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The windows in your home are your connection to the outside world, and how you choose to dress them speaks volumes about your interior design style. Leaving them uncovered is a sleek, modern look for those who live in wooded or isolated areas. But for those of us who have neighbors, sidewalks and streets just a few steps away, that isn’t really an option.

If curtains are too fussy for your minimalist furnishings and blinds are too blah for your modern taste, plenty of alternatives are available. Here are some modern window treatment ideas to protect your privacy while showing off your style.

Window Finishes

Frosted glass, window films and glass alternatives let in light while protecting artwork, wood and other household items from fading because of sun exposure. They also aid in heating and cooling bills, add privacy and hide unsightly views.

These treatments are particularly appealing to those with allergies or sensitivities to dust or pet hair, which curtains and fabric shades tend to collect.

Frosted glass provides privacy without killing your view. This look can be obtained by etching the glass, covering it with semi-transparent contact paper or using spray products. You can treat only part of the window or the whole thing, depending on your needs.

Decorative adhesive film offers countless options, including the look of stained glass, colored graphics and even glow-in-the-dark styles. Many adhesive films are easily removable, so you can change your windows as often as you change your interior style.

Authentic stained glass is charming in older homes; it also can be installed in new construction. Available in clear leaded glass as well as the traditional colored styles, they can be as ornate or as simple as your heart desires.

Screens

Laser-cut metal screens make a bold architectural statement, and some have retractable screens to allow air to circulate on nice days.

Folding screens don’t harbor allergens or irritants such as pet hair or dust mites, and many can be used to separate spaces within rooms when not in front of windows. Portable bifold or trifold screens can be highly decorative or simple, and make for an easy alternative to more permanent window treatments.

Shades and Shutters

Window shades have experienced a rebirth, thanks to new fabrics that filter UV light. Many can be programmed to raise and lower with zero effort, or by the touch of a remote. Hang decorative branches in front of them for a unique look, or get them in a pattern that complements your decor.  

Solid-panel shutters or those with adjustable louvers can be painted to match or complement a room’s color scheme. The slats can even be replaced to create a custom room accessory all your own.

Art

Artwork in the right size and shape can multitask in any room. Use a favorite painting or drawing as floor art below the window by day, and as a privacy shield and creative accent at night.

Maps or posters can be turned into shades or mounted to sturdy boards, providing evening privacy and a fun pop of color.  

Signs, in vintage metal, neon or any other medium, bring a whimsical element to the kitchen, a game room or a child’s bedroom.

Plants

Plants — particularly tall, dense varieties — placed in an interior windowsill provide not only privacy but also elemental beauty and the added bonus of filtering the air.

Plant an herb garden for your kitchen window and have fresh herbs at the ready for all your meals.

Outside, window boxes can be filled with taller flowering plants that provide color and screening qualities both inside and outside.

We hope these modern window treatments have inspired you. Check out our photo gallery for even more ideas!