Author Topic: Blackout or thermal lining for curtains and blinds?  (Read 3301 times)


  • Magnum Stache
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Blackout or thermal lining for curtains and blinds?
« on: May 02, 2017, 11:00:01 AM »
I'm making my own curtains and blinds for our new house, and have the choice between buying blackout lining or thermal lining. Two rooms (dining room and sitting room) will have curtains and two rooms (bedroom and study) will have roman blinds. (This is strongly influenced by where curtain rods are and are not in the house as it is now.) I've never lived anywhere that didn't come with its own curtains before so I'm not sure what to go for.

Sitting room and study are at the front of the house, are south-facing and will get a lot of light. I imagine in the study we'll want to let down the blind partially a lot of the time to reduce computer glare. Bedroom and dining room are at the back of the house with east-facing windows, and don't get so much light. The windows are good quality double glazing with no leaky edges. I also live in England so we don't have any enormously extreme weather. 0 degrees celsius is really freaking cold and 27 degrees celsius is really freaking hot.

1. Is it hard to line roman blinds? I have a lot of general sewing experience and have bought a roman blind kit with all the poles and cords and stuff. I'm just adding the fabric and putting it all together.
2. Will a thick lining on a roman blind be a problem?
3. Will blackout lining keep heat in effectively and will thermal lining keep light out effectively?
4. Any other hints and tips on making and hanging curtains? It doesn't seem that hard to me, but I'm always willing to take advice!

My feeling at the moment is:
Blackout lining on bedroom blinds
No lining on study blind
Thermal lining on dining room curtains
Thermal lining on sitting room curtains


  • Bristles
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Re: Blackout or thermal lining for curtains and blinds?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 11:00:52 AM »
following!  Looking into the same thing right now.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Blackout or thermal lining for curtains and blinds?
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2017, 11:06:36 AM »
My wife made Roman blinds based on a tutorial video from Sailrite. They are nice, but already starting to fall apart after 2 years. My advice would be to invest in high quality locking mechanisms and cord. A sturdier fabric will also help.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Blackout or thermal lining for curtains and blinds?
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2017, 09:42:24 PM »
Very bulky fabric could be a problem for roman blinds (thermal).  but average bulky fabric should be fine, it will handle like a heavier weight main fabric, which can be used for roman shades.  Just baste your sewing first, so you can adjust it if you don't like the hang or it restricts the rods too much.

Blackout material does not do much for thermal protection, IMO.   I used the heat shrink clear film in the winter over the single pane or drafty windows -- it works very well for thermal issues..  That way you can just use a nice thin blackout liner behind whatever fabric you like.

I only notice thermal liners working well for single pane or old windows, or for A/C and summer cooling issues (although a window film is better yet).

ETA - I assume you want thermal for winter heat retention, not summer heat gain issues?  Blackout helps for summer heat gain as it could block radiant solar gain, not just conductive / convective heat transfer.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2017, 12:20:22 AM by Goldielocks »


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Blackout or thermal lining for curtains and blinds?
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 11:44:18 PM »
I haven't made Roman Blinds, but have made a number of curtains and Austrian Blinds. I have had two houses where I have made window coverings for every single window.


Windows are heated up by the sun and can turn into radiant heaters very quickly in summer, so anything on the exterior that blocks the sun from hitting the window will reduce overheating far more than curtains or blinds on the inside.

Windows are the major cause of heat loss/heat gain because they are much less insulated than walls. Air inside a room circulates from top to bottom, with the air either cooling or warming as it circulates past the window.  The circulation is not stopped by curtains unless they enclose the window at the top, bottom and sides. This is why I have pelmets and my curtains are all floor to ceiling and go past the window, to create a seal there too. Once you have that seal, the room has two sets of air circulation - within the room, and between the window and the curtain.


Blackout gives a good seal, but the thermal lining provides a better insulating layer. Thermal lining is sometimes thicker and fluffier, which may not suit roman blinds (but you could always make them three layers with the thermal lining in the middle.

I don't really like roman blinds for insulation because the sides don't have an air gap as they tend to V. Roman blinds would be domewhat difficult to sew because you have an enormous amount of material that you are trying to put through the throat of your sewing machine when you are sewing the middle parts. My Austrian Blinds were fully lined with blackout (thermal lining wasn't available so I didn't use it), and were used every day. You need a lot of extra space at the top of lined blinds because the material is much more bulky - otherwise it will block a lot of the window.

Similarly, lined curtains take up more of the side of the window than unlined curtains do, so it is worth extending the curtain rods a bit further onto the wall.

Pelmets are useless if they don't provide a seal above the curtain and in front of the curtain.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Blackout or thermal lining for curtains and blinds?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 10:23:06 AM »
(reviving an old thread)

Check out Warm Windows insulating fabric.

WW is a combination thermal liner and blackout. It's basically a quilt, with:
- a layer of UV resistant fabric
- a layer of heat-reflecting foil
- batting

It's quilted in parallel rows a few inches apart. It can be used to make Roman shades with the quilting lines horizontal, or curtains with the lines vertical.

WW also has the bits and bobs necessary to make roman shades, including magnet strips to air seal the sides and bottom of the shade. You don't have to use their hardware, though. They also have instructions

I made these up for a house about 20 years ago. The shades worked well, though they looked a bit bulky. And they certainly kept the room warmer in winter and cooler in summer!