Privacy Window Film Buying Guide

Last Updated on December 21, 2023 by David Michael

Privacy Window Film Buying Guide

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Privacy window film does more than enhance your privacy. It can add style to your home, help you save energy, and protect your furnishings.

We look at mostly non adhesive films today, also known as window cling film. They are easily removable and ideal for renters or anyone who likes to change the look of their windows with ease. Vinyl window film easily sticks to the window without needing adhesives. It stays up until you take them off.

Even though they are easily removable, I’ve had privacy films stay on my windows for years. They really are long lasting and stay on until you remove them.

Recommended Privacy Window Films

These links will jump you to our recommended window films and tools.

Mirrored Reflective Window Films
Frosted Window Films
Decorative and Stained Glass Window Films
Rainbow and other Optical Effects Window Films
Application Tips and Tools

What is Privacy Window Film

Window privacy film is a thin film, usually vinyl, that gets applied directly to the glass. They are a low cost way to add a window treatment that offers full or partial privacy.

They can use adhesives or not. We focus mostly on the non-adhesive types as they are easy to remove and change.

Benefits of Privacy Window Film


From complete privacy to partial privacy, window films obscure the view and still let in natural light. Ideal for bathrooms and windows facing busy streets. They are perfect for screening out an unattractive view, like when you have a window facing a wall.


Update your rooms look quickly with a decorative privacy window film. Stained glass, frosted glass, etched glass looks are all available. Styles range from traditional to modern; there’s a design to match your interior.

Energy Savings

By reflecting or blocking sunlight a window film can help keep your rooms cooler in the warmer months. After I put up a mirrored film in a very hot apartment the difference in temperature was noticeable in feel and a lower electric bill.

UV Protection

Privacy window films can block up to 99% of UV rays. This will help protect your furnishings and artwork from sun fading. They still allow the beneficial rays needed for plant growth, so your plants will still thrive.

Types of Privacy Window Film

Reflective Privacy Window Film

Mirrored film turns your windows into one-way mirrors. During the day you can see out, but no one can see in. Silver is the most popular color, but they’re available in bronze, blue, and dark grey. At night you can see into rooms that have the lights on.

A surprise benefit of mirrored film was that birds would now land on my fire escape outside my windows since they couldn’t see me anymore. Mirrored one-way film is ideal for windows overlooking bird and wildlife feeders.

Opaque Privacy Window Film

Give your windows maximum privacy with frosted glass look film. Get a sandblasted glass look without the hassle or expense of having to replace your windows. Frosted film still lets in natural light, so you can enjoy the sun’s brightness.

You can also get completely opaque films that also block light. Usually available in white or black, the black is effective for blacking out windows for a photo studio or darkroom.

Decorative Privacy Window Film

Stained glass is one of the most popular styles of window film. They can give complete privacy, or partial privacy. Some stained glass designs also have clear sections that allow you to see out of your windows.

Semi Opaque and Translucent Privacy Window Film

Semi opaque window films can simulate glass blocks, pebbled glass, and other glass textures. They can also fill your rooms with rainbows! Tiny grooves act as prisms to create rainbows while helping to obscure the view.

Dichroic film gives a combination of mirrored and color changing effects to your windows.

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Reflective / Mirrored Privacy Window Films

Gila Heat Control Platinum Window Film

This is the film that I used in my apartment. It made a measurable difference in the temperature. The savings in my electric bill was even more noticeable by not needing to run the air conditioner as much in the summer. It’s the only adhesive film that I am recommending.

 Gila Heat Control Platinum Adhesive Residential DIY Window Film Sun Blocking Glare Reduction

One Way Mirror Window Film for Daytime Privacy Non-Adhesive for Home and Office

This is a non-adhesive reflective privacy film that is easily removable. I love that this is available in colors other than silver: dark gray, blue, and bronze.

One Way Mirror Window Film for Daytime Privacy Non-Adhesive for Home and Office

Opaque / Frosted Privacy Window Films

Coavas Frosted Glass Privacy Window Film

Transform a window to a frosted glass look panel with this film. This gives total privacy while still letting in natural light; perfect for a bathroom. This is also available in a blackout version for total privacy with complete light blocking.

Frosted Glass Privacy Window Film

Instruban Window Privacy Film Blinds Pattern

I love this window film. I use it on my windows that directly face a building, sometimes unavoidable living in a city. They really do look like blinds and provide total privacy and unattractive view blocking while still letting in light.

Instruban Window Privacy Film Blinds Pattern

Coavas Window Privacy Film Blinds Frosted Glass Film

These partial stripes are great for obscuring a view without blocking it completely. You can still see through the clear stripes. This film gives semi privacy.

Coavas Window Privacy Film Blinds Frosted Glass Film

Decorative / Stained Glass Privacy Window Film

Artscape Montage Window Film

Stained glass looks from modern to traditional can offer full or partial privacy. I use the Artscape window films in my bathroom, they absolutely glow when the sun beams through them. My window is small enough that it’s easy to change and refresh the look with almost no effort.

