6 Easy Ways to Blackout Windows On a Budget


Are you wondering how to blackout windows?

Blackout windows are ideal for darkening your room to enjoy a peaceful night’s sleep or maintain a cooler temperature.

But is there a cheap way to block sunlight from windows? For sure!

To blackout windows on a budget, you can spread some aluminum foil, cut up some black fabric, buy easy-on window film, or use cardboard.

Keep reading to learn more!

The 6 Best Ways to Blackout Windows On a Budget

Blacking out your home’s windows does not need to be expensive. Here are some of the best blackout materials for windows I’d recommend.

#1 Aluminum Foil

In my opinion, the best way to blackout windows temporarily is by using aluminum foil.

Aluminum foil is also one of the cheapest blackout materials around. With one roll, you should be able to cover the windows in your room and still have enough to wrap the kids’ sandwiches for school with. The foil will reflect the light as it tries to make its way through your windows.

Here’s how to cover your windows with aluminum foil:

  1. Cut squares out of aluminum foil the same size as your windows.
  2. Fix the squares to the window with tape. (I recommend masking tape as it is easy to remove. It will not strip the paint on your window frames).
  3. Apply two layers of aluminum foil to the windows if necessary.
blackout windows with aluminum foil
Aluminum foil can help you blackout your windows.

Fancy checking out the steps in more detail? Then take a look at this helpful video below.

#2 Black Fabric

Another cheap way to block sunlight from windows is by using black fabric. In my experience, any kind will be a good blackout solution.

If you don’t have any fabric, you should be able to pick some up cheap and by the meter at your local haberdashery shop.

Here’s how to blackout windows with black fabric:

  1. Measure your windows and cut the fabric to the size of your windows.
  2. Fix the fabric in place with heavy-duty, double-sided tape.
  3. Apply two layers of fabric to the windows if necessary. You can sew the edges of the fabric together to join them.

#3 Cardboard

Cardboard is another material you can use to blackout material for windows.

Cardboard is inexpensive, and you can even pick up what you need for free by asking at your local grocery store. Most stores have cardboard food boxes they are willing to give away.

How to use cardboard to blackout windows
If you want to blackout your windows but are on a budget, try using cardboard.

Covering your windows with cardboard is simple. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Measure your windows and cut the cardboard to its size.
  2. Fix the cardboard to the windows using heavy-duty, double-sided tape.
  3. [Optional] Paint the cardboard with black, opaque, water-based paint like latex.

#4 Window Film

My go-to blackout material is window film, as it gives your house more privacy, insulates your windows, and keeps the sun out in summer, lowering your energy bills and protecting your skin from harmful UV rays.

Window film is probably the easiest to apply of all the window blackout solutions we’ve seen. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  1. Measure your windows and cut the window film to size.
  2. Clean the window thoroughly to avoid creases and wrinkles in the film.
  3. Push the window film against the windows. It sticks on its own due to the static.
  4. Push the air bubbles out from under the film with a ruler or a sturdy piece of cardboard. (Some window film applications require the use of a hairdryer. If so, use yours on low to medium heat and keep it at least 6 inches from the film).

I like that window film is customizable. You can get it in different shapes that darken but at the same time liven up a room. It also:

  • Reduces UV exposure in your home.
  • Looks professional.
  • Provides easy installation and uninstallation. Some window films can stick with mere static alone!
  • Reduces heating bills in the winter because it insulates your windows.

#5 Blackout Curtains

If you’re still looking for different window blackout solutions, consider getting blackout curtains.

I know that getting blackout curtains is not the cheapest way of darkening a room, but they are effective. You should be able to pick up a pair at any good homeware store.

But what can you do if blackout curtains are slightly out of your budget?

Some homeware stores sell curtain liners, which are less expensive than blackout curtains and do the same job. In fact, curtain liners will even give you the freedom to decorate your room with the curtains you choose on the inside and still benefit from the blackout liner.

The advantage of blackout curtains and liners is that they are easy to install. Simply hang them up, and you’re good to go.

What if your blackout curtains are letting light seep through? Then try and find a curtain rod that sits flush with the wall. The closer the rod is to the wall, the closer your curtains will be to the window, preventing any excess light from entering.

#6 Blackout Blinds

You can also blackout your windows with blinds.

Blackout blinds are specially made to fit snugly to the window and greatly reduce the amount of light that passes into a room.

For the best results, measure your windows well before buying your blackout blinds to ensure your windows get the best fit possible.

Window blinds
Blackout blinds need to be measured accurately to block out the sun effectively.

Buying blackout blinds is a more expensive solution for darkening your room. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper, more DIY method, try the first four window blackout solutions mentioned in this article.

The Benefits of Blackout Windows

If you’re still undecided about whether to blackout your windows, here’s a list of benefits that come from doing so:

  • Blocks the sun: Do you have a room that gets uncomfortably hot in the summer? Blacking out the windows is a good way to keep the temperature down. Retractable shades can also be a good option because they can be reversed in winter, helping warm the room.
  • Better sleep: Blackout windows will ensure that sunlight doesn’t shine through while you sleep. You can create the ideal nighttime environment, which is great if you work at night.
  • Privacy: Do your front windows sit on a busy street? Or does one of your windows directly face one of your neighbor’s windows? Then, blacking them out is a great solution for you. Window film is a good way to stop onlookers from peering into your home.
  • Cinematic experience: If you’re like me and love watching movies, blacking out your windows will give you the perfect cinema experience. In my opinion, there is no better way to get fully engrossed in a movie than with a dark cinema-like atmosphere.

Wrapping Up: The Best Way to Blackout Windows

Hopefully, now you know how to blackout windows.

Remember, using cardboard, window film, aluminum foil, or black fabric is a cheap way to block sunlight from windows and keep your room cool. If you’re not on a budget, you can install blackout curtains or blinds.

If this article helped you, please check out more of our free guides on our website!

Have a great day!


I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more