Maintaining privacy and a great view is not impossible. Window films are effective at blocking an outsider's view inside a home while allowing anyone inside a room to see out the window. They are similar to window tinting, but can be installed by a homeowner. Several types of films are on the market, including ones that have adhesive on the back and stick to the glass and films that use static electricity to cling to windows. Both types of film can also help control heat, fade and glare. Privacy films also block 99 per cent of UV rays (see Resource 1).
A few companies make films designed for a DIY project for homeowners to complete without professional help. These window films are similar to contact paper for a window. They are specifically made for privacy and come in a mirror shade, black or frosted glass look (see Resource 1). The frosted glass film makes a room very bright during the day because it doesn't block any light. But the view from inside the room can be slightly blurred because the film makes the windows appear frosted.
The black film creates the darkest appearance in a room and dims the light coming in the windows. All of these films are designed for privacy and will not let someone from the outside see in a room.
More About Mirror Films
Mirror film lets the most light in and obscures the view of a room the least. This film dims the light that comes in windows, but allows anyone to see outside very well. These work the same way a pair of mirrored sunglasses work. During the day, someone who looks in the window will see her reflection and not be able to see in the window. While these are most effective for privacy, no films can completely block a person's view when there is more light inside than outside, such as at night (see Resource 2).
Window films are also available in decorative patterns that add style and colour. They obscure the view from the outside, but let light in a room, much like a stained glass window. Several brands offer decorative film in colourful patterns, such as a modernised lined print that looks like a Frank Lloyd Wright lamp or more a pile of pebbles in varying colours. These films will not allow anyone to see in a room from the outside, but they also limit the view from the inside.