Window design 101
Most homeowners go through at least one window replacement in their lifetime, if not two or three. There are quite a few reasons to replace the windows in your home.
Whether it’s a broken seal, sliding mechanism malfunction, or air leak, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to your windows. From the frame to the pane, everything needs to be working properly for the windows to function optimally – that’s why replacement windows are always a good investment. They have the potential to save money and add value to the house.
The power of window aesthetics
Doing something as simple as changing the window opening can change the look of a room or the overall appearance of your whole house. We’re not talking about a new home construction or tearing down an existing wall, either. You can make a significant design statement by simply replacing existing windows with brand new stylish options that will last for years.
Replacement windows are available in a variety of styles. They can complement your existing architectural design whether it’s colonial or coastal. You also can opt to combine contrasting styles such as a contemporary, sleek style to modernize a more traditional look.
If you’re looking for form and function from your windows, here’s what you should know:
Before diving into all of the window design options, it’s important to run through a list of practical needs.
According Better Homes and Gardens, “Select windows that satisfy your light, ventilation and privacy needs. Review how different styles open and close, and if they tilt for easy cleaning.”
When replacing the windows in your home, experts suggest replacing windows of similar size, shape and style to avoid excessive labor costs.
Matthew Mack, Sales Manager at Long Windows, suggests staying as close to the original size as possible and going with a company that offers custom windows.
“Your window may be 39 inches wide by 45 inches tall, and a company’s standard window is 37 inches by 43 inches,” he explains. “If they don’t have custom windows, you’re going to be losing an extra inch or two of glass on each window. That’s why you need to go with a company that offers custom windows.”
Although custom window frames might slightly shrink the opening down, they’re still better than choosing replacement windows that are entirely different in size and shape.
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Types of Windows
Before you can choose new windows to replace the old ones, you need to familiarize yourself with the basic window types. It’s also a good idea to learn more about window parts during the window buying process.
This is one of the most common window types. It consists of two sashes that move up and down, allowing for half of the window to be open at a time.
Also very popular, casement windows are hinged vertically to open and close like a door. They are often operated with a crank or handle.
These windows are similar to casement windows but are hinged horizontally. When opened, they resemble the shape of an awning.
Hoppers are the reverse opening of an awning window, as the sash is hinged at the bottom.
As the name suggests, these windows slide to open. Sliding windows move on top and bottom tracks. They open on one half and have a vertical meeting rail.
Bow and Bay
These larger windows are built to project outward from an outside wall. The windows “bow” out forming a “bay” in the room.
A picture window is a larger window that consists of one piece of glass. Picture windows do not open at all.
Similar to a bay window, but smaller, a garden window projects outward from a wall to capture more sunlight.
Which design is right for your home?
Once you’ve assessed your current window size and shape, determined your practical needs and familiarized yourself with window varieties, it’s time to choose the look you want.
Just like home decorating, there is no one-size-fits-all choice for window design. To determine the style that’s right for your home, do a little research. Browse through home décor magazines and websites or social media sites such as Pinterest. Drive around neighborhoods and note the homes you like. Then, take a good “curbside” look at your home to envision the styles you were drawn to.
After you’ve collected some information, your contractor can help you narrow down your choices.
“The biggest way people can help out their contractors is to show them pictures,” explains Matthew. “We try to give people the look that they want, and pictures help us envision the end result.”
Letting in the light
Replacing a dingy looking window with a brand new stylish one can increase the amount of natural light in the home – a popular design aesthetic homeowners often desire. In this case, you may want to consider decreasing the amount of frame on the window.
“The rule of thumb is the more glass the more light,” says Matthew. “A double hung window has a ‘meeting rail’ that goes across the window. Some people don’t want that because then it is an obstruction to the view. So they may want a casement window that cranks open or a picture window.”
If you have fewer windows or smaller windows and want to increase the light, you may want to avoid window grids and reduce the number of panes in the windows.
When people think of windows they think of white frames. Companies now have the capability to custom color windows to any color you can imagine. “The new thing is to be a little different,” says Matthew. “Black is now a very popular color. The look is stunning.”
The home decor and design experts at Houzz suggest that black is popular in window design because it is a “forgiving color” that works well with every other color. They compare a black window frame to a classic black suit, in that everything looks great in black.
*Note: Custom colors at Long Windows are not available inside. White, tan, and woodgrains only.
Another trend in window design is getting the look of wood in a more durable material. Similar to vinyl or laminate flooring in wood visuals, window frames are available in wood grain interior. This adds a rich sophistication and design intrigue to the room.
From function to fashion, choose well-made, professionally installed windows that are right for you and your home.
Read: Heat mirror windows: The right move for smart homeowners
Thinking of replacing your windows?
If you’re in the market for new windows, contact Long Windows at (800) 417-5664 or visit us online. Set up a free assessment to learn how windows can not only be practical, but can beautify your home, too.