Blackout curtains block out light to create an ideal sleeping environment and add extra insulation to draughty windows
A quality night’s sleep is essential to good health. If you find yourself waking up at sunrise every morning, then the best blackout curtains can both block light and add an insulating layer between the window and the room. That means you’ll be able to sleep in peace until your alarm goes off, and potentially cut down on draughts and lower your heating costs to boot.
In fact, blackout curtains are one of the best ways to ensure that your circadian rhythm doesn’t suffer on account of an early sunrise. They’re more convenient than donning a face mask every night, and the insulating benefits can be a godsend for drafty old sash windows.
Read on, and our handy buying guide can help you understand what to look for when shopping for blackout curtains. We’ve also listed some of our favourites below, ranging from affordable to luxury options and understated living room choices to bright, lively designs that would be perfect in any child’s room.
Best blackout curtains: At a glance
How to choose the best blackout curtains for you
What fabric are blackout curtains made from?
To block light, the curtains need to be thick and/or lined. That’s why most blackout curtains use a combination of densely woven fabric and multiple layers to prevent light from penetrating. Most commonly you’ll find polyester, cotton or a poly/cotton blend. You may also find curtains made of suede or velvet. The window-facing side is typically treated with acrylic coating for optimal light blocking.
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What features should I look for in a good pair of blackout curtains?
There are certain features you’ll want to consider before purchasing a pair of blackout curtains.
Headings: There are multiple curtain heading styles available, but for blackout curtains you’ll want to stick with ones that don’t allow for much light to seep through. The rod-in-pocket style allows for a full wrap around the window. Pencil pleats can be hung on a rod or track, and offer ideal blackout results when fitted as close to the wall as possible. Eyelets are also common and are easy to slip onto a rod, but you’ll want to ensure that there isn’t loads of space between the rod and eyelet for light to get through.
Colour: More specifically, colour isn’t something you should have to worry about. With quality blackout curtains, the material does the heavy lifting so you don’t have to opt for a dark coloured curtain. Feel free to choose whatever matches your home’s decor.
Size: To truly block out light, you’ll also want to take into account edges where light can sneak through. Just like standard curtains, you’ll get the best light-blocking results if you extend them slightly beyond the window frame on every side.
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for blackout curtains, here are some of our favourite options.
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The best blackout curtains you can buy in 2023
1. John Lewis Lenton Rose Pair Blackout Eyelet Lined Eyelet Curtains: The best overall blackout curtains
Price: From £100 | Buy now from John Lewis
These ready-made blackout curtains from John Lewis feature a watercolour-style floral design with blues, greens, purples and yellows for a soft and warm addition to the bedroom.
The outer is 100% cotton, the lining uses a polyester and cotton blend lining to block light, and the eyelet headings give them an attractive drape with consistent folds. More importantly, they provide consistent coverage to prevent light from coming through, and the lining also offers thermal insulation.
The curtains come in multiple sizes to fit a variety of windows. Each package comes with two panels. The listed pole length accounts for both panels when the curtains are drawn.
Key specs – Sizes: W167 x Drop 137cm, W167 x Drop 182cm, W167 x Drop 228cm, W228 x Drop 137cm, W228 x Drop 182cm, W228 x Drop 228cm; Heading: Eyelet; Material: Cotton, polyester; Other features: Thermal; Colours: Floral
2. Marks & Spencer Faux Silk Eyelet Blackout Curtains: The best luxurious blackout curtains
Price: From £20 | Buy now from Marks & Spencer
If you want a luxurious appearance without having to pay luxury prices, these curtains are perfect. Though they’re made from polyester, they have an eye-catching silky sheen.
These curtains use an eyelet heading, making for easy hanging and an elegant appearance. They’re available in a large variety of neutral colours, both dark and light. The curtains also come in a number of different sizes, and fit many window styles without needing alterations.
It’s worth noting that these curtains are dry clean only, so they can’t just be tossed in the washing machine.
Key specs – Sizes: W117 x Drop 137cm, W117 x Drop 183cm, W117 x Drop 229cm, W168 x Drop 137cm, W168 x Drop 183cm, W168 x Drop 229cm, W218 x Drop 137cm, W218 x Drop 183cm, W218 x Drop 229cm; Heading: Eyelet; Material: Polyester; Other features: None; Colours: Soft pink, mid grey, dark charcoal, slate, silver, champagne, natural, ivory, duck egg, navy
3. Deconovo Blackout Curtains: The best thermal blackout curtains
Price: From £16 | Buy now from Amazon
Deconovo advertises these curtains as having both blackout and thermal qualities. So, if you’re looking for an affordable blackout option that will also add a little insulation to your windows, then these machine-washable curtains are a solid pick.
