How To Stop Light Coming In Side And Top Of Curtains

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

Sunlight makes a room feel open and cheery, but sometimes you want it dark, really dark. Maybe you need to sleep in after a long night, or you want to set up the perfect movie viewing space. Closing the drapes is the first step, but how do you stop light coming in the side and top of the curtains?

You can block light from bleeding around curtains using magnetic tape or Velcro and position your curtain rod against the wall. Using a combination of tacks and binder clips can help you block light quickly. If you have the wall space, you could consider hanging the curtains farther above the window and extending them more on the sides.

If you prefer not to have any light coming in when you close the curtains, opt for a more permanent solution. But if you enjoy a little light and only need to block it occasionally, go with a temporary fix. You can get ideas for both types of solutions right here.

7 Ways to Stop Light Coming in Side and Top of Curtains

The good news is that blocking light around the sides and tops of curtains is easy and inexpensive. Most methods only require a little work upfront allowing you to keep out the light with a few quick steps.

You won’t need any obscure supplies either. Depending on the fix you choose, you’ll need some tacks or push pins, binder clips, magnetic tape, or Velcro. If you opt for a grander solution, you might need to invest in a longer curtain rod and an extra curtain panel.

1. Hang an Extra Curtain Panel

If you have the wall space, consider extending the curtain rod further beyond the window. It’s typical to hang curtains a few inches past the window on each side but extend it at least a foot to block out more light. For the top, hang the rod 8 to 10 inches above the window if you have the space.

You’ll need to add an extra curtain panel (or two) and likely need longer panels to account for the added rod height. Keep in mind that this will change your overall design’s look, making your window appear larger.

But if the look works for you, it can help block out extra light. However, you will likely still have a wee bit of sun peeking in. This method is also one of the more costly options since it involves purchasing new curtains and possibly a longer curtain rod.

So, if you want the light gone completely, or have a tighter budget, use an alternative method.

2. Purchase a Wrap-Around Curtain Rod

Most curtain rods simply go straight across the top of your window, so you’ll naturally end up with light bleeding around the sides. Therefore, swap out your existing standard rod for a wrap-around model.

The ends bend back, allowing you to pull your curtains around and against the wall, eliminating the space that lets in the light. Of course, this solution is great for blocking light coming in from the sides of the curtain but doesn’t do anything about light from the top. So, you’ll still need to use an additional method for blocking the extra light coming from the top of the curtain.

3. Install a Cornice to Block the Light on Top

Curtain rods are typically set away from the wall when installed to allow curtains to hang nicely in front of a window sill. But, this means you’ll get a lot of light leaking in from the top of your curtains.

Install a cornice board to keep light from bleeding out the top of your curtains. It’s a decorative box that goes over the rod, covering the gap between the rod and wall. You can find them in a variety of styles, so this could be an option for you if it works within your design.

4. Use a Piece of Cardboard to Block Light at the Top of Curtains

If you’re in a pinch, place a long piece of cardboard across the top of your curtain rod. This is an easy, temporary fix that works for an occasional movie party or sleeping in on the weekends. It’s also a better solution than a more permanent cornice if the cornice doesn’t gel with your design taste.

If your curtain panels feature a style that extends them up past the rod, you might not even see the cardboard when it’s in place. But you can easily keep a pre-cut piece of cardboard on hand to pop up whenever you need it.

5. Use Magnetic Tape

You can purchase magnetic tape at any craft store or online. Place one side of tape along the outer edge of your curtains and the other on the wall. Snap the panels onto the magnets, and you’ve successfully blocked the light.

Make sure the piece of magnetic tape on the wall is hidden behind the curtain panels. Then you won’t have to worry about any unsightly design issues.

6. Stop Light Coming in Side and Top of Curtains with Velcro

Instead of magnetic tape, you can employ the same concept with hook-and-loop fasteners (Velcro). Attach adhesive-backed Velcro to the wall behind the curtain panels. Then stitch the opposite side onto the back of the curtain panels using a sew-on velcro.

Stitching sew-on Velcro to the fabric ensures a better hold than using adhesive Velcro on the material. (Especially with something like curtains that you’ll open and close repeatedly. )

7. Use Push Pins and Clips

For a more temporary and quick solution, grab some binder clips and push pins or tacks. Simply position the push pins in the wall alongside the outer edge of each curtain panel. Hang binder clips from each pin and use them to clip the curtain in place.

As for the top of the curtain, prop the rod on top of the brackets, so it rests right against the wall. This is by no means a permanent solution. But it can work if you need to stop light coming in from the sides and top of curtains quickly.

Then you can just as easily put things back the way they were afterward. You can get a closer look at this idea in the following video.

Video: Blocking the Light Around Curtains with Tacks and Binder Clips

How Do You Close a Gap Between Curtains and Walls?

Any of the above methods will help close a light gap between curtains and walls. But if you want an even more permanent solution, you can install a piece of wood on the wall behind your curtain panels.

It should be just slightly shorter than the length of your curtain panel and equal to the depth of the space between the curtain and wall. Install the strip roughly one inch beyond the window’s edge and inside the outer edge of the curtain. This placement will ensure the strip isn’t visible.

You can install the strip using simple, small L-brackets. To help the strip blend in, you can paint the brackets and the wood the same color as your wall.

How Can You Stop Curtains from Blowing?

Keeping light at bay from the top and sides of curtains is easy. But what about if your curtains are fluttering in the breeze (or the A/C) and still letting in the light?

Stopping curtains from blowing is as easy as using a set of magnetic curtain weights. You can also use magnets, safety pins, or binder clips to quickly keep panels together.

How to Stop Light Coming from Side and Top of Blinds

What if you don’t have curtains and just use blinds or shades? You can purchase light blockers to keep light from coming in the sides of your blinds.

To prevent light from coming in the tops, you could hang a valance. If there’s a lot of light coming around the top and sides of your blinds, you might not have the correct size. Make sure you measure your windows for blinds correctly to ensure the proper fit.

You can also make inexpensive DIY light-blocking shades like in this video.

Video: Make DIY Light Blocking Shades

Make sure to watch through the end! You’ll see how sticking Velcro to fabric doesn’t work. Also, the big takeaway is to make sure you don’t cut your fabric too short.

Time to Stop Light Coming In Side and Top of Curtains

To achieve a total blackout in your room, you need to get rid of light leaks around your curtains. You can do this by hanging curtains further past the windows or installing wood strips behind your curtain panels. A cornice over the rod can block light from spilling in from the top of the curtains.

You can also use Velcro or magnetic tape to help secure curtains in place and avoid light leaks. If you need a quick, cheap solution, hang binder clips from pushpins on the wall next to the curtain panels. Then, simply clip them into place.

Simple magnetic weights will help to keep your drapes from fluttering and letting in extra light. Trying these ideas can help you find the best combination of solutions to achieve the cozy, dark room you desire.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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