When trying to brainstorm a solution for our ugly original egress window in the basement bedroom (see the before images here), I’ll admit- I felt stumped. It wasn’t until I was standing in the kitchen, admiring our cabinetry, when inspiration struck. As I was looking at our reeded glass cabinets, I wondered if I could replicate that look with the existing basement window. There had to be a product! I tried a couple and found one that I really liked and it worked well. This is definitely worthy of a blog post because it’s very affordable, was a breeze to install, and gives a designer look for less. It’s a great solution if it’s not in your budget to replace a window altogether (read more about that process here). In my case, it also works well for egress windows and our building codes. It’s a non adhesive window cling that can easily be removed, therefore it doesn’t violate any basement escape regulations. Click through for a quick and easy window tutorial… and for a peek at my basement bedroom progress!
Our basement windows have seen better days, but they’re in a great shape and are still functional. They’re not the most efficient since they’re original to the 90’s, but they do the job. Here is the before…
While they are quite dirty on the exterior and layered with calcium deposits (thanks to our hard irrigation water), my main goal was to diffuse the view while still allowing natural light to flow in. I don’t love the look of our window wells. They’re metal, are constantly dirty thanks to our location & climate, and they’re just not aesthetically pleasing.
Reeded glass, privacy glass, or faux reeded glass window clings help to filter the natural light while diffusing the less than visually pleasing backdrop. Here’s what you need to replicate this look at home…
- Reeded Glass Window Cling Roll
- Xacto Blade
- Window Cleaner
- Soapy Water or Basic Cleaning Spray
- Metal Ruler
- Measuring Tape
- My Affordable Custom Roman Shade
I hope my photos translate. They’re not the prettiest because I was quickly losing the light, but knew some of you could use this fast tutorial!
I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my first job in high school was installing vinyl graphics and vehicle wraps- so this process is something I’m really comfortable and familiar with. The reviews for the window cling are meh, but I’m convinced it’s because people weren’t prepared or informed for the installation. The instructions make it seem wayyy more complex than it actually is. I promise it’s easy! Let’s get started…
First, you’ll need to clean the window really thoroughly. I just used Windex and made a couple passes, making sure to get the edges really good. Next, you’ll measure your windows and cut the material to size, PLUS one extra inch lengthwise and widthwise. For example- my window was 27″ x 37″, so I cut the material to 28″ x 38″.
Once your material has been cut to size, spray the window with soapy water or a basic all-purpose cleaning spray. This makes it easier to install and shift around until it’s perfectly aligned. Make sure the window is totally drenched with solution. Next, peel the backing off the material 25% downward, lining up the factory edge in one corner. Like this… don’t worry about bubbles yet.
Once it’s aligned, use the squeegee from top to bottom, pressing the solution out of the edges, until no bubbles remain. Make sure it’s super smooth and flat…
The last step is to cut the excess material away from the edges with your Xacto knife. You should only need to trim two edges since you aligned the material in one corner. Use the metal ruler, dragging it as you cut. This makes it easy to achieve a super clean straight line in one fell swoop!
I then sent Emmett outside into the window well for a much needed exterior window cleaning! He waded through the snow and scrubbed the exterior of the window… bless him. I’m so glad I didn’t have to crawl down there- knowing my luck, I would have gotten stuck. Here’s a look from the exterior and interior…
Last, he installed my affordable (and custom!) roman shade before we called it quits on the window transformation for the evening… having totally lost the light.
Fast forward to the following day, this is what the end result looks like. I’m really pleased with how this budget friendly window transformation turned out… and it still allows the natural light to flood into the room while remaining within our building regulations. I’m calling it a budget-friendly win!
I hope this post was helpful! I’ll link my tools for you below. I know many of you messaged saying you’ve been wanting to attempt this quick project, so hopefully these instructions and my experience will come in handy. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. Have a great day, friends!
PeggiMarch 15, 2023 at 5:40 am
Good morning! Such an easy, elegant, and inexpensive solution! Even though they may not be the prettiest window wells, you can’t be sad about all that light in a basement. I’ve often wished we had a few egress windows in ours. (but not enough to justify the expense!) As for the privacy film, I used a similar product on our large, front windows. I installed simple sheers inside for aesthetics, but these north-facing rooms need all the light they can get. The product I used is lightly adhesive and has a different pattern, but what a simple fix! Highly recommend. I love the look of your ribbon-trimmed shade, too! So classy. Did I tell you I ordered two bamboo blinds for my bedroom project? I chose them from your Amazon storefront; they’ve got thousands of stellar reviews and are custom sized?! We’re still a few weeks away from delivery, but I’m excited. Now to obsess over lumbar pillows, sconces and a new piece of art! Ha. Seriously, what’s more fun than bedroom design? Happiest of Wednesdays to you, Sarah!💜
SarahMarch 15, 2023 at 9:33 am
Thank you, Peggi! My thoughts exactly… I’m happy to have windows and natural light! For such a simple, quick, and cost effective treatment- I’m really happy I decided to give this a try and pleased with how it turned out. It definitely helps to disguise our metal window wells. The ribbon trimmed shade was another inexpensive Amazon find (less than $100 and custom size & color!). I’m so excited to hear you ordered those bamboo blinds for your bedroom- thanks for using my link, BTW. I can’t wait to see how it’s coming together! I hope you have a happy Wednesday, too. I’m off to the Tuesday Made shop on this rainy day.
LaurenMarch 15, 2023 at 7:29 am
Good morning! I’ll start by saying I love the way this turned out- it’s such a cost effective way to beautify a not so gorgeous but oh so necessary bit of functionality. I have seen reeded film used before and loved that it really looks like reeded glass. This is a solution I’ve been contemplating for my own home. In our primary bathroom the tub is installed directly under a large window, overlooking my neighbor’s kitchen window. I didn’t realize until last summer how much my neighbors would be able to see in the evening hours. 😳 Immediately I thought of this solution. The windows in the bedroom area also overlook neighbors’ homes, and I’m considering installing on all of them for a cohesive look, as they’re among the only windows in the house that lack grids, and a notable view. Are the rolls of this pretty sizeable? Did you have to order more than one roll to cover the entire window? Again, the results speak for themselves; such a simple solution, but such an elevated look. Thank you for sharing these tips- I’m definitely going to put them to good use!
SarahMarch 15, 2023 at 9:30 am
Thanks, Lauren! The rolls are really large- I actually ordered two, thinking I’d need one sheet for each pane of glass and only ended up using the one roll (despite measuring)… they definitely send more than the listing describes. I only used the one roll for both windows (two pieces cut to size). It took me all of 10 minutes to install and was super easy. I like that it helps to disguise the metal egress window well, and I can always easily remove it, if needed. As for the seam- it should be really easy to hide the seam thanks to the linear reeded pattern, and spraying the window beforehand makes it easy to shift the panel or film, so you can perfectly align it before using the squeegee to press it down. Definitely easier than a sticky or adhesive decal type product. Hope that helps!
LaurenMarch 15, 2023 at 7:46 am
While I’m thinking about it: do you have any tips for if there is a seam? I doubt I’ll be able to install this without one. Thanks again Sarah!
LiaMarch 15, 2023 at 12:52 pm
Curious – How did you cut a 28 x 38 piece when the stuff you linked to is only 17.7″ wide?
SarahMarch 15, 2023 at 6:47 pm
When I ordered it a few weeks ago, there were a couple size options. My roll was listed as 35″ x 78″ (same brand, same product). I’m wondering if the larger size sold out and was removed? Not exactly sure!