Furnishing

Visual protection for bathroom windows: do not disturb

Torben Schröder

We don’t want to be looked in on when we’re in the bathroom. That’s not a problem if the bathroom is on the second floor overlooking a forest. If not, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should consider redesigning your home right away. In this article we present opaque glazing and other means of visual protection for bathroom windows.

View into a bathroom with a wooden floor and white sanitary fixtures.
© Getty Images

In this article

Opaque glass

When your alarm clock goes off in the morning and you head to the bathroom, freezing cold and still half asleep, it’s a wonderful feeling to be woken up by the warmth of the sun’s rays shining in through the window. But if the sun can get through, there’s no hiding from the prying eyes of neighbors or passers-by on the street either. The solution is opaque glass. We present several options for bathrooms below.

Frosted glass

This is white glass that has been made opaque, the opposite of transparent, by a special treatment during melting. In other words: it has become cloudy. This is due to the addition of tin oxide, lime or fluoride. The best thing about frosted glass is that it will prevent people from looking in, but still let the sunlight through.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Dirt-resistant surface
  • Neutral look suits minimalist living concepts in bathrooms
A woman is combing her hair in the bathroom and looking outside through an open window with ornamental glass.

Ornamental glass has structures incorporated into it that blur the view in both directions and thus ensure privacy.

Ornamental glass

Structures are worked into this type of glass during manufacture – which is why it’s also known as structured glass. Incoming daylight is refracted, which means that it is no longer possible to see through the window properly. People can only be recognized as blurred outlines, while colors can be roughly guessed at. Ornamental glass has long since shed its somewhat old-fashioned image – thanks to the wide range of different structures available to suit every style.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Lets sun rays through to the inside
  • Wide range of different structures

LC glass

This is a type of smart glass which can change its surface at the touch of a button, or even automatically, when exposed to sunlight. LC stands for Liquid Crystal. LC glass consists of two sheets of glass with a liquid crystal film embedded in the center.

The liquid crystal molecules scatter incoming light so much that the pane becomes opaque – similar to frosted glass. If an electrical voltage is applied to the glass via a switch, the molecules rearrange themselves and the pane becomes transparent. This allows you to create privacy in the bathroom practically at the touch of a button. However, the purchase price is quite high. It should also be noted that LC glass doesn’t provide sun protection.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Privacy at the touch of a button
  • Two different states possible for the window

Switchable film

Laminated safety glass was originally manufactured for safety reasons. A film incorporated into the center prevents the pane from shattering completely in the event of a defect because the shards stick to the film. A side effect is that the film can also be processed to be colored or opaque.

The high-tech solution is privacy film – called switchable film – that creates opacity at the touch of a button. The great advantage is that these films can easily be retrofitted on existing bathroom windows. They are simply cut to size and glued on. When the electricity supply is switched off, you can look through the window normally. If you apply a voltage by remote control, or even by app, the window film becomes cloudy and provides the desired privacy protection.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Can easily be retrofitted
  • Film is removable without residue

Movable privacy protection

As a rule, movable devices on the window or window frame are cheaper and easier to obtain, since there is such a wide range of products available. As well as guaranteeing privacy, roller blinds, pleated blinds etc. can also visually enhance the bathroom. Here are a few ideas:

Roller blinds

In principle, this is a way to create privacy in any room of the house – including the bathroom: a roller blind. Before you buy a product, make sure that the material is able to withstand humidity. The device usually has to be fixed to the wall above the window frame. If you want to avoid drilling holes, there are also models that you attach directly to the bathroom window.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Various mounting options
  • Wide range of sizes, colors, fabrics and patterns
View of a bathroom with dark floor tiles, white ceramics and a roller blind on the window.

Use a roller blind to create privacy on your bathroom window as and when necessary.

Pleated blinds

Unlike roller blinds, pleated blinds can not only be rolled out and rolled back in, but can be pushed up and down to any height within two aluminum rails. This gives you more options for covering selected areas of the window.

You can decide to leave the upper area free, for example. The pleated blind is attached directly to the frame – many manufacturers also offer mounting options that don’t require any drilling. Dimensions, both in terms of width and length, are mostly limited to standard windows. If you want to put a pleated blind on an unusually shaped bathroom window, you should find out about having one custom made.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Simple attachment
  • Flexible positioning

Shutters

An idea that may seem slightly unusual, but that has a lot of charm, is to fit shutters. In southern countries, they determine the whole style of house facades – so why not add similar Mediterranean flair to your own bathroom?

Shutters are installed on the outside and should of course match the style of the house. They are more likely to look good on older buildings. But a similar alternative exists for modern houses: sliding shutters. They are not opened outwards like shutters on sashes, but in a horizontal track like a sliding door.

Your benefits at a glance:

  • Charming look
  • Additional insulating effect

The cost of privacy

The following table lists the approximate costs you should expect to pay for the privacy options presented above.

  • Visual protection
  • Costs
  • Frosted glass
  • 20-100 francs per sqm²
  • Ornamental glass
  • 40-150 francs per sqm²
  • LC glass
  • > 1,000 francs per sqm²
  • Switchable film
  • approx. 250 francs per sqm2
  • Roller blinds
  • 30-80 francs per unit
  • Pleated blinds
  • 20-50 francs per unit
  • Shutters
  • 100-120 francs per sqm²

Conclusion: an easy way to ensure privacy

Frosted glass, ornamental glass or a smart film? Roller blinds, pleated blinds or shutters? There are numerous options for adding visual protection to your bathroom windows. The biggest difference is the price.

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