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How to Layer Sheer & Blackout Curtains

Layering Blackout and sheer curtains


Blackout curtains do a phenomenal job of blocking sunlight and noise. When hung alone, however, this type of curtain only allows complete sunlight in, when open, or none at all when closed. There is no in-between. Therefore, we strongly suggest layering your blackout drapes with sheer drapes. If you’d like total control over light and privacy in your space, read this guide on how to layer sheer and blackout curtains.

Order custom sheer and blackout curtains from Spiffy Spools online in any size. Pick from over 3,000 stunning fabrics!


Layered Window Treatments: Options Galore


Layering Window Treatments


Layered drapery not only looks aesthetically rich but also offers higher privacy, versatility and insulation. Before we dive specifically into layering blackout and sheer curtains, here’s a mini guide of the top three styles of layering below to give you a taste of the expansive range of options available to you when you choose to layer your window treatments.


Layering Curtains with Valances

Valances are short single-panel drapes designed to cover the top section of a window. Adding a valance as the top layer treatment can create a more dressed-up look for a room, and they can also be useful for hiding drapery hardware. With their short length, valances are more for style than for function—they won’t be useful in blocking out any light. Layering them atop your curtains allows you to enjoy both the style benefits from the valance and the function of curtains.



Layering Curtains with Shades or Blinds

Another compelling idea is to layer curtains on top of blinds or roman shades. When the curtains are closed, you’ll have a traditional curtain look without any sign of the shades at all. By drawing back those curtains, however, you will expose the shade, and you can decide how far down you would like them to hang. On a bright, sunny day, you might pull your shade down enough to block the position of the sun while still enjoying some natural light. There is flexibility provided by the up-and-down movement of shades that just isn’t available with curtains alone. A combination of sheer roman shades with opaque drapes in the front offers even higher control over light and privacy. 



Layering Blackouts with Sheer Curtains

This is perhaps the most popular layered look – combining blackout drapes with sheer curtains. Typically, the back layer is the light filtering, lightweight sheer, bringing natural light into the space when the front set of blackout curtains are pulled back. In other settings, this may be completely reversed to have blackouts as the base layer. 

In this article, we take you through all the stylistic and functional factors you need to consider while layering blackouts with sheers, and then, our final stop will be the stylistic tips that help you make the best of your layered curtains.


Layering Sheer & Blackout Curtains: Factors to Consider


Blackouts & sheers in living room


Layering blackout curtains with sheers is not just for fulfilling your aesthetic needs. It goes a long way in fulfilling different functional roles. Here are the top benefits and the considerations that you must keep in mind while layering blackouts with sheers.


Light Control & Privacy

Privacy is often a key concern for homeowners. Whether it be using a reliable VPN service like VeePN to enhance web privacy or installing CCTV cameras to improve personal security at home, people take rigorous measures to secure their privacy. A simple yet highly effective step towards this goal is layering your window treatments, which also double up as aesthetic home decor elements.

Layering curtains provides you with a greater opportunity to control the inflow of light and also, the privacy of a room. If you were to opt for just a single set of opaque curtains, for instance, you would only have two real options: open or closed—and that’s it. But, if you added a set of sheer drapes behind those curtains for an additional layer, you’d suddenly have more control overflow of light into the room. This combination is especially popular because sheers filter in soft light while blurring the look from outside and heavy drapery can be drawn for complete privacy and light blocking when desired.

Consider Thermal Implications

While aesthetics may often drive your drapery layering choices, don’t forget about the impact layered curtains can have on the temperature of a room. The blackout layer can provide substantial insulation against light, sound and temperature. This can be used to your advantage if you are trying to keep a room warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer. Or if you’re keen to dampen noise and light inflow in a bedroom or a media room for example. When further layered with another set of sheers, the insulation factor goes even higher, while your energy bills go lower! 

Layering Colors, Textures & Patterns

Yet another advantage to layering curtains is the opportunity to mix fabrics featuring various colors, textures and patterns –  to bring depth and dimension to your space. Mixing fabrics cleverly can make your window treatments more versatile and adaptable to the room’s mood. For instance, if you want to establish a formal, cozy setting, a front layer of velvet drapery when drawn closed would do the job. Pairing this velvet with a casual sheer layer behind would allow you to pull back the velvet and expose sheers for a casual setting when desired.


Top Tips & Tricks to Layer Sheer & Blackout Curtains


Layered blackout and sheer window treatments


Window treatments are graded based on how they fulfill their function of curtailing light and ensuring privacy. That they double up as gorgeous decor accessories is like having the cake and eating it too! 