Artscape Montage Window Film

Artscape New Leaf Window Film

Artscape offers an impressive range of decorative styles, and I really love their stained glass designs. The quality of the manufacturing really makes their product stand out above the other manufacturers in my opinion. One of the best privacy window film makers.

Artscape New Leaf Window Film

Coavas Stained Glass Window Film

Coavas is one of the few makers of 48 inch wide stained glass window films. This floral is available in several colorways as well as a blackout version.

Coavas Stained Glass Window Film

Rainbow / Optical Window Films

Lemon Cloud Bamboo Window Film

I have this bamboo film on my kitchen windows that face a neighboring building. It blocks the view without blocking any light. The leaves are clear and still let me see out if I wanted to. A great semi private solution to a view that’s not ideal.

Lemon Cloud Bamboo Window Film

rabbitgoo Rainbows Window Privacy Film

Rabbitgoo’s rainbow film not only gives privacy, it can fill your room with rainbows. The effect is best on a sunny day and with direct light.

rabbitgoo Window Privacy Film

Sunice Chameleon Color Dichroic Window Film

Dichroic film gives you a reflective / mirrored effect with color changing properties. Dichroic films come in either cool tones, showing blues and pinks; or warm tones that show reds and yellow.

Chameleon Color Dichroic Window Film

Tips for Applying Privacy Window Films

I’ve used privacy window films in 2 homes and have found what works best for me.

The Tools

The only tools I’ve used are also easy to find. A good straight edge, utility knife, spray bottle, and soft squeegee will have you installing like a pro.

In order to trim window film to size I like to use a metal straight edge and a utility knife.

Malco Aluminum 48-Inch by 2-Inch Wide Straight Edge Rule

I use a 4 foot straight edge to cut window film to size. It’s large enough for most window widths. The aluminum makes a great guide for the cutting blade.

Malco Aluminum 48-Inch by 2-Inch Wide Straight Edge Rule

Stanley Curved Quick-Change Utility Knife

This it the utility knife that I use. The curved handle is comfortable and easy to hold making for safer use. It uses standard replacement blades.

Stanley Curved Quick-Change Utility Knife

If the window film you’re using doesn’t have a tab to easily separate the film from the backing sheet put a piece of tape on each side of the film at an edge. Gently pulling the tape apart should start the film pulling away from the backing.

Be sure to wet the clean window with plenty of soapy water. You only need a small squirt of dish soap in a full spray bottle of water.

Bealee All-Purpose Spray Bottles 24 Oz

A spray bottle with a trigger handle is the most comfortable to use. The adjustable nozzle gives you great control. The large 24 ounce size means you can get all of your windows done without refilling

Bealee All-Purpose Spray Bottles

To get the smoothest application wet the film with the soapy water after it’s on your window. This will help the squeegee glide across the window film.

Use a soft squeegee to work out any air bubbles and excess water. A soft squeegee is best, I’ve scratched window film by using a hard squeegee.

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Squeegee

This is the squeegee that I use. The blade is soft enough not to scratch your window film, just be sure to keep the film misted while you use it. It also gets your windows sparkling clean before you apply any privacy film.

 OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Squeegee

Once your new privacy window film is installed it may look a little blurry, this is normal.

The film will actually allow moisture to evaporate. It takes about a week or two, but your window film will become tighter and smoother as the water evaporates. If any bubbles remain you can pop them with a needle and press the water out.

Enjoy your new windows!

Now that your windows are done, you may also enjoy our post on Home Fragrance.


What is privacy window film?
Privacy window film is a thin vinyl film that is applied directly to glass surfaces. It offers a cost-effective way to enhance privacy by obscuring the view from outside while still allowing natural light to pass through.

What are the benefits of privacy window film?
Privacy window film offers several benefits. It provides privacy by blocking the view into your space, enhances the aesthetics of your windows with decorative designs such as frosted or stained glass looks, helps save energy by reflecting or blocking sunlight, and provides UV protection to prevent sun fading of furnishings and artwork.

What are the different types of privacy window film?
There are several types of privacy window film available:

Reflective Privacy Window Film: Mirrored films that create a one-way mirror effect, allowing you to see out during the day while preventing others from seeing in.

Opaque Privacy Window Film: Frosted or completely opaque films that provide maximum privacy while still allowing natural light to enter.

Decorative Privacy Window Film: Films that mimic the appearance of stained glass, offering both privacy and aesthetic appeal.

Rainbow/Optical Window Film: Films that create optical effects like rainbows or color-changing properties, adding a unique visual element to your windows.

Can privacy window film be easily removed?
Yes, privacy window films, particularly the non-adhesive types, are designed to be easily removable. They can be peeled off without leaving residue or damaging the glass. This makes them ideal for renters or those who like to change the look of their windows frequently.

2 thoughts on “Privacy Window Film Buying Guide”

  1. I love this idea. We’ve been wanting to cover the windows in on our garage door and this would work great and look nice.

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