A private window

Hey hey laaaaadies! (And men. Hello Dad!) How are you this fine Thursday? Today I’m sharing a super simple project that solved an age-old problem for us.

See, we live in a neighborhood. Like, a real, suburban neighborhood with houses next to us. (That gives some people the shivers, I know.) Our bathroom window is one of those that doesn’t open. (And I still don’t understand why. Moisture issues I think? But wouldn’t it be better to be able to open it and let moisture out?) Deep questions people.

So this window has been a thorn in our side for going on nine years now. Of course we love the natural light, it’s great, cause the other light in that bathroom stinks. But at night I feel like I’m in a fishbowl – not so much because of our neighbors, but because houses across the street can see in.

Now, who knows if they can really see in, it’s not a short distance. But at night when I don’t want to be seen, I feel like I can be seen, so there’s lots of ducking and rolling. OK, just ducking – but I do it without even realizing anymore.

I know I could do window treatments, but I don’t feel like they look right there. And we have had blinds, but you have to climb into the tub to put them down:

See? Neighbors. No, I can’t reach out and touch them, it just looks like it.

Years ago I was looking for a solution to cover the glass on our pantry door:

pretty pantry stenciled walls

I wanted something that would hide the food but would also let some light through (I installed rope lights around the inside of the pantry door).

So a few of you suggested regular clear contact paper and it worked like a charm. It was a total pain in the butt to install on those window panes, but it works PERFECTLY. (I shared how I did that here.)

There is window vinyl you can buy at the hardware store, but it is a.) expensive and b.) not always the prettiest. This regular old contact paper was a few bucks for a HUGE roll and will last me a very long time:

contact paper private window

So anyway, I decided to use it on the bathroom window. Thing is, it wasn’t wide enough. To make it work I decided to cut it in three horizontal strips to kind of match up with the window panes. I just held it up and marked with a pencil where I needed to cut, then laid it down on the floor and used a steady hand and scissors:

Excuse me. A steady hand and scissors:


I was going to try cutting it with my paper cutter to get a nice clean cut, but the piece I needed was much longer than the cutter. The lines aren’t perfect doing it with scissors but thankfully you really can’t tell.

It’s super easy to install this stuff – the trick is getting it on there right when you start. Just spray the window with water:

applying contact paper to window

And if you’re smarter than me, wash the window first. I ain’t got time for that. ;)

Don’t be stingy with the water. Spray it on good. Then tear a bit of the paper off the end of the contact paper:

contact paper private window

And line it up and push it on, over the watery glass:

applying contact paper to window

Then you can start peeling the rest of the paper off the back and smoothing it out with  your hand as you go across the window. I thought it might be a pain to get it straight but it went on perfectly.

This is one of those rare projects that I thought would be easy and it was. Usually when those thoughts go through my head I’m in trouble. 

When the contact paper is on the window, you’ll freak out a little and curse me and yell hey Sarah I thought you said this was easy, this looks like crap!!

Relax. You’ll have bubbles, lots of them:

applying contact paper to window

You’ll need something with a straight edge to smooth them out:

applying contact paper to window applying contact paper to window

I just use a pan scraper. Just make sure it’s got a clean edge with no raggedy things that can tear or scratch the contact paper/vinyl.

Just smooth them out – this part takes the longest, but it’s not bad. This is why you want a wet window, so you can easily push all those bubbles out from underneath.

I installed three horizontally just because I figured vertically might look jail-like. :) It turned out better than I even expected – it still lets all the light through and I can walk around in my bathroom after a shower without ducking.

And everyone is thankful for that, just saying: contact paper private window

I took the old blinds down and that actually lets even a little more light in.

If you’ve ever tried to take a picture of a window during the day, you know its nearly impossible, so forgive me that you can’t see more detail.

Here’s a before and after just to give you an idea:

 contact paper private window

Sometimes it truly is the little things that make such a big difference. My husband was SO excited about this small change, I don’t know why we waited so dang long to do it!!

Here it is at night, so you can get a better view of how it looks:

contact paper private window

A private window, for pennies. Can’t beat it! I still have a TON of this stuff left, I’m on the look out for other projects.

Do you have a window that lets in light but you still want covered? This would be PERFECT for side lights by a front door, or maybe even glass in a door? (Allison put this over a window by her front door and it worked GREAT.) If we ever add glass to our front door I’ll be doing something like this.

I bet it would look great if you have glass doors on your kitchen cabinets too. You know, for those cabinets that aren’t perfectly pretty inside?

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