Blackout vs Room Darkening vs Light Filtering Shades

By definition, light-filtering shades are made of less opaque fabrics that allow the most amounts of light to filter through, while still offering some level of privacy and UV protection. 


  • Maintains views and allows natural light to enter your space
  • The perfect choice for a room that needs some privacy while still letting in a lot of light
  • Lightweight
  • Darker colors may offer more privacy than lighter colors


  • Provides some UV protection, but not total blackout capabilities
  • Does not insulate as well as other products

These are perfect for family rooms, living rooms, and other communal areas that need a combination of privacy, yet ample natural light. Aztec Sheer shades reduce the use of artificial light and can help mood and mental health by bringing in natural light as well. If the window is open, it can allow the air to flow pleasantly around your house. 

Room darkening shades darken the room by blocking more incoming light than light-filtering shades, and provide more enhanced privacy.


  • Provides privacy and light control
  • Ideal for bedrooms, bathrooms, nurseries, media rooms, or other private areas


  • Less natural light comes through
  • Not a total blackout solution, as light can still come in from the sides

Room darkening shades are perfect when you want a truly intimate setting. They can cost less than total blackout shades, but still increase privacy without totally compromising natural light. Think of these shades as an ideal middle ground between light-filtering and blackout shades.

Blackout window treatments effectively block 100% of light, making them the best option for complete and total darkness,


  • Provides total blackout capabilities
  • Gives you complete control over natural light and privacy in any room 
  • Offers maximum UV protection 


  • Blocks all-natural light and insulation
  • Can be more expensive than other options 
  • Not ideal for living rooms or communal spaces where views are desired

black out window treatments are sought-after primarily for bedrooms and nurseries to ensure a quality night’s sleep. They can help to regulate body temperature, reduce glare, and provide a feeling of comfort and privacy. They also block out the sun’s harmful rays, protecting you and your furniture from fading caused by UV exposure. 

While a wholly “blackout fabric” is not possible due to the possibility of light seeping through the top and sides of the shade, a total blackout solution can still be achieved by pairing a room darkening shade with LightGuard 360™. LightGuard 360™ is an optional enhancement that blocks all incoming light from peeking through the shade by placing a light blocking top treatment and side channels around the edge where light seepage would usually appear. By blocking off these potential leaks, a complete blackout environment can be created.

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