Which blinds are best for blackout? Experts all agree this is the most accessible style for darkening a bedroom

There are so many different styles of blackout blinds so we spoke to the experts to decode with type is best for your home

Bedroom in navy with blinds and curtains over wooden desk
(Image credit: Hillarys)

Working out which blind is best for blacking out a room is something you should always consider in a bedroom if you're looking to create the perfect sleep zone. While all blinds and curtains will block out light to a degree, only certain blinds will completely stop any light from seeping through. 

Including a blackout blind in your bedroom blind ideas is a great idea if you're a shift worker or you're a light-sensitive sleeper being woken up by street lamps or early summer mornings. By keeping any light pollution out of your bedroom they should help encourage a better night's sleep.

That is a lot to consider when choosing a blackout blind,  especially when juggling a budget and trying to ensure the blind you choose pays off on your investment. To help take the guesswork out of choosing the best blackout blinds for your home we've spoken to the experts to find out which blind styles block out the most light, where you can shop them and if you should still be considering curtains. 

What style of blind is best for blackout?

'From roller blinds to Roman blinds, vertical blinds to pleated blinds, there are a fantastic array of stylish blackout options available. All these beautiful options will reduce external light entering a home to a minimum,' explains Ana Zuravliova, Trend Specialist at Blinds Direct.

How to measure for roller blinds with boys nursery in blue

(Image credit: Blinds2go)

However, overall most window fitting experts favour a simple roller blind. 'One of the best choices for achieving blackout is a Roller blind in a specialist blackout fabric. They’re able to fit almost any size window and are available in a range of colours and patterns to suit any style,' says Yvonne Keal, product design manager at Hillarys.

Blackout roller blinds prices can start from as little as £8 at high-street stores such as Dunelm and Argos

'Made from a highly durable material that’s cost-effective yet doesn’t sacrifice on quality, Blackout Roller Blinds are really versatile,' adds  Leah Aspinall, Head of Design at Blinds2go, who points out that they're great for nearly every room in the house. 

'Their easy-to-clean nature means they work wonders in kitchens and bathrooms. Plus, with an opaque fabric, you’ll be able to protect your privacy which is great for rooms that are downstairs, or ground floor apartments,' she adds.

Wood kitchen with green floral roller blind

(Image credit: Blinds 2go)

However, if you want to achieve the best blackout effect with a roller blind it is recommended to opt for a perfect fit frame. Blinds2go and Hillary's both offer Perfect Fit blackout blinds. 

Yvonne explains that Hillarys version works by fitting into the window frame. 'For optimum blackout performance, fit your Roller or Pleated blind into a Perfect Fit frame,' she explains. 'These blinds simply clip neatly into your window frame meaning light levels are effectively controlled and light leak at the sides of the window is reduced.' 

Other blackout blinds styles to consider

While roller blinds are the best choice if you're looking for an affordable, stylish option that will help keep light out of a room many other options are worth considering still:

Blackout Roman blinds

Pale duck egg blind with a cherry blossom design at a living room window

(Image credit: Blinds 2go)

If you prefer a more stylish and customisable window fitting consider blackout Roman blinds. 'Blackout Roman Blinds are made from a soft fabric that gathers into neat folds when raised. Available in a range of colours and patterns, they encapsulate elegance at every turn and are ideal for bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms,' explains Leah from Blinds2go. 

Roman blinds are slightly more expensive than blackout roller blinds, but the biggest perk is that you can choose from a huge range of fabrics as most of them can be backed with a blackout lining. 

 'To make Roman blinds blackout, we add a special lining meaning any product in our range can be made blackout,' says Ana Zuravliova from Blinds Direct.

Blackout Skyling blinds

King size bed underneath trio of skylight windows with blackout blinds

(Image credit: Make My Blinds)

If you have a skylight then you will need to get a specialist blackout skylight blind fitted. 'Blackout Skylight Blinds will help you block out the bright morning light and offer a perfect fit at your roof window. These would be perfect for those with a top-floor bedroom or wanting privacy on the ground floor,' explains Leah.

