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What to Look for in a Home's Window Design

Wednesday, October 24, 2018   /   by Anne Rose

What to Look for in a Home's Window Design

When you are looking at houses, don't forget to consider window design from both the exterior and the interior.

Windows can be changed during a remodel, but window renovations can be a costly project. Replacing old windows is often part of a bathroom or kitchen redesign and renovation. When you change out the windows in your home, you can change the design and improve energy efficiencies. Contemporary home design generally allows for larger windows and more natural interior light.

When you are looking at homes to buy, consider both functionality and design of the windows, using the following pointers.

Windows should reflect the home’s architectural style

Modern and contemporary window design calls for floor to ceiling panes of unobstructed glass. Traditional Tudor architecture works with classic diamond-shaped mullions. Prairie style homes have long, horizontal bands of windows. Victorian homes generally have tall, double hung windows that are installed in pairs or sets of three, divided with mullions.

What do you want your windows to do?

  • Let light in
  • Let fresh air in
  • Serve as a doorway
  • Add ornamental details


bedroom windows.jpg

Add color to the exterior of the home

Choose frames and mullions that add an accent color to your home. Both wood and metal frames can be ordered with color infused in the frame material. Paint can transform mullions and frames to give your home exterior a facelift. Choose a paint color on your window frames that matches your house trim. Some homes look great with two colors, one for the home and a complimentary color for window frames, doorways, and garage doors.

Provide ventilation

The most basic function of windows is to provide ventilation and control movement of air in and out of rooms.

You can choose operable windows - those that open and close - or fixed windows that cannot be opened. Most homes have a combination of window types, and you should consider the style of the home, directional orientation of the room, and size of rooms.

Specialty windows can offer specific operability to suit your ventilation needs. Sash windows can move vertically or horizontally. Sliders can also move either up and down, or horizontally. Awning windows - popular in condos and older homes - are hinged at the top or bottom so that windows can open at an angle. Hopper windows are primarily used over doorways or picture windows.

Compliment the home interior

Windows help control your experience of your home’s interior. In bathrooms, you want light, but not transparency.


bathroom window.jpg


In a living room with scenic views - of the ocean or a wooded yard - picture windows are the obvious choice. Small spaces, short walls, and interior architectural features often call for specially sized and shaped windows.

Control light

Consider the sun orientation before you choose windows for your home. You should envision how each room is situated in relation to the sun rising and setting. Too much late day sun can make family room television time uncomfortable, or the rising sun directly across from your bed may not be welcome.

Affect temperature control

Windows should be installed to help ensure that a house doesn’t heat or cool unnaturally. Utility bills can take a hit if picture windows allow your home to cook during the summer.

Many of the design impacts of your home’s windows can be moderated with window treatments like shades, shutters, and drapers or curtains. All of those design options come with a price tag, too, so home buyers are smart to ask what window treatments are included in the purchase price, and to negotiate to have custom-made coverings included.

Add stunning design elements 

Windows are often the focal point of your home interior.


windows 3.jpg


Take advantage of scenic vistas, accent your home’s unique architectural character, or implement unusual shapes, details, glass type, to give a designer touch to your rooms. Bay windows with multiple panes are beautiful in kitchens or sitting nooks. Stained glass can work in a traditional home, or go contemporary for a modern interior.


Note: The beautiful windows pictured in this article are featured in this pristine, conch-style home in Bolivia, North Carolina (click for details).


  home design

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