by Kate Wharmby Seldman
Blackout curtains can keep a room cool and dark even when it's bright and sunny outside. A completely dark room is a wonderful thing if you have a job that requires you to work all night or even if you just want a dark room for watching a movie when it's light outside. In addition, blackout window treatments help you conserve energy by keeping heat in and cold out or vice versa. You have two choices when it comes to installing blackout curtains: You can buy curtains that come with blackout liners already sewn in, or you can add panels of blackout fabric to the curtains you already own.
Rod placement. Choose where to place your curtain rod. Put it higher to make your windows appear longer. Think about the length of the rod versus the width of your window: the longer it is, the wider the window will appear. In general, a curtain rod should be slightly wider than the window in order for the curtains hang properly.
Bracket placement. Use a pencil and tape measure to mark where you will place the brackets. Use a level to make sure the two marks are aligned and then adjust them if necessary.
Attach brackets. Drill pilot holes at the two pencil marks you made. Put the left bracket on the wall. Line up the top screw hole with the pilot hole and screw it in. Repeat with the right bracket. Attach any additional screws.
Hang curtains. Thread your blackout curtains onto the curtain rod and attach the curtain rod to the brackets.
Prepare curtains. Take down your existing curtains and place them face down on a large table, your bed or the floor -- anywhere you have room to spread them out flat.
Attach drapery hooks. Space them out evenly. You may have drapery hooks already attached if you're using a traverse rod to hang the curtains. If your curtains are tab-top or are hung by curtain rings, you won't have hooks attached, and you'll need to attach them now.
Prepare panels. Place the blackout panels on top of your curtains. Look at the inside of the panels: There should be a line of looped thread that runs the width of the panel, at the top. Line this looped thread up with the hooks, but don't hook them in yet.
Attach magnetic strips. The magnetic strips, usually included with the liners, slide into small pockets on the sides of the curtains. When the curtains are closed, the magnets will attract one another and seal out the light.
Attach the liners. Line up the edges of the curtains with the edges of the blackout panels. Attach the hooks on the curtains to the looped thread on the blackout panels. Do this by finding the loop on the thread that is closest to each hook.
Hang curtains. Put the curtains back on the rods and put the rods back on the brackets.
If you're using separate blackout panels, read their instructions and examine the hardware that came with them before beginning installation.
Rod-pocket drapes may need additional rods upon which to hang blackout curtains.