Ground Floor Apartment Privacy – Do You Have to Give It Up?

So you’re renting the last unit in a new apartment building but you’re a little worried. Why? Because it’s a ground floor apartment and the bedroom and living room both have large windows overlooking a shared side garden and are only thirty feet from the sidewalk.

You love the location, but you’re thinking “Is it worth sacrificing your privacy?”

It’s a common concern for people looking at ground-floor apartments. But the truth is, you don’t have to give up your privacy just because you’re on the ground floor. There are plenty of ways to keep your space private, including both indoor and outdoor solutions, so you’re sure to find something that will work for you.

So before you write off that ground-floor apartment, determine where and how your privacy may be affected, and take a look at some of the ways you can keep your privacy intact.

How Can Your Privacy Be Breached in a Ground-Floor Apartment?

Ground floor apartments can be a great option for those looking for easy access to the outdoors or for people who want to avoid stairs for health reasons. However, they also come with some unique challenges when it comes to privacy.

Because ground-floor apartments are often close to the street, passersby can easily see into your home, and you may not have the same amount of privacy as you would in a higher floor unit.

There are a few ways that your privacy can be breached in a ground-floor apartment. If you have large windows or a glass sliding door that faces the street, people walking or driving by can see into your home. If your front door is facing the street or a shared common outdoor space, then every time you open the door people can peek inside.

Your neighbors may also be able to see into your home if you live in a ground-floor apartment in an apartment complex, especially if the buildings are in close proximity to each other. Even when you’re sitting on your patio, you may feel more exposed than you would in a private backyard.

We all want privacy, especially when we’re in our own homes. But sometimes, no matter what we do, we just can’t seem to get away from prying eyes. If you’re renting a ground-floor apartment and are looking for ways to keep your space private, then read on for some tips and tricks.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to add privacy to your ground-floor apartment, both indoors and outdoors.

Indoor Solutions for Privacy in a Ground-Floor Apartment

1. Traditional Curtains or Drapes

One of the most obvious and straightforward ways to add privacy to any window is with curtains or drapes. Curtains and drapes will block out any nosy neighbors or passersby who might be looking in.

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing curtains or drapes for privacy. If you want maximum privacy, then choose a heavy fabric that will completely block out light, like velour or velvet.

The downside of heavy curtains is that as they block the view into your home from onlookers, they will also block your view of the outside and can make a small space feel even smaller. If you want to avoid this, then choose lighter-weight fabrics like linen or a linen blend.

Another thing to consider is the pattern of your curtains or drapes. If you want complete privacy, then choose a solid color. If you’re looking for something that will still provide privacy but allow you to see outside, then choose a light pattern like a small print or dotted fabric.

2. Stylish Window Coverings

If you’re looking for a way to add privacy to your ground-floor apartment without sacrificing style, then consider silk or sheer curtains.

Sheer curtains are a common choice for window treatment. They are airy and lightweight. They let in natural light, and make your space brighter. They also come in a variety of colors and styles to match any decor.

The downside of sheer curtains is that they won’t completely block out prying passersby or your nosy neighbors. If you want sheer curtains but want more privacy, then read my full guide on how to make your sheer curtains more private with tips about choosing the right fabric, adding a liner, layering up your curtains, and much more!

Silk curtains are another popular option to cover your street-facing windows and glass doors that will add privacy and style to your home. Silk is a luxurious fabric that comes in a variety of colors and patterns. It’s also heavier than most sheer fabrics, so it will provide more privacy, but is still lightweight and flowy and has an attractive sheen for a touch of class.

The downside to silk curtains is that they can be more expensive than other curtain fabrics. So if you want to add privacy to your ground-level apartment then silk curtains may not be the option for you.

Read on for more budget-friendly options…

3. Modern Window Coverings

When considering how to dress up a window without curtains, you may want some modern window coverings that add function and privacy.

Modern home window coverings include blinds, shades, and some modern shutter designs. These options for window treatments will add privacy to your ground-floor unit, while also giving you some light control, UV protection and temperature control. When combined with sheer curtains, you can get the best of both; privacy and style.

Some of my favorite functional window treatments are:

Roller shades: these are made of a single long piece of fabric mounted to a roller system that allows the shades to be easily raised or lowered to control the required balance of light and privacy to suit your needs. Roller shades are affordable and come in a variety of materials of fabric densities to suit your privacy needs.

Top-down bottom-up shades: These are a special kind of roller shades that have a dual control mechanism that allows the shades to be lowered from the top or raised from the bottom (hence the name), giving you options for how much privacy or sunlight you want in your space.