While we must never miss the opportunity to aestheticize, missing the full potential of functionality is equally unwise. That’s why we are fans of ‘layering’ to dress up the windows. So coming ahead are top recommendations from our stylists to make your double-layered window treatment both classy and functional.


Select the Order of Your Layers

The first step when layering curtains is deciding whether you’d like to use your sheer curtains as the base layer or the top layer of your window treatment:

Sheer as the Base Layer


sheer as the base layer in bedrooms


When the sheer drapes go behind the blackout drapes, they will only be visible when the blackout layer is drawn open. Once your blackout curtains are drawn close, the sheers will hide, making the blackouts the primarily visible centerpiece of the window treatment. 

This arrangement offers a highly versatile option for both aesthetic and light control. Here’s how –

  • With a single layer of blackout curtains, you can either only have all the privacy or all the light at any given time. Therefore, adding a second layer that is sheer is worth the deal. The sheer layer allows you to maintain privacy without having to sacrifice the lovely daylight. And you can simply draw the second, opaque layer when you need room darkening and extra privacy.
  • Design the two layers of curtains as a combination of two solid colors or a solid and a pattern. You can change the entire visual appeal of the room by just drawing the blackouts open or close. 
  • If your blackout drapery does not have a lining, placing sheer curtains behind works as a protective layer for the blackout curtains against premature fading due to sunlight exposure. 
  • Since light, wind, sound, and dust come into contact with sheer drapes first, they get filtered before entering the room. This enhances all the functional aspects of the blackout drapery. 




Sheer as the Top Layer


Sheer Curtains Top Layer


When sheer curtains are the top layer, they’ll hang over your blackout curtains. This lends a visually interesting look to your windows, especially if the two fabrics are paired well based on their pattern and palettes. Sheers are always visible being the top layer.

Much like a mesh overlay dress crowns a pretty girl with surreal charm, sheer drapes spice up the blackout drapes and the whole room. Airy gauze drapes above opaque drapes render a regal overtone to deeply embellished homes. 

Sheers temper the color tone of the underlying blackout drapes and blur their silhouettes. This is especially a great idea if your blackouts are not designed in the prettiest of hues you would want to see all the time. Say, in bedrooms that are dressed better in soft neutral tones but your blackouts feature a dark palette for better room-darkening, sheers offer the much-needed pleasance.

Besides, the see-through trait and the finely curved pleats of the flimsy sheers accentuate the delicate finesse of feminine spaces. Some spaces benefit from the whimsical touch of sheer drapes topping blackout drapes like girls’ rooms, guest bedrooms, and holiday homes.

When choosing between the two arrangements, do consider functional ease. The accessibility of the top layer is a tad better than that of the interior one. So, keep the most used layer on the front. For example, if you’re going to leave the sheer curtains closed most of the time and operate the blackout drapes often, letting sheers go beneath the blackout curtains is more practical.




Choose the Right Curtains

With the layering order decided, it’s time to choose the fabric and style of your curtains. This will primarily be based on your room’s décor aesthetic, color palette, and overall feel. 


Mixing Solids and Patterns


Mixing solids and patterns with layered curtains


As a general rule for layering, we recommend pairing solids with patterns for the highest visual impact. They enhance and complete each other, offering a compelling chemistry for a focal point in any room. 

If sheers are your top layer, blackout solids with patterned sheers are a nice choice. The solid base acts as a refined backdrop on which the patterns on the semi-transparent layer get highlighted. 

If sheers are the base layer, patterned blackouts as top layer are a better choice especially when the walls are solid-colored. 

Also, it’s worth considering that any pattern on base layer sheers might wash out when light flows through. Therefore, sheer drapes made of self-patterned weaves may stand a better chance for a refined look than printed ones. 




Mixing Colors 


Mixing colors with layered curtains


If you’re not a big fan of patterned fabrics, pull off the look with a thoughtful mix of colors. If you want to define the color scheme of your decor, let the blackout feature the dominating hue and the sheers the secondary hue.

If your personal aesthetic prefers monochromes, choose two shades of the same color. The subtle contrast offers an understated elegance well-suited to pared-back spaces.

Or create a contrasting color palette between layers to suit your room’s décor. Pick the dominating hue of your space for the blackout drapes and let your sheer drapes mark a stark contrast. 


