ummer: long evenings and early sunrises. Glorious, yes. Except for those times you want a lie-in or an early night. Then, it’s torture.
While you could try an eye-mask to block out the light, they’re not comfortable for everyone to sleep in. What’s needed are a pair of blackout curtains to block all the light and help you drift off into a deep and restful slumber.
What are blackout curtains made from?
Designed to shield your indoor spaces from all light, blackout curtains are usually fashioned from dense fabric: think felt, velvet or suede.
You can also upgrade your existing curtains to blackout status by layering them with a blackout liner, facing the window side.
Cleaning blackout curtains
The only downside is that many are not made for machine washing, so it's up to good old fashioned elbow grease to keep the tightly-woven fabric clean and allergen free. Clean them by running a vacuum nozzle over them first, before hand washing in a deep sink or bath with laundry detergent and letting them dry.
How to measure your windows for curtains
Whether you have floor-length windows or smaller openings, measuring curtains properly is crucial to finding the right pair for your room.
- First, decide where you want the curtain rail to hang - setting them a few centimetres above your frame can give the illusion of a larger, more grand window. While inside-mount does offer a more streamlined look, it means the curtains won’t offer a complete light block out, so it’s not right for blackout curtains.
- Next pick out your curtain rod. Rather than matching the exact width of your window, you should try to extend around three to six inches past the frame on either side.
- How high you place it depends on your ceilings, but the general consensus is the higher up you go, the more elongated your windows will look.
- Then you'll need to decide where you want your curtain hems to finish, above or below sill, or right down to the floor. For blackout curtains, below the sill or floor length are the best choice.
- And finally, measure the curtains for width and length. The widths should measure approximately 1.5 to 3 times the width of the window, depending on how rich you want the drapes to look - more for a generous look, less for tailored. Lengths should be taken from where you intend to place the curtain rod down to 15cm below the sill or to the floor.
Always check whether your curtains come as a single panel as you may need an extra one if you want the double drape look. That said, a single blackout panel should still be effective and offers a more contemporary look to your interiors.
Once you’ve got your window measurements noted, all that’s left is to find the best styles for you. Luckily we’ve done the hard work and drawn up a list of the best below.
Scroll on to shop the best blackout curtains
Blossom Eyelet Blackout Curtains
The enduring appeal of floral makes it a classic for interiors. If you want blackout curtains that offer some style, look no further than these elegant curtains, covered in a lovely blossom print. The patterned side is ultra soft with a 100 per cent cotton finish while the lining is covered with a dense fabric that blocks out all of the natural light.
The curtains come with metal-rimmed eyelets to make them easy to hang on curtain poles.
Orla Kiely Eyelet Blackout Curtains
A twin pair of curtains in Irish designer Orla Kiely’s signature floral pattern, these drapes will infuse retro style into your living room or dining space. They’re made from cotton, but will require dry cleaning to keep spick and span.
Luna Brushed Blush Blackout Eyelet Curtains
These unassuming pale pink curtains will hang innocently in the day, but come the evening, will block out any lingering light so you can get a great night’s sleep. They come in 14 set measurements, so you should be able to find a set for any given window.
Majgull Room darkening curtains, 1 pair, grey
Block out external light with these lovely floor-length 145 x 250cm curtains, long enough to mask windows of most sizes. These are available in an array of colours so you should find a pair to work with your bedroom or living room.
Primitive Linen Look, 100% blackout curtain
Promising total blackout, this faux linen look curtain is ideal for anyone who doesn’t like the idea of dark drapes in their space. The light colour filters sunlight into the room when the sun’s out while at night, it’ll mask any street lights so you’re able to drift off without any distractions. A selection of widths and lengths are available.
Argos Home Blackout Single Eyelet Curtain - Berry
Available in a selection of colours, this single blackout curtain measures W117 x D137cm - although four other sizes are also up for grabs. Made from an equal mix of cotton and polyester, they're fully lined to keep light from entering your sleep space while the eyelets are set wide apart to ensure the drape is soft and flowing.
Deconovo Solid Curtain Blackout Curtain
A single-drape deal, this machine washable black out curtain comes in at a great price. It’s designed for bedrooms, where it not only blocks out light, but works thermally too: helping to retain heat in the winter and reflecting heat out of the room during the summer months to keep you comfortable year-round.
Ebern Designs Boler Leaf Tailored Eyelet Thermal Curtains
A pair of drapes finished with a leaf print design, this style looks light and airy when you’re awake but does a superb job of darkening rooms completely when you need to. Unlike many other designs, you can sling these into a washing machine when they need a clean, making them easy to maintain. Thermal and noise-reducing, the two panel curtains not only blockout street light and passing car lights but will muffle the sound too. Fitted with eyelets to make it easier to slip through your curtain rod.
Woven Blackout Pencil Pleat Curtains - Sage
Dark blackout curtains can feel oppressive in a room with a lighter palette, but you can still achieve the no-light effect with drapes in a more cheerful tone. Mood-lifting sage green is a perfect choice for living spaces, and this polyester curtain with pencil pleats does a superb job of blocking out exterior light when closed.
John Lewis & Partners Amaryllis Pair Blackout Lined Pencil Pleat Curtains, Multi
Covered in an unusual watercolour-effect pattern, these pencil pleat curtains are backed by blackout lining to stop light from entering when you want to sleep. Six measurements available.
Ashbourne Ochre Blackout Eyelet Curtains
You don’t have to plump for black curtains, especially if you favour a more cheerful interior decor style. These yellow floral curtains are part of a complete Ashbourne bedroom range, which means you can match them to your duvet covers and pillows.
They’re fitted with high quality eyelets to make it easier to thread through a curtain pole and can be ironed or steamed pattern-side up for extra neatness.
Available in three sizes.
Argos Home Blackout Roller Blind - 2ft - Black
If you’d prefer a more streamlined effect, a roller blind could prove a better option. Set inside the window frame against the glass, the 2ft blind comes in jet-black to guarantee total darkness - helpful if you want to sneak in a mid-afternoon nap or enjoy a weekend lie-in.
It's moisture resistant and easy to install in any room in the house, such as bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. You can trim it down if you find you’ve bought a blind too big, and there’s also a P clip to keep the roller’s chain in place and make it child-friendly.
Simply wipe it with a cloth, available in five sizes.
Construction Blackout Eyelet Curtains by Catherine Lansfield
Getting kids tucked up in bed when it’s still light outside is a battle on a Herculean scale. That’s where blackout curtains come to the rescue. This pair is covered in a fun cartoon construction design which makes them perfect for kids’ bedrooms: lively in the day, dark and comforting at lights out.
Harlequin Life's a Circus Pencil Pleat Blackout Lined Children's Curtains, Multi
Help little ones drift off easily with a pair of circus print blackout curtains like this pair from John Lewis. It doesn’t come with drapery hooks and rings but you can buy these separately here.
Elegant and timeless, we love the look of Next's Blossom Eyelet Curtains (£50). They'll look great day and night.