Hello Solar Art blog readers! Today's blog is on a REALLY popular topic of conversation both in and out of the window film world: figuring out the best window film for day and night privacy. Having privacy in any aspect of your life is important first and foremost for feeling safe as well as feeling comfortable. Nobody wants people walking by to be able to see what they are doing and what they have in their home. That's dangerous.
With that being said, homeowners and business owners, both turn to the internet to try and find a way to increase privacy during both the day and the night. If you research this topic, you are bound to find the typical solutions, like blinds and shades. However, these typical solutions are becoming less and less popular, because they make a space dark and uninviting. Not to mention, you lose any ability to see out of the window if you go with these options.
Window film is also going to show up if you research this topic. People read about reflective window film, decorative window film, solar film, and more as potential solutions to this privacy issue. With that being said, we get a lot of questions about glass that you can't see through from the outside as well as requests for reflective window film to help keep people from looking inside. While reflective window film enhances home privacy during the day, its reflective features don’t provide much privacy at night.
There is, unfortunately, no window films on the market that can prevent people from looking in while you can see out, for both day and night. So, what can you do? We get this question a lot, and wanted to create this blog to help educate you on the different options you have when it comes to privacy during both the day and the night, depending on your goals and your needs!
Before we explore the different options you have, we want to touch more on reflective window film and tell you why it won't work at night. To start, even untreated glass reflects some light, but none can achieve higher levels of privacy without some sort of window film. Reflective window film works by reflecting sunlight and other outdoor light like a mirror, so your neighbors or people walking by can see their own reflection instead of what’s in your home.
Since reflective window film is still translucent, the outdoors must be brighter than the inside of the room that the film is protecting. Daylight is brighter than your interior lights, which is why it works during the day. However, that's not the case at night. Having your lights on at night negates the reflective effect, which is why people can see inside.
All that said, if you need privacy for your home during the day and aren't worried about it at night, reflective window film might be for you! It's a great option because it will significantly increase privacy and prevent people walking by from being able to see into your space. It's a privacy window film where you see out but not in.
When it comes to reflective window film, we have a variety of different options, including one-way window film! Just like a reflective window film, mirrored film still needs the room darker than the outside, though. A benefit of a reflective window film is that you can still see out of your windows and enjoy your beautiful views without darkening your rooms.
Okay so now that we have that out of the way, what do you do if you are looking for a solution to both day and night privacy? That's the million-dollar question.
Just like a lot of other things in life, sometimes you just have to compromise! While there isn't a specific window film on the market that provides both day and night privacy while being able to see out, there are other types of window films that are available on the market that do provide privacy and offer a ton of great benefits. This includes reflective window film, decorative window film, and opaque window film, and don't worry, we will tell you all about each of them!
Situation: you want to increase privacy, potentially add a decorative design, and the ability to see in or out isn't an issue.
If this is the situation you're in, decorative window film is a great option! Decorative window film is a little different than reflective window film in the sense that reflective window film is tinted and it lacks a pattern or design that decorative window film has. Decorative window film is a popular choice for home window tinting for bathroom windows or shower doors where you want maximum privacy and you don't want to be able to see in or out of the window. When it comes to decorative window film, there are different styles you can choose from, including frosted window film, geometric designs, lines, dots, gradients, and more.
Situation: you need 24/7 total privacy protection and don't want to see in or out, day or night
Blackout window film is a type of decorative window film that completely blocks light from coming in and out, which is different than most decorative window film. While most decorative window film prevent people from seeing in and out, there is still a little bit of light that gets let in. In addition to blackout window film, Solar Art also carries whiteout window film, which has similar effects to blackout window film. While some rooms, like garages, or storage rooms benefit from blackout film, this might not be ideal for homeowners who want to the ability to see out of their windows at all.
Situation: you want to prevent people from looking inside and changing the look of your windows isn’t a concern
If you aren't familiar with perforated window film, it's an opaque window film that is black on the inside and the outside can be brightly colored or white. Perforated window film is densely-packed and has millimeter-scale perforations (or holes) that let light through. This creates the effect of a solid (typically white) window to your neighbors while still letting you see outside.
We usually see perforated window film installed to commercial spaces like storefronts, and rarely installed to homes. Businesses often will have an image printed onto the perforated window film, which not only looks great but can even advertise your company.
With perforated window film, your view outside is dim, but you can see more than people walking by can see in. Keep in mind that perforated window film isn’t reflective or translucent, so the color does become important. Perforated window film is great if you aren't concerned with the exterior aesthetics changing, or looking to add a pop of color as well as achieving privacy.
Situation: you want to watch TV in private, or have private and confidential meetings
Casper Cloaking film blocks light from LED screens and looks like a black screen for people walking by outside of the room. Again, Solar Art typically sees Casper Cloaking Film installed to offices, but we have also seen it installed to homes a few times. Casper cloaking film is a great option for offices and homes with TVs and computer screens in rooms with large windows that neighbors can see through.
Casper Cloaking Film works great for conference rooms or home offices where you want to keep the information as private and confidential as possible. Unfortunately, while Casper Cloaking Film is a cool addition to your home or office, it doesn't work the same as a reflective window film or a decorative window film. It will increase privacy in the sense that it will block LED screens from prying eyes, but people will still be able to see everything else in the room.
So far we have only talked about different window film options that will help you increase privacy, but there are other options out there! One of the options is interior lighting. Installing dimmer switches and focused task lights instead of filling your entire room with light will help reduce how much outsiders can see inside. Combined with window film that has a heavier tint, to begin with, you may achieve some level of night privacy by simply limiting how much light passes through your glass at all (which still affects your light levels during the day as well). However, converting your lighting systems over to dimmers can be expensive and time-consuming. Severely shading your windows takes away your daytime views, so that may not be the best option for everyone.
Darkening your walls and decor with dark, matte paint and colors is a more extreme option, but it works by helping your interior absorb as much light as possible before passing through your windows to the outside.
Finally, if darkening your decor and installing dimmer switches isn’t an option, your blinds and shades are a valid and practical solution to the problem. No light can pass in or out and they are easily adjustable any time of day or night. Sometimes closing them just partway is enough to distract prying eyes and protect your home in the evenings, or install sheer privacy panels. Both closing part way and using sheer panels serve the same function as decorative window film: they break the window up into smaller parts to make it harder to see in. Regardless of your curtain style, shades and blinds are designed to give ultimate privacy. They just don’t let you see you when they’re drawn.
We feel your pain: window film that reflects both day and night does not exist at the moment in any form. This is a common problem that homeowners encounter when requesting a home privacy window film from us, and the answer ultimately comes down to what is more important: daytime or nighttime privacy? Achieving outside privacy or preserving your windows’ look and feel? Solar Art offers all of the window film options we covered here, so if perforated window film or decorative window film sounds like a good option to you, contact us today to help make your homes more private day or night. In addition to decorative window film and perforated window film, Solar Art also services solar film, custom graphics, anti-graffiti film, and window security film. We are your one stop shop for window film, so contact us today for a free consultation!
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