During lighter summer nights and bright mornings, when the sun gets up earlier than you want to, blackout window dressings in the bedroom are a key ingredient to help you achieve a full night’s sleep. They’re also valuable if you work night shifts or are a light sleeper. Darkness helps us to fall asleep quicker as well as improving the quality of sleep, and blackout blinds can also help with your home’s temperature-control – keeping rooms cool by reducing warm sunlight entering via a window.
The great thing about blackout window coverings is there is so much choice. We advise that you begin your buying journey with us by deciding the type of blackout blind that you’re after. During our in-home design consultation we can talk you through all of the various options and benefits of each.
Decide on the type of look you want at a window – whether it’s the clean and simple look of a roller blind, a fabric Roman blind, curtains, vertical blinds or a pleated blind effect, achieved with Duette® and Pleated blinds.
Even if you have an awkward shaped window, we can fit a blackout blind in most shapes – that’s just one of the benefits of made-to-measure. And because we fit the blinds in your home our experienced fitters will make sure everything is measured correctly, and fits and works as it should.
There are also variations in the level of black and dim out that can be achieved, the best option being a Total Blackout (BlocOut™) blind and blackout fabric fitted with an Intu in-frame system.
And no – they don’t have to be black (or even a dark colour for that matter) – blackout blinds come in all sorts of colours and patterned fabrics.
Here’s the low down on the best blackout blinds for 2020.
While standard blackout blinds can significantly darken a room, light can still sneak in through gaps at the edges of the blind. But not with our award winning BlocOut™ blinds
These blinds combine a superior quality blackout fabric with precision-engineered side rails and bottom bar. Blinds slot into the frame which ensures the window is fully covered with nowhere for the light to enter and it cuts out any draughts. They can be spring operated, chain operated or motorised. They look really stylish offering a neat appearance at the window.
A blackout roller blind is one of the most popular types of window covering for darkening a room. They’re available in a wide range of designs to suit every taste and can be made-to-measure to fit any size window – even large expanses of glass window. With roller blinds a key consideration is getting the measurements right and fitting the blind properly either in the recess of the window frame or on the outside to cover the edges. As experts we can help you to make the right decisions and get a snug fit.
Adding a motor to raise and lower blinds at the touch of a button is another great idea. This is really useful if a bed or furniture is in front of a window or if you have lots of windows in one room. You can also set the blinds to automatically raise at a particular time of day, which can help you naturally wake up in a morning.
As well as offering unrivalled climate control, Duette® blinds come as a blackout option.
Also known as thermal blinds, Duette® blinds have two layers of fabric in a unique honeycomb structure and special coating. By trapping warm air, they’ve been shown to reduce up to 78% of heat entering a room.
Double dressing your windows is a luxurious way to keep unwanted light out. Layer curtains lined with a blackout fabric over a blackout roman blind for a hotel luxe look. If you already have blinds or curtains that you love, simply add an extra window dressing in a style and colour that complements it for an instant update.
When layering blinds and curtains, you can keep it simple with a plain blind under a patterned curtain, or for a more ‘designer’ look mix different patterns. When clashing patterns, it is important to make sure that they have at least one thing in common, whether that is colour or pattern style.
Our sleek and uber-stylish Intu® blinds and Perfect Fit frame solutions are perfect for any room of the house and can be fitted with a wide range of blinds. There are no free handing cords, so they look neat at windows and are one of the safest options for kids’ bedrooms.
Shutters can block out both light and noise. Choose from a selection of materials to suit your home and window style – whether it’s a bay window, full length door or unusual shape. A combination of shutters and blackout blinds – fitted into the window recess behind the shutter – will keep your bedroom in complete darkness for as long as you want to get some well-earned sleep.
We expertly fit all our bespoke blinds and shutters because it’s not enough to enjoy great quality blinds, we want to make sure they are installed correctly and work perfectly for years to come.
By precisely crafting your window dressings to the exact size and shape of your windows, we can ensure that your blinds and shutters are perfect for your needs – no more mistakes with measuring or putting up with a blind that doesn’t quite fit your window (especially if it’s a large or unusually shaped one).
If you’re thinking of blackout blinds for your home but you’re not sure where to start, let us know and our local Apollo designer will be more than happy to help you find your ideal solution.
One of the most exciting things about the changing seasons is that it provides inspiration for interior updates.
