Making a Window More Private

Category Windows
When you don't want to lose the daylight coming through your window, there are ways to retain your privacy. This page is about making a window more private.
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Solutions

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With simple everyday items: cardboard/box, painter's tape, trash bag, scissors/box cutter, and measuring tape - you could make your own privacy screen for your window.

We have an upstairs bathroom where you can see down to other homes. Even though our home is up higher, it is very uncomfortable to use that bathroom. Here is a tutorial where I made this privacy screen literally for free with items I already had at home. We still get sunlight while having privacy in your own home!

Total Time: 45 minutes

Supplies:

  • cardboard/box
  • pencil
  • clear trash bag
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • measuring tape
  • painter's tape
  • box cutter

Steps:

  1. Measure your window and see what dimensions you'll need to make your screen.
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  3. Once you measure out your dimensions you are ready to cut your box to size.
  4. Determine how thick of a border you would like around your screen. I went with 2.5" all around.
  5. Using a box cutter, cut on the line you just drew out.
  6. Decorate the screen, I just used a double layer of painter's tape (green). You could paint, glue on decorations, or however you would like.
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  8. Flip screen over. You will lay trash bag over and cut to size. Secure trash bag with some tape. Note: I like how my trash bag has texture, makes it look nicer against the window.
  9. Screen is ready to go against window! Mine fit right on, but may vary depending on your window (some adjustments may be needed) or you may need a little tape to stick on.
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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.

temporary shelving on window ledge

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Frosted privacy window film is fairly inexpensive. This film is ideal if you are living in a rental home, do not want to damage the windows or close the curtains.

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With the film, you are still receiving natural sunlight.

A window covered with a privacy window film.

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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.

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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.

Paint Window to Hide Parking Lot - painted window

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Questions

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.

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.

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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

Answers

March 15, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you open the blinds the right way you will still be able to see out, but people won't be able to see in. To do this you open them so that the slats point upward inside the room. This is a trick that my late aunt taught me when I was a teen ager. Have you went outside at night and left your lights on and tried to peek throught the drawstring holes? If you see anything at all, I bet it wouldn't be enough to see if you are alone or whatever. If you still feel you need more privacy you could buy sheer curtain panels and hang them to cover the blinds, or else buy tension rods that would fit inside the window frame and hang the sheers inside the blinds. That would kind of filter the view.

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I have also heard about spritzing water on the window and putting wax paper on the glass. I have also heard of doing the same with bubble wrap. The wax paper is in grocery departments in the same section as foil wrap and baggies, etc. The bubble wrap is in the stationary department at my local WalMart. You can also buy sheer curtain panels, etc. at WalMart. Before buying anything I would suggest opening your blinds the way I said and then go outside, standing quite close to the windows and see how much you see in. I would also do this at night and try looking in the drawstring holes. Do a little experimenting with how you open your blinds, you might have to make a few trips in and out to get the right degree of opening, but it does work.

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March 16, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Another good idea is go to Walmart, and in the stores that have a good sized craft section, you can find rolls of 5' wide plastic ware. You can get it that looks like lace with flowers, etc. You can't see through it but it does shine in the light. You can also get frosted contact paper in some places. You can also just soap the windows, but it will run off when the condensation hits, so try some things like redhatterb suggested. Good luck!

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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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Anonymous
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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Answer this Question...

August 25, 2005

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!

Sandy

Answers

August 25, 20050 found this helpful

If you go to your paint supplier and ask about a matte finish by Krylon, I think you would be happy with it. You could spray it on and leave it or....

I use it to coat the top of plexiglass before I paint so that the paint will adhere to it. Now, you could coat it with the matte finish, place a stained glass pattern on the opposite side, so you can see your pattern and then paint away. There are lots of free stained glass patterns on the web that you could use.

I let the matte finish sit for 24 hours. Then I paint/trace the black lines on the matte side of the stained glass picture, making them perfectly neat and the same size. Then I fill in with the colors I am going to use. If the painting is going outside then I use Patio Paints but if inside any acrylic paint would be fine. Since this window is in full sun, Patio Paints would be best since they do not fade in the sun like normal acrylic paints do. Once the colors are filled in then I touch up the black lines once again.

Voila, you are done and most people who look at your painting will think that you have spent a lot of money and bought a stained glass picture. (Little do they know). This project is very easy to do...I am the Jr. Gardener leader for our area and we did this with all the kids as the craft at June '05's meeting.

Good luck, let us know what you are going to do.

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August 26, 20050 found this helpful

How about white curtains? If anything, they'll look better after sunbleaching.

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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

Read More Answers

September 2, 2016

You can create a sense of privacy without adding shades or curtains to a window. Get a frosted glass look using contact paper. It is an inexpensive way to create a privacy window in a bathroom or any other window you would like some privacy but not loss of light.

contact paper shapes being applied to small window

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October 1, 2019

If curtains that won't stayed closed or breezes that cause them to flutter open bothers you, try using a clothespin or a clip of any sort to keep them closed.

A woman closing curtains in a large window.

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Archives

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October 5, 2009

We just bought a new home and I would like to cover the windows by my front door.

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