If you work nights, are sensitive to light, or want to improve your sleep, then making your bedroom as dark as possible is one of the most effective ways to improve your rest.
But how do you make your bedroom pitch black – even during the day?
The most effective way to make your bedroom pitch black is to wear a snug-fitting eye mask and use a blackout curtain that sits in front of a blackout blind (or another blackout window treatment like a window film) to completely block light coming through the window.
I have personally worked nights, so I know how hard it can be to get to sleep in the middle of the summer when daylight is pouring in through the windows.
That’s why I’ve shared with you 19 of the best ways to darken your bedroom for better sleep in the rest of this article.
How to Make Your Bedroom Pitch Black
To make your bedroom pitch black for better sleep, you should black out the windows, remove light sources from inside the bedroom, and consider changing the decor and furniture arrangements.
More information on how to do this below:
1: Black Out Your Windows
Most of the light coming into your bedroom will come from the windows, so blacking them out using any of the following techniques will go a long way to making your bedroom pitch black:
Blackout curtains or drapes (floor-length curtains) are an affordable way to block out a large percentage of the light that comes into your bedroom.
Blackout curtains can be set up like normal curtains – just make sure that the curtain rail is sturdy enough to support the blackout curtains that tend to be slightly heavier than regular curtains.
Blackout curtains should cover the entire width and length of the window and even go beyond it.
To install blackout curtains properly and block out the maximum amount of light, ensure that:
- The curtain rod is installed 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) above the window frame.
- The total width of the curtain (both panels) is 1.5-2 times the size of the window frame (measured from the outside).
- The curtain extends at least 1 inch beyond the bottom of the window frame (longer is better if there is no air conditioner, heater, radiator, or other fixture below the window).
- Overlapping double rods to ensure that the curtains can close fully in the middle and block out any light that might otherwise leak through.
- Curtain rod wrap-arounds that allow the curtains to be drawn against the wall to stop light coming in around the edges of the curtains.
- Integrating a second blackout layer behind the blackout curtain to help create a100% pitch-black bedroom.
Unlike curtains and drapes, shades consist of material that’s wrapped around a horizontal rod and can be pulled down to the bottom of the window just above the sill to block out a significant amount of light coming into your bedroom.
For blacking out your bedroom, solid shades are better than slatted blinds because there are no gaps that could let in light.
However, because shades may not sit entirely flush against the window sill, they are best used in conjunction with a pair of blackout curtains that extend beyond the bottom of the window to completely block out light and make your room pitch black.
The best types of shades to black out your bedroom are:
- Cellular shades – available in single or double layers to block out light.
- Roller shades – choose a high quality material to resist the wear and tear of use.
- Roman shades – practical and flexible.
How to install window shades to black out your bedroom properly:
- Measure the window inside and outside the frame to ensure that the shades will fit tightly and not let any light in around the edges.
- Choose a thick blackout material that’s opaque and won’t let any light in through the body of the shade.
- In the case of inside-mounted shades, the bracket is installed in the inner upper side of the window frame first, then the body of the shade locks into the bracket. The shade width should be 1/4-1/2 inch less than the window’s inner width to fit perfectly and move smoothly within the frame, while the height of the shade could be as long as the inner window frame to sit on it (but not longer).
- In the case of outside-mounted shades, the bracket is installed on the front side of the top frame (some people prefer to install it on the wall). This will allow the shade to cover the frame width from side to side. Simultaneously, the height of the shade should be long enough to cover the whole window frame vertically.
- Use a light blocker channel or Magnetic Sleepy Tracks on the edges of the blinds to block out light whilst also giving the blinds a neat look.
The video below shows you how to properly install blackout blinds to make your bedroom pitch black:
Blackout EZ window treatments allow you to attach the blackout fabric over the edge of the window using Velcro – making it ideal for blacking out your room in a rented property or if you only need to darken the room on occasions and don’t want to install full blackout curtains.
If you have drapes in place or can’t install an extra rod for a blackout curtain, you can attach a blackout panel with hooks or Velcro to the back of the drape – which also serves as a detachable option – in case you don’t need it.
Look for a curtain liner that’s thick enough to block out ambient street lights, car headlights, and the sun – they can also act as thermal liners to help reduce your energy bill.
Magic Blackout Blind
A magic blackout blind works like clingfilm – sticking to the surface of the window to block out the light – they are easy to set up and remove.
