How to improve your home's privacy

Longniddry Village Northfield showhome

We all want our homes to be peaceful, and achieving this often involves maximising privacy levels. Fortunately, there are easy and affordable ways to improve privacy around the home – and even the garden…

Outdoor lighting

Privacy and security go hand-in-hand, and it’s dark for 16 hours a day at this time of year. Motion-sensitive lighting provides an easy way to lift the gloom, as well as deterring unwanted visitors. Consider employing an electrician to run hardwired lighting along pathways, patios and peripheries. As well as improving safety and accessibility, a series of solar lanterns or LED lamps flanking the front path would distract people from looking through the windows. Taking attention away from your property is one of the best ways to enhance its privacy.

Outdoor boundaries

Feature lighting works best if you have defined boundaries, and nothing is more definitive than a close-boarded fence. Hedging is a more attractive and dynamic method of blocking people’s view, providing it’s evergreen and won’t revert to bare branches in winter. You can buy laurels and copper beeches at heights of up to two metres, planting staggered rows to optimise root growth and thickness. Instant hedging is sold in metre-long troughs ready to be planted, creating an immediate hard boundary, while fast-growing species like leylandii can gain up to 90cm in height per year.

Window coverings

Your windows are on the frontline of privacy, and there are numerous ways to boost seclusion. A roll of opaque window film lets light in and out but obscures everything else, and it can be repositioned or removed as required. An alternative product is one-way window film, which creates a mirrored finish externally while allowing people to look out from inside the property. This is great for ground floor and/or street-facing rooms, where light is at a premium but privacy is essential. You could even position large items of furniture in front of windows extending towards the floor, to obscure the view for neighbours and passers-by.


Modern blinds offer a wealth of privacy-enhancing attributes. Bottom-up designs give a view of the sky without anything lower down being on show, though venetian blinds can be angled upwards for a similar effect. Verticals are useful if your property is overlooked more from one direction than another. Some blinds are light-permeable but otherwise obscured, typically with a striped pattern that makes them stylish features in their own right. Curtains enhance both privacy and cosiness, especially through the winter months, and they don’t cause strobing or haloes like venetian or vertical blinds.

Indoor lighting

When Edwardian homes began incorporating electrical lighting, architects used to position pendant bulbs beside the window to prevent passers-by seeing into the room when the light was on. Similar strategies work nowadays, too, with lighting positioned near windows reducing the ability to see in. Subtle lighting (adjustable dimmer lamps, skirting-level LEDs or under-cabinet lights) also allow you to move around without telegraphing your activities to the wider world in the same way as a central ceiling light. Finally, wherever possible, close the blinds before turning on a light rather than the other way around to avoid suddenly being illuminated in an open-windowed room.

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