I visited a client's home recently who has a dilemma: how to cover her wall of windows so that there can be some privacy but still let in all of the light and be able to take in the beautiful view of the river that her home backs onto. The windows run almost floor to ceiling, and completely cover the back wall of the open concept living/dining/kitchen space. This includes a patio door in the middle. Also, because the frames of the windows go all the way to the walls on either side, there isn't room for a curtain rod to be installed on the walls above the frames.
Here are a few options I suggested she consider:
1. Bottom up/top down cellular or honeycomb shades.
These are great for a number of reasons. They provide privacy (different levels available for day/night) but also diffuse the light so that your indoor spaces are still very bright. Because of their "honeycomb" cells they are energy efficient, keeping heat out or in depending on the season. Finally, they are cordless, which is good for child safety and also esthetics. You can even get cellular shades to fit patio doors so the look would be seamless across the whole wall.
2. Panel track blinds.
Running a track on the ceiling above the wall of windows means that you can pull the blinds full across all windows including the door in the middle, or just as far as you'd like. There are many options of privacy levels and designs to choose from.
What's great about this is that you could also install two short tracks on either end on which to hang a pretty curtain in front of the blinds, just at the edges to provide a finished look. They would rest in front a small section of the two end windows, but shouldn't take away too much of the light or view. Or, if you like the look of curtains but want the privacy of panels, you could hang sheer curtains from the tracks and pull across when needed.
3. Privacy window film.
OK, this is kind of a neat option, though from the reviews that I've read the film provides varying levels of privacy. The mirrored option will block anyone being able to see in during the day, but not at night. If you'd like night-time privacy as well, perhaps the track panels or curtains could also be added. I admit I have not seen the mirror film used residentially, but it could be an interesting option. Plus it would be cool to spy on your kids, wouldn't it?
For my client, who is looking for large window covering options for privacy without sacrificing the view, I recommend the Blinds to Go sliding track blinds.
Please let me know if you've come across other options, or if you've used any of the above and can "shed some light" on how they've worked for you.