My sleeping baby must-have: Black-out Shades. (And How We Decided on the ones in the Nursery)

June 12, 2017

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There’s one detail of the nursery we haven’t expounded on yet, but I get questions about all the time–the light blue flat roman shade. Why did we choose shades over curtains? How did we choose the fabric? How dark does the room get when they are closed?, etc. And since we did put significant brain power into choosing the shade, I suppose it deserves its own post that will hopefully help you when deciding on your own window coverings…or maybe you just love gifs (you’re in for a treat!).

For the first question, shades vs. curtains, we really weren’t sure at first! The Shade Store, a sponsor for the One Room Challenge who provided participants with window coverings, carried both shades and curtains (and a bunch of other options in the colors we were leaning toward) so our options were wide open. We actually went as far as polling our followers in Instagram Stories! At this point, we were leaning toward shades over curtains, because it felt simpler with so much going on in the room–wallpaper and trim work being the most immediate, adjacent things–and a vast majority of you agreed with us that a roman shade was the way to go. Do I think curtains could have worked in here? Absolutely! But I’m so happy with where we landed. It really allows the wallpaper and trim work to take center stage.

Let’s talk fabrics. The Shade Store provides free samples and I took advantage, as you should! In fact, they advise you to never order window treatments from them without first getting samples. We ended up getting two rounds and they arrived within days. The first round was mostly whites, creams and grays and they all felt a little safe and a little flat at the same time. Once we established light blue as the accent color for the room, I ordered another round of swatches I was immediately very excited about.

1. Herringbone in Mist
2. Korinthos in Aloe
3. Suit Stripe in Natural
4. Suit Stripe in Navy
5. Wool Flannel in Azure
6. Raw Silk in Silver
7. Cottage Stripe in Ink
8. Highland in Batik Blue
9. Highland in Cove
10. Linen in Midnight

I ordered some patterns and solids and textural solids and put them all on the rug so I could see what worked with that much larger pattern the best. Because it was a larger pattern, any of these smaller scales could have worked, but throw the cloud wallpaper in (which, it absolutely was in!) and I started to get a little nervous about that Suit Stripe and Highland plaid I initially loved so much.

We quickly narrowed it down to the Wool Flannel in Azure (left) and the Raw Silk in Silver (right). I loved the texture of the silk, but it was definitely a little warmer. I worried that the the warm undertones of the wallpaper would make the almost greenish “Silver” look very green and add another accent color to the mix we weren’t expecting. So! Azure it was. It’s the softest fabric and blue. We just love it.

There were no technicians in our area to install the flat roman shade, something they apologized for over and over, but we promised them was no big deal at all! Especially after the install took us less than 3 minutes. No joke! We chose an inside mount, flat roman shade, and it came with a few screws for the install hardware. All we had to do was drive the screws through the inside header of the shade, through pre-drilled holes, into the window molding. Actually the easiest window coverings we have ever hung.

Now for how dark the room gets, I made a .gif for you! All of the fabrics we were eyeing, had the option to add blackout lining to it, which was obviously a very important part of any nursery or kids’ room so it can turn instant-night (!!) at any point of the day.

As you can see, the room gets almost completely pitch-black once the shade is fully closed, but there is a small line around the perimeter. If we did an outside mount, that would be eliminated completely, but in our previous baby experience, that line of light won’t make a difference because it isn’t illuminating anything else in the room and I much prefer the look on an inside mount when there’s no accompanying curtains.

Sidenote: my mother in law always tells me how she would leave windows open, lights on and even vacuum in the baby’s room while they were napping and they always slept right through it! Howww?! #superwoman. I’m more of a dark-as-can-be, sound machine on blast, don’t you dare open the door! But I guess either way, the baby sleeps. What are your baby-sleeping secrets or must haves?

I hope that answers all your questions about the shade. To see the complete nursery reveal, check out this post. And to see a more budget-friendly alternative, check out this post!


