As I drove to my friends’ new house the other day, I couldn’t help but notice how close together all the houses were. It seems that in many new suburbs, developers want to build as many houses as possible so homes are built tightly together, leaving almost no side yard to speak of. In addition to tiny yards, this also creates privacy issues for homeowners. How can you enjoy your dinner when your neighbor’s kitchen window looks directly into your dining room? Of course, you don’t want to reduce the number of windows in your home since you want to enjoy natural sunlight, so what can you do?
Here are some ideas for types of windows and their placement to create privacy while still letting in as much natural light as possible.
Transoms and Sidelights – a transom light, also known as a fanlight, is a window above a door and a sidelight is a window that runs along the side of a door. Either of these can be fixed or operable for ventilation. Their size and location provide light and privacy either at the front, side or back entrance to your home.
Glass Blocks and Textured Glass– glass block windows have come a long way in the past couple of decades. Glass blocks are a great way to place a window in a traditional location and let in sunlight while still offering privacy due to their texture and thickness. Alternatively, regular window replacements are available with textured glass that equally offers discretion and privacy.
Clerestory Windows– originally, clerestory (pronounced clear story) windows referred to windows set in upper levels of churches and cathedrals. However, in today’s architectural terms they are known as windows set in a roof structure or high on a wall. They are often set in a band along the very top of a wall therefore offer light without offering a view into or out of your home. These are fantastic if you do not have a great view or if look out onto the side of another house. Another advantage of this window placement is that you can still place furniture, shelves, audio-visual components or even a fireplace along the wall without competing with your windows. Take a look at the photos in this Houzz.com article to see how you can creatively use clerestory windows in your home.
Skylights and Tubular Skylights – skylights and tubes are built into the structure of the roof and are a great way to bring natural light into areas with no exterior walls. By their location alone, privacy is a non-issue.
If you need new windows for your home, talk to a window specialist or home improvement expert who can guide you through your privacy options.
If you found this blog post interesting, you may also like Skylights – Natural Light, Part I, and Health Benefits of Sunlight – Natural Light, Part II.