Decorative Window Film Basics

Decorative window film is a great and inexpensive way to change the look of your window treatment. Decorative film is available in most home supply stores, hardware and home decorating centers. It is a good do-it-yourself project for the home-owner who wants to experiment with a new look for a window without investing a lot of time or money.

Types Of Decorative Film

Decorative films come in two types: peel and stick, non-adhesive film, or permanent, adhesive based film. Non-adhesive based is easily installed, easily repositioned, and installs with soapy water, a utility knife or razor and pair of scissors. Non-adhesive film can be removed and reapplied over and over since they cling to a glass surface through "static cling," and not with adhesive. They may be removed and taken with you to a new house or apartment if you choose.

Adhesive-based films are permanent and must be applied with an special installation kit. They offer greater heat and energy resistance than static cling films, and if installed correctly, will not bubble or deteriorate for years. However, they are hard for a first-time do-it-yourselfer to install. Once installed and cured (4-to-8-days) they must be stripped off the glass and disposed of and replaced with new film.

Design Options

Not all decorative window film has to cover the entire window. You can radically change the mood and appearance of a window with something as small as decorative corners or a 4-to-8-inch strip across the top of the glass. Entry-way windows, particularly if they are tall, vertical panes, can be transformed with a center strip of simple, translucent or etched window film. Using a solid color tint film to block out a glass pane in a geometric pattern is also a simple way to create a design.

Decorative options

Decorative window films come in a variety of colors, themes and designs. From stained glass replicas to florals, and even geometric patterns, there are many decorative options:

  • Tints. Tints add color to a window, shower door or sliding glass door without blocking the view. But they may be purchased in opaque tints for privacy as well.
  • Patterns. From geometric to tiles, icons, or other designs, patterns are a way to create a sense of motion or space.
  • Embossed. Not all film is flat. Create the feel and look of stained glass and texture with embossed window films.
  • Accents. Accents are elements, pieces of decorative film placed in specific areas of a window. They don't cover the entire window. They are most often applied to corners or along the top or side of the window as a border. They may also be decorative medallions that can be placed in the center of the window.
  • Etched. Etched film contains actual ground glass dust that brings a realistic sparkle and look to etched film. The look you get resembles etched glass. You can use your family initials, leaves, tree branches, geometric patterns or religious icons.