Which is Better – Blackout Blinds, Draperies / Curtains or Shades?

A living room with a flat screen tv and blinds.

Pros and Cons of Blackout Window Treatments

Ultimately, whether you use blackout curtains, blackout blinds, or blackout shades really depends on their intended use and where you plan to have them installed in your home. Today’s window fashions offer a trifecta of beauty, functionality and convenience. From automated shutters and shades to eco-friendly blinds, if you can imagine it, we can create it. At Ruffell & Brown Window Covering Centre, we can suit any style or budget as we offer one of the widest ranges of window treatment options in Western Canada.

Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Light-Blocking Window Treatment

  1. Block daytime light – you work night shifts and require a dark sleeping space during the day, or a darkened space for your child or yourself to take restful naps. For some parents of fussy sleepers, light blocking window treatments are nursery essentials.
  2. Block noise pollution – daytime or night time noise can be disruptive to our sleep/wake cycles. Well-made window coverings can absorb the sound of outside activity like traffic, barking dogs or lawnmowers.
  3. Thermal insulation – a quality window covering can keep your house at a comfortable temperature. Stay cool during the summer and warm during the winter, and rely less on heating and air conditioning to save on energy costs.
  4. Protect your walls and furniture – direct sunlight beaming on the surface of upholstery, wood flooring, artwork, and wallpaper can lead to fading and sun damage over time.
  5. Watch TV and movies without an annoying glare – not only does light reflecting off the screen make it hard to enjoy relaxing with a favourite show, but it can also create eye fatigue.


What appeals to you most? Blackout blinds, shades or curtains? Here are some of the pros and cons of each.


Pros & Cons of Blackout Curtains

Looking to darken a media room to create the ultimate in movie nights? Blackout curtains are ideal to block light and add soundproofing.


  • Draperies provide a softer, flowing look. Our team can create a completely customized set of blackout draperies using a variety of textures, patterns, colours and fabrics.
  • When properly installed, blackout draperies will block virtually all the light from around the edges of the windows.
  • Greater privacy. Unlike sheers, blackout draperies will block shadows usually viewable from the outside.


  • It might get too dark. Blackout draperies block most of the light coming in, so your bedroom or media room will be pitch black even during the day when the curtains are drawn. If you want the option to filter light in, we suggest a double layered window treatment, with drapes over top or blinds underneath.
  • They’re fairly heavy. Because of the materials and layers needed to effectively block light, black out draperies are made of cloth and materials like fiberglass, silk, cellulose, polyester, or polyurethane.


Pros & Cons of Blackout Blinds

Solid material blinds (such as vinyl, aluminum, faux wood) work very well in bathrooms where the air is more humid.


  • Many types of blinds available, designed to suit any space. Vertical, horizontal, and macro blinds all provide many different options for blocking and filtering light.
  • Available in a variety of materials: vinyl, wood, fabric, aluminum and faux wood. Hard materials are more durable and resistant to moisture, for a longer life-span.
  • Choose from motorized or cordless for the ultimate in safety and convenience.
  • De-Lite and No Holes blinds block up to 99% of light.


  • Dirt and dust builds up on the individual slats, which can affect people with allergies. Here’s a great guide for cleaning blinds and shades.
  • Standard slatted blinds are not as energy efficient as curtains or shades.
  • Blinds may not suit all windows, such as tilt and turn or bay windows.


Pros & Cons of Blackout Shades

Shades are made of a variety of materials and can be used just about anywhere, although some more delicate materials are best suited to lower traffic areas.

Looking to block the harsh glare of street lights without turning your room into a cave? Top-down bottom-up models like Duette Shades by Hunter Douglas are a flexible solution.


  • Shades are made in various opacities, to either gently filter light or completely block it out. The newest designs are also made with multiple layers for even more options.
  • Some products can be designed to open from the bottom-up and top-down.
  • Newer products like cellular honeycomb shades are designed to regulate temperatures and improve the energy efficiency in your home.
  • Like blinds, these are available in cordless and motorized models for safety and convenience.
  • Many types of shades can have a room-darkening liner added.


  • Shades don’t allow for light to be angled in as with blinds, they are open or closed.
  • Some shade fabrics may not be as durable and are not as suited for high traffic areas or humid areas, like bathrooms.
  • Some shades like vinyl rollers can have more of an institutional, sterile appearance.


There’s no need to limit yourself to one type of blind, curtain, or shade because all styles have the ability to block, filter, and redirect light in your home to create a cozy, welcoming space. Depending on your preferences, interior design and architecture of your home, you may benefit from a combination of all three.


At Ruffell and Brown, we provide the highest quality blackout blinds, blackout curtains and blackout shades. We’ll work with you to design, create and install custom window coverings, perfectly tailored to your life. Contact our team today to discuss your unique needs for window coverings that do more than just darken a room.

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