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.
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.
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.
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.
Privacy window films can block up to 99% of UV rays. This will help protect your furnishings and artwork from sun fading.
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.
Recommended Privacy Window Films
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Reflective / Mirrored Privacy Window Films
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.
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.
Opaque / Frosted Privacy Window Films
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.
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.
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.
Decorative / Stained Glass Privacy 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.
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.
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.
Translucent / Optical Window Films
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.
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.
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.
Tips for Applying Privacy Window Films
I’ve used privacy window films in 2 homes and have found what works best for me.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy your new windows!
Now that your windows are done, you may also enjoy our post on Home Fragrance.