Everyone is jealous of my perfectly preserved, built-in-1918 Craftsman house located in the trendy Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles — until they stop by during a 100-degree-plus heat wave. Even though I’ve had the place retrofitted with air-conditioning, those glorious, original single-pane glass windows (which were cleverly placed to take maximum advantage of the blazing California sunlight) still let in a good amount of heat.
So when I stumbled on a web ad for heat-blocking curtains, I was sold. Target, my home away from home, has a pretty great selection of both heat-blocking and total blackout curtains. (Yes, there’s a difference: Heat-blocking curtains still let a little bit of light in, while blackout curtains make your home Dracula’s castle.)
After replacing my vintage fabric curtains with the heat-blocking ones, the difference was incredible — I run the AC about half as much as I used to, and my electricity bills are a good 25 percent less than they were at the same time in previous years. Once summer’s over, I can just switch them back. My ancient house has seven different rooms of glorious, sun-baked windows, so here’s what I got to beat the heat in every room.
My living room
Yes, I am a trendy woman who painted my living room with ‘Down Pipe’ by Farrow & Ball, so these charcoal-gray curtains with a faint white floral motif were a no-brainer.
Most curtains are annoyingly long (84 inches? I am not trying to outfit a ballroom in Monte Carlo), but these cheerful blue-and-white ones also come in a more sensible 63-inch length, making them workable for my kitchen and laundry-room area.
My dining room
My dining room is painted a lovely celestial blue, so these star-scattered curtains are a genius accent.
These color-blocked panels are technically from Target’s kids’ furnishing line (called Pillowfort), but the décor in my home office is pretty wacky — so they work perfectly. (Although I’m leaning toward replacing them with these delightfully grandma-style floral ones in the very near future.)
My boyfriend’s office
My master bedroom is all Hollywood Regency style, with lacquered furniture and gold accents, so these black-and-white, vertical-striped panels pop nicely in the space.
My guest bedroom
I wanted my guest bedroom to be a cool, inviting space, and these icy-blue, Moroccan-inspired curtains totally did the trick.
If you don’t want to change your curtains
If switching out all the curtains in your house every summer sounds like a huge hassle, just put these blackout curtain panel liners up behind your existing curtains with an inexpensive tension rod to enjoy some heat-blocking bliss.
For another DIY solution
If you want to block out heat and light in an instant (with zero tools or hassle), grab yourself a few yards of this 54-inch-wide blackout fabric, cut it to fit the window in question, and put it up with a set of pushpins. You can hang your regular curtains in front of it, and nobody will ever be the wiser.
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