If you are a bit older -- especially if you are a part of the World War II generation -- you might remember room darkening curtains. A staple of the war years, room darkening curtains were used throughout the United States as well as abroad. These curtains were used throughout the United States to keep light from shining out from homes and offices, so as not to give guidance or information to aircraft pilots in case of enemy invasion.
Room darkening curtains, as their name suggests, are designed to completely darken a room. This means that a person standing outside, or viewing a window from the distance outside, should not be able to see any light emanating from the room within.
While many people use room darkening curtains to block out excess of light from the outside, in order to ensure a more restful sleep, these curtains are not used solely for this purpose. For example, room darkening curtains are sometimes used by professional photographers to block light from shining in to their darkrooms.
An interesting use of room darkening curtains is their use in countries located near the Arctic Circle. During certain seasons of the year days can become very, very long -- with daylight extending well into the normal time when most people are asleep. In these locations, room darkening curtains are an essential in homes, so that people can get an adequate amount of sleep at night.
Of course we all know that many people must work at night: healthcare professionals, police, fire and disaster preparedness personnel must sometimes work throughout the night. For these individuals, blackout bedroom curtains are also a necessity -- as it will likely be daylight when they return home in order to rest for the next workday.
Finally, for those people who live in very cold climates, room darkening curtains will help to provide additional warmth in their home when the temperature drops outside. This is because room darkening curtains are made from materials that are typically much heavier than normal curtains or drapes. This means that room darkening curtains make excellent insulators, helping to trap and hold heat inside the house, while repelling cold air and drafts from outside.
With room darkening curtains the temperature in the room is equalized throughout the day. For this reason, room darkening curtains can also help to keep a room cooler in the summertime, as the heavy material will help to keep the coolness inside the room, while repelling the heat outside.
Room Darkening Curtains: Make Sure You Test Them!
How can you test your room darkening curtains? Well, after you get your curtains home, and have installed improperly, wait until dark. On a very dark night turn on several lights in your room. Make sure your room darkening curtains have been properly drawn across the windows of your room, then take a short trip outside. Take a walk around your room from outside your home, looking at the windows. If you were room darkening curtains are of good quality, you should not be able to see any room light shining through them at all -- not even through the seams, or from the tops, bottoms, or size of the window. It is especially important to do this test if you are using room darkening curtains in any photography darkroom, as any light leakage into your darkroom could ruin any film that has not yet been properly developed.
As you can see, room darkening curtains can be used in a variety of situations and for a variety of purposes. Made popular during wartime, these curtains now serve us well, to enhance our health, well-being, and privacy.