How To Block Light On The Sides of Roller Shades

From Room Darkening to Black Out


Did you purchase room darkening shades, thinking they’ll be the cure for all sleep problems? You had the shades installed thinking “Aha! Now, I’ll have the perfect sleep sanctuary!” But guess what? The light found a sneaky way in through the sides, ruining the “dark room” vibe.

Is true darkness just a myth? Let’s dive into this pursuit of the ultimate sleep fix together.


side channels for room darkening shades


Room Darkening fabric will block out any light coming through the actual fabric itself. But, it won’t be able to block out the light leak from the sides of the shades. To remove these light leaks we need to add a product called; side channels. Side channels are attached to the window frame and act as a guide for the shade, blocking any gaps on the sides.  Turning your room darkening shades into blackout shades. 


Why do light gaps exist on the side of my shades?

When we install roller shades in windows, we want to make sure they’re there when we need them, providing shading and privacy. But, when you’re not using them, we want them to disappear, blending into their surroundings. This is achieved by installing the roller shade inside the window opening and matching the shade fascia with the color of the window frame.

The downside of this installation is the gaps that are created on the side of the shade since it does not overlap the wall as an outside-mounted (installed above the window opening) shade would do. The gaps are created due to the mechanisms of the tube of the shade as well as the motor. There is no way to avoid this on an inside-mounted shade unless we use: side channels.


Who needs side channels?

Most people think a room’s darkening shade provides enough darkness to get a good night’s sleep. Side channels are especially used by our clients who work night, and need rest in the late morning and daytime as well as our clients who are extra sensitive to light.

We recommend you install room darkening shades and test them out on their own. If you think they don’t provide enough darkness, then order side channels.  We noticed that most of our customers think that’s enough. If that’s not you, just know that side channels can easily be added afterward.



What are side channels?

SunCoast Blind’s channels are powder-coated aluminum U-channels attached to the side of your window. They allow the shades to move freely up and down while removing any light leaks from the sides of your windows. Our side channels are 2.5″ wide and available in a variety of colors to match the frame of your window.



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