Pick the Proper Heading Styles


Curtain Heading Styles


While curtain headings may seem like subtle choices, they can affect both the style and function of your curtains. Here’s what you need to know about heading styles when you layer sheer and blackout curtains:


Blackout Curtain Heading Style

Whether your blackout curtains are serving as your base or top layer, it’s important to select the right heading to ensure they properly block sunlight. Two of the best heading options for reducing incoming light are pinch pleat style and pencil pleat style. These heading styles allow minimal light to leak through edges, unlike some other styles such as grommet tops that leave openings for light to leak through. For further recommendations from our stylists, read our blog post with tips to reduce light leaks from edges of your blackout curtains


Sheer Curtain Heading Style

You have a few options when it comes to your sheer curtain heading style:

  • If sheer curtains are serving as your top layer, we recommend matching the heading style to that of the blackout curtains to ensure the look is uniform.
  • If sheer curtains are serving as a base layer, you have more flexibility to play with your heading style. Since the sheer will only be visible when your blackout curtains are drawn back, the headings don’t necessarily have to be uniform.




Mount Hardware at the Appropriate Height 


Floor to Ceiling Layered Custom Curtains


Layered window treatments necessitate forethought on apt hardware. Based on how you want to order the layers and how much you want to invest, you need to choose drapery poles that match your requirements. You have the following options:



You can hang both curtains on the same rod. It will constrict the versatility with light control, though, because you cannot operate individual layers. You can either keep both layers open or closed. This method is suggested when the two sets are fulfilling an aesthetic purpose only. 


This option consists of a single bracket with two drapery rods. This alternative affords you the possibility to operate both layers separately. Whether you want sheers as the top layer or base layer, double rods are apt.


You can install two single rods separately for each layer. This method also allows you to operate both layers separately. It is a method sought when you want to hang the curtains at different heights.


Now that you know the hardware options available for layering, let’s see other factors regarding their installation. When hanging your curtains, we recommend mounting the pole/track at least 8 inches above the window frame in order to prevent the sun from coming through the top of your blackout curtains.

You’ll also want to extend the length of your poles by about 8 inches or more on each side of the window frame. This will help to block light from passing through the sides of the blackout curtains when closed, and will provide plenty of ‘stackback’ room to pull both sets of curtains back when you want to let light into the room.


Consider Curtain Tiebacks


Curtain Tie Backs


Finally, curtain tiebacks are always a nice addition to include when layering blackout and sheer curtains. When you plan on keeping your blackout curtains open for an extended period of time, use curtain tiebacks so you can easily access your sheers.

At Spiffy Spools, you can customize your tiebacks to match the fabric and pattern of your curtains!






Spiffy Spools Blackout & Sheer Curtains


Now that you have an idea on how you can layer your sheer and blackout curtains, all you need is some inspiration. Glimpse through our collection of sheers and blackouts to explore the alternatives at your disposal.


Blackout Curtains

Gone are the days when blackout drapes used to be dark and drab window dressings, making even a cheerful space look gloomy. Spiffy Spools offers a variety of options in endless colors, patterns, and fabrics, so you’re sure to find the curtains that best match your space. Whether you’re looking for a simple solid or a gorgeous floral print, our extensive collection of fabrics will meet your design needs.

Take a look at Furling Fossil, for example. How easy it is to show your sophisticated tastes through this solid beige drapery. Or walk out of neutrals and consider this pretty self-patterned blackout, Maruna. The intricate floral motifs of this drapery garner a well-dressed and high-end look to the space.

If you need less light and heat control, consider one of our dimout fabrics like the elegant drapery Flic Flac which features purple floral posies, perfect pick for a country home.  For a modern bedroom, this trend-right abstract drapery, Doulton, in gorgeous shades of cobalt blue, can meet the mandate beautifully. And once you’ve chosen the perfect curtains, explore innovative lighting ideas for the bedroom to create a serene and inviting ambiance, ensuring your personal sanctuary is both stylish and functional.




Sheer Curtains

Full-scaled white sheer curtains have become the most-wanted window dressings of modern homes. If you’re looking for the same pristine beauty, take this linen blend drapery Alban from our collections. But our sheer curtains are not limited to simple whites and neutrals eithers—although those options are great as well! 

Browse through our sheer selections to find gorgeous prints and delicate colors that will compliment your room and blackout curtains perfectly. Take this floral sheer, Luau Green for example, that displays orange blooms on a white backdrop or self-patterned blue sheer, Metal Chi with woven stripes.




Order Custom Curtains from Spiffy Spools


White Layered Curtains


Now that you know how to layer sheer and blackout curtains, if you’re ready to start shopping, order from Spiffy Spools today. With over 3,000 fabrics, we make it easy to get custom curtains that fit your exact specifications and style. Explore our site to find the perfect options for your home, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.



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