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Making a Window More Private

Category Windows
Photo of a window made more private using contact paper.
When you don't want to lose the daylight coming through your window, there are ways to retain your privacy. This guide is about making a window more private.


Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

November 7, 2016

I have a west facing window I don't have to worry about blocking till July! So, in order to have some privacy, but still let the light in, I did this with some lemonade jars and flooring planks.

I had the jars and often use things like this for shelving support. This time it was "almost" perfect. I would have loved to have had longer planks, but I staggered them so each butted up against the sill, giving them a bit more stability.

Putting what you love on the shelves gives it a unique touch as it did mine.

NOTE: If you have little ones at home, you may want to leave this or a smaller version to a window you know they can't get to.

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September 2, 20162 found this helpful

You can create a sense of privacy without adding shades or curtains to a window. This is a guide about privacy window using contact paper.

contact paper shapes being applied to small window

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October 5, 2009

Solve a privacy issue in windows using bubble wrap. You will still get the light but the visibility is greatly reduced! You can get it at an office supply store. It comes in several sizes.


Also try typing "uses for bubble wrap" into Google. There are many alternate uses for it aside from package filler.

By Melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO

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By 1 found this helpful
June 8, 2017

Frosted privacy window film is fairly inexpensive ($10-15) for a generous amount. I was able to use a piece for my kitchen sliding door to provide a sense of privacy when I am doing the dishes. I did not like how I was able to see the street previously. I also have a piece upstairs for the bathroom window.

This film is ideal if you are living in a rental home, do not want to damage the windows or close the curtains. With the film, you are still receiving natural sunlight. You can adhere the film down, but I just taped it.

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May 22, 2017

I sleep on a day bed in the living room and while I love the trees and sky, I hate the parking lot with the cars. So, with just 3 things and about 30 minutes, I made it so not only do I not have to see them, the people down below don't get to see me.

With the sun shade and this project, I can enjoy the evening of watching TV or crafting in private.

Total Time: 30 Minutes

Yield: 1


  • 1 bath scubbie
  • 1 champagne glass ($1.00)
  • 6 fl oz white paint ($.25)


  1. I stuffed the scrubbie down inside the glass to make a faux "paint brush". This is craft paint so when I am ready to move it will be easy to just wash off.
  2. Then I dipped it inside the little tub of paint and began to dab the paint on the glass.
  3. The blinds go back to the far left quarter of the window, and because the cords for the tv are back there, I only did one glass door panel and half of the other.
  4. Ad
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
March 15, 2011

I am needing privacy at my downstairs apartment window, which is next door to a public recreational center. You see, since I have only 2 windows on a single side of the apartment, the idea of using draperies would make the apartment appear like a dungeon, much too dark.

And even though I have venetian blinds, I still feel unsafe, because I know for a fact that outsiders could still see images of me moving around inside and could also see inside plain as day if they came close enough to peek through the venetian drawstring holes, during the dark of night.

In other words, I want to be able to see out, but yet have the security of knowing no one could be peeking in. Any ideas other than draperies or Reynolds Wrap?

If you suggest buying something, please share with me of its availability.
Thanking you so much in advance and sending God's blessings your way.

By Lois Jean from Brandenburg, KY

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 16, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

You used to be able to get window film that was coated so you can see out but people can't see in. You cut it to fit, wet your window then put the film on & rubbed it down. You should probably still be able to get it at a hardware store, but if not, then try an auto parts store.

Also, the blind trick of turning your blinds to point up does work, I've done that with mine for over 20 years now & it makes a big difference.

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March 16, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I suggest some heavy drapes to pull at night. No one could see through blinds and heavy drapes. In the daytime, tilt the blinds upwards. I wonder how close people come to your windows. YOu might also try cafe style curtains that can be closed across the bottom and opened across the top except for a valance. That would let a lot of light in during the day. Otherwise go to the hardware store and get some plastic that is made to reflect the sun and place it on your panes. It looks like a mirror from the outside but you can see out from the inside.

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March 16, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you go to the automotive department at Wal Mart, KMart or Target you can find the film that's made to be used on car windows. I use this on all my front windows because here in southeastern NC the sun pours in and really gets it baking hot in here in the summer. My home faces directly into the south sun so I have to do everything I can to keep it out. But like you, I don't like living with that dungeon feeling either.

I get the darkest film they have and apply it to my windows. Voile! I can see out clearly, but even coming close nobody can see in. My husband and I tested it and he had to come almost nose to nose with the window and me almost touching the window on the inside before he could see my silhouette.

I'll admit this film isn't cheap, but it would solve your problem for sure.

Since my problem is only in summer, I take mine down in the fall and re-apply the same film the next year.

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March 17, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I cover my windows with Wax Paper scotch taped onto the window with a one or two inch opening at the tops so that I can see outside...the wax paper stops persons from looking inside and filters the bright sun light from coming into the room allowing a light that can be seen through the was paper only.