Trim – Metrie | Wallpaper – Cole & Son’s Nuvolette 97/2004 Wallpaper | Overhead Light – Rejuvenation | Area Rug – Rejuvenation | Wool Flannel Blackout Flat Roman Shade in Azure – The Shade Store | Crib – AllModern | Tassel Crib Skirt – PotteryBarn Baby | Crib Sheet – PotteryBarn Baby | Blue Crib Pillow – McGee&Co | Pink Striped Crib Pillow – McGee&Co | Cat Stuffed Animal – PotteryBarn Baby | Light Blue Pom Pom Throw – Annie Selke | Mobile – West Elm | Floor Lamp – AllModern | Pouf – AllModern | Graham Glider – West Elm | Pink Tassel Pillow – Urban Outfitters | Side Table – Target | Book Basket – Target | Wooden Rattle – Target | Dresser – The Land of Nod | Table Lamp – Target | Custom Ultrasound Print – Baby Blue Print | Acrylic Frame – Crate & Barrel | Vase – Jill Rosenwald | Hamper – Serena & Lily | Mirror – Target | Burt’s Bees Striped Changing Pad Cover – Amazon

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What do you think?

  1. Nice post. It is very informative post. I know very important things over here. This is a perfect blog for everyone who wants to know about SHADES. Keep posting and keep sharing like this.

  2. Tarynkay says:

    With our older son, we made all the noise. He can sleep through most anything. We really tried to follow the same strategy with our younger son, but it failed miserably. He is apparently just a very light sleeper by nature. So we have black out shades and a sound machine in the room they share. It doesn’t bother my eldest and our youngest can’t sleep without it.

  3. Carly says:

    My babies both napped wherever- bouncy seat, crib, etc. As they got older it was definitely crib but we haven’t had blackout curtains in any of their rooms they’ve had. Just unlined curtains. No problem. And I have vacuumed in both of their rooms while sleeping. We do use a sound machine but usually leave doors open.

  4. Ruth says:

    I always have had my babies in the living room during the day. TV, conversations, normal life.
    My two daughters are great sleepers, the boy a bit less but he sleeps the whole night, so no complains.
    I do not follow the dark room opinion,I prioritized that they sort of recognize what is day and what is night very soon.
    Honestly, you gotta do what your heart dictates.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I made sure to make noise, vacuuming, let the dogs bark, etc.. from the day I brought them home. As a result both my girls can sleep through anything!

  6. Jessica says:

    My mum experimented with my sister and I who are 8 years apart. I was put in dark room, very quiet, no one disturbed me. My sister had music, vacumns running and no curtains.

    Results are I am a really light sleeper even struggling to share my bed with my significant other. Must have black out blinds, coolness and different blanket thickness to swap during the night to stay cool. My sister can fall asleep anywhere at any time, even probably on the sun (not tested yet)!!

  7. Carrie says:

    I always had lots of light in the baby’s room. I didn’t make it a point to vacuum in their room while they slept, but I wasn’t afraid to vacuum. They all learned to sleep through anything.

  8. Alexis says:

    Once I get past the point of sleep-while-baby-sleeps and feel like I can be a function human being while she naps I’m totally team make all the noise. It’s one of those tips I read to help them learn the difference between day and night while they’re still tiny and hypothetically make naps easier when they get older. However at night I totally want the house shut down and god help you if you flush the toilet or try to put away dishes the first hour after bed time.

  9. Robin says:

    I always put my babies by TV or a noise so they used to noise and it wouldn’t interrupt their sleep especially by the 3rd one. Whew Moms of 3 must be made of steel

  10. Whoa! That blackout shade really does black out the room. We have blackout Roman shades in our baby’s room, too. They don’t get quite as dark (unfortunately!), but we still love them. My only complaint is that I can’t look out her window without raising/moving the shade, thus alerting any wood-be trespassers (or you know, the UPS guy) that I’m watching them. My sister-in-law is like your mother-in-law! She said she vacuumed under the cribs while her babies slept. I’m in your camp: dark, fan on, door shut, no one so much as whispers unless you’re 10 feet away from the baby’s door.

  11. Jessie Casteel says:

    I was already in love with this Roman shade, but the blackout factor makes it that much sweeter! Our Dock A Tot has been a sleep miracle worker. ????????

  12. Katharina says:

    I am 110% on board with your tactic for baby sleep: pitch- dark room, full-on sound machine, door shut! Our now 2-yr-old sleeps like a little dreamboat with this combo.

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