The autumnal colour palette – rich ambers, burnt oranges and rustic reds –are the perfect inspiration for easy home décor updates to create a warm and comfortable sanctuary away from the inclement British weather.
Changing curtains is an easy update to transform a room and make it feel cosier in the Autumn months with a heavier fabric and deeper colours or seasonal designs. Curtains chosen for Autumn/Winter schemes are also generally lined and heavier fabrics to provide additional heat retention and blackout functionality.
A look we’re seeing more and more is the combination of sheer and lined, heavier fabric curtains combined. This gives fantastic light control.
As with all window coverings, the blackout qualities and ability to retain heat are often the key reason behind the choice of curtain fabric in different seasons. Thermal lined curtains help retain heat and make a room feel cosy for winter nights. This is particularly important for large windows.
Versatile Twilight Blinds are perfect for making the most of daylight hours whilst providing privacy.
Twilight blinds come with all the benefits of a roller blind, but within seconds allow natural light to flood into the room. That’s without lifting the blind fully and making the room feel chilly. And there are two layers of fabric too, for even more cosiness and insulation.
Panels of solid and sheer fabrics give greater versatility over privacy and light control than other types of blinds – light, dark or somewhere in between (Twilight) can all be achieved, by adjusting the continuous loop of fabric around the bottom bar.
Duette® blinds provide a double whammy of warmth when chosen in autumnal shades, providing a warming glow into rooms with the added benefits of insulating properties – just perfect for this time of year.
Designed with effective insulating properties to keep homes warm, Duette® blinds are proven to retain 46% more heat inside a room – with between 20%-50% of domestic heat loss escaping through windows, insulated Duette® blinds are a great way to keep homes snug and fuel costs down.
Blackout versions are available – perfect for shutting out gloomy winter nights – but the semi-opaque fabric option allows light to ripple through during daylight hours, whilst still conserving heat at the window.
Matt Thomas, Design Director at Apollo Blinds adds:
“Autumn is a time of transition, not only in the colours seen outside of the window but also within the home. As well as introducing cosier textures and fabrics, homeowners often look to update interior colour palettes to those that provide warmth and sanctuary; reflecting the urge to be indoors out of the cold.”
It’s almost time for the clocks to spring forward – meaning lighter nights and, for some, difficulty falling asleep. The total BlocOut™ Blind available from Apollo Blinds can achieve higher levels of darkness than ever before. It combines a superior quality blackout fabric with a frame (precision engineered side rails and a bottom bar) for the blind to slot into. This ensures the window is fully covered with no gaps for the light to shine through.
So why are blackout blinds a must-have for the home?
THE PROBLEM WITH LIGHT – THE UK IS GETTING LIGHTER AND IT’S BAD FOR OUR HEALTH
Matt Thomas from Apollo Blinds highlights how the UK is getting lighter, how darkness aids sleep and the benefits of BlocOut™ blinds.
“While the longer periods of natural daylight from spring to autumn can prevent people (especially children) from falling or staying asleep, as a nation our issues with ‘light entering a room’ go beyond the natural light of the sun.
Artificial light in the UK is getting brighter and more widespread, as revealed by recent images of the Earth taken from space. In fact, levels of unnatural light have reached their highest ever in the UK, with some experts suggesting light pollution is a problem on the scale of global warming.
And it’s easy to see why this is happening: Safety concerns have led us to illuminate our residential areas with street lights and security lights; there are more cars on the road than ever; and we’re becoming a ’24-hour society’ with many shops, gyms, bars and clubs open until the early hours – some never closing.
The future is bright – but there’s a dark side to our well-lit world. This ‘perpetual daytime’ is having adverse effects on our health as well as well as the natural cycles of animals and plantlife.”
The link between health and sleep is well-documented. Similarly, most people are aware that darkness helps us to fall asleep more quickly as well as improving the quality of sleep.
Studies suggests that sleeping in a very dark room has health benefits beyond getting enough shut eye.
Dr Richard Stevens, a leading breast cancer researcher highlights links between some preventable diseases such as depression, diabetes, obesity, even cancer and the amount of darkness a person is exposed to at night.
He said: “The point to emphasise is that while sleep is deeply important to well-being, so too is exposure at night to dark.” Other research has shown women night-shift workers to be at higher risk of breast cancer.
Darkness produces the sleep hormone melatonin that is responsible for repairing cells, consolidating memories and also keeping tumours in check.
