Why Are People Leaving Their Windows Exposed—And Is It a Bright Idea?

May 22, 2024

Why Are People Leaving Their Windows Exposed—And Is It a Bright Idea?

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As long as there have been neighbors, there’s been a sense of “keeping up with the Joneses.” There are many ways to present a certain social and economic standing with your home's exterior, from the manicured lawn to the type of car in the driveway. But one emerging status symbol you may not have considered: whether or not you cover your windows.

Writer Michael Waters noticed that many large homes in upscale areas don't have their shades drawn, raising the question of if there's a correlation between wealth and windows. Waters went looking for the answer, and he found a surprising one: According to his research, which he details in an article from The Atlantic, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to have exposed windows.

The article's findings have created much conversation on the internet. Is this really about finances, or are there other factors at play? Is it just a trend right now? And, most importantly, is it safe to leave your visible? Read on for our perspective on this polarizing practice.

Are you more likely to see exposed windows in affluent areas?

Much of the “why” behind this trend is speculation (no formal survey was conducted), but two main explanations stand out: Homeowners keep their windows bare because they want the light streaming in. This isn’t surprising since people prioritize natural light when it comes to their space, and it can boost your mood.

But it also came down to people feeling secure enough in their neighborhood to leave their blinds open. Often, that’s because they have more privacy. This can be for a variety of reasons—some of which are tied to wealth.

For example, if your home is on a large lot hidden away from any busy roads or in a penthouse high above other neighboring apartments (and prying eyes), there's less of a need to close your curtains. In large homes, you can usually find formal rooms in the front and more casual and intimate areas located in the back, where they innately have more privacy. This negates the need for covering windows in the front rooms.

Should you leave your windows uncovered?

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Whether or not you choose to try this trend depends on how and where you live and if you're comfortable with the possibility of others being able to see inside your home.

But you don’t have to go all or nothing here. Experiment with how it feels to keep your curtains or blinds open. You may come to find you like keeping your windows exposed during the day but not at night, and that's OK—your home should be your sanctuary, and that's more important than following any trend. 

An option for letting the natural light in without losing privacy is getting a set of sheer curtains. Plenty of sun can still filter through, but your interiors aren’t on full display to any passersby. You can also layer them with opaque curtains or blinds to block the light when you’re sleeping or give you more coverage when you have your lights on.

Following this trend doesn't only get you more light, which is important to our circadian rhythms, but it also creates a tie to the outside world. It's lovely to see the seasons change, and watching your neighbors walk by can remind you that you're part of a community.

However, there are some obvious drawbacks from a security perspective to keep in mind: If you're normally home with all the lights on, suddenly having a dark house might alert people to the fact you're out of town. It can also highlight valuables and give strangers information about your family that you may not want to put out to the world. Always consider your personal safety to determine whether this idea works for you.

At the end of the day, this is all about your comfort level, not your status. If flooding your home with sun makes you happy, then throw back the curtains and let the light in.

Source: Better Homes & Gardens, Maggie Gillette

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