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
I think there is an unwritten rule that all men have to have those solid, boring, navy-blue curtains in their living spaces, but I was able to convince (coerce) my boyfriend to get these upbeat gray chevron ones for his home-office space instead.
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.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.