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August 25, 20050 found this helpful

I have a window that I would like to have some light come through but I want some privacy as well. It is a garage window. It gets full sun so any curtains I hang up look bleached and awful after about a month. I'm thinking some kind of stained glass look or etched look. Any ideas to give privacy but lots of light? I love this website. So helpful!


Answer Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
August 26, 20050 found this helpful

I have used a paint that gives the look of etching. You can use a stencil to create different designs on your window filling in as much space as needed for privacy. My favorite is an ivy stencil.

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March 17, 20170 found this helpful

I used the stained glass contact product several years ago for a bathroom window. It works great!

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By 0 found this helpful
May 28, 2012

I live in a 1st floor apartment with windows an 3 sides of my living room. I would like to be able to sit on my couch at night watching TV or reading and still be able to glance out the window, but not have people walking by on the street able to see in. I also would like to be able to leave the bedroom blind open at night and not feel people are "peeping". What type of product do I need to be able to see out, but will keep people from seeing in? Something that is removable and leaves no stickiness, preferably.

By Gayle from Rochester, NY

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
June 6, 20120 found this helpful

I recently read a magazine article in an outdated Woodworking magazine about film that is sold now for windows. The films come in different patterns or plain. Some have a detail at the bottom. The one they showed had a duck for a bathroom. But the plastic window film described in the article gave the look of frosted glass, but it could be removed at a later date. I think that makes it perfect for a rental property.

I thought they looked rather classy. I believe the article said they were sold at stores like Lowes or Home Depot, but I'd be sure to check online, too.

Good luck

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February 12, 20160 found this helpful

SUN Screens you can see out but they can't see in could just get the fabric and double side tape from the inside

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 5, 20090 found this helpful

We just bought a new home and I would like to cover the windows by my front door. They are 7 1/2 inches by 34 1/2 inches. I just don't like people looking in my house especially if it is someone I am trying to avoid, like annoying relatives.



Ideas for Covering Windows

They make a window type cling that looks like stained glass. It comes in great artistic designs. You can find it at most home improvement stores and craft stores. The product lets light in, but keeps noisy neighbors and relatives out. :) (12/18/2008)

By xoxo13

Ideas for Covering Windows

My mom went one step further and made stained glass windows to fit. Very classy looking and added to the value.
She does all kinds of crafts. (12/20/2008)

By Spit Happens

Ideas for Covering Windows

I once had windows like this on each side of my front door. I put a short rod at the top and at the bottom of the widow and put up a sheer curtain with pockets on each end on it. The light could still come in, but nobody could see through it. Since I used a sheer very close to the color of the walls, it was very unobtrusive. Hope this helps. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (12/21/2008)

By tedsmom

Ideas for Covering Windows

Had windows like that. There is an self stick for bathrooms that let light in but can't see through you can apply. Also for one of the windows I used rigid insulation cut to fit the opening and covered with fabric. Looked good and helped with heating/cooling. (12/21/2008)

By Dakota

Ideas for Covering Windows

Good ideas, all! I especially want to avoid people after dark, as I am a property manager who lives on site. They make a wonderful plastic you can't see through that has lace effects in it. You can get it at Walmart in the craft area, on rolls 5 foot wide. You pay $3.98 per yard, so it's really cheap.

Or, if you have craft paint, you can simply dab some paint on the windows like a sponge effect. It comes off when washed, so it's not permenent. You can also get stained glass paint, and have some fun there, too. (12/21/2008)

By Poor But Proud

Ideas for Covering Windows

When my kids were small, we lived in a basement apartment. To protect our privacy, I would put colored paper or inexpensive wrap over their window to block the bright light and give a nice glow to the room.

Good luck. (12/21/2008)

By awanawr

Ideas for Covering Windows

I've used the window treatment that clings to windows, too, and it's awesome! I chose a plain off-white opaque so the sunlight would still shine in brightly and didn't even have to close my curtains at night if I didn't want to ;-) Actually, I am considering putting it on my apartment kitchen window cause I get tired of having to have the blinds closed so that nosy neighbors aren't constantly peeking in as they walk by ;-)

Practice on a small window or glassed photo frame first !!! The only tools you'll need are an X-acto knife or razor blade and a squeegee :-) Oh, and if you decide you don't like it, it's easily removed :-) (12/21/2008)

By Deeli

Ideas for Covering Windows

This is for TedsMOM, I really want curtains but can't find rods to fit 7 1/2 inch windows. (12/21/2008)

By Mary

Ideas for Covering Windows

I use that space to post notices to anyone who comes to the door. One is "Please leave packages at this door." Another one is "Dog in training" - sorta permanently, she likes to rush up barking and scare people. And there's also "I (heart) Jesus". Good for you for thinking about security. (12/22/2008)

By kimhis

Ideas for Covering Windows

I'm like you. I hate people looking in! (of course I live in a trailer will lots of unsavory neighbors all around me!) Anyway, If it were me and I had the money I'd buy some of that Mirror-Tinted window film they sell at Home Depots. This window film also makes your windows more efficient when it comes to using power, especially in the summer by reflecting harsh light. So it will pay for itself in the long run! It's a bit pricey, about $20 or so per window.

