DIY Frosted Window Film for Privacy (Theirs + Ours!)

The back mudroom was one of the larger changes we made to the garden apartment, as it drastically changed the footprint of the kitchen. Although the kitchen got smaller (and cuter, we think!), we knew that if we were going to renovate, we had to add this mudroom; until this point, access to the utility space (which contained breaker boxes for the whole house) was through the garden’s laundry room. If we needed to change a light fixture in our home, we’d have to give our tenants’ 48-hours notice just to go down and flip a breaker. Most of the time, they were kind enough to flip the switch for us, but we always felt bad bothering them with such a petty task. To get a better idea of how things used to look, we walk through the space with you in this vlog.

During the renovation, we had our contractors close up the utility access in the laundry room, and instead, we planned for a small mudroom where we could have direct access to the breakers and water heaters without ever stepping foot in their home. Here’s how that looked during the construction phase:

The beadboard wall indicates where the laundry room is located, and just to the left, through the mudroom, we had a pocket door installed into the new utility room entrance. Today, there’s two back doors for our future tenants – one interior exterior door and one exterior exterior door. They’ll need to go through the back to take out the trash, etc, but otherwise, there won’t be much need for them to access the mudroom. Until earlier this week, this same area looked like this:

Our intention with the large window was to allow for as much natural light as possible to filter into the room (and you can see we opted for a 6-lite door on the exterior for extra security), but we knew that both our future tenants and the two of us would enjoy privacy, too. To remedy what is essentially a large picture window, we spent about 30 minutes applying frosted window film! It’s an inexpensive solution that still lets light in, but no one needs to worry about living in a fish bowl, either.

Tools + Supplies Used

Window film
Paper towels
Spray bottle
Water + dish soap
Squeegee (our kit comes with one!)
Sharp utility knife
Tape measure
Bath towel or rag

What We Did

Honestly, this job couldn’t be easier! Having never applied frosted film before, I was a little nervous getting started, and I even asked Scott to standby in case things went awry (and as it turned out, I was worried over nothing!). To start, I cleaned the window thoroughly, inside and out:

Our window was a little less than 21″ w x 34″ h. I ordered this 24″ x 36″ window film, which prevented me from having to cut it down before applying, since it was only about one extra inch all around. Side note: There are two schools of thought on this. Some online tutorials suggest cutting your film down to the exact size (less about 1/16″) before applying the film, whereas others suggest leaving 1-2″ of slack to trim after it’s been applied. We opted for the latter.

We agreed to apply the film on the mudroom side of the window, since we figured it would get less wear and tear down the road. I set an old towel down at the base of the door, if only to protect the floors from the onslaught of soapy water coming its way! The next step was to fill a spray bottle with water and 1-2 drops of dish soap and spray it liberally all over the window:

Then it was time to apply the film! The film comes with a thick plastic backing, and I carefully peeled it back, thinking that the film was going to be sticky – it’s not. It is, however, very staticky, so I was careful to avoid touching any other surfaces as I brought it over to the window.

Our film came with an adorable, teeny squeegee, and once the film was on the window, I used it to pull out the bubbles. There were a lot of bubbles(!), but I started in the center and worked my way out, until I couldn’t see anymore (about 5 minutes). The soapy water allows for the tiniest bit of give, so there’s plenty of time to reposition the film if absolutely necessary, although I wouldn’t recommend pulling it off completely!

Once I was bubble-free, I was good to trim my edges. I used my squeegee as a guide, although any straight edge would work. I highly recommend using some sort of straight edge, as it will be really difficult to cut a straight line on the somewhat slippery film. Using a brand new blade on my utility knife, I carefully cut off the excess:

Finally, I used the squeegee once more to pull out any additional bubbles that may have crept in during the cutting process, and then I sopped up any excess water around the edges:

The results are exactly what we had in mind! A good amount of light still comes through the hallway and into the kitchen, but you can’t see clear shapes through the window should we need to access the utility room.

Above will be our future view coming into the garden apartment! The mudroom is small, but by having both doors swing in, the flow feels intentional – and no one will be fighting with back-to-back doors that swing into one another. And most importantly, no one has to give anyone 48-hours notice any longer, hip, hip!

PS: We used this frosted window film, and we’re super impressed with the quality and ease of application. Both of the exterior doors were purchased at Home Depot, and you can learn more about our tile floors right here!

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  • Bernadette - August 4, 2017 - 8:38 AM

    This apartment is turning out to be quite cute! Are you going to add any sort of privacy screen to the kitchen window that looks out into your backyard?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 4, 2017 - 9:20 AM

      We went back and forth on this for a while. Originally, we were going to put a window film, but in the end, we decided on a sleek solar shade instead! We’ll be installing those very soon!ReplyCancel

  • Paige Flamm - August 4, 2017 - 8:45 AM

    I totally need to do this to the windows in our master bathroom!

    Paige
    http://thehappyflammily.comReplyCancel

  • Alli - August 4, 2017 - 9:13 AM

    Hi! Could you share links to the exterior doors? Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 4, 2017 - 9:17 AM

      The 6-lite door is this one from Home Depot, and the half-lite door was a special order (also from HD), only because they didn’t stock this option in the store. We just told them what they were looking for, and it came to about the same price as the 6-lite door!ReplyCancel

      • Alli - August 12, 2017 - 9:40 AM

        Thank you! Ordered the 6-lite for our front door!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - August 4, 2017 - 9:52 AM

    Hi! Could you also share where your door hardware plates/locks are from? Assume Home Depot as well?ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - August 4, 2017 - 10:07 AM

    We totally wanted to do this to our bathroom window, but I was a big chicken! We splurged for privacy glass instead and I think I like the look of this better after seeing your post (another awesome DIY). Do you think it would hold up to humidity and heat in a shower setting? It looks way more modern! Sigh.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 4, 2017 - 2:26 PM

      We’ve had feedback on Instagram that this film has held us GREAT to heat/humidity!ReplyCancel

  • Phoua - August 4, 2017 - 12:44 PM

    This apartment is looking so cute! I can’t wait to see the finished project!ReplyCancel

  • Debra - August 7, 2017 - 9:51 AM

    We have an enormous picture window next to the front door that housed some super ugly blinds when we moved in and we ended up using the same type of window frosting for this window as well as in two bathrooms that have large windows that don’t open. I love how the light filters in but we get to keep a lot of privacy.ReplyCancel

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