About two months ago we bought a pair of blackout curtain liners. Our bedroom faces full west and especially in summer, we get the sun shining in the room all afternoon and well into the evening. In some ways this is lovely, however, it does mean that this room gets very hot for sleeping.
I need a cool room to sleep in these days or I simply cannot sleep. It never used to bother me but now it is essential to be cool! Without a good night's sleep, I simply can't function very well the day after. Deep peaceful restful sleep is essential for our good health and I was just not getting enough sleep week after week.
We do not have air conditioning, it is not a routine thing to have in the UK and would be really expensive to install for the sake of one room.
My original solution was to have a fan going pretty much all night but now with rising energy costs, I am not keen to spend money on an electric fan going all night for months every summer.
We had a beautiful curtain up but it is not thick and so even when drawn the sun and the heat still got through. Also, the sun has the ability to fade some furniture and fabrics so it is useful to keep the sun off those items of home decor. The added problem was that we were routinely woken up very early with the dawn as the light comes in.
We did not want to change the curtains as we love them and it is expensive to buy new curtains as it is a large window. Equally, we do not want to spend a lot of money on installed fitted blackout blinds or shutters. So I wanted to find a quick and easy solution.
|Curtains with blackout liner attached|
Blackout Liners For Curtains
I knew about blackout blinds but we did not want blinds up at that window. I then discovered that you can buy blackout curtain liners. These fix into your existing curtains on the inside and provide a layer of material that blocks out the light and the sun.
We have pencil pleat top curtains and so I looked for blackout liners that would fix to them. I found some, ordered them and hoped they would do the job.
When they arrived neatly packed I unpacked them and proceeded to fix to our curtains. While there were a few creases I did not feel they needed ironing and since they have been hung a few days the creases dropped out anyway.
I found the best way is to take the curtains down and lay on the bed. Then lay the liner on top of the curtain
You simply use the curtain hooks to fix the two curtains together. Once I got the hang of it it took only a few minutes per curtain.
Then we rehung the curtains. One or two of the fixing hooks did come off during the hanging process but it was an easy fix to simply re-hook them and they have since stayed on with no issues.
I would say I could have done with a few more joining hooks than I had as they were a bit too spaced apart, so it is perhaps a good idea to buy a few more to give a better closer fit.
|Fixing liner to curtain with hooks on pencil pleat curtains|
Material For Blackout Curtain Liners
Our curtain liners are truly blackout. When up against the curtain they do not let any sunlight in. They do block and reflect sunlight very well. I have noticed on a hot sunny day if I put my hand behind the curtain and onto the liner that the liners are very warm but the curtain is not.
Our blackout curtain liners by Hachette Ltd are made from deluxe polyester and it does feel very smooth and soft to the touch with a slight sheen. They are also quite substantial and heavy for a liner.
Although there were some creases when first hung up they did drop out quite quickly. I did not feel the need to iron them and in fact would consider that a waste of time and effort. We decided to go for a light grey colour and are happy with it.
|Curtain blackout liner material|
Tips For Buying Blackout Curtain Liners
1. Measure your curtains and choose liners that are the same size width-wise as your curtains. However, for the length, you need only buy the drop of a few inches below your window. The reason for this is that you only need the liner to cover the actual window pane so if you have full-length curtains that drop well below the frame you can if you wish only buy the drop for the window itself and save some money.
2. Choose the best quality blackout liners you can afford. They do vary in quality and the ability to actually blackout the room. Not all are made equal so do check the materials and reviews so that you do get what you need.
3. Choose liners that are washable. I always think it is a good idea to wash curtains and liners and dry cleaning is more expensive.
4. Have a few more joining hooks that you think you need as this will give a better fit.
5. Don't try to fit them while the curtains are up, it is so much harder that way. Lay the curtain on a flat surface and lay the liner on top then once fixed together hang both.
6. Do be careful to buy the correct liners for the style of your curtains whether they are pencil pleat or another fitting.
|Sunlight through curtains with and without blackout liners|
Were Blackout Liners The Solution?
The outcome is much better than I hoped! You can see the difference easily in the photo above. Part of the curtain liner is drawn back and you can see the light easily coming through while on the other side it is very dark. This photo was taken at midday midsummer with full sunlight flooding in the window.
When the curtains are drawn the sunlight does not get through at all and it is now so dark in there so we are no longer woken at 4am. Even better the heat in the room is reduced.
It is the height of summer now so it is not cold in the room, but now is a more comfortable temperature and I no longer have to keep the fan going for hours.
The curtains still draw well and although heavier, do now look better.
While no substitute for full-on air conditioning, for when you want to keep your existing curtains and do not want to spend a lot of money on having blackout blinds or shutters installed, blackout liners are in my opinion a great solution for keeping the sun out of a room.
Another real bonus to these curtains is that while they certainly do block summer sun and heat, I am advised they also keep the heat in the house during winter. This is wonderful news in a time of rising energy bills, anything that will conserve heat in winter is excellent. As I have not yet used the liners during winter I cannot say from my own experience but will report back.
|Showing the blackout liner behind the normal curtain|
Here is a selection of blackout liners to consider
So in my experience blackout curtain liners are a simple and easy relatively inexpensive solution to the problem of too much sun in any room.
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