4. Potted Plants for Privacy

One of the best ways to add privacy to your ground-floor apartment is by using potted plants. Potted plants can be placed on the window sill to create a natural privacy barrier. Not only do they look great and add color to the space, but they also provide much-needed oxygen and can help purify the air.

There are literally hundreds of different types of plants that you can choose from, so you’re sure to find one that fits your style. Some popular choices include:

  • Philodendron Birkin: this plant is slow-growing but can grow up to 3 feet, and with its lush green leaves, it’s perfect for creating privacy.
  • Hibiscus: There are more than 200 different species of hibiscus, but the best species for indoor planting is the Chinese Hibiscus which features dark evergreen leaves and a long flowering season. They have large flowers that can measure up to 6-8 inches wide and come in a wide range of colors including red, pink, yellow, orange, white, or violet. These features make them ideal for adding a splash of color to your space while providing coverage for privacy.
  • Ornamental Papyrus Plant: This is a tall grass-like plant with upright stems topped by fan-shaped light-green foliage. These plants can grow up to 2-3 feet tall in potts and their foliage crown can spread 4-12 inches wide making for an ideal natural privacy screen on a window sill or in front of a glass door.
  • Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens): this is another slow-growing plant that can grow up to 6-7 feet tall indoors. This plant likes bright filtered light making it suitable for a spot in front of a glass door in your ground-floor apartment. The dense feathery arching fronds of this plant will block the view into your space for added privacy.

5. Macrame Plant Hangers

Another way to incorporate plants into your privacy solution is by using plant hangers. Plant hangers are a great option if you don’t have a lot of space on your window sill or if you want to add some height to your privacy barrier.

They come in a variety of materials, but the one I recommend for a unique look is macrame. Macrame is a type of textile made from knotting rather than weaving or knitting, and it has a long history dating back to 13th-century Arabia.

Macrame plant hangers are not only beautiful, but they can fit any style. They can be used to hang potted plants to add privacy for street-facing windows or doors and have the added advantage of providing window privacy without blocking light.

And if you’re wondering which potted plant would fit best in a macrame plant hanger, here are some of my top picks:

  • String of Hearts (Ceropegia Woodii): This is a fast-growing plant that can trail up to 3-4 feet long. It has long heart-shaped leaves that are variegated with silver and green. This plant is perfect for hanging as it will spill over the sides of the pot and hang down, creating a beautiful privacy barrier.
  • Jasmine: This is a fast-growing vine that can reach up to 10-12 feet long. It has small white flowers that are incredibly fragrant, making it a great choice for hanging near a window or door where you can enjoy privacy and its sweet scent.

6. Macrame Wall Hangings

If you like the idea of using macrame to add privacy but don’t want to hang plants, then you can also use a macrame wall hanger. Macrame wall hangings are a great and easy way to add privacy to any space without taking up any floor space.

These beautiful hand-knotted designs can be hung over any door or window, instantly creating a sense of privacy and visual interest by adding a touch of bohemian flair.

With so many different patterns and designs to choose from, it’s easy to find a macrame wall hanging that fits your unique style. And best of all, if you are an eager DIYer, macrame wall hangers are easy to make yourself! With a little time and patience, you can create a unique piece that will add both privacy and style to your home.

So why not give it a try? You might just find that it’s the perfect solution for your home.

7. Bead String Curtain (For a Hippie Look)

Bead string curtains are an easy alternative to regular curtains to add some privacy to your apartment. They can be hung to cover windows or doorways without blocking out all of the light, maintaining the view and your access to the outside.

Bead string curtains come in many different colors and styles ranging from hippie colorful and fun looks to sleek and modern designs, so you’ll be able to find one that complements your taste. And because they are made with strands of beads or shells, they offer a unique gentle clatter as they move in the breeze, adding a bit of charm and ambiance to your space.

8. Translucent or Colored Privacy Glass

For people looking for apartment window privacy ideas while maintaining a sophisticated look, privacy glass is an excellent solution.

Privacy glass is a type of glass that has been treated to obscure the view so people cannot see through it, while still allowing natural light to pass through. There are different types of privacy glass that offer different degrees of privacy including ground glass, frosted glass, tinted glass, reflective one-way glass, and colored glass.

But before you decide to install privacy glass, there are a few things you should keep in mind. The first is that privacy glass can be expensive, so it’s important to factor the cost into your budget. Second, while most privacy glass will allow some natural light in to keep your space bright, it does block the view of the outside. Lastly, privacy glass is a permanent solution, so make sure you’re comfortable with it before deciding to install it!

9. Window Film

Window film is another great option for privacy in a lower-level apartment. This consists of a sheet of film that is applied to the inside surface of a glass window or door, which much like privacy glass will obscure the view into the space while allowing natural light in, but can be removed when no longer needed.

