Assembling A Monitor Hood For Cheap
If you use your computer in a lighted room (as opposed to pitch black) chances are good that you have some glare and reflections coming off of your monitor. Even if the reflection and glare is minor, it has the effect of reducing apparent contrast, making your monitor harder to see. An anti-glare screen will do the job, but is expensive and affects color rendition. A hood will keep stray light off of your monitor without affecting color, giving you a better view and more comfortable environment to work in. Cheaply and easily put together a monitor hood with black foam core; the results are fantastic.
The easiest approach is probably to just buy a monitor hood. The ColorGear monitor hood is a fair price (though shipping doubles its cost), but not quite large enough for my 19" monitor. Hoodman monitor hoods have come down in price a lot, but are still far to expensive in my opinion. The alternative is to make a hood yourself, which is both cheap and easy.
I spent $14 at A.C. Moore to buy two sheets of 30- × 40-inch black-on-black foam core board and two packages of Hunt Sturdy Foamboard hinges. Black-on-black foam-core is a little more difficult to find that the more popular white-on-white style, but I've found it at Michael's and Jo-Ann Fabrics in addition to A.C. Moore.
It's probably pretty obvious what to do now: cut the foam core board into pieces sized for your monitor. Put the pieces together with the hinges and set over your monitor. Really, the hinges are optional (duct tape or similar will hold the foam core together just fine). However, the hinges are stronger and will better stand up to moving the hood back and forth (I want to push the hood back when not in use so it doesn't get bent from bumping it).
You might need a little weight on top of the hood over the monitor to keep it from falling off. I haven't tried it, but a few dots of self-adhesive Velcro should negate that need.
In the end, the monitor hood will cut glare and reflections while increasing apparent contrast while working in a lighted room. It's especially beneficial for photo and video editing and playing games with lots of darkness to them.