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Natural light is part and parcel of healthy living. If you have a lot of light and windows in your home, you certainly want to take advantage of them. Better still, if you have a window with a view, you really want to preserve that! Sometimes, though, you run up against the design challenge of maximizing the light offered, but keeping the room functional and your privacy protected. Equally, there are occasions when there are views you would rather not see!

Window treatments, (drapes and shades), are the usual solution to the light/privacy dilemma. Sheers can let in light but provide privacy. To avoid being boring, look for sheers that have a pattern or a texture to them. This material can be used either be in drapes or adjustable shades. Shades that move from top down or bottom up offer a lot of flexibility in terms of letting in light and protecting your privacy.

If you have a space that you want to let in both light and have privacy, such as a bathroom, one answer is using translucent glass. While you can see through regular transparent glass, translucent glass is common in windows in bathrooms and other places. Glass blocks are especially lovely. The view is obscured but natural light can still enter.

Another solution is using some well-placed stained glass designs. The designs can be hanging or leaning in a window, and can be used in both traditional and modern décor. You can either partially obstruct an unpleasant view or just add a little privacy, while still letting in light and adding a beautiful decorative element to your interior. Salvage yards are a great place to look for some unique stained glass.

In addition, there are a variety of different kinds of glass films on the market that need not be applied at the factory. They come in decorative designs and are a clean, modern, and easy way to let light in while protecting your privacy or obscuring an unpleasant view.

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There are some wonderful high tech solutions on the market you should know about too. Not inexpensive, there is such a thing as “Privacy Glass”, a glass that changes from transparent to frosted at the flick of a switch. It can be used for windows, french or sliding glass doors, anywhere you want to have the option. Not only does it allow you to control privacy, but it also controls heat, light and glare. There are many stunning examples of this smart material in use all over the world.

Another wonderful way to take advantage of natural light is through skylights. Most of us forget about “the 5th wall”, i.e. the ceiling, when decorating. Skylights are a perfect way to let light in without sacrificing privacy, especially if you have a room that lacks space for windows on exterior walls. Moreover, as a design feature, skylights are always welcome and can be made flexible with fixed and operable varieties and window treatments.

Finally, clerestory windows are another design feature that solves the light/privacy challenge. Those are ones that are located high off the finish floor level, usually close to the roofline. They let in natural light but free up wall space and provide privacy. They work in many different style homes.

If you don’t want to block any of your beautiful windows but are concerned about privacy, look to the outdoors. Installing a brick wall outside that is just high enough to keep passersby from looking in but doesn’t obstruct your view works well. A filtered view through an external trellis or is also an option. Likewise, a full natural screen of vegetation is a great way to keep the neighbors at bay but allowing you to enjoy the outdoors and natural light.

Whether you want to add more natural light into your home or protect your privacy, there are many chic ways to accomplish your goal.

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