Distinctive Window Ideas

Find ideas for windows that make a statement from the outside or indoors.

Glass Gable Fixed Windows

Stunning fixed windows were designed to fill this gable and shaped to follow the roofline. Combined with full-length windows flanking the entry below, the windows create the effect of a two-story wall that fills the entry with light.

To suit the traditional Shingle-style architecture, the windows are composed of individual panes and divided by muntins. Large sheets of undivided glass would have given the house too modern of a look.

Skylights through the porch roof illuminate the outdoor area and further enhance the light-filled character of the entry.

Corner Double-Hung Windows

To expand space in a small bedroom, large double-hung windows fill one wall and continue around the corner. Awning-style half-windows open up the wall above the bed. Opening outward from the bottom, they allow for controlled air circulation.

Bottom-mount shades rise halfway up on the larger windows, offering privacy while preserving treetop views.

Glass Window Walls

Architect Jean Rehkamp-Larson, working with three associates, used massive spans of commercial-grade glass in floor-to-ceiling windows in this home. The windows around the base open outward awning-style, like casement windows flipped on their sides.

Decorative Clerestory Window

A leaded-glass clerestory window in a quatrefoil shape illuminates this entry space. Clerestory windows trace their origins to Gothic cathedrals, which featured an upper level of windows rising above the adjoining rooftops.

Placed high on the wall, the ornate window draws the eye upward, enhancing the sense of space in this Mediterranean-inspired house.

Focal-Point Window Wall

In this great-room, French doors flanked by pairs of matching full-length windows dissolve the barrier between indoors and out. Topped by a glass-filled gable that soars to 14 feet, the window wall admits abundant light in every season.

Mirroring the wave shape of the ceiling, the gable and muntins feature a gently curved contour that adds graceful character to the window wall.

Salvaged Glass

If you're building from scratch, you can design window openings to accommodate salvaged leaded or stained glass. Installed above a window seat, this narrow panel of diamond-shaped panes brings a touch of Tudor style to a new cottage, giving it a connection to the past.

New Windows for an Old House

A renovation increased the sense of light and space in this small bedroom by putting a standard double-hung window on one wall and a quirky arrangement of three awning-style windows on the adjacent wall. Wide, flat woodwork trimmed with picture-frame molding blends the new windows into the cottage-style architecture.

Modern Window Walls

Bumping out a wall created the opportunity to enhance the sense of light and space in this master bedroom. Large hopper-style windows open into the room for ventilation.

Below them, semi-opaque fiberglass panels provide privacy while still filling the room with light. The innovative material, a sandwich of reinforced fiberglass and aluminum gridwork, offers better insulation than conventional windows.

Ribbon Windows

Horizontal bands of windows separated by vertical posts, or mullions, are a typical feature of modern midcentury homes. Often encased in simple aluminum frames, these windows have a clean, linear quality that focuses attention on the light and views rather than on the windows themselves.

Oval Windows for Cottage Charm

An oval window (one of a pair flanking the door) adds architectural interest to the facade of this house. It admits light without sacrificing privacy.

Focal-Point Window

In this Victorian rowhouse, fluted trim and corner rosettes frame the windows. Paneled inserts installed in the upper windows create the effect of a large arched window, turning it into a bold focal point for the room.

A window like this should be left bare, if possible, so that its shape can be seen both indoors and out.

Classic Oval Window

Set low into the wall so that it breaks the line of the wainscoting, this oval window brightens the entry and adds classic architectural character. The oval became a popular shape for architectural features in the Baroque era, from the 1600s to 1750. Oval windows like this one, with its curved diamond grillwork, still communicate traditional style.

Depending on the manufacturer, oval windows usually measure about 20 to 22 inches wide and 26 to 34 inches tall. Grillwork designs vary by manufacturer.

Handsome Transom Windows

Transom windows bathe this dining room in light while offering privacy from neighbors. A change from reeded glass below to etched glass above underscores the windows' horizontal lines.

Grand Palladian Window

Named for the 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, this classically beautiful window is composed of three sections divided by pilasters, with the middle window wider and taller than the side units and often arched.

Historically, Palladian windows communicated wealth and grandeur and were usually used in formal rooms or as the focal point of a facade, and were often placed over a central front door. Because this style of window remains so popular, manufacturers offer a wide range of sizes and materials with fixed or operable units and insulated glass.

High Windows for Light and Privacy

South-facing windows were placed high on the wall to let in light while maintaining privacy. Resting on a row of small, operable windows, a fixed elliptical unit puts a graceful shape on top of the expanse of wall beneath the vaulted ceiling.

Clerestory Window for a Farmhouse

A classic farmhouse receives an airy update with the addition of a multi-pane clerestory window in the gable. Piercing the wall near ceiling height, this type of window raises interior sight lines, which makes the room seem bigger.

Clerestory windows can be adapted to any architectural style, from country and cottage to contemporary. The key is to blend them with the other windows through shape, proportion, and trimwork.

Oval Porthole Window

In reference to a ship's porthole, the dining room's oval fixed window was placed low on purpose to get a view of the horizon. Instead of installing the window to break into the wainscoting, the window frame was trimmed to accommodate the 42-inch-high paneling, giving the oval shape a stable visual base.

A Soaring Wall of Windows

Light floods architect Jim Brown's kitchen through windows that stretch to the 22-foot-high ceiling. Flat metal boards above the windows shield the interior from the hot summer sun but let in lots of winter light when the sun is lower in the sky.

The tall windows above the sink and beside the 12-foot-tall French doors open accordion-style to let in breezes.

Columns of Windows

Windows that stretch from the floor to just below the ceiling fill this large, formal room with light. The operable windows, accented with X-shape grillwork, form columns of light. Keeping all of the windows the same style--rather than making one larger or arched--makes the room feel more unified.

Round Accent Window

Instead of an ordinary rectangular window for this remodeled kitchen, architect Jeffrey Morgan specified a fixed round one to tuck between the cabinets. A custom-designed apron for the center cabinet frames the window and integrates it neatly into the wall of otherwise-rectangular shapes.

Eyebrow Dormer Window

Interrupting the roofline over the front doors, the curved dormer window is a focal point that helps create surprising volume in the living room.

This shape was popularized in the early 20th century when it was used to pierce the sloped roofs of Shingle-style houses, creating light and headspace in second-floor or attic rooms.

Decorative Round Window

In a cozy riverside cottage, round windows evoke the portholes of a ship. Generally measuring about 24 inches in diameter, round windows let in less light than standard-size rectangular windows, so they're usually used as accents. Here the window becomes a focal point thanks to artful decorating.

Dramatic Dormer

Sitting the family room on an upper level instead of a usual first-floor location allows ceilings to soar, incorporating light-enhancing dormer windows. Dormers offer grand style, but require the skills of a professional to install.

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