The Best Ways to Darken Your Bedroom (That Aren't a Blackout Curtain)

Photo:  WOSUNAN (Shutterstock)
Photo: WOSUNAN (Shutterstock)

I require pitch blackness and perfect silence to sleep at night—no room is ever dark enough for me, though I keep trying to find one. If you’re like me, you probably have blackout curtains and a little eye mask, but there are more ways than that to further darken a room. Here are some tips you probably don’t know yet.

Overlap the tracks of your curtains

This trick from Living, etc. is great: You should stagger the tracks of your curtains so they overlap in the middle. That little crack where traditional, straight-across curtains meet lets in morning light, which is unacceptable when you’re trying to sleep in. And if you have street lamps outside your window, it’s unacceptable all night.

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Using two different, overlapping tracks to hang your curtains stops this problem. Bonus points if you have blackout curtains and/or a second shade inside the curtains. This is the path to true darkness.

Position your blackout shade correctly

If your window is recessed, according to Living, etc., you should be placing your blackout roller outside the recess. While putting it on the inside gives a cleaner look, it also leaves gaps on the sides that defeat the purpose of a blackout curtain. Placement is important here, so if darkness is your ultimate goal, you might have to sacrifice aesthetics.

Stick the edges of your curtains down

Something you see rarely in homes but often in hotels is Velcro strips or other sticky hardware used to hold curtains together or stick them to the wall to avoid gaps. I was so inspired by this bit of hotel magic that I did this in my apartment a few years ago and couldn’t believe how effective it was. Again, there’s a sacrifice to make in the aesthetic department. There are big chunks of ugly Velcro on my cute curtains, but I sleep better as a result, so my guests just have to deal with the eyesore. Opt for strip magnets if Velcro looks too clunky to you.

Tape up any small light sources

Another trick I swear by is using electrician’s tape to cover small lights. You don’t realize how powerful indicator lights are until they’re gone, so next time you’re in bed in the dark, take a look around for any small lights. Televisions, smart outlets, video game consoles, charging docks—any of these can have small lights on them that you can easily eliminate by either unplugging the device or putting a little bit of tape over the light.

Darken outside the room, too

Finally, consider light that can trickle in from beyond your closed door. The nightlight in my boyfriend’s en-suite bathroom bothers the hell out of me, for instance, even when the door is closed, because it peeks under the door. Since it’s not my house, I can’t go installing a draft guard there, but in your own home, you can use a draft guard or rolled-up towel to block light coming from under your door, which won’t inconvenience any family members or roommates trying to have a brightly lit time in the adjoining room. While you’re lying in the dark, you might not even clock the sliver of light coming from under a nearby door, but once you’ve eliminated it, you’ll notice the darker difference.

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