Blackout pleated blinds

Blinds

(Image credit: Blinds 2 Go)

An alternative to a roller blind, if you're looking for a blackout blind that will keep a room warm in winter and cool in summer, is to consider a pleated blind. 

'Made from an opaque fabric that raises into neat pleats and honeycomb pockets, another option for your home is Blackout Pleated Blinds, which also offer thermal protection,' explains Leah. 

'If you’re looking to block the light out completely, TotalShade Pleated Blinds feature a fully enclosed frame system that essentially seals your window space for an uninterrupted night’s sleep. These kinds of blackout blinds are suitable for homes that would benefit from extra heat retention too,' Leah recommends from the Blinds2Go collection.

What are the disadvantages of blackout blinds?

There are two main drawbacks to opting for blackout blinds as a window dressing idea. The first is that they won't offer any privacy during the day when open.

'Blackout blinds are brilliant at blocking out the light, but during the day when you want to make the most of natural light they do not offer any privacy when open,' says Yvonne from Hillary's. 

'I’d recommend layering a sheer Roller blind beneath a blackout-lined Roman blind to give you ultimate flexibility at your windows. During the day the sheer Roller blind protects your privacy while still allowing natural light to flood the room, then when it’s time for bed you can close your blackout lined Roman blind to block the light and get a better night’s sleep.'

The other issue is that blackout blinds rely very heavily on fitting a blackout blind perfectly to be truly effective.

Bedroom in navy with blinds and curtains over wooden desk

(Image credit: Future PLC / Oliver Gordon)

'A recess-fit blackout blind will reduce a great majority of light, but it can still bleed in around the edges. An exact fit blackout blind however, which is fitted outside of the recess, will block all light from entering the space,' explains Ana at Blinds Direct.

This isn't ideal if you are hoping to opt for something like a no-drill blackout blind that will need to be fitted into the recess. However, the work around for this is to pair it with curtains that will cover any leaks down the side or to opt for a perfect fit system. Blinds2go offer a no-drill Perfect Fit system that is ideal for bedroom ideas for renters or DIY novices.

Are curtains or blinds better for blackout?

Both blackout curtain ideas and blinds can offer effective blackout properties for a room. But if you're choosing between a blind or a pair of curtains, we'd recommend opting for the blind as the curtains will have more gaps for light to leak through. They are also harder to control the blackout if jostled by a person or a draft.

However, there is always the choice to choose both and layer them over each other. 'Layering window dressings provides added flexibility and blackout benefits. Whether that’s a sheer Roller blind with a blackout lined Roman blind for privacy and light blocking or doubling up on the blackout levels by layering blackout lined curtains and Roman blinds,' explains Yvonne.

Green William Morris patterned blind in green nursery with green chair

(Image credit: Dunelm)

Where to buy blackout blinds

  • Blinds2go - Ideal if you're looking for black-out blinds in a large range of patterns and colours. They are all made to measure, Blinds2go also offers a brilliant range of no-drill options.
  • Hillarys - Although a slightly more expensive option, Hillarys will measure and fit your choice of blackout blinds leaving no room for a mistake, ideal if you're not confident in your measuring skills.
  • Dunelm - For a good budget option, Dunelm offers a range of pre-made blackout blinds priced between £8 to £20 for a block colour.
  • Argos - Another affordable option, while Argos might not have the largest range of colours, the blinds all have rave reviews. There are some gems to be found in the Habitat range.
  • Blinds Direct - If you want privacy during the day and night it's worth considering one of the double roller blind systems that includes a voile blind fitted behind the blackout blind.

Bedroom windows are where we would always prioritise fitting blackout blinds, so if you're torn between choosing a cheaper blind to cover more windows in the house or a more expensive option and prioritising only the bedrooms we'd always recommend the latter.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.