Have a Bad View? 10 Ways to Creatively Upgrade It

updated Jul 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

We aren’t all lucky to get an amazing view from our home’s windows. Sometimes instead of gorgeous urban skyline or serene forest to gaze out onto, you’re stuck with an unwanted sneak peek of someone’s apartment through their window, a bland and boring brown plain fence or visions of neighborhood cats using your side yard as a litter box. Instead of keeping the blinds down and the curtains drawn, let the light in and take control over your perspective. You don’t have to pick up your home and physically move it to upgrade your view — you only need to get creative.

The real trick to pulling off a full upgrade of your home’s views? Finding the right combo of elements below that will work for you. Some of these suggestions will definitely work on their own; some are more powerful when working with other ideas. You might find that doing one of the ideas on the upper half of a window, say, and another idea on the bottom half, might be the trick for you. Consider all the ideas below and find the combination that seems perfect for you!

1. Stained glass

You don’t have to go medieval church on your house, but a few well-placed stained glass designs hanging or leaning in a window — either traditional styled or more modern — can quite literally upgrade your view by being lovely and partially obscuring a more unattractive view you don’t love.

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2. Float frame decorative paper

A similar idea is simply framed decorative paper in a float frame (your paper is sandwiched between two pieces of glass and doesn’t require a backing) and then leaning or hanging the frame over a window, as well. Depending on the paper, there will be some translucency to this project, so you’ll still allow light to come through but might succeed in obscuring a view you don’t love.

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3. DIY Glass film

It’s been around for awhile but it’s still a pretty great option for a clean, modern, uncomplicated way to still let light in while you hide a view you don’t like (not to mention gain some privacy). You can update this look for more contemporary times by attempting a custom project!

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4. Patterned or textured sheer roller shades or curtains

This idea isn’t terribly creative, or actually that difficult to implement, because the materials are abundantly available. Simply opt for sheer curtains or roller shades alone (or under your regular curtains if you still want to block light at night). The trick to making this really obscure a hated view is to go for a sheer material that also either has a pattern or texture to it — that will help distract from unpleasant things on the other side of the window.

(Image credit: June Bhongjan)

5. Window sill flowers, plants or herbs

Get natural and use an array of lovely alive things to hide a view you don’t love. You can just use your window sill (though be sure you’re protecting the wood from leaking pots if you do) or you can build an extra ledge or box to plant in. Or you can just use a narrow table set in front of the window to arrange a lovely little garden in front of.

6. External trellis

Are you a little handy and have a little room outside of your windows? Consider building a simple trellis you can use to attach a nice growing vine on. It’s an extreme way to try and hide a view you don’t love, but because it will also give you tons of privacy and even dampen traffic noises, it’s a substantial upgrade for the work. Or, if you’re faced with a boring fence, plant climbing vines like jasmine or ivy so that you see lovely greenery instead of sun-faded wood.

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7. Hanging plants inside

Tired of staring at cranes in the sky from your window? Replace the view with lovely hanging plants from the ceiling above your window, at different heights so the plants hang where you need them to hit. Go for very bushy, leafy plants with vines that hang so you’ll still get light in but really obscure the view and distract.

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8. Hanging plants outside

Not so keen on turning your home into a jungle? Consider instead hanging plants outside your home so that they seem to blend more into the environment, making it look like you live in a gorgeous garden instead. If you rent you might have to ask permission from your landlord for this, but consider using hanging plant brackets that swivel (available from hardware stores and sometimes nurseries), instead of just hanging them directly straight down from an eave or the porch overhang. This will give some space between your window and the plants so it doesn’t look like it’s just a wall of green outside your window, and choosing swivel brackets means you can adjust them to control your view.

9. Talk to the neighbors

Is it a pile of junk your neighbors have stashed on the side of their house or some trash cans that blind with their garishness? Simply have a conversation with your neighbors. Offer to help get creative and do the dirty work to come up with another place for the stuff that’s making your view unpleasant. But trust your gut if you know your neighbors might not be so open to the suggestion.

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10. Distract with photos

No matter how many tricks above you try it still won’t come close to approximating the real kind of view you wish you saw outside of your window? Well then splurge on a photo print of what you wish you saw and place prominently on either side of the window. It’s not about trying to make a faux view — but if you try another trick above to obscure a view and then choose a gorgeous photo that catches the eye — you just might distract yourself and guests from a view you don’t love!

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