The struggle to block light from entering your home is real. For this, many people go for blackout curtains. They are known not only for their insulation properties to ensure effective insulation and temperature control but also for their noise-canceling and light blockage features. After all, a room that provides personal space from the world outside is a need for many of us, especially in times when working from home is becoming the new norm. However, the sad truth is not all blackout curtains provide 100% light blockage. No matter how effective they are, light may still enter your room from the sides and from the top of the curtain. This can be irritating especially when you have invested huge money to ensure a room darkening atmosphere. What, then, must you do to block every ounce of light? This is what we will discuss in this section.
Reasons Why Light Seeps Through the Curtain Edges and Top
We aren’t going to discuss the light diffusing properties of curtains, but the multiple reasons why the room darkening curtains aren’t 100% effective. Obviously, the problems may arise if you have curtains that are shorter than usual, or abnormally tall. But the reasons for light seepage usually arise because of their setup. We will list them out for you, and also offer solutions.
1. Curtains of the wrong size: This is a common problem and will have you looking for a replacement or a professional to sew an extra lining for you. Whatever you do, it becomes an unnecessary hassle if this thing is not taken care of in the beginning. Many brands provide custom fit blinds and drapes, where you simply measure the dimensions of your window and specify them correctly to the manufacturer. Still, if you get curtains in the wrong size, it means that either you didn’t measure the windows properly or they did a sloppy job. The final result: you have light spilling over from the top and the sides.
A quick solution would be to immediately get a replacement or buy new ones. The latter prospect is expensive, and will entail a wastage of money. Go for a replacement, but make sure that you measure your windows properly this time. Take enough time to take the dimensions into account, for you wouldn’t want to goof it up again. A quick tip: find brands that you can trust. Graber, Crown and Hunter Douglas are reliable, go-to window treatments for all kinds of shades and curtains.
2. Curtains not properly installed: There could be a couple of reasons for this. If the curtain rod is placed just above the top of the window, leaving not enough space, then the curtains may hang a little low, revealing a gap through which light can seep in. Light can also seep through if the brackets are too close to the sides of the window. In this scenario, the curtains wouldn’t extend far enough to cover the entire length of the window, thus enabling light to enter from the sides.
So what can you do about it? To begin with, reinstall the rod, and ensure that you place it just high enough so that curtains can cover the top of the window with ease. You must also remove the brackets and reinstall them, just far enough on either side of the window (2-3 inches) so that the curtains can cover the entire space on either side.
3. Curtains not close enough to the windows: One of the most common reasons for light seepage is when the curtains are installed too far from the window. This creates ample space for the light to pass through even when you have blackout curtains. The only way you can solve this problem is by having rods installed closer to the wall. This can be achieved by having brackets reinstalled and adjusted in a way that brings the rod and curtains closer to the window.
Methods For Blocking Light Around The Curtains
As frustrating as it may sound, light seepage may occur even if your curtains are of the right length and are properly installed. In such cases, we have some affordable and time-saving solutions for you.
1. Apply Magnetic Tape: This is one of the easiest things that you can implement to block out unnecessary light. You just need to have a magnetic tape and superglue handy. For successful implementation, line the sides and top of your curtains with the tape, and then apply the pieces of the tape for the top and sides of your window as well. When the perimeter of the window is covered, it will prevent any light seepage.
2. Use of a Wrap-Around Curtain Rod: The structure of a wrap-around rod is such that it curves at its sides. So when a curtain is installed on this rod, it will cover the edges, thereby blocking the light from entering the home. This is the most natural method for light control, without resorting to tapes and superglue. You just need to take care that the return rod is properly installed. However, there might be limitations to it. A return rod takes care of only the sides, leaving out the top of a curtain. So the best thing that you can do is to install the wrap-around rod just high enough to cover the top.
3. Attach Light Blocking Blinds: One way to protect your windows from allowing light to escape inside attaching additional light-blocking window treatments around the trim. If you don’t already have one lying around in your home, you can purchase them at very cheap prices. Light blocking treatments come as an additional layer, when the curtain itself isn’t enough to block 100% of the light.
4. Weather-stripping and Caulking: Two of the most cost-effective methods out there, window caulking and weather-stripping are what many homeowners indulge in. In weather-stripping you seal off the edges of a door or a window to stop heat and cold from entering. The weather-strip for this purpose can be bought at dirt cheap prices, while caulking can be a slightly complicated procedure, which involves adding caulk on the sides and then sealing off the edge using a caulking gun.
The Use of Valances in Blocking Light
So when your light-blocking curtains aren’t enough to stop rays from entering from the top, you can also resort to hanging valances: additional window treatments that go along rather well with the curtains. Besides their primary purpose of light control, they add an attractive dimension to your window space, as they come in various designs and styles. There are swag valances, draped along the rod and adding a decorative formal look that spans the length of the window. Ascot valances, trimmed with tassels and fringes, can be added for a flamboyant touch, while the scarf valances can be draped casually over the rod with its tails falling on either end.
Valances can be constructed in the same design and color of the curtain, with their fabrics hung loosely to avoid the light from coming in from the top of the window. They are your effective go-to solutions that will achieve the purpose without making it appear too hard. Their effortless and fabulous design is a treat for the eyes, which also hides the less-impressive aspect of the curtains, i.e. the rods.
There are different ways in which you can block light from coming in from the top or the sides of the curtain. But first, you need to ensure that they aren’t too long or short for the window. They must also be installed properly, and must not be too far apart from the windows. You can apply a magnetic tape on their sides and on the sides of the window, apply a weather-strip, caulk your windows, or add a valance. The latter is one of the most effective ways for blocking light and beautifying your window space.