Window film comes in a variety of designs, including frosted, opaque, geometric, floral, and colored window films. You can also find privacy window film that is adhesive-free so it can be easily removed and reapplied.

Advantages of privacy window film are that they are budget-friendly, they can be easily removed and reapplied as needed, they offer a variety of design and color options to choose from, and they can be cut to fit any size window or door. Window film can also be applied to all or part of the window or door to create a custom degree of privacy to suite your needs.

10. Privacy Screens

Privacy screens are those tall, free-standing, folding screens that are often called room dividers and are used to create a temporary partition. They can add privacy to an apartment, especially if you have large windows or sliding glass doors, by obscuring the view across them.

These screens come in a variety of materials including wood, metal, bamboo, fabric, plexiglass, or mirror to match any décor. Their location set-up can be adjusted to fit your needs, and when you no longer need them, just fold them and put them away or move them to another space.

11. Organize Your Furniture Strategically

The last, but not the least indoor solution, to the problem of privacy in a ground-level apartment is to simply organize your furniture strategically. Here are some tips when setting up your furniture to maximize your privacy:

  • Understand your space and how you can be exposed and the line of sight of people looking in.
  • If you have your favorite couch near the window or in your nosy neighbor’s line of sight, move it further away from the window if you have the space.
  • Place furniture used more often, such as your comfortable sofas and chairs, in blind spots in your space, like against a wall with no window, or in a corner, so people sitting in them are not visible from the outside.
  • Arrange furniture groupings in a way that obscures the view into the space. For example place chairs with high backs in front of windows.
  • Organize your seating in your living space to have your backs turned to the window.
  • Move beds away from windows

Outdoor Solutions for Privacy in a Ground-Floor Apartment

1. Outdoor Potted Plants

Similar to using potted plants indoors, placing them outside near your windows or on your patio or balcony will provide privacy from nosy neighbors or passersby.

For outdoor placement, you may want taller plants. Good examples of container plants that can be placed near windows or glass doors to provide coverage for privacy include Blue Oat grass which can stand up to 2-3 feet tall, and Japanese Silver grass which is denser and can grow 3-7 feet tall.

Another popular option is a potted palm tree like the Areca or Pygmy Date Palm, which can reach a height of 10-12 feet and will provide ample horizontal and vertical coverage.

2. Outdoor Privacy Screen

These are similar to room dividers but are often made from weather-resistant materials like bamboo, wood, metal, or PVC so they can withstand being outdoors.

They are usually taller than indoor privacy screens, standing about 6 feet or more high, to provide maximum privacy.

They can be used as a temporary or permanent solution for creating privacy by being placed strategically to block the view from the street or a nearby building into the private space of your ground-level unit. Outdoor privacy screens can also be multifunctional by providing a place to hang plants or providing shade on a hot day.

3. Privacy Fence

We can’t talk about outdoor privacy solutions without mentioning the classic privacy fence. While this may be a more expensive and permanent solution, it will provide the most privacy if that’s what you’re looking for.

You can have a fence built specifically for your outdoor space or attached to an existing fence if you share a yard with other units in your building.

If you’re renting, you’ll likely need to get permission from your landlord before having any work done. Some landlords may be willing to install the fence to add privacy and security to their buildings and increase the value of their investments.

If your landlord is not agreeing to a traditional privacy fence, you may want to suggest an alternative like a lattice fence which has gaps between the slats that allow some visibility but provide more privacy than an open railing fence, a living fence, or a line of trees that will provide privacy and preserve the curb appeal.

4. Awning

An awning is a covering, usually made of fabric, that is attached to the side of a building. It can be used as protection from the sun or rain and can also provide privacy especially if you’re worried about being exposed from higher floors in a building next door.

Awnings can be placed over windows or doors. To use an awning as a privacy solution, choose one that is solid and not see-through. Also, make sure the awning is installed close to the window or door so people can’t see in from the side.

5. Exterior Floodlights

Most people install lighting to improve visibility. But did you know you can use exterior lighting to obscure visibility and increase nighttime privacy?

If you are worried your neighbors or passersby have a clear line of sight into your home, then by installing some exterior floodlights above your windows and doors you can make it more difficult for them to see into your living space or bedroom, especially at night.

The light from your floodlights will produce a glare that will blind people’s view into your home while still allowing you to see out.

Final Thoughts

So while in a ground-level apartment you may find that your street-facing glass door or window doesn’t offer much in the way of privacy, thankfully, there are many options, both indoor and outdoor, that are stylish and functional to upgrade the privacy of your space.

If you’re still on the fence about moving into that ground-floor unit and making it work for you, remember that you can use one of these options, or with a little bit of creativity combine two or more of these solutions for more privacy that fits your needs.

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