If you’ve ever shopped for custom window shades or blinds, you know they are EXPENSIVE: hundreds or even a thousand dollars or more. Most mini blinds don’t completely block out light so they’re not ideal for bedrooms (and they make the room look like an office).
I found these wonderful and AFFORDABLE window shades at Home Depot! They can be cut to a custom width while you wait, or ordered online to your specifications. They don’t have a string hanging down; you simply raise and lower them by pulling on the bottom bar. They look clean and elegant!
My bedroom is adjacent to a hallway with a skylight which is wonderful when I’m up, but shines a ton of light as soon as the sun comes up in the morning when I’m sleeping. I wanted to add some sort of blackout covering to the hallway to block this light.
So, I made a trip to Home Depot, where I discovered their house brand, Home Decorator Collection “Cordless Cellular Shade“.
They come in several colors and styles. You can get the Light Filtering version which lets a lot of light through, Room Darkening which lets some light through, and Blackout, which is totally opaque. That is what I wanted.
The shade material is thin plastic but totally looks like cloth from the outside (and might have a cloth layer).
You can mount these shades inside your window frame or outside.
There is also a motorized version, but I opted for the version without motor.
Customizing the Width
The shades come in two lengths: 48 inches and 72 inches. If the shades are longer than your window, there will be just some excess bunched up at the bottom; not the end of the world.
Getting the width exactly right, however, is super important, especially if you’re mounting them on the inside of your frame (like I did)!
If you order online, you can specify the width to the nearest 1/4 inch, which is great! If you’re mounting the shade inside your window frame, I recommend leaving 1/8″ of clearance on either side.
If you get your shades at a Home Depot store, a sales associate can cut the shade to your desired width. How does that work? They have a guillotine-like tool that slices right through the plastic and shade material. There are plastic endcaps that you snap on so you can’t tell it was ever cut! Just be sure you have your measurements right though!
My shade came with 3 metal mounting brackets. As I mentioned before, you can mount your shade inside your window frame or in front of your window. I opted for inside.
Each mounting bracket is held by two screws that go into your window frame or wall, depending on how you want to mount your shades. Now, you’ll want to test what your frame material is by driving a few thin nails. Most window openings have a metal drywall corner between 1 inch and 1.25 inches wide. You’ll want to avoid screwing into that by moving the shade back a little from the front edge of your window opening.
Luckily, most windows have a wood frame, so just past the drywall corner there should be drywall and wood behind that. I drilled a pilot hole then screwed the mounting brackets into the drywall and eventually wood. No drywall mounts were necessary!
If you mount in front of your window frame though, you may need to use drywall anchors.
These blackout shades have been a game-changer for our sleep! No more waking up at 5:30 AM on a Sunday morning! I highly recommend them! Move the slider below back and forth to see the difference (camera was set to the same exposure settings for each photo).
I mentioned these were affordable. Cost before tax for our Home Decorator Collection Window blackout shade was $92!!! Compare that to the cost of custom blinds or shades which can be hundreds of dollars and take weeks to build! With these shades, I got them at Home Depot and mounted them in a day!
Questions? Please leave a comment below! – Brian