A second idea that you could hang up with (or without) your window film is a set of mini-blinds. As far as window treatments go, mini blinds are some of the least expensive! and the best part is, you can open them to let in light, and if they are at the right angle, people still can NOT see in (even when they're open!). They come in 2 types; slightly transparent for light to enter or totally opaque, and the opaque ones cost a bit more. There are 3 other kinds of blinds you can buy "Verosol" blinds which are pleated blinds that open from the bottom or top and unlike mini-blinds, these you don't need to dust. They dust themselves each time you open them.

For more insulation, you can spend more and get the honeycomb type of pleated shade. But as I said in the beginning, of all of these, mini blinds cost the least with the exception of "Roller Blinds" Roller blinds roll themselves up (they're the old fashioned kind). These come in 3 types of thickness. Some you can not see through at all,and some you can see through just a little. You can also hang curtains in front of blinds for more privacy. In one or 2 layers, read below:

For even more privacy, over the blinds and/or the window film, you can add draperies. You can first put a layer of shear or lace draperies, then over those you can hang a double curtain rod and put thicker draperies. If you had a sheer set, then you can open up the thick set and have the sheer set not open. The sheer ones will stop people for being able to see in during the day (but not the night) and also let light in.

Drapes usually cost more than blinds, but pay for themselves eventually in energy efficacy. You'll use less power with them if they are thick enough and If you know someone who sews, they are fairly cheap to make if you get the fabric on sale. Of course in a pinch, you can always use a sheet or blankets and several thumb tacks for temporary curtains! The best (and most costly) curtains are "Blackout" curtains. They let no light in, and no one can see in either.

As a cheap temporary measure you can do what I did. On some of my windows, I simply went to the dollar store and bought plastic shower curtains (or shower curtain liners) that matched the color of the outside of my mobile home, then I cut them to the size of my windows with a box knife or scissors. You'll need no tape to stick them up because the moisture on the windows this time of year will hold them to the windows. They will block out your neighbors and most of your light. After the shower curtains, (inside my window sills) I hung rigid Styrofoam insulation and now my craft room is SUPER insulated!

To hang curtains,especially for easy or temporary duty, you can buy "spring rods" these telescope in and out and will fit most window-wells with no hardware at all needed. They just fit inside the windows with springs. They come in many sizes that adjust bigger and smaller and they are super-cheap! You can find them at Walmart, Home Depot, and many other stores!

* Our front door is made of metal, so we used magnets to hang a piece of fabric over the window. You can buy smaller curtain rods that are made to go above and below the window on doors. You hang a curtain in between the 2 small rods. They have screw-on or magnetic rods. You can also hang pleated shades that are opaque. I think people can still look in with the Window film (if they are close up) unless you buy the kind that looks like a stained glass window. Why not make your own "stained glass window" with permanent markers on plastic film, you can put tin foil behind it for added beauty and privacy!

For any questions about window treatments and privacy, write me here on ThriftyFun.

By Cyinda

Ideas for Covering Windows

As far as finding rods to fit a 71/2" window, you won't find one. But here's an idea. You could get a wooden dowel, cut it to fit less maybe 1/2 - 1/2". Then take an inexpensive tension rod, take the rubber ends off and put them on the dowel. Then push it into the space. The rubber should keep it in place. If not, then you could put attach small plastic container lid to the wall on either side and that would definitely keep the rubber ends from sliding off. You can find tiny containers at Wal Mart or the dollar stores, and a lot of them are clear so wouldn't show much either.

Personally though? I'd stick with the peel and stick stuff! It comes in so many pretty patterns now and you can do so much with it!

Another idea would be the window darkening peel and stick stuff they sell to go on car windows. Then you'd still be able to see out but people couldn't see in. I use this on my house windows during the summer, then take it off for winter and reuse it the next year. I buy mine at Wal Mart. It's much cheaper than getting it at Home Depot. (09/23/2009)

By Cricketnc

Ideas for Covering Windows

Hey, Cyinda! Where is she supposed to find mini blinds or shades only 7andfrac;" wide? You had some fine ideas, but the lady has extremely narrow windows that she's asking about. Shades, blinds, even drapes wouldn't be available in her widths! (09/23/2009)

By Cricketnc

Ideas for Covering Windows

I used wax paper on my front door, it has a small narrow window in the middle and I don't like people looking in so I cut the wax paper to the size and I doubled it so no one can see through it. I used Elmer's glue only around the edges of the glass to stick it to the window and you can not even tell. It looks just like the cling on stuff but is cheaper. I even put it on my daughter's bedroom windows, works great! (09/23/2009)

By katlg31

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