You have two options for hanging these curtains: pencil pleat style or rod pocket style. There are well over a dozen sizes available, too, so you can certainly find something that will fit your bedroom windows.
For added convenience, the curtains are machine washable below 30°C, and you can take your pick from more than 20 colours in a range of neutral and dramatic shades.
Key specs – Sizes: W42 x Drop 63cm, W42 x Drop 84cm, W42 x Drop 95cm, W46 x Drop 54cm, W46 x Drop 72cm, W46 x Drop 90cm, W52 x Drop 54cm, W52 x Drop 63cm, W52 x Drop 72cm, W52 x Drop 84cm, W52 x Drop 95cm, W55 x Drop 69cm, W55 x Drop 79cm, W55 x Drop 82cm, W55 x Drop 87cm, W55 x Drop 96cm, W66 x Drop 54cm, W66 x Drop 72cm, W66 x Drop 90cm, W90 x Drop 90cm; Heading: Pencil pleat or rod pocket; Material: Polyester; Other features: Thermal, machine washable; Colours: Light grey, green, beige, black, blue, dark grey, pink lavender, red, sky blue, turquoise, light beige, navy blue, silver grey, chocolate, forest green, khaki, mellow yellow, pink, brown, coral pink, light purple, purple grape, pale pink
4. Marks & Spencer Jungle Pencil Pleat Blackout Kids’ Curtains: The best children’s blackout curtains
Price: From £20 | Buy now from Marks & Spencer
Growing children need more sleep than the rest of us, often going to bed before the sun sets and waking long after it rises. A set of blackout curtains can help to ensure that your children get the rest they need.
These curtains come in a fun jungle print, with cute animals and vegetation painted in a watercolour style. The outer material is a cotton and polyester mix, and the 100% acrylic coating ensures that no light penetrates through. The pencil pleat heading gives the curtains a classic look, too.
With six different sizes available, these curtains should easily fit any window in your child’s bedroom.
Key specs – Size: W135 x Drop 137cm, W135 x Drop 183cm, W135 x Drop 229cm, W168 x Drop 137cm, W168 x Drop 183cm, W168 x Drop 229cm; Heading: Pencil pleat; Material: Cotton, polyester, acrylic; Other features: None; Colours: Jungle print
5. Habitat Linen Look Blackout Pencil Pleat Curtains: The best pencil pleat blackout curtains
Price: From £20 | Buy now from Argos
Stylish and functional, these curtains have the appearance of linen. This, combined with a classic pencil pleat heading, cuts a classic dash on any window, and you can choose whether to hang them with poles or tracks.
The curtains come in three neutral colours, and the thick material and polyester lining combine both blackout and thermal qualities. There are three sizes available in each colour, so they can fit a variety of bedroom windows.
The curtains are dry clean only, but the polyester and viscose blend makes it easier to spot clean them as needed.
Key specs – Size: W117 x Drop 137cm, W168 x Drop 183cm, W168 x Drop 229cm; Heading: Pencil pleat; Material: Polyester, viscose; Other features: Thermal; Colours: Olive, charcoal, dove grey
6. Wayfair Basics Tackitt Synthetic Blackout Eyelet Curtain: The best eyelet blackout curtains
Price: From £37 | Buy now from Wayfair
If you prefer the easy wave of an eyelet heading, these blackout curtains from Wayfair Basics may be a good option.
The curtains are made of 100% polyester, and are machine washable, as well as iron safe, for added convenience. The blackout coating on the fabric ensures that no light makes it through, and the manufacturer claims that they also have thermal qualities despite being unlined.
There are ten trendy colours available to match the style and decor of any home, no matter if you prefer neutral colours or something brighter. They’re also available in a number of different sizes.
Key specs – Size: W117 x Drop 137 cm, W117 x Drop 183 cm, W168 x Drop 137 cm, W168 x Drop 183 cm, W168 x Drop 229 cm, W229 x Drop 137 cm, W229 x Drop 183 cm, W229 x Drop 229 cm; Heading: Eyelet; Material: Polyester; Other features: Thermal, machine washable; Colours: Silver grey, ochre yellow, blush, denim blue, duck egg blue, ivory, mauve purple, natural beige, orange, pink