How to Select Window Treatments for Privacy and Light

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Select the best window treatments for privacy and light if you love a light and bright atmosphere but don’t want prying eyes to see in. Check out these winning ways for windows.


Hang a one-way-view custom roller shade (sold at stores that handle specialty blinds and shades); these shades are made of a perforated material similar to the vinyl baby shades for car windows. Even when pulled down to the sill, these shades still let you see out and filter sunlight, but they obscure the view of someone who's outside the home trying to peer in.


Install a pleated window shade - the type whose profile appears as a honeycomb shape - with light-diffusing qualities. This translucent window covering is a great thermal barrier, too.


Put up sheer curtains of fabric such as voile or batiste that are three times as wide as the window. The dense gathers ensure your privacy.


Look into light-diffusing horizontal "blinds" made of sheer fabric vanes inside a sheer fabric shell. The drawback: These custom-made treatments are expensive.


Install a café-type curtain - a lightweight, unlined fabric is best for admitting light - below the top of the window, leaving perhaps a quarter of the glass exposed but maintaining privacy. The window will give a transom effect, letting in sunlight above the top of the curtain rod.


Hang lightweight unlined curtains. You will lose a fair amount of sunlight with this treatment, but there are many inexpensive, ready-made options in stores.


Consider sheer vertical blinds, which diffuse the light while obstructing views into the room and out of it. Today's verticals can show a lot more style than the limited coarse-textured or plain-vinyl styles of the past.


Put up a matchstick blind, which allows light to filter into the room through the reeds. Natural bamboo is a classic, although matchstick styles also are commonly found in vinyl, too.


Skip the window treatment and consider one of these three options: a window with frosted or seeded or sand-blasted glass; a stained-glass window; or glass blocks. (Glass blocks, of course, will not allow you to open the window for ventilation.)


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