Step-by-Step Guide to Installing Blackout Curtains in an Apartment

Blackout curtains are a great addition to any apartment, as they can block out light and provide privacy. If you're wondering how to put up blackout curtains (either portable or on a rod) in an apartment, this step-by-step guide will provide all the information you need.

Woman installing portable blackout curtains in nursery for baby toddler

Using Portable Blackout Curtains

If you're looking for a simple and easy way to hang blackout curtains in your apartment, portable blackout curtains like the Sleepout Portable which uses industrial-strength suction cups may be the perfect solution. These curtains are easy to install and can be moved from room to room or travel as needed. In this post, we'll provide step-by-step instructions on how to hang portable blackout curtains with suction cups in your apartment.

Step-by-step guide

  1. Measure the windows. Using a measuring tape, determine the width and height of each window that you want to cover with blackout curtains.
  2. Choose the right curtains. When selecting portable blackout curtains with suction cups, make sure they are durable and use the correct design to stay up (Sleepout suction cups use a locking mechanism to make sure they cannot come off once hung). 
  3. Install the curtains. To hang the curtains, first clean the windows with a glass cleaner. Then, remove the suction cups from the packaging and attach them to the window. Finally, hang the curtains on the suction cups, making sure they are evenly spaced and hanging straight. You can place the suction cups so that the Sleepout Portables hang horizontally or vertically depending on the needs of the room. 

Tips and tricks

  • To make sure the suction cups stick properly, make sure the windows are clean and dry before attaching them.
  • If you are using a portable blackout curtain with weaker suction cups, you can often use a hairdryer on the cool setting to create a vacuum and re-seal them to the window (this is often what we would do when they would fall down in the middle of the night). 
  • For added security, you can use Sleepout Strips to reinforce the curtain fabric and ensure that the curtains stay in place.

Hanging Sleepout Portable blackout curtains is a quick and easy way to add privacy and block out light in your apartment. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can easily install these curtains on your own, without the need for screws or drills or any other tools. 

Traditional curtain (left) versus Sleepout 100% blackout curtain (right), both in a white cream fabric

Using Traditional Blackout Curtains

Before you begin, make sure you have the following tools and materials on hand:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver
  • Curtain rod(s)
  • Blackout curtains
  • Screws or adhesive strips

Step-by-step guide

Measure the windows

Accurate measurements are crucial when it comes to choosing the right size blackout curtains for your apartment. Here are a few tips to help you measure your windows correctly:

  1. Use a steel tape measure. A steel tape measure is the most accurate way to measure the dimensions of your windows. Avoid using a cloth or plastic tape measure, as these can stretch or shrink over time and give you inaccurate measurements.
  2. Measure the width and height. To choose the right size curtains, you'll need to measure the width and height of each window that you want to cover. Measure the width at the top, middle, and bottom of the window, and use the largest measurement to ensure that the curtains will completely cover the window. Measure the height from the top of the window frame to the floor or to where you want the curtains to hang.
  3. Measure for overlap. If you want the curtains to overlap in the middle when they are closed, measure the distance you want the curtains to overlap and add that amount to the width of each curtain panel. For example, if you want the curtains to overlap by 6 inches and the window is 36 inches wide, you will need to purchase curtains that are 48 inches wide (36 inches + 6 inches overlap on each side = 48 inches total width).

Sleepout Home permanent blackout curtains in light cream fabric

Choose the right Blackout Curtains

Here are a few tips to help you make the right choice:

