I love natural light, but natural light doesn’t love my house. My east-facing house gets an unencumbered view of the sunrise, which means we get a Mother Nature wake-up call of bright sunbeams shooting through our windows at 6 a.m.
However, that lovely, golden light leaves by lunchtime. Since I live in a busy part of town, keeping my windows open isn’t an appealing option. Still, feeling like a vampire wasn’t much better, so I started looking for a solution.
My criteria were pretty tough. I had very little time or money to throw at this project, which narrowed my options considerably. But what I did find has completely transformed my home for the better.
One year later, I’m still in love with this project. I’ve recommended it to family and friends, and now you get to be in on the secret, too.
Get New Windows (Without Getting New Windows)
Given my project requirements, installing new windows on the sun-heavy sides of my house was clearly a no-go. Decorative window film, though? Now that met all the criteria and then some.
While glass film varies by brand, it generally arrives as a tube, like wrapping paper. The plastic, flexible film can be cut to your window’s exact dimensions. Then, you install it with only water and a squeegee: no glue, no power tools, no permanent fixtures.
I would not consider myself a handy person by any means, and I was able to install this film easily and quickly.
First, I started in my bedroom, where natural light is the most important to me. My windows look directly out onto the street, and I’ve hated choosing between privacy and sunlight. Thanks to this film from Bylimbo, I no longer have to.
The way sunlight illuminates the design of this gorgeous stained glass is breathtaking. From far away, my bedroom windows look like actual stained glass—not 40-year-old, chipped-paint-covered cottage windows.
Skeptical about its opacity, I ran several tests with my husband throughout the day. Even at night, with our bedroom lights on and curtains open, you couldn’t see as much as a silhouette from the street. The only shadows visible were less than three inches away from the glass itself.
Now, I can keep my bedroom windows “open” all day long. Despite my open windows being less than 20 feet away from the road, my room still feels incredibly private. The film has transformed our small, plain bedroom into a stunning sanctuary.
I love the eye-catching colors, particularly how the sunlight makes the red stems glow. But if lots of colors aren’t your style, there are other options, too.
I’ve always loved the retro look and feel of the wave-patterned block windows. But I’ve never been interested in the time, money, or effort required to install them in my house. IconiQa’s frosted privacy cling delivers the same effect with a modern, metallic twist.
This window cling catches the sunlight in a mesmerizing way without casting blinding pinpricks of light across the room. It also blocks up to 88% of UV rays, which helps prevent furniture, curtains, and wallpaper from fading and aging.
This decorative film from SGSTraders offers an even lighter, softer look. Its fanned texture adds an elegant, European atmosphere to any room. The opaque film will maintain your privacy while still allowing natural light to filter through the glass.
Whether you’re going for a midcentury, French art nouveau, or even coastal theme, this easy-to-install window cling is the perfect final touch. Moreover, they bring in more light than traditional blinds and can be easily removed and reused.
While the rest of my home projects might remain on the “maybe next month” backburner, I’m thrilled to have crossed this one off the list. No other under-$20 project has transformed my home in such a significant way. And I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my mood now that I enjoy natural sunlight all day long.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to relax in my in-home zen sanctuary—er, bedroom.