If you want to darken your windows for better sleep, privacy, or temperature control, blackout Roman shades can be a stylish and functional option. With so many fabrics and features to consider, this guide breaks down everything you need to know before investing in blackout Roman shades

How Do Blackout Roman Shades Block Light?

blackout roman window shades

Unlike regular Roman shades with sheer or lightweight fabrics, blackout Roman shades are specifically designed to prevent light from passing through the fabric. This is achieved through several methods:

Opaque Fabrics

Blackout fabrics are thicker and woven more tightly than regular shade fabrics. Popular opaque blackout fabrics include polyester, vinyl, acrylic, and fiberglass. The dense weave doesn’t allow light to shine through.

Backing Materials

Many Blackout Roman Shades have additional backing layers made of vinyl, foam, or felt on the backside of the fabric. This provides an extra barrier against light infiltration.

Side Channels

High-quality Blackout Roman Shades come with side channels that cover the edges of the shade when closed. This prevents light leakage around the borders.

What Level of Opacity Do You Need?

Not all Blackout Roman Shades are equally effective at blocking light. The opacity level depends on the fabric thickness, number of backing layers, and quality of side channels. Consider what level of light blocking you need:

Total Blackout

Look for a “blackout” label and opaque, multilayer construction for minimal light infiltration. Vinyl and fiberglass offer the most complete blackout.

Daytime Darkening

Acrylics and polyesters allow light filtration for a darkening effect during the day. This can be sufficient for reducing glare and heat gain.

Nighttime Sleep Darkening

Polyester blackout shades often provide enough light blocking if you just want sufficient darkness for sleeping at night.

Which Features Should You Look For?

Today’s Blackout Roman Shades have convenient features for functionality, safety, and style. Here are some worthwhile options:

Cordless Lift

Cordless Blackout Roman Shades eliminate dangerous dangling cords, which is especially beneficial for homes with kids and pets. The smooth lift mechanism raises and lowers shades.


For hands-free convenience, motorized Blackout Roman Shades can be operated with remote controls or voice commands. Helpful for hard-to-reach windows.

Thermal Insulation

Some Blackout Roman Shade fabrics provide thermal insulation to reduce heat gain/loss through windows. Helps regulate indoor temperatures.

Noise Reduction

Thick, multilayer blackout fabrics can dampen outside noise by up to 50%. Choose noise-reducing shades for bedrooms and media rooms.

Top Down/Bottom Up

Dual operating shades that rise from top down and bottom up allow you to modulate light and privacy as needed.

Blackout Fabric Options

blackout roman shades for windows

From texture to color, the fabric you choose impacts your custom Blackout Roman Shades’ look, effectiveness, and cost. Consider these fabric factors:


Matte blackout fabrics diffuse light softly without glare. Options like suede provide a more elegant look. Glossy vinyl blackouts offer a higher light barrier.


While darker colors help absorb light, blackout fabrics come in various hues, from solids to patterns. Sheer overlays add style while still allowing opacity.


Thicker, denser fabrics like fiberglass offer the most complete opacity but at a higher price point. Standard polyester blackouts provide decent light blocking for less.


Some companies offer blackout fabrics for sustainable shades made from natural, renewable materials like bamboo, hemp, and jute.

Installation Methods

Proper installation is key to maximizing your blackout shades’ effectiveness. Most blackout window shades come in two main mounting styles:

Inside Mount

Inside, the window frame provides a sleek, unobstructed exterior view. Allows shades to overlap the window edges for full light blocking.

Outside Mount

Mounted outside the window frame allows shades to cover larger windows fully. Provides better insulation. Requires secure installation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Blackout Roman Shades

1. How do you clean Blackout Roman Shades?

Check the manufacturer’s instructions. Many blackout fabrics can be gently vacuumed—spot clean stains with warm water and mild soap. Avoid harsh cleaners, which may damage the blackout coating.

Blackout Roman Shades can be customized to any length to suit your exact window measurements. The shades can fit whether you have tall ceilings or a short window.

Look for cordless or motorized blackout shades to eliminate dangling cords that could pose risks for kids and pets. Child-safe features like cord tensioners and cord cleats can minimize hazards on standard shades.

Finding the Best Blackout Roman Shades for You

With so many excellent blackout fabrics and features now available, you will surely find the ideal Roman Shades to transform your space. Carefully assess how much light control you need for daytime room darkening or nighttime blackouts. Consider convenience factors like motorization and insulation.

Most importantly, choose shades that align with your décor style and budget. With the right blackout Roman shades, you can sleep better, enhance privacy, reduce energy costs, and maintain your interior design vision. Investing in quality blackout shades is a decision you won’t regret.

Ready to experience the benefits of Blackout Roman Shades for yourself? Schedule a consultation with one of our shade experts at Incredible Windows today. We’ll measure your windows, discuss your needs, and help you select the perfect custom blackout shades to transform your WI home—call (608) 826-7419 to start designing your ideal light-blocking sanctuary.