Blackout blinds from Made To Measure Blinds – which one does the job best?

March 5, 2014

With mornings becoming brighter it’s an appropriate time to focus on made to measure blackout blinds.

Each of our ranges of made to measure blinds has a blackout option and we achieve that by adding a lining or backing to the fabrics – it’s what stops the light filtering through.

With different manufacturing processes for each product – along with the blind’s style – some provide better window coverage than others.

Our blackout options include:






Blackout Roman blinds

Roman Blind willowy Amethyst with blackout lining.

Roman Blind willowy Amethyst with blackout lining.

Roman blinds offer the best window coverage but their complex manufacturing process means that they are not the most economical option. They do, however, add class to any room.

The feature fabric, with its thermal lining, is made to the finished width of the window, so if the blind is mounted inside the window recess it will be made to the narrowest width within the recess, less 1cm for a clearance fit.

As long as the window is nice and square the blind will block a considerable amount of light due to its close fit, making it the best blackout of all the blinds available.

If the blind is mounted on the outside of the recess we recommend allowing 4cm all around the window. The wider the blind the more light will be blocked, but remember that the fabric will stand off the wall a little due to the 3cm depth of the headrail on which the fabric is mounted.

For this reason there is little to be gained from an outside-mounted blind over a good fitting inside-mounted roman in a nice square window.

Blockability score – Roman blind 9 out of 10


Blackout Roller blind

Blackout Roller blind

Blackout roller blinds

Blackout roller blinds are a popular choice since they are also one of the most economical options. Blackout fabrics are coated with a rubberised backing that also offers a thermal barrier, as with the Roman blind.

The brackets and controls are mounted at both ends of the barrel so 30mm of fabric is lost to accommodate them. This will inevitably allow light to creep around the sides of the blind, but it will be more than adequate to do the job unless you are a very light sleeper.

If that is the case it would be worth considering mounting the blind on the outside of the recess, making the blind wider than the window opening.

If you plan to do that, add a minimum of 8cm in total to the width.

A blackout roller blind ban be used as a secondary barrier used in partnership with curtains.

The two combined offer an excellent solution to the problem of early morning light.

Blockability score – Blackout roller blind 8 out of 10


20mm Pleated blind

20mm Pleated blind

Blackout pleated blinds

The pleated blind is one of the more expensive blinds, due to the nature of the fabric construction formed in pleats.

Some fabrics are offered with the option of blackout backings by using a foil, again with thermal properties.

As with the Roman blind, very little fabric is lost within the construction of the blind since the brackets locate on top of the headrail.

The only consideration with the pleated blind is the need for the nylon cord, which is needed to support the fabric and control the blind.

To raise and lower, the blind has to travel through each pleat in the fabric, and to do this small holes are punched through the fabric, which will obviously allow light to bleed into the room.

The advice for outside mount would be the same as previously mentioned for roller blinds.

Blockability score – Pleated blind 7 out of 10


89m Vertical white

89m Vertical white

Blackout vertical blinds

Vertical blinds have a small offering of blackout fabrics. Like the roller blind fabrics, vertical blinds have the same make-up, with the rubberised backing providing the blackout, and it also provides thermal properties.

The strips of fabric (technical name louvres) hang from a horizontal headrail, and of all the blinds this is the least effective at blocking light.

When the blind is closed the louvres overlap, allowing a little light to seep through. In addition, the two end louvres are set back from the end inside recess walls, along with a clearance gap under the louvres to allow the blind to rotate freely from the windowsill.

When you add these together you have a fair amount of light around the blind. This means that vertical bllinds will often be used in partnership with curtains. So when the two are combined the end result is satisfactory.

We don’t recommend a vertical for outside recess face fix mount as a blackout option.

Blockability score – Vertical blind 6.5 out of 10


Venetian Cocoa 25mm

Venetian Cocoa 25mm

Blackout Venetian blinds – metal and wooden

The make-up of a venetian blind allows for a close fit to the inside of the recess, similar to that of the Roman and pleated blind ­– as long as the window is nice and square, allowing for 1cm clearance fit.

The slats overlap each other, so this will allow a little light to penetrate through the overlaps. But since they are a solid material no light filters through the slats themselves.

The slats are all held together with a nylon ladder cord that travels through the slats to tilt and raise the blind, so the holes punched into the slats to take the cord will allow light to bleed into the room. This, combined with the overlaps, allows some amount of light to enter the room.

The bigger the slat size then the darker the blind will be in the closed position due to smaller quantity of slats, so there are fewer overlaps.

Outside face fix mount we would suggest allowing a minimum of 8cm extra to the width but the advantage of this would be questionable over inside mount.

Blockability score – Venetian blind 7 out of 10


Wooden venetian 50mm Valley Oak

Wooden venetian 50mm Valley Oak


Use the information we have presented to decide how much light is acceptable.  Are you a light or heavy sleeper, and what style of blind is most likely to suit the room.