Design Tips for Privacy: Solutions to Common Issues
By Kelsey Keith / Published by Dwell

Illustration by David Galletly

Illustration by David Galletly

Q: I live on a busy street in an urban area. The cacophony is deafening. I love the view but hate the noise! What can I do?

Acoustic wall panels are often used in public spaces to muffle din. These recycled polyester-fiber tiles from Offecct are cozy enough to hang at home. $150

Indow Windows manufactures thermal inserts that convert a normal frame into a double-paned super-window. They’ll also help save on your energy bill. From $100 per window

Textiles help minimize sound both inside and out; consider wall-to-wall carpeting fit for a rental, like Flor’s tiled rugs. From $8 per square

For uninterrupted sleep, the National Sleep Foundation has a suggestion: a Marpac white noise machine, particularly the Dohm-NSF model. $60

Illustration by David Galletly

Q: I work in an office, and my coworkers are often on the phone. How do I mitigate background noise so I can concentrate on my own to-do list?

Ideal for impromptu meetings is Jang Won Yoon’s Code, a high-walled seating system upholstered in felt, for Bernhardt Design. Price upon request

If an overall rehaul of the space isn’t viable, opt for Note Design Studio’s slim but mighty Dezibel sound absorber for ZilenZio. $775–$1610

If all else fails, take comfort in Bang & Olufsen’s new H6 noise-canceling headphones. $399

Q: My bedroom window looks onto my apartment building’s central shaft. I don’t want to forgo precious daylight but I don’t want my neighbors peeping in! Help.

Solar shades are a minimalist way to block UV rays (and screen views) while letting in filtered daylight. $172 for a 36" x 60" shade

Trove’s window films are printed on bamboo or rice paper with digital patterns created by the company’s founders, a pair of artists. $13 per square foot

Camo netting made from Tyvek is cheap, sculptural, and effectively obscures sight lines while allowing in light. From $45

Kelsey Keith


Kelsey Keith has written about design, art, and architecture for a variety of print and online publications.

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