Thursday, August 29, 2013

Making Baby's Room {Super} Dark: A Few Ideas

I'd realized that Lila's room needed to be super dark for her to sleep well (which was of my own accidental doing, yes). I'd also realized that the black guitar blanket, though effective at blocking out the light, wasn't doing the d├ęcor in Lila's room any favors. So I started researching my room-darkening options.

Option 1: Blackout Curtains (Purchased or DIY'ed)
Perhaps the most obvious option, no? I found several options available, like these curtains at Target. But, honestly, I couldn't find any I loved that looked okay with what I already had going on in Lila's room (not that the black quilt did)--and I didn't want to shell out the $$ for something I didn't really like.
Eclipse™ Twine Thermaback
I did find this tutorial to make your own blackout curtains--and then was super disappointed when I found out Joann's no longer carried the fabric line my mom had used to make Lila's bedding. Sad day for me, yes. If I find a coordinating fabric, I still may make curtains. You know, in all my free time.

Option 2: Window Film
I didn't know window film was a thing (beside window tinting for cars) but apparently it is. Ryan, my go-to resource for researching any purchase, found mainly really good reviews: the film blocked out light well, reduced heat, etc. Home Depot and Wal-Mart both carried a 3 ft. x 6.5 ft. roll for only $16.87, so we decided to give it a go. We purchased a roll of Gila 3 ft. x 6.5 ft. Black Privacy Window Film. The film is simple yet somewhat annoying to hang up. First we cleaned the window (easy). Then we cut the film to size (easy again). We sprayed the window with water (use A LOT) (and easy again), then stuck the film on (easy). The difficult part came when we tried to smooth all the bubbles out of the film. Yikes. There are still bubbles, but luckily, the blinds in the room cover the bubbles so I don't have to look at them every day.

Gila 3 ft. x 6.5 ft. Black Privacy Window Film
We hung the film at night, so had to wait until the next morning to see how well it worked. The picture below is a pretty accurate portrayal of light levels, though somewhat deceiving due to my lack of photography skills (picture Lila's room just a touch lighter). The office and Lila's face the same way and have the same blinds installed--the only difference is the window film. Impressive, no? The film did help with heat reduction, as well. (By the way, don't mind the messy office. Who has time to clean their office just for a picture of lightness levels? Not this girl.)

The next day, though, Lila's naps were horrible. And the day after that. And the day after that. I held strong for a while, knowing that it takes time to break habits--but finally I gave up. Ryan hung a blanket between the window and the blinds and guess what? Long naps once again. At least you can't really see the blanket now! I do think that if Lila weren't used to such a dark room, the film would have darkened the room sufficiently for her to nap well. Note to self: next time, darken the room with film, not a blanket, from the beginning.

Option 3: Whatever you have on hand
You may not want to invest any money into darkening the room, especially if you aren't sure a dark room is the reason behind your child's sleep problems. I have heard (sorry, no first hand experience) that tinfoil and cardboard are both excellent at blocking light. Or you could go with the blanket over the window method, like me. Maybe that will become a trend, right?

Hopefully reducing the light in your child's room will help him or her sleep longer--it certainly worked for me!