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Let me tell you, blinds can add significantly to the ambiance of your home or office. But then, you might ask, what about privacy?
Your home is your haven – your private space where you don’t want to share what’s happening with outsiders. The need for privacy applies equally whether you are single, live with a partner, or with your family and kids.
Can People See Through Blinds?
Visibility through blinds is a highly subjective matter. The short answer is, yes, you can see through them but not always. A few factors will determine whether people can see through blinds, when, and how much. Here are a few factors that can influence visibility through blinds:
Time of Day
In the daytime, closed blinds will not allow much of a view into a room through the windows. Typically, it is brighter outside than it is inside. But at night, it is the opposite scenario. If the lighting is adequate inside the room, a person can see inside while standing outside a window.
Choice of Material
The choice of material that makes up the blinds has a bearing on the level of transparency. Your chosen material extends to style, color, type, and thickness. You can decide the style and color to complement the surroundings such as furniture, wall texture, or flooring.
The type and thickness of your blinds determine the level of privacy. For an office or shop, a certain level of transparency might be permissible. But for rooms in a home like bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms, a thicker blind would be desirable.
Orientation of Slats
If you are on the ground floor, you should keep the closed slats of the blind up. If not, people can see through blinds on the ground floor. Likewise, if you are on an upper floor, then keep the slats down. So, the rule of thumb is if you are upstairs, keep your slats down and if you are on a lower floor, keep your slats up.
You can check the visibility of your window blinds by standing outside the window at night with the lights on inside the room. Depending on the slats’ orientation and other factors I have mentioned, you may or may not see inside the room.
Light Control and Filtering
All the window treatments that I have mentioned above enable us to control light which in turn allows degrees of privacy. You can control the way light enters rooms in your home or gets blocked out. It will also determine how much people can see through the blinds.
If you control or filter light that enters a room, you not only get privacy but other benefits such as:
- Sleeker looks
- Improved energy efficiency
- A healthier environment
You can achieve this by appropriately selecting the shades or blinds for your windows. But before we go into the specifics of which type of window treatment to use, let’s take a brief look at different levels of light controls and how to achieve them.
In window treatments, there are three primary types of light control: light filtering, room darkening, and blackout. We need to use any of these three to achieve the degree of privacy and amount of light in a room.
For instance, blackout shades are best suited for a nursery or bedroom. On the other hand, light-filtering shades will impart a pleasing effect in the morning in a living room or den. Let’s take a closer look at the three forms of light control:
Shades and blinds which are made of less-opaque fabric will allow varying amounts of light to filter through. It depends on the thickness and type of material used. Such window treatments offer protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation and a certain level of privacy.
- You can enjoy a certain degree of natural light
- The filtered light can offer adequate levels of privacy
- The light also adds a pleasant ambiance to a room
- Will not block out light entirely
- Limited insulating properties
Room darkening blinds block out more light than light-filtering blinds. You get more privacy and although not entirely dark, you can make a room considerably dark and comfortable. It is conducive to privacy and sleep.
- Reduces the light in a room considerably
- Creates a calm and peaceful atmosphere in the room
- Suitable for private areas such as media rooms, nurseries, and bedrooms
- Blocks off most of the natural light
- A total blackout situation is not achieved
With blackout blinds, you can experience total darkness. The total material used for blackout blinds is opaque and will offer full privacy.
- Total blackout can be achieved
- Gives you ultimate control over the light in the room
- Maximum UV protection offered
- You will not receive natural light unless the blinds are raised
- Costs more than other window treatments
- Not suitable for common areas like a living room in a home
These three window treatment solutions block out sunlight to varying degrees. The type of blinds, fabric used, and installation method determine the type of blinds you need for your windows.
Type of Blinds Best-suited for Privacy
The level of privacy that you can get from blinds also depends on the type that you use. Here are a few popular types of blinds that afford maximum privacy:
With roller blinds, depending on the level of light, a person can see through them at night. However, the visibility can reduce considerably with thicker material. A roller blind has a single piece of material that rolls up or down on a roller.
When the blind is completely unrolled over the window, the visibility from outside depends on the thickness of the material. Accordingly, you can get filtered light, room darkening or a total blackout situation.
This type of blind can entirely block out outside light creating a total blackout. It means that it will block out the morning light when you want to lie in or if you’ve done a night shift. Needless to say, a person cannot see into a room through blackout blinds.
Although you get total privacy with blackout blinds, they might let some light escape around the edges. It often occurs with blinds bought online. You can resolve this issue by hiring a professional to customize your blinds according to the window size.
If you have large windows or sliding doors, panel blinds are what you might be looking for. Panel blinds consist of a series of panels that hang vertically from runners above and below the window or door.
To draw the blinds, you simply pull the blinds across the window or door. Here again, the level of privacy depends on the thickness of the material. But even with thinner materials, you will get 100% coverage over the window to allow maximum privacy.
You can also get panel blinds to create a total blackout by using completely opaque materials.
Venetian blinds are one of the oldest and commonest forms of blinds that you can find. Each blind consists of a series of horizontal slats arranged one on top of the other across the width of the window.
In the “open” position, the gaps between the slats let in sufficient daylight and for anyone to see through them. In the “closed” position, the slats overlap each other to sufficiently block out the light. It is difficult to see through closed Venetian blinds. But at night, a person might see pinpoints of light at places where the slats are fixed.
Traditionally, Venetian blinds used to be made from wood. Today, however, they come in all sorts of materials like vinyl, plastic, and aluminum. These blinds will offer light filtering but not room darkening or blackout.
Vertical blinds can also provide optimal privacy and light control. They consist of vertically-hanging louvers that swivel around on an axis to block out the light and visibility.
This type of blind is easy to operate. A chain hangs from a sprocket which you pull. By pulling in one direction, the louvers open, and pulling it in the other direction closes them.
Vertical blinds also offer maximum privacy when drawn. But one drawback is that because these blinds aren’t flush to the window, they will allow some light in from the sides. Therefore, vertical blinds allow room darkening but not total blackout.
Additional Benefits of Blinds
You might feel that blinds only serve to control light and maintain privacy levels in a room. But they offer a few more benefits such as:
Other than light control and privacy, certain types of blinds like roller blinds and panel blinds can provide considerable insulation to a room. Depending on the fabric used, blinds can block out heat in the summer and retain heat during cold winter days.
Protection from UV Radiation
Excess sunlight can cause color changes to your furniture and expensive upholstery. It is because sunlight contains UV radiation which causes discoloration to objects exposed to it for long periods. Blinds can effectively block harmful UV radiation.
Easy to Install and Maintain
Window blinds can be easily installed and removed for maintenance. It’s a cost-effective way of enhancing the look of your windows. If you want to change your blinds to another type or style, it doesn’t cost much and you can do it yourself.
People can see through blinds under certain circumstances. Blinds offer adequate privacy depending on the type of blind you choose. You can find multiple options in blinds that vary in terms of style, type, material, color, thickness, and so on.