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Kill The House Lights -- 3 Ways To Darken Your Home Theater On Any Budget

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When building a home theater, one of the most important aspects of creating the right room is your ability to adjust the light levels from normal to nearly pitch black whenever you want. Despite high-tech equipment and the latest ways to create great sound and visuals, designing a true theater experience requires the right lighting at the right times. 

So, how can you properly darken your home theater in a way that works for your plans? Here are 3 methods for any room and any budget.

Blackout Drapes

One of the easiest options you have to darken windows is to choose good-quality blackout drapes. These special curtains have a liner behind the decorative panels that filters and blocks light. They have the added advantage of helping provide insulation and muffling noises from your speakers. Be sure to have the drapes measured and installed larger than the window so that the curtains overlap the sides and top of the window to prevent light leakage.

If some of your light sources are coming from doors that are used to access the home theater room, blackout drapes are the best way to block them while still allowing you to come and go.

Blackout Cloth

You can buy the blackout material separately from the drapes if you have blinds or shutters. While using the darkening material yourself isn't likely to look as nice as professional curtains would, they can work well on a temporary basis. If you have blinds that fail to get the job done, add a rod for hanging the blackout cloth between the blinds and the glass. This will allow you to reduce light while still having the window treatments look nice for guests.


Filling the window with a temporary block is a good way to kill light and reduce noise. An ideal material for this is a piece of foam that's roughly 3 to 6 inches deep. Cut the foam in the shape of your window -- equal to or just slightly larger than the window -- so that you can stuff it into the window's indentation. If you're still getting light leaks from the edges, complement your setup with thick, dark curtains or a custom valance.

If you don't need insulation, you may be able to simply tack up a piece of cardboard over the window that functions in the same way as the foam . . . although it will not look as good as the other methods.

No matter what your budget for a home theater, you can find a light-blocking option that works for your room. And by putting a little effort into this theater element, you'll help ensure a great space that everyone will love. For more information on window treatment options to block out light, contact a company like Sav-Mor Upholstery.