Are you looking to add new windows to your home? If so, congratulations! Replacing or adding new windows can be a great way to complement the exterior of your home and make it look more modern. As exciting as this project may seem, it’s also important that you spend some time considering what window styles are best suited for your home before making any decisions.
By the end of this post, you should better understand how to choose the perfect windows to enhance your dream house.
Adding unique windows to your home is a surefire way to add more architectural character to your property. Years ago, we did a complete top-to-bottom replacement of 60s style, basic windows to a set of simple yet elegant (not to mention energy efficient) windows that were a mix of double-hung and bay windows, all with lovely pewter grids to add a subtle accent to the home.
I know, from experience, that whether viewed from the inside or outside, windows can make your home look more attractive. And the bigger the windows, the brighter the home. Sometimes, too bright. But with many window designs available in the market and plenty of cheap blinds for windows, you can choose the best ones for your needs.
The key is to go through this guide in choosing the best window style for your home.
Why Updating Your Windows Is a Great Investment
If you’re reading this article, it’s probably because you’re considering updating your windows. It’s important to note that investing in new windows may be one of the best investments you make for your home. Not only will they help keep your energy bills down by reducing heat loss (if you have older windows that aren’t as energy efficient as today’s models), but they’ll also add charm and value to your property.
Going back to the complete window remodel we did several years ago, the house had been on the market for several months and we ended up purchasing it for well under market value. One of the major dectractors–the old, dirty windows. The house had a gorgeous view of the wooded ravine behind the property, but you could barely see it through the 50-year-old glass.
Although we weren’t changing the windows as part of a plan to flip the house, that one move – upgrading all of the windows – easily provided double the value when we eventually sold several years later.
Understand The Different Types Of Windows
The first step towards choosing the right window for your home is understanding what windows are available. The window industry has evolved and improved over the years, so no matter what your home style or structure is, you can find the perfect window designs to fit your vision.
There are five main types of windows: sliding, double-hung, casement, awning, and bay.
- Double-hung windows can be opened from the top or bottom and usually feature two sashes which slide vertically. These windows are great for easy access in small spaces. Traditional house styles typically suit this type of window, and it is very common in the US housing market.
- Sliding windows open horizontally and feature two sashes that slide parallel to each other. You’d be forgiven if you assumed they were the same as double-hung, but the major difference between sliding and double-hung is the orientation, as sliding windows slide from one side to the other, whereas double-hung slide up and down. These are often used in contemporary homes or those with smaller spaces.
- Casement-style windows have a single sash that swings outward horizontally with the help of a crank mechanism. Because you can open the entire window, these all for the maximum flow of fresh air, but can sometimes create unsightly lines on the exterior of the house when opened.
- Awning-style windows also swing outward but at an angle so they don’t take up too much room in tight spaces. This style is typically used above other types of windows as an additional source of ventilation. Like sliding vs double-hung, the difference with these is that they swing up inside of to one side.
- Bay windows (one of my faves!) are often used to create a unique and inviting atmosphere in a room. This style typically consists of three or more panes that protrude outward from the wall and help to create an open and airy feel. Plus, the ledge is a fantastic place to put up a seasonal display for all the world to see!
Other Window Types to Consider
- Skylights are great for letting in more natural light and offering unique views of the outdoors. They can be placed anywhere in a room, from the top of the wall to the ceiling. Skylights are also advantageous because they do not take up any space inside your home like regular windows.
- Stationary windows are typically smaller windows used for decorative purposes in the interior of a home. They don’t open, but they allow light to come through and can be an eye-catching feature in any room. There is limited value to stationary windows, but if you have some in your home, you can easily enhance them by installing a lovely piece of stained glass on top.
- Picture windows are large windows that usually don’t open. Although they are also stationary, they are differentiated by their size and view. They are often used as the centerpiece of a room and can be framed on either side by windows that open so that you still get some fresh air.
- Tilt-turn windows are more common in Europe, but they do provide some unique features. For example, this window pivots or tilts depending on how you turn the handle.
All homes have an architectural design style that makes them extraordinary. Selecting the right window type that matches your home’s design aesthetic is the first step in choosing the right windows.
Consider What & Where When Installing New Windows
It’s important to remember that where you install your windows is almost as important as what type of window you choose. For instance, casement windows are often used for bathrooms since they can be cranked open for better ventilation without taking up too much space. And bay windows work best in large, open rooms like the living room since they can be used as a statement piece.
Match The Windows To Your Home’s Architectural Design
Whatever home style you have, whether it’s a modern, contemporary design with floor-to-ceiling glass or a traditional Victorian or Craftsman house, ensure to match the suitable window designs to elevate their overall appearance. In a modern home, certain types of windows like bay and picture windows can look especially stunning. In traditional homes, double-hung or casement windows can do wonders to boost the overall look.
Whatever home style you have, whether it’s a modern, contemporary design with floor-to-ceiling glass or a traditional Victorian or Craftsman house, ensure to match the suitable window designs to elevate their overall appearance.
Consider Your Ventilation Needs
A window’s primary purpose is to let light, and fresh air, into the room. Therefore, you should assess how much ventilation your house needs. Selecting the right window type will depend on your and your family’s needs. Specific types of windows can be opened wider than others, meaning more air can pass through.