THE SOLUTION – TIPS TO BANISH LIGHT FROM BEDROOMS
Introduce BlocOut™ blinds from Apollo Blinds – While standard blackout blinds can significantly darken a room, light can still sneak in around spaces at the edges and bottom of the blind. Apollo’s BlocOut™ blinds combine a superior quality blackout fabric with a frame (precision engineered side rails and a bottom bar) that the blinds slot into. This ensures the window is fully covered with nowhere for the light to enter.
Ban electronics – Smartphones and tablets emit blue light the worst kind for interrupting circadian rhythms. Give yourself an hour of tech-free time before bed and forbid them from the bedroom.
Invest in a red light – The eyes are less sensitive to red light so fit one to a bedside lamp to limit the effects of light if getting out of bed in the night.
More about BlocOut™ Blinds
BlocOut™ blinds are cordless and child-safe. A highly innovative roller blind system, which combines an aluminium cassette/frame with precision engineered side-rails and top-quality blackout roller blind fabric will provide homes with an unmatched level of darkness.
Independently thermally tested by the British Board of Agrément (BBA) BlocOut™ blinds are also proven to save up to 43% on average heating costs by reducing heat loss through the window.
Available in a wide range of fabric colours and designs with a choice of three frame colours.
Prices start from £95 for a 400mm wide x 300mm drop blind
Apollo Blinds has put together this useful A-Z guide to window blinds to help navigate the growing number of types of window coverings and fabrics available, as well as explaining any terminology and technological advances in window blinds operating systems.
Amongst the Christmas mayhem, installing new window blinds in your home for the festive season might seem like just another thing to do on an ever-growing list. But there are some really compelling reasons why brand new blinds should be a top priority when prepping your home for the big day.
1) They Can Help You Think ‘Hygge’
Especially relevant in the lead up to Christmas, the Scandinavian concept of ‘Hygge’ (pronounced hoo-gar) encourages us to indulge a little. For interiors, it’s all about creating an inviting space that makes us feel comfortable and content. Window blinds, especially with a blackout lining, can really enhance that cosy feel, helping to insulate a room and shut out the cold weather.
2) They’ll keep you calm (and cool) and get your room temperature just right
It’s freezing outside so you need your heating turned up fully, yet in the kitchen, with pots and pans bubbling and the turkey in the oven, the atmosphere is stuffy and unbearable. If you’re struggling to find a balance, the addition of Duette® energy-saving blinds can restore a constant temperature to your home. The honeycomb structure of the blinds traps air in an insulating layer, lowering the amount of heat lost through windows by up to 46%, plus they also reduce external noise coming into a room – an added bonus!
3) They can step up home security
As homeowners fill their homes with expensive Christmas gifts, window blinds can help shut out prying eyes, making winter a great time to invest. A simple set of blinds can be an added deterrent against burglary, as explained by Mike Stephens, Director at Apollo Blinds.
“Winter is an optimum time for break-ins, with longer nights providing more cover, families travelling away to visit loved ones for Xmas and of course festive goodies stored in homes,” says Mike. “And homes where items are on view are more exposed to theft than those where window coverings are fitted.”
“Blinds prevent intruders from being able to see what they can grab quickly and Venetian blinds have the benefit of being noisy – an added deterrent,” he added. “While shutters can be locked for an extra layer of security.”
4) They Can Help Get the Guest Room ‘Guest Ready’
Where most overnight visitors aren’t expecting hotel-like accommodation, a few some simple updates can make all the difference to creating a ‘hometel’, rather than a ‘grotty B&B’ experience for seasonal houseguests venturing into the realms of the “spare room”.
A set of new window blinds can completely transform a room, so it’s time to ditch the tatty, dated or broken blinds that are dragging your décor down. Plus a simple blackout blind can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep and a great night’s sleep. Preventing morning light from streaming into the guest room at the crack of dawn can make a huge impact on your guest’s experience.
5) They can add a touch of sparkle
Every blind has a silver lining with shimmering metallic finish roller blinds. Geometric patterns, stripes, damask and leaf designs are all given the wow factor with a metallic makeover. Metallic blinds will help you enjoy windows that shimmer and shine all year round but they look especially fabulous at Christmas time.
Find more festive inspiration on our Pinterest board dedicated to getting your home ready for Christmas.