AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Northern, VA - Washington, DC
Mentioned: 103 Post(s)
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Blackout shades aren't typically black. They are just 100% light blocking, so no light can penetrate the material. If you have a Joann's near you, go to it and talk to them. The better employees know their stuff.
That said, roller shades are basically made from the same blackout material. They are just fully built up. Typically, good roller shades, whether electric or manual, will be mounted to your window with tracks they go up/down inside. These tracks keep light from getting around the shades and provide 100% light block on the sides and through the material. They are pretty much the top shelf product when it comes to light blocking in any environment.
Combined with dark paint on the walls and ceiling, and dark carpet, light blocking roller shades, in tracks, will provide the most light control.
Now, when talking about pure blackout cloth, like from Joann's, you can get it in various qualities and thicknesses. They may offer colors, maybe not. Blackout cloth is actually designed to typically be sewn to the back of a curtain. So, when you get a lightweight curtain that you like, you can put blackout cloth on the back of it and get light blocking capability. But, it still is a curtain, so unless you have a perfect seal against your window, you will allow light through.
If your intent is to cover your windows, and never open/pull down the curtains, and you just want a permanent cover, then blackout fabric will work fine, but I would look for something that is dark if you can get it.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.