Bathroom Windows That Pull In Light and Add Privacy Too

Enjoy a bright, sunny space in comfort with one of these strategically designed window treatments



Joseph Scarpulla - Architect, original photo on Houzz

Bathroom windows have to work hard, allowing in natural light while also protecting the privacy of anyone inside. Contemporary bathrooms sometimes feature huge picture windows that seem to put protecting a bather’s modesty far down the list of priorities.But there’s no need to compromise on privacy while keeping your bathroom open to the outdoors. The bathrooms shown here make enjoying light and views compatible with seclusion, thanks to cleverly designed window treatments and, in the more adventurous spaces, inspired architecture.

Find the Ideal Treatment for Your Bathroom Windows

Film it. Frosted window films are a simple, inexpensive way to provide privacy in a bathroom. A huge range of beautiful designs are available, making this a decorative as well as practical option. The patterns are computer-cut, and the film, once applied, looks like acid-etched or sand-blasted glass. The frosted areas obscure the view while still allowing a good amount of light to pass through.

Use textured glass. Here, a combination of dimpled glass bricks and clear glass is a contemporary take on the traditional textured glass that was once a bathroom staple. The dimpled glazing ensures privacy, while the clear glazing makes the most of a good view.

Drape a curtain. It’s not the obvious choice for a bathroom, but, when well designed, a simple curtain can be a great solution to privacy issues. Choose a moisture-resistant, light fabric and avoid silk, which can rot, or anything that will soak up dampness, such as linen. Be sure to pick a fabric and curtain design that can easily be taken down and washed.

Go sheer. Sheer fabric curtains make a romantic addition to a bathroom, filtering strong sunlight and creating privacy while still letting in lots of light.

Design Workshop: The Open-Concept Bathroom

Roll with it. Nobody wants to obscure a beautiful picture window like this with a fussy treatment, but unless you want the

Nathalie Priem Photography, original photo on Houzz

neighbors to know which brand of soap you use, it’s crucial to install something that will obscure the view. 

A discreet roller blind tucked snugly against the ceiling will offer privacy yet stow neatly out of the way when not needed.

Start from the bottom. When it comes to privacy, there’s often no need to have a blind across the entire window. Identify how much coverage you really need, then hang a simple roller shade across that area, leaving the upper portion of the window untreated. 

Take it from the top — and the bottom. Roller blinds that roll up from the base of the window — bottom-up blinds — are widely available. Teaming these with conventional rollers fitted at the top is a great way to provide flexible levels of privacy.

Make it open-and-shut. Simple louver blinds let in light and, even when “open” like this, offer a good degree of privacy. When the lights are on at night, simply swivel them shut to ensure no one can see in.

Style it with shutters. More substantial than louvers, shutters do the same job but with the advantage that they can be folded back to fully open if desired.

Gregory Phillips Architects, original photo on Houzz

Opt for an outdoor screen. An outdoor screen is an innovative design idea that protects a bather’s modesty, allows in light and also offers glimpses of the outside world. 

This contemporary bathroom has a sliding window that opens onto a balcony. The laser-cut screen on the balcony face has a beautiful leaf motif on it, creating a natural, dappled effect. A slatted wooden screen would do a similar job.

Play with glass. This bathroom wall is peppered with openings of various sizes and at various heights. Coupled with a skylight, they let in natural light without offering a clear view of the interior. From inside, the outdoors is framed as a series of pictures on the wall.

Go low. Setting windows low into the wall is a clever way to address privacy issues. If you’re lucky enough to be building from scratch or creating a contemporary addition, consider windows at floor level in a bathroom, so that anyone outside would have to stoop to see in (which hopefully they won’t do!).

Aim high. A combination of slot windows and skylights will draw plenty of light into a bathroom while also keeping wall space clear for a shower or bath, ideal in a small room. Only Spider Man would be able to peep in here, so privacy is a given.

Browse More Bathroom Design Photos


Contemporary Bathroom, original photo on Houzz

Hudson Architects, original photo on Houzz


Clayton&Little Architects, original photo on Houzz


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