Wednesday 11 October 2017

5 Ways To Make Your Terraced House Feel Private

We live in an old terrace on a busy-ish street. There is a steady stream of traffic outside during busy times and a lot of footfall on the street outside. The front room has a big bay window and, though there is a very small front garden (not a garden, just concrete) outside, it can feel a little like living in a goldfish bowl at times. People walking past tend to glance in as they pass, which is fine unless my semi-feral children are climbing the windowsill in a state of undress (this has happened, unfortunately).

We use the back room as our living room because it feels completely private. We don’t have anybody at the back overlooking our property, so I can half-heartedly follow yoga DVDs to my heart’s content without worrying that I’m being watched. We use the front room as a playroom (hence the feral naked children), but I still spend a lot of time in there (mostly tidying or raging about the fact that nobody else is), so I’ve been thinking lately about ways we can try to make it feel more private in there. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1. Window shutters
My next door neighbours have these and I covet them. They look so much nicer than blinds or curtains and they allow for complete privacy. I would love to get some wooden shutters fitted in the front room, it would be a great way of blocking out the street on dark winter evenings. They also trap in warmth and have the added benefit that they don’t come with terrifying blind cords. Shutters can be pricey but there are ways of keeping the costs down, take a look at this DIY shutter guide to see how you can save money by measuring and installing the shutters yourself.

2. Triple glazing
When your house sits on the street, as opposed to being hidden away behind a long front garden, it’s not just people staring in that can disturb your privacy. The noise of the outside world can also shatter the illusion of being tucked away in your cosy home. We have double glazing and this does help to minimise noise from the street, but we still hear the scream of sirens or the chatter of drunken people walking home from the pub on a Saturday night. I would love to have triple glazing, I think that extra layer of glass would help to further minimise street noise and help our home feel a little more private.

3. A focal point outside
We have a very small space at the front of the house, but we haven’t done anything with it yet. There’s a little wall with a short railing on top, but not much else to look at. Most of the other houses like ours seem to have hedges or neatly pruned bushes outside. This creates a focal point for people to look at while they walk past, rather than them staring in through your windows. I quite liked the idea of putting a hedge along the front wall, but have since decided that it would block out too much light so I think we might opt for something slightly less intrusive instead. I am a big fan of colourful window boxes so we might do something like that in the spring when it’s warm enough for me to consider doing anything remotely garden-related.

4. Think about your furniture layout
If you want privacy, it makes sense to try and position your furniture in a way that helps you achieve that. If you don’t want people to see you all the time, position your favourite chair so it isn’t in the line of sight of those walking past. Avoid things that will draw people’s attention into the room, like a huge TV lighting up the entire room from the wall.

5. Think about floor coverings
Privacy isn’t just about feeling watched, worrying that you’re being overheard can be pretty miserable, too. When I’m negotiating with my kids about whether or not it’s appropriate to stand in windows naked, I don’t really want strangers overhearing. Carpets, curtains and rugs are great at soaking up noise, so can reduce the amount of noise that travels out of your house. Basically, anything fabric will reduce the amount of noise you create, so pad your home out with soft furnishings.

This is a collaborative post.

Photo by AndrĂ© Branco on Unsplash

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