How to Use Hem Weights for Blackout Curtains

Have you ever tried to create the perfect blackout environment only to find that pesky slivers of light sneak through the bottom of your curtains? It can be beyond frustrating when a well-put-together room is compromised by that tiny, yet persistent, light leak. Fortunately, there's a simple and stylish solution to this problem: hem weights for blackout curtains. In this detailed guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about using hem weights effectively to achieve that complete blackout sanctuary you desire. From understanding what hem weights are, to choosing the right type and installing them, we promise to make you a pro by the end of this article. Let's dive in.

What Are Hem Weights?

Hem weights are small, weighted objects that attach to the bottom hem of your curtains. Their primary purpose is to pull the fabric down so it hangs straight and stays in contact with the floor or window sill, thereby preventing light from sneaking through the bottom. They come in various forms such as chains, lead weights, or even magnetic versions. The beauty of hem weights is that they not only improve the room's blackout efficiency but also add a touch of elegance to the curtains by ensuring they drape beautifully.

Black blackout curtains

Top Benefits of Using Hem Weights

Firstly, hem weights considerably improve the blackout feature of your curtains. By ensuring the fabric touches the floor or window sill firmly, they block out light more effectively. Secondly, they add to the aesthetic appeal of your curtains by ensuring they hang straight and wrinkle-free. Last but not least, they help insulate your room by sealing off any drafts that may enter from under the curtain. This can also contribute to regulating the room’s temperature, making it cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Choosing the Right Type of Hem Weight

Choosing the right type of hem weight largely depends on your curtains and personal preference. Lead weights are extremely effective but can pose health risks if the curtain is accessible to children or pets. Chain weights are more flexible and can distribute the weight evenly. Magnetic hem weights are a modern solution that allows for easy adjustment and removal. Consider the material and style of your curtain as well as who will be interacting with it while making your choice.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Hem Weights

Installing hem weights is a straightforward process. Start by measuring the width of your curtain to determine how many weights you will need. Typically, weights are placed every 15-20 inches. Sew small pockets into the bottom hem of the curtain or attach clip-on weights directly if your curtain allows. Finally, insert the weights or clip them on, making sure they are evenly distributed.

Mother putting up sleepout blackout curtains in the room while holding her baby

Best Curtains to Use with Hem Weights

While hem weights can be used with most curtain types, they are particularly effective with blackout curtains. Blackout curtains, designed to block out sunlight, usually have a thicker fabric that can handle the added weight without compromising their drape. Brands like Sleepout Portable Blackout Curtain and Sleepout Home Blackout Curtains are excellent choices for this purpose.

Hem Weights for Different Areas of the Home

Hem weights can be used in various rooms to achieve different effects. In a nursery, they help create a dark, sleep-friendly environment for babies. In the living room, they contribute to a cozy and intimate atmosphere by improving the curtain’s fall and preventing drafts. In the bedroom, they help achieve the ultimate blackout state, promoting better sleep quality.

Caring for Your Curtains with Hem Weights

When washing curtains with hem weights, remove the weights if possible to avoid damage to both the weights and the curtains. If the weights are sewn into pockets, consider hand washing or using a gentle cycle in your washing machine.

Before and after applying sleepout blackout curtains. The room to the right is much darker

Real User Testimonials

"Since installing hem weights on my Sleepout blackout curtains, our living room not only looks better but also completely blocks the draft from the bottom. It's a game-changer!" — Emily R.

"I was skeptical at first, but adding hem weights to my bedroom blackout curtains made a noticeable difference in how dark the room gets. They're a small investment for a huge benefit!" — Jason T.

Best Practices for Using Hem Weights

To ensure the hem weights are most effective, regularly check that they are securely attached and evenly distributed. Periodically, adjust them if you notice any imbalance or uneven hanging of the curtains. Pair them with curtain accessories like tiebacks or clips to enhance the overall look and functionality.

Woman sleeping in fully dark room

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid overloading your curtains with too many weights as this can lead to tearing the fabric. Make sure to follow the placement guidelines to ensure even weight distribution. Also, be cautious of using lead weights, especially if you have children or pets, and opt for safer alternatives.

Combining Hem Weights with Other Light Blocking Remedies

For ultimate light control, consider combining hem weights with other light-blocking solutions such as Sleepout Adhesive Strips. These strips can seal the edges of your curtains to ensure no light sneaks in from the sides, complementing the hem weights’ role at the bottom.

Are Hem Weights Worth the Investment?

Absolutely! Hem weights are a cost-effective way to enhance the performance of your blackout curtains. Their benefits far outweigh the initial investment, offering better blackout efficiency, enhanced aesthetics, and additional insulation properties.

Environmental Impact of Hem Weights

When selecting hem weights, consider eco-friendly options like steel or magnetic weights that are reusable and recyclable. Avoid lead weights which can be harmful to the environment and your household.

Young girl sleeping in dark room

Aesthetic Advantages

Beyond practical benefits, hem weights can elevate the aesthetic appeal of your curtains. They create a clean, straight edge at the bottom which contributes to a polished and finished look. This is a significant advantage if you’re aiming for a sophisticated and well-coordinated room.

Versatility Beyond Blackout Curtains

Hem weights aren’t just for blackout curtains. They can be used in sheer curtains to add a subtle elegance or in shower curtains to prevent them from billowing. Their versatility makes them a valuable addition to any curtain type.

Opting for Customized Solutions

If ready-made hem weights don't meet your needs, consider customized options. Tailors and specialized curtain stores can offer personalized weights to suit your specific requirements, ensuring optimal performance and a perfect fit.

Compatibility with Curtain Rods

Hem weights work well with most curtain rods, including traverse rods and double rods. However, ensure the curtain rod can support the additional weight to prevent sagging.


In conclusion, hem weights are a simple yet highly effective way to maximize the efficiency and aesthetics of your blackout curtains. By blocking light, preventing drafts, and enhancing the drape of your curtains, they offer a myriad of benefits that contribute to a better living environment. Whether you're looking to darken a nursery or create a cozy, dark bedroom, hem weights are a worthy investment. With the tips and insights shared in this guide, you're now well-equipped to make an informed decision and transform your space into a comfortable, light-controlled haven. Happy decorating!

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