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How to improve your home's privacy

We all appreciate privacy at home, and there are easy ways to boost your home’s privacy without spending much – if any – money


It’s human nature to seek privacy. We have no desire to live in a literal or metaphorical goldfish bowl, with every movement on show to the world. It’s why we fit curtains and blinds at our windows, and generally pay less money for ground floor flats than those on upper floors.

In truth, we’d all like a little more privacy at home, but many people lack the creativity or foresight needed to achieve it. In truth, improving your home’s privacy doesn’t have to cost a fortune – though you can spend a lot of money on it. It doesn’t have to take long – though some solutions deliver their best results over time. It doesn’t have to replace anything you’ve already got – though it might influence future purchases and DIY/decorating decisions…


Better by design


To begin with, walk outside and look at your home from the street, before taking a closer look from the garden/parking area/driveway. How much can you see through the windows? It’s often not as much as you might expect, since some double-glazed windows have a tinted outer layer; even clear glass doesn’t always make it obvious what’s going on inside. There’s a huge difference between passers-by seeing some form of light or colour through a window, versus being able to read the captions on your TV…


Repeat this experiment at different times of day. At night, deploy any curtains or blinds and check if they’re transparent. Could you see someone moving around behind thin curtains, or through slats in a blind? If you live above the ground floor (or have a house), walk up and down the street to see whether anything in upstairs rooms might be visible to the public.


Address issues


Once you’ve identified privacy shortcomings, it’s time to start addressing them. Taking windows first, blackout blinds and thick curtains will ensure total privacy once they’re closed. Opaque window films are sold cheaply online; cutting them to size ensures windows remain obscured at all times. Vertical blinds can be angled to block views from one direction – handy if you have one property overlooking yours from a specific angle, for instance – while affording views out in other directions. Bottom-up blinds are expensive and require bespoke frames manufacturing to fit onto your window, but they’re great in full-height windows or bedrooms.


Consider whether you can make your property’s external boundaries more private, too. A pavement utility box might cause people to congregate around it, though they’ll swiftly move on if it’s coated with linseed oil or bordered by a prickly rose bush. Installing a hedge along your garden’s boundaries prevents dogs straying onto the grass and helps keep wayward balls out; it’ll also grow to restrict what people can see. Cypress leylandii is almost indestructible, and it grows at up to two feet per year, making it a quick solution to an exposed outside space.


Go the extra mile


Simple changes may also boost privacy around the home, such as positioning furniture in front of a full height window, or using lamps rather than ceiling lights at night. Consider installing a blind or door curtain if your front door has glazed panels, making it easier to ignore unwanted callers. A smart doorbell may also help in this respect, though the huge cost increases recently announced by Ring could be matched by any other manufacturer once they’ve got your custom. Don’t do anything you might need to take away later, if doing so would reduce your home’s privacy levels.

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