Holly Jacobs Designs

Bathroom Privacy

Bathroom privacy is always a very important issue with homeowners. While getting as much natural light as possible is critical, so is knowing that the neighbors aren’t getting a show every time you step into the bathroom.  Builders have taken this into consideration and come up with their idea of solutions - some work, others not so much. 


When a builder chooses to place short windows high up above a bathtub or shower he’s typically solved the problem of privacy while letting in some light. Unfortunately these kinds of windows don’t offer much light.  Also, if the house next to yours is on a higher lot, the neighbors may still have a view down into your bathroom (remember, if you can see up into one of their windows, they can see down into yours).  Often these windows will still need some type of coverings – no need to add top-down, bottom-up.


The frosted glass trick:  I see this one all the time.  As I’m getting the tour through the home my client will tell me “we’re going to skip putting a blind on the bathroom window, it has frosted glass”.  Here’s what I always suggest:  at nighttime, check the privacy by turning on the lights in the bathroom and stand in the tub in front of the frosted glass window.  Meanwhile, have your spouse go outside and look up into the window opening.  Almost always the spouse will report that they can see a clear silhouette of you standing in the bathtub.  For some of my clients, that’s enough privacy.  For others, not nearly – I recommend you go ahead and add a blind or shade.


Large windows behind the tub:  these are the homeowner’s dream windows. They’re huge – either single or two meeting in a corner – but while they offer ample natural light, they also present a huge privacy problem.  Here’s where the right type of window coverings can make all the difference.  One of the best choices is a cellular shade with a top-down/bottom-up option.  This control allows for light to come in through the upper portion of the window while screening out the lower portion from the neighbors.  Find a good position for your cellular shade and simply leave it in place.  Cellular/honeycomb fabrics are safe for use in moist areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. 


Another good bathroom privacy solution is faux wood or vinyl shutters. They can be installed café style on just the bottom portion of the window, or with a divider rail in the center so that the top part of the shutter can have the louvers tilted open while the bottom portion remains closed for bathroom privacy.  The vinyl or faux wood will hold up well to bathroom conditions and the lack of cords means safety for little ones using the bathtub nearby and no worry about cords getting wet by dangling in the tub.


For the bathroom needing just a bit of privacy (perhaps where there is already a frosted window) consider a woven wood shade.  The wovens (a collection of grasses, bamboo & reeds) vary from tightly to loosely woven and not only will they provide additional bathroom privacy (they are available with liners as well), they also create a big bang for your buck decoratively.  Woven woods have a lovely organic look to them; add some all-natural fluffy towels, wicker baskets and glass tiles to your bath and you’ll have your own spa retreat.