Paper shades are an affordable and easy way to block the light – they are trimmable and easy to adjust to the size that you need.
Blackout Window Film
Blackout film is an opaque window film that gets attached to the window glass using an adhesive – you can customize the size easily by cutting the material to fit.
Blackout films can make the window pitch black and also provide privacy.
Taping garbage bags that are at least 4-5 mm thick to your window frame is a cheap and quick way to block out the light coming through your windows.
Putting garbage bags over the window (or even a movie poster) has been used successfully by Reddit users as a cost-effective way to darken their bedroom and get to sleep after working a night shift.
Taping cardboard sheets to your window frame can provide a temporary fix to stop light coming in through your windows – just be aware that it won’t look good from the outside.
Taping aluminium foil to the window with painter’s tape or any low-tack tape is an affordable way to darken your bedroom without damaging the glass or surrounding paintwork.
Cutting a piece of plywood and mounting it to the window frame using Velcro is a cheap and effective way to completely block the light coming through your window without having to drill holes or make changes to the structure of the window fixtures.
DIY Fabric Curtain
If you don’t want to buy a curtain, you can make your own blackout curtain by layering thick material over the window and securing it in place using thumbtacks.
Layering canvas over the window is also a cheap and effective way to darken your bedroom.
2: Eliminate Bedroom Light
Eliminating any light that comes from inside your bedroom – no matter how small – using the checklist below is essential to make your bedroom pitch black:
Turn off TVs, computers, power indicators, charging cords, and anything else in the room that emits even the smallest amount of light since these light points can stand out when the rest of the room is otherwise very dark.
Switch Out Digital Clocks
Switching out your digital clock for a regular clock – or turning the clock away from you or covering it up – can help to reduce the light in your room and make it easier to sleep if you have sleep anxiety and can’t stop looking at the clock.
Secure the Door
Close the bedroom door when you sleep and use a thick towel or blanket to cover the gap underneath the door – a door draft stopper is an excellent investment to block light coming from underneath.
If your bedroom door has a door pane, make sure it’s covered with a thick fabric, a pillow, a blanket, or a permanent blackout film.
Wear an Eye Mask
Wearing an eye mask is one of the most effective ways to make your room appear pitch black – look for a make with padding around the edges and around the nose region to stop light from coming through.
3: Change the Decor and Furniture Layout
To ensure that your bedroom is totally pitch black, you should consider the following decor and furniture adjustments:
Paint the Walls a Darker Color
If you have a white or very light-colored room, then painting your bedroom a darker color can help to stop light from being reflected in your room and make it look darker.
Rearrange the Room
If your bed is facing the window or any other light source, then you should rearrange the furniture in a different direction – you might also like to follow the design rules of Feng Shui to help balance the energy in the room for a more calming ambiance.
Combine the Eye Mask With Window Treatments
The most effective way to make your bedroom pitch black is to wear a snug-fitting eye mask because it will block most of the light from the windows and inside your room.
But you should also black out your windows using both blackout curtains and a second blackout window treatment like a roller blind or a curtain liner because most of the light will come from the windows.
Painting the room a dark color and moving the furniture are optional but certainly effective when paired with the eye mask and blackout window treatments.
Image Attribution and Licencing
Main image: ‘Design of Luxury Bedroom With Dark Interior’ by Stephan Karg used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.
Dan is the founder and head content creator at Bedroom Style Reviews.
He has been working as a professional online product reviewer since 2015 and was inspired to start this website when he ended up sleeping on a memory foam mattress that was too soft and gave him backache.
Through in-depth research and analysis, Dan’s goal with this website is to help others avoid such pitfalls by creating the best online resource for helping you find your ideal mattress, bedding, and bedroom furniture.
Dan is a qualified NVQ Level 2 Fitness Instructor with 6 years’ experience helping clients improve their health through diet, exercise, and proper sleep hygiene.
He also holds several college and university-level qualifications in health sciences, psychology, mathematics, art, and digital media creation – which helps him to publish well researched and informative product reviews as well as articles on sleep, health, wellbeing, and home decor.
Dan also has direct personal experience with insomnia, anxiety, misophonia (hypersensitivity to sounds), and pain from both acute and long-standing sporting injuries – he enjoys writing insightful articles around these subjects to help fellow sufferers of such conditions.
Learn more about Dan here.