When you are always surrounded by friends, neighbors, colleagues, family and roommates, privacy is a rare and precious commodity.

Whether you’re at work or home, having some sense of privacy is important. A privacy screen could take many forms — such as the door of a cubicle or a divider inside a hospital room — or it could be the backyard fence that shields you from neighbors’ prying eyes.

In addition, privacy screens can protect you from harsh weather conditions — such as a blistering sun — so you can still enjoy your backyard, and they’re an affordable way to upgrade your home with something both functional and stylish.

There are five types of privacy screens — those placed indoors, outdoors and on balconies, and privacy curtains and fences — and the type you choose depends on your need.

A wooden privacy screen with lattice work can give character to an others boring, blank backyard.

Materials to Consider

When you’re shopping for a privacy screen, consider the screen’s material. Vinyl, wood and metal are just a few of the options; think of how each might fit in with the designated area.

For instance, wooden privacy screens carry natural appeal and blend in with the environment, so they are perfect outdoors. Metal privacy screens would work well in a business or an industrial-chic home, and vinyl privacy screens can hide trash cans while seamlessly matching nearby fencing.

Apart from material, consider the design, which could be as unique as you like, or standard and mass produced. If you want the screen to offer a certain elegance, go for ornate motifs. Though intricate carvings can give the screen character, simpler designs are on trend.

Popular privacy screens feature vertical and horizontal slats. Appearing almost like a louvered shutter, the screens feature metallic or wooden frames and have plenty of customization options.

If you want something more durable, choose metallic screens. Dust, rain, storm and snow won’t impact the screen as they would other materials. Metal screens that are treated and galvanized will resist rust, but proper maintenance will prolong its lifespan.

Vinyl is durable, weather-resistant and complements modern homes.

Vinyl privacy screens offer a low-maintenance solution for privacy concerns. They’re easy to clean and complement various types of homes.

Various Uses

You can find several uses for privacy screens outside your home. The privacy screen can serve as an infill panel, a makeshift cabana, a hot-tub fence or a space divider — your imagination determines the outcome.

For instance, tennis players can become easily distracted when surrounded by various other occupied tennis courts. But placing a privacy screen between the courts can give the impression that someone is playing privately.

You may also customize the screen to suit your needs and application. Fencing is among such applications; just think of how an outdoor wall, shower area and deck can benefit from a screen.

Whether you install a privacy screen to gain protection from the sun’s harsh rays or protection from others’ glare, the choice of a screen depends on your need — so shop around and see what’s out there!

Layla Flinn is a Sydney-based writer and researcher and a regular contributor at the Smooth Decorator blog. She writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business.

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Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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