I have bedroom curtains (double set - one rubber-backed and one sheer) that are letting in too much light where the light sneaks over the top of the curtains. The windows extend to the ceiling. The curtain rails are hung from the ceiling (similar to this installation lifted from this blog).

I'm planning on installing a pelmet, that extends to the ceiling, painted black on the inside (facing the curtains/window), and I think that will cut out a lot of the light. However, there is still a lot of light that hits the ceiling, and then bounces down between the two curtains and gives them a glow.

I'm thinking if I paint the strip of (plasterboard) ceiling between the pelmet and the window a matte black, that should help cut out a lot of those reflections.

However, I have been warned that if I do that, if I ever redecorate the room and remove the pelmet, I will not be able to paint over the black paint and restore it to its white colour.

My questions are:

  • If I paint part of the ceiling black, am I really making myself a problem later if I decide to restore it?

  • Is there another way to make the ceiling black on a more temporary basis? (I figure black Contact is not the way to go!)

  • 1
    We bought an extra black-out curtain and cut it in half. Then we stuff it on top of the pelmet. We have two pretty big windows in our bedroom and tons of light hits it and our mornings are pretty dark. This might not look great but a black ceiling is worse IMO. Just keep the light from coming in. – DMoore Jul 10 '15 at 5:12
  • I don't mind when tenets paint. I mind when they use anything other than 'landlord white'. Especially red or black. It can be covered with enough coats but when you scratch it.... It never goes away. – Mazura Feb 23 at 16:23

You can also look at using removable paint. This answer might be a little late, but I had a similar issue where I wanted to paint my ceilings white, but was looking for a non-permanent solution because the ceilings were wood and the landlord did not want them painted.

I eventually stumbled across tempera paint powder for kid's art, it comes in these big buckets in all different colors. It's pretty easy to mix up and apply. If you are still looking for a solution I was so excited about my solution I even did a video on the process:



  • Uh, picture of it not there anymore to the landlord's satisfaction? GL getting it out of all the cracks.... – Mazura Feb 23 at 16:17

Your pelmet needs a top to it. Other terms are box valance or cornice.

You take a standard valance which is just a curtain rod cover and put a top on it.

Since it's a box with an open bottom that covers the curtain rods and the top of the window opening, it should be a very effective light control device. Paint the inside of the thing matte black, make it light-tight with a weatherstrip between it and the wall and you don't have to mess up the wall or ceiling.

I created mine, not for light control, but for draft control along a 7 foot sliding glass door. The drapery curtain brushes against the underside of the valance top and does a really good job of ending winter heat loss from convective air currents.

  • Thanks for your answer. I pondered it for a while before realising why it didn't make sense to me. My windows extend to the ceiling. My curtain rails hang from the ceiling. A box valance only seems to make sense when a window doesn't reach the ceiling and the rails hang from the wall. Sorry, I didn't make that clear in the original question. I have edited it for clarity. – Oddthinking Jul 10 '15 at 6:12
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    @Oddthinking - I believe that FiascoLab's idea of a box structure is just as valid in your case. Your flat front on the structure simply goes all the way to the ceiling in front of the curtain rod. As suggested you would install a light tight weather strip along the top edge of the front board to seal it up to the ceiling. – Michael Karas Jul 10 '15 at 9:27
  • @MichaelKaras: That would help a lot, because light from coming in the window, bouncing off the ceiling above the curtain rails, and trying to hit me directly in the eye, would be stopped by the pelmet. That's why I am putting a pelmet in. There is still a lot of light coming in the window bouncing off the ceiling above the curtain rails, reflecting back to hitting the inside of the thick white rubber-lined drapes, and coming through the thin sheer curtains. The top third of the curtains glow with reflected light. I am trying to fix that too. – Oddthinking Jul 10 '15 at 9:39

I will not be able to paint over the black paint and restore it to its white colour.

It's just paint on drywall. If you decide to remodel, you can paint over it.

You will need to paint the whole wall to make sure the color matches, and it may take an extra coat or two to completely cover the black, but if you do any remodeling, you will most likely be painting the wall anyway.

Covering up the black will be a small amount of extra work. It definitely doesn't make it impossible.

  • Agreed, a high quality white paint with high percentage titanium dioxide pigment should cover up that black paint just fine. – Jimmy Fix-it Jul 10 '15 at 18:43

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