How to blackout windows - 10 easy temporary and permanent solutions

Written by David Lewis
6 Min read
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Table of contents

Whether you’re looking how to black out windows temporarily or permanently because you want a bit of extra privacy, to keep your room darker, or to help your little ones sleep a little bit easier, we’ve got a whole raft of solutions for you.

From quick blackout fixes that cost virtually nothing to more costly options for those looking for longer-term, more aesthetically pleasing results. There is a multitude of ways to reduce the light in your home and we’ve got ten of the best!

Top 5 reasons to blackout your windows

  1. Reduce energy costs – One of the main reasons for blacking out a room is to block or significantly reduce the amount of sunlight entering it. Darkening your room can reduce heat build-up by around 25%, meaning your air-conditioning won’t have to work quite as hard thus saving you a significant amount of money
  2. Block out the light – Each of us possesses an internal clock called which helps us to feel awake during the day, and sleepy at night. Excessive light from the sun and moon, security lights, or streetlights can enter the bedroom via poorly covered windows and interfere with this cycle. Over time this will result in poor quality sleep which has been linked to depression, anxiety, and obesity.
  3. Reduce noise pollution – If you live on a busy road or have a bedroom that overlooks a street, you’ll already be aware of how noisy this can be! Whilst window coverings won’t block out these sounds completely, they’ll go a long way to reduce any unwanted noises and help to create a more peaceful ambiance.
  4. Provide privacy – Got a nosey neighbor or a room that’s overlooked by another property? Then blacking out your window will provide you with an unrivaled level of privacy.  Perfect for any areas that need to be kept away from prying eyes!
  5. Block UV light – Blackout window treatments stop sunlight from entering windows and will therefore provide maximum protection against UV lights. Over time, ultraviolet light can fade soft furnishings and make plastics brittle and snap.

10 easy ways to blackout your windows

Install an awning

Window awnings are the original air conditioners, keeping rooms cooler, darker, and more comfortable. They are essentially an overhanging canvas sheet that is attached directly above a window to create more shade and reduce harmful UV rays from entering via the window. These are especially beneficial for east-facing windows.

Window awnings are one of the more costly solutions, but are very aesthetically pleasing, and a good quality awning that has been fitted correctly will provide many years of shade-giving benefits.

Cover window with aluminium foil

Adding aluminium foil to a window is exactly as straightforward as it sounds!  However, it’s worth taking a bit of time, care, and effort to make sure it looks tidy and does what it needs to.

How to cover your window with aluminum foil

  1. Measure the length and width of the window to calculate the total area of foil you will need.
  2. Once you have this measurement, add an extra 3-inches to the total length to ensure you have enough room to fit it to the window frame
  3. If you want a thicker barrier, you can add an insulating material such as bubble wrap or cardboard (ideal if noise pollution is an issue for you) between the window and the aluminium
  4. Carefully cut the foil according to your measurements (remembering to add the 3-inches)
  5. Place the sheet of aluminium over the glass, flattening it out as you go and repositioning it as you need to ensure it covers the entire window
  6. Use masking tape to secure the edges of the foil to the window frame

Helpful hint: If the window is wider than the sheet of foil, use multiple layers until it is completely covered, using tape to secure the joints.

Get a mesh liner

If you’re looking for some of the benefits of keeping your room a little darker, but still want to experience some light and airflow, then a mesh liner might be the perfect solution for you.

Easy to implement and relatively cheap, mesh liners are available in clip-on, magnetic, and curtain varieties and can be sourced from online retailers like Amazon and Target.

Mesh liners work well in conjunction with other methods such as blackout blinds or curtains.

Add privacy film

Privacy film is generally available in two different types:

  1. Daytime one-way privacy – Here privacy is achieved by adding a reflective appearance to one side of the glass, whilst still allowing you to see out of the other side.
  2. Full two-way privacy – Privacy is achieved using a film that gives the impression of sandblasted glass, preventing vision from both sides of the window

Privacy films come in both reflective mirror window film and frosted window film options, as well as thin layers of film that can be built up until the required level of privacy, has been achieved.

Blackout shades

Specifically designed to block out 100% of the light, blackout shades are available in a variety of different materials including cloth, vinyl, and metal. Blackout blinds are very helpful for those who want to sleep in complete darkness, or who want to stop some of the heat from the sun from warming up the room too much.

Curtain liners

Another relatively simple and easy-to-add solution is a blackout curtain liner that can be fitted to a standard pair of curtains - and the great news is that most curtain liners don’t even need to be sewn in.

Once you have purchased a set of blackout linings you simply push the curtain hooks from your existing curtains into the header tape pockets of the lining (remembering to iron them first) before threading the curtain pole through the eyelets, leaving two curtain rings between each pair.

Cardboard

Cheap, removable, and environmentally friendly, what’s not to love!

Okay, cardboard window coverings are definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing, but if you don’t mind your house looking a little ‘rustic’ or want to get creative with a sheet of cardboard and some string, you’ll soon see that there are a multitude of ways you can reuse cardboard to create really effective blackout window coverings.

Window shutters/screens

Window shutters are the most beautiful, easy-to-maintain way to keep rooms darker and more peaceful and are available in natural wood, painted wood, and waterproof PVC.

You may think that window shutters are a modern invention, but they have actually been adorning window openings for longer than glass has, dating right back to Tudor England.

Super functional and displaying clean minimalist lines, window shutters look amazing on both modern and more traditional houses.

Frost the window with spray paint

Frosted glass offers several practical benefits – it won’t block massive amounts of light but will add privacy to glass windows and doors.

Whilst this effect used to only be available by sandblasting the glass, you can now frost glass with a special type of spray paint, like this Rust-Oleum one. It adds a semi-transparent coating and (if you have a steady hand) can be applied with stencils to create the look of etched glass.

…if all else fails

Then invest in an eye mask!

If blocking out artificial light at night so you can achieve a better night’s sleep is your mission, then an eye mask could be the simplest answer to your problem.

Artificial lights such as streetlights, ambient lights from things in your bedroom such as alarm clocks, and blue light from phones and digital devices will result in a much shallower sleep. Eye masks help to block out this artificial light by acting as a shield and realign your body’s internal sleep clock.

Make sure you invest in a mask that has been designed to have a blackout effect, like the Delta sleep mask.

Final thoughts

We’ve covered a multitude of both permanent temporary and wearable (!) methods for blacking out a room and hopefully, you’ve found a solution that suits both your budget and your bedroom.

Whether you need a little more privacy, or a good and peaceful night’s sleep, blacking out your windows will be a weekend project you’ll never regret starting.

FAQs

What can I use to black out my windows?

This really depends on how much time and budget you have available for this!
At the top end of the financial scale, you could black out your windows by installing blackout shades or window shutters.  If you’d rather spend a little less money and time you could stick aluminium foil or cardboard to your window frames, or attach a blackout liner to your standard curtains.

How do you cover a window for privacy?

Windows can be covered with reflective or frosted privacy film that will allow either one-way privacy for the daytime, or full two-way privacy. You can also purchase frosted spray paint that will give the effect of sandblasted glass.

Can aluminium foil cause damage to windows?

The risk of damage to windows by aluminum foil is very small, with the most likely damage being a scratch or two that could be easily buffed out.

How do you paint glass windows for privacy?

Acrylic paint is the best kind of paint for painting windows for privacy as they won’t rub or peel off easily. If you would prefer something a little less permanent, then latex paint would be a better option as it is durable but can be easily scraped off when no longer needed.

Appliances made simple. 

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