The loss of privacy is one of the top complaints with open plan properties and it’s a complaint that shouldn’t be left unaddressed, if avoiding arguments and keeping the peace is your goal. Laurie March, HGTV Remodels’ House Counselor explains that “by nature, we tend to like to feel secure, tucked in [and] enclosed” so this can be stressful if we’re not used to an open floor plan. All rooms are important and these room divider ideas and techniques can be applied throughout your property to create a welcoming calm space that feels like less of a house and more of a home.
Room divider ideas
To create a distinction between spaces, zone off areas. Different colour schemes will create different looks but you won’t want to simply draw a line down the wall and start using a new paint, or you’ll be in danger of creating a slapdash property that doesn’t quite know what it’s meant to be. Focus on lying different flooring to zone instead – perhaps your living room carpet can be swapped for ceramic or laminate tiles once it reaches your kitchen? Adding a rug underneath a living room coffee table or main dining room table will enhance the effect.
Bookshelves are also great for separating areas, as long as you can move around them easily and you opt for an open backed style rather than closed. Being able to catch just a glimpse of the room beyond will be enough to get rid of the feeling that every move you make is being watched, without making the room appear smaller and less airy as a result. There’s an added bonus too, since using a bookshelf will give you extra storage space to store all manner of items, from vases and candles to the more obvious item of choice – the book. There is no shortage of divider screens designed to cater for a range of decorating tastes if you’d rather not use a bookshelf. If you’re a fan of Indian design for instance, you might opt for a divider similar to the one below.
By attaching two or three doors together using their hinges, or running curtain rods through the top of a garden trellis, you can create an instant solid screen to section off the dining room from the living room – perfect if you have friends over regularly. Fans of the boho look might want to consider working flowers into the trellis for an earthy, laid back vibe before positioning the structure between two bits of furniture to keep it upright.
For bedrooms where you’re looking for a permanent solid screen rather than a trellis or hinged door display, SGG Priva-Lite comes recommended. The laminated, switchable glass consists of two panes of glass combined with a liquid crystal interlayer film. The clear glass can be switched to a translucent glass whenever it’s required so that both parties can no longer see through either side of the door. The effect is very similar to frosted glass and it works wonders for preventing a family member or friend looking in on you while you’re in your bedroom but you can still feel slightly on show as the finish isn’t one of a complete blackout. It can also appear very corporate so while effective, it won’t be for everyone.
Curtains hung from ceiling tracks are a safer option if you’re hoping for a blackout and an option that’s both cheaper and better suited to a less modern property where a glass partition would be at odds with the design characteristics of the home.
If you have regular double glazed panels, you’ve probably teamed them with curtains to enable you to shut the world out when you go to sleep at night. During the day though, we’re not all keen to leave the curtains closed and yet opening them means enabling strangers to see into our homes. Net curtains were designed to counteract this and they have been put to good use in busy streets where privacy is more of a concern. The bad news is that trends change and net curtains now have an outdated reputation. Not only that, non-bespoke curtains come with a maximum 90” drop – making them unsuitable for properties that use a large amount of glass. Shutters are great for creating privacy at night in the average home but again, in daylight, they’re also flawed as they don’t offer much privacy once open.
Smart windows such as Avalon Glass’ Eclipse LC Electric Smart glass and Eclipse Pd Privacy Glass aren’t well known and can be pricey at £680.00 per m², not including installation, but they allow us to filter light by simply turning a knob or pressing a button. This type of light control (instant in the case of the Smart Glass and dimmable in the case of the Privacy Glass) could reduce the heating, cooling and electrical costs associated with lighting our homes as we can control our exposure to the sun’s rays. The colour of the glass changes from clear to white by turning off the electrical current (usually by a remote controller). As Peter Robinson of Avalon Glass Ltd explains, “while [the glass]… is white, it still allows high light transmission, but doesn’t allow vision through (either way)”. Peter openly admits that the novel glass is usually installed via doors or internal partitions rather than windows however. I suspect that not being able to see out of your windows is offputting!
This is where novel blinds which can pull up from the bottom of the window and be stopped at any level come into their own. Eclectics Blinds have a ‘Bottom-up Roller Blind’ which prices in at £264 if you’re working with an 80cm x 130cm space.
If expense rules out a change of windows or bottom up blinds and you’re not a fan of the white tinted look, turn to window sill accessories. Install planters outside your home, hang planters in front of your windows or line up pots on your inside window sill to make it difficult for anybody to peer into your home, even while pressed against the window. You’ll be doing your furniture a good turn by making it harder for the sun’s UV rays to reach and eventually damage them too. Select herbs and similar small plants for your windowsill, rather than tall plants such as the indoor corn plant, as you won’t want to block the amount of natural light that can pass through the glass to enter your home.
Have you tried and tested any of these privacy tips? Let us know the results or share your own tips with us below!
For professional help implementing any of the ideas in this blog, post your job on Rated People and up to three tradesmen will get in touch to quote on your job. You’ll be able to view their individual profiles, complete with previous customer recommendations, to help you decide who to hire.