Check The Rising And Setting Of The Sun
Consider how your home will sit to the sun rising and setting. This step will allow you to decide where to place your windows and what types would be preferable.
For example, if you like to spend the early evening in the living room, reading a book or binge-watching some Netflix, you’ll want to keep as much of the summer heat off your shoulders as possible with tinted or UV-blocking windows and heavy window treatments.
Your geographic location can play a significant role in this step. By following this practice, you’ll also avoid heating and cooling your home unnaturally during the seasons, resulting in higher utility bills.
Think About Energy Efficiency
You’ll also want to consider the energy efficiency of your windows before making a choice. Double-hung and casement windows tend to have higher ratings because their tight seals keep air from escaping easily. Sliding windows can also help with energy efficiency when installed correctly. Look for those with multiple panes, gas fills, and insulated frames for added insulation benefits.
Finally, don’t forget that you can always get creative with window treatments like curtains or blinds to make your window selection even more unique!
Match Windows To Your Exterior Colors
One of the last steps in selecting windows is ensuring they match your home’s exterior color. Windows are a prominent part of any home, and their color should be carefully chosen to complement the rest of the house.
Most houses’ trim and window frames are painted in one color, while the doorways, frames, and garage doors are in another color. While this may be an unspoken rule among homeowners, it gives off a more uniform and beautiful aesthetics for your exteriors.
If you’re going for resale value, stick with the classics and choose a window frame that has a similar but slightly lighter shade than the trim around it. This will give your home a cohesive look, while still standing out as its own element. When you choose windows to go with an existing color scheme, try to stick with neutral tones like white or off-white, so they don’t clash with other shades in your house.
Picking the Right Window Treatments For Your New Windows
Now that you’re familiar with the available types of windows, you should also educate yourself about the available treatments. After all, you don’t want to invest all of that money on brand new windows and then ruin the entire look by picking the wrong type of window covering.
Choosing the right type depends on many factors, including privacy, appearance, interior design, and views. Consider some types below:
- Vertical window blinds are practical, versatile, and simple to operate. It’s a standard window treatment favored by many homeowners. They consist of long, vertical slats made from fabric, vinyl, aluminum, or wood. The slats are connected, allowing you to open and close the blinds easily, providing adjustable light control and privacy in any room. Vertical window blinds have gone in and out of fashion several times during the last few decades, but they are still one of the most popular and versatile window treatments available.
- Horizontal blinds, also known as venetian blinds, are made up of horizontal slats which can be pulled up and down. They are usually made from aluminum or vinyl and come in a variety of colors, materials, and textures. Like vertical window blinds, they offer easy light control and privacy.
- Roman shades offer a softer look than blinds, consisting of one piece of fabric that folds up from the bottom. They come in various colors and materials, so you can find something to match any interior design style. They are available in both light-filtering and blackout materials for enhanced privacy.
- Shutters provide a classic look and have been used for centuries. They are traditionally made from wood and come in a variety of colors, designs, and styles. Shutters provide superior insulation and light control, making them an ideal option for rooms where you want to regulate the temperature or reduce glare.
- Curtains are the most commonly used window treatment of all time. They come in a wide range of fabrics, patterns, and sizes so you can easily match them with any interior design style. They are especially useful for creating an airy, romantic atmosphere in your home. Plus, it’s easy to mix and match for maximum effect. For example, you can hang horizontal blinds on the inside of the window frame and then curtains on the outside. Once both are closed, nearly no light will get through.
- Window film is another great option, as it can be applied directly to the glass of any window without blocking out the light. It comes in various styles and patterns and offers an affordable way to add privacy or create a decorative look. Window films are easily removable as well, so if you ever want to switch up the look without committing to something more permanent like shutters or blinds, then this is an option worth considering.
Let’s Talk About Window Screens
Window screens are designed to fit into the inside of your window frame and can be used for a variety of reasons. Insects, debris, and sun damage can all be kept at bay with proper screens installed on your windows.
But screens also significantly reduce the amount of natural light (and natural heat) that comes in through windows. This is great in the summer but can increase heating costs in the winter. In fact, one study showed that leaving screens in place during the winter blocked 30-40% of the heat that would have seeped in naturally.
However, a lack of screens will likely mean you can never open your windows without creating an open invitation to all of the creepy crawlies we want to keep in the outside world.
Although modern window manufacturers offer retractable screens (which wrap back into the window frame when the window is closed), those options can be costly and harder to repair if the screen breaks.
Summary and Key Takeaways
Windows are one of the most important aspects of any home, as they can greatly impact the aesthetic and overall look of a space. Windows provide not just natural light to brighten up a room but also offer views outside and creates visual interest. In addition, windows can act as insulation and help conserve energy.
Once you’ve selected the right window styles, the next choice is window coverings. There are a variety of window treatments to choose from, depending on your needs and preferences. Vertical blinds, horizontal blinds, roman shades, shutters, curtains, and window film all provide different levels of light control and privacy in any room.
Ultimately, it’s important to consider options that will work best for you before deciding.