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There are a lot of cool things out there that make us wonder — do they really work? In our I Tried It series, we set out to use them in the real world and have determined that, in fact, they really do.
Tester: Melanie Yates, an enthusiastic proponent of removable rental upgrades
The Brief: When I moved into my apartment 8 years ago, the first order of business, wasn't buying furniture, appliances, or any other home necessities — it was getting window film. The reason being that my building's windows look directly into my neighbor's, and privacy is a number one priority. The original privacy film that I went with for the living room was hastily chosen, but it did the job for a long time.
After devoting time to wallpapering, spackling, painting, and rearranging art in my apartment, I finally decided to tackle the last decorative bugbear that I'd spent literal years putting off: the Artscape Savannah Stained Glass Window Film. After just minutes of installing, I'm absolutely in love with how my windows look.
Artscape sells many different window film designs of varying textures and opacities, all of which have tons of favorable reviews on Amazon. The Savannah Window Film design that I have is touted by others for adding a significant layer of privacy to windows that, like mine, are a little too close for comfort to their neighbors or the street. I love that this film provides near-total obscuring of the lower half of my windows — I can't see anything out of them beyond fuzzy, vague shapes, but I still get plenty of east-facing light shining in.
If you've ever applied window film before, you've probably noticed the crinkled, Saran Wrap-like feel that many types have — which definitely don't translate on a window as looking like an authentic piece of textured glass, even if applied with care. Conversely, this Artscape stained glass window film has a matte texture that prevents the sun's glare from making it look obvious as an artificial overlay. This window film isn't raised or rippled at all, but each element in the design looks like it has its own unique swirl and color gradient, adding an illusion of depth to the flat, translucent surface.
The application was very easy — although, after wallpapering two rooms, any home project is easy. I bought two 24x36-inch rolls of film for the lower half of my two living room windows. The width was just a little short of what I needed, but luckily, I was able to shave off a little from the leftover length and use it to patch up the sides so that it looked cohesive.
Following the brand's instructions, I spritzed a little water all over the windows, and then lined up the top corner of the film and smoothed it out. Once contact was made, I used an old gift card to smooth out the air bubbles in the film to ensure it would dry completely flattened against the pane. Finally, I used an X-Acto knife to shave off any last unevenness around the edges, then I attached the mini side panels so that both windows were completely covered.
The design of this window film is nothing short of stunning. In my opinion, photos of it (especially those on retailers’ sites) can barely do it justice. It looks like an art-nouveau, stained-glass rendering of a field of tiger lilies. Beyond the privacy that the film offers, I love how it interacts with the changing light. My favorite time of day to look at these windows is at dusk — the fading light gives the green waves a mysterious blue tint that looks unbelievably dreamy.
Closing Argument: This is an example of how a very small and budget-friendly change can make a world of difference. The windows that I thought for so long were an irritating architectural quirk of my apartment became a thing of beauty and practicality in almost an instant. When chosen to suit the needs of a space, any type of window film can be an automatic aesthetic upgrade — the Savannah Artscape Stained Glass Window Film was definitely that for me.
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