  1. Consider the material. The best blackout curtains are typically made from heavy, opaque fabrics that fully and completely block out light. Some common materials for blackout curtains include polyester, cotton, and velvet (Sleepout Curtains are a beautiful cotton/poly blend with a microfibre finish). Consider the style and decor of your apartment and choose a material that will complement your existing furnishings.
  2. Check the light-blocking capabilities. Not all blackout curtains are created equal. Some “blackout” curtains on the market are only 60-70% blackout and easily let light through the material. To ensure that you are getting the best light-blocking curtains, look for curtains that are specifically labeled as true 100% blackout material like Sleepout. 
  3. Check the thermal and sound-blocking capabilities: High-quality blackout curtains will also provide thermal insulation capability meaning they keep the home cool in the summer and warm in winter creating hundreds of dollars in energy savings each month. Sleepout Curtains are also sound-blocking to help create the perfect sleep environment. 
  4. Consider whether chemicals were used: Many blackout curtains are coated with toxic chemicals as a cheap way to make fabric “blackout”. Sleepout Curtains are both OEKO-TEX and Greenguard certified to be free from any harmful chemicals. Curtains that carry these certifications are often more expensive but can be worth it in the long term considering that toxic chemicals often offgas into a home when heat is applied to them. 

Choose the right Curtain Rod

When choosing a curtain rod for your blackout curtains, there are a few factors to consider, including the size, style, and light-blocking capabilities of the rod. Here are some additional tips to help you choose the right curtain rod for your apartment:

  1. Consider the size. The size of the curtain rod is important, as it needs to be wide enough to accommodate the width of your curtains and strong enough to support their weight. Measure the width of your curtains and choose a curtain rod that is at least that wide, or wider if you want the curtains to overlap in the middle when closed.
  2. Look for innovative designs. Some curtain rod companies offer innovative designs that can help block light from the top and sides of your windows, in addition to the front. Look for curtain rods that have a top and side light blocking design, as these can provide even greater light blocking capabilities for your blackout curtains.
  3. Choose a style that complements your decor. Curtain rods are available in a wide range of styles, from classic to modern. Consider the style and decor of your apartment and choose a curtain rod that will complement your existing furnishings and add to the overall aesthetic of your home.

Install the curtain rods

When installing a curtain rod in an apartment, there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure that the rod is securely and properly installed.

  1. Measure twice, drill once. Before you begin, make sure you have accurately measured the width of the window and the distance from the ceiling to where you want the curtain rod to be mounted. This will help you choose the right size curtain rod and ensure that it is installed at the correct height.
  2. Use a stud finder. Most apartments have hollow walls, which means that screws may not provide a strong enough hold to support the weight of the curtains. To make sure the curtain rod is securely installed, use a stud finder to locate the wooden studs in the wall and attach the curtain rod to them using screws.
  3. Use mounting brackets. In some cases, the weight of the curtains may be too much for the screws to support, even if they are attached to wooden studs. In these cases, it is best to use mounting brackets that provide added support and stability for the curtain rod.
  4. Use adhesive strips. If you're not comfortable using a drill or if your apartment prohibits drilling into the walls, you can use adhesive strips to attach the curtain rod. Make sure to use strong adhesive strips that can support the weight of the curtains, and be aware that the curtains may not be as securely attached as they would be with screws.
  1. Hang the curtains. Once the curtain rods are in place, it's time to hang the curtains. Start by pulling the curtains open and placing them on the rod. Then, adjust the curtains so they are evenly spaced and hang straight.

Tips and tricks

  • To make the installation process easier, have a friend help you hold the curtain rods in place while you attach them to the wall.
  • If you're using adhesive strips to attach the curtain rods, make sure the strips are strong enough to support the weight of the curtains.
  • To ensure that the curtains hang straight, use a level to make sure the curtain rods are installed properly.

Installing curtain rod for 100% blackout curtains


Blackout curtains are a great addition to any apartment, providing privacy and blocking out light to create a comfortable living space. But installation can be a challenge, especially in apartments with hollow walls and restrictions on drilling. As apartment renters we invented the Sleepout Portable for this very reason to make it easy for apartment dwellers to enjoy the benefits of blackout curtains without the hassles of installation.

For those that need a permanent option, we invented Sleepout Home’s patented curtain rod that blocks light completely on the top and the sides. Try our blackout curtains today and experience the difference of 100% darkness for yourself. 


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