, so we understand that it can be a bit overwhelming to choose what you want for your new window covering. Some use the terms room darkening and blackout interchangeably; however, they are different. Whats the difference between blackout and room darkening shades?  To help you decide what is right for you, here is a guide on light filtering, room darkening and blackout, and the benefits of each.

What is Light Filtering?

Light filtering gives you a lot more control over the amount of light entering a room. These window treatments transform harsh light into a soft glow. The window treatment that gives you the most light filtering control are blinds because you can tilt the slats to give you the desired light filtering. However, sheer shades and honeycomb shades (also called cellular shades) can also diffuse light. 

The Benefits of Light Filtering Shades and Blinds

Even when fully closed, you still get a soft glow of light. This is because the fabric or the gaps between slats in blinds still allow some light to seep through. If you have a small room, you can make it seem bigger with the soft glow offered by light filtering shades and blinds. It can also brighten up dark rooms, giving them a light and airy feel. 

What is Room Darkening?

Room darkening is a step up from light filtering. These window treatments do not completely block the light from entering a room but they do reduce it considerably. Room darkening shades come in many different styles, from roller shades to roman shades. Often what makes shades room darkening is the special lining on the back side of the shade that reduces light. 

The Benefits of Room Darkening Shades

Room darkening shades are the perfect medium between light filtering and blackout. During the day, they reduce the amount of sunlight coming in and at night they help to reduce exterior lights, such as porch lights, making them a great option for bedrooms and nurseries. 

In a business setting, these types of shades are wonderful to keep your customers comfortable. One such example is blocking the harsh glare and heat of the setting sun from those sitting in your restaurant. 

Whats the difference between blackout and room darkening shades? Because room darkening shades block more light than light filtering treatments, they are very energy efficient. They can help you maintain more comfortable temperatures inside so you don’t have to run your AC as often, reducing your energy bills. Honeycomb shades also offer energy savings and can be room darkening if you add a lining to them. The pocketed or cellular design traps heat, making them the most energy efficient window treatments! 

Finally, room darkening shades can also help reduce glare on your TV or computer screens and offer more privacy than light filtering options. 

What is Blackout?

Blackout shades completely block light from entering a room when fully closed. They create a night setting even during daylight hours. They come in a variety of styles, including roller, roman and honeycomb shades. What makes them blackout is the special lining on the back that completely blocks sunlight. 

The Benefits of Blackout Shades

Because blackout shades completely block sunlight, they are the perfect window treatment for nurseries and bedrooms of small children. They are also great for those who work the graveyard shift and need to sleep during the day. They are a great option for home theater rooms, home photography and video studios, and any room where you need to have absolute control over the lighting to get your work done. 

Because these shades completely block sunlight, you can significantly reduce the amount of heat entering your home, lowering your energy bills. If you choose a blackout honeycomb shade, you will experience the most energy savings possible. 

Expert Help

Still need help deciding on a window treatment? Our knowledgeable design experts can assist you in choosing the right window covering for your needs and style. Once you choose, all you need to do is sit back and relax and our installation experts will take care of the rest! Contact us today to schedule your free in-home consultation and quote and we’ll bring the design room experience to you! 


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