Windows: Design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Window design ideas and tips

Windows serve as the eyes and ears of your home. Technically, they provide an opening for light, sound, and fresh air to be welcomed in your house. Not only do they benefit the ventilation and natural lighting of your home, but they serve as a great spot to enjoy the view of the outdoors and bring relaxation to your soul. A window wouldn’t be complete without its perfect frames and crystal clear glass. Thus, it is imperative to have the ideal set of windows for your home.

Selecting the right windows for your home can be overwhelming given all the styles, materials, and features that are available to choose from. In addition, since this project is a major investment and new windows are expected to last up to 20 years, doing some homework before you make a decision can save on headaches later on. Here at Homify, we bring to you a quick guide on finding the best windows for your home.

1. Notes to ponder before installation

When it's time to replace worn out windows or you just want a new look for your home, it's time to go shopping for windows. There are countless options for new windows from inexpensive off-the-shelf models to custom versions.

The key is to match the style of your new windows to the style of your home. You will also want windows that are energy efficient, easy to operate and low-maintenance meaning they are easy to clean, paint and repair.

Start by taking a good look at your home. Walk out to the street and look back at your house. Determine the style and take notes or snap a picture with your camera. Walk around the neighborhood and look at the other houses. Chances are you'll find a style you like that matches or compliments your home.

2. New or replacement windows?

One of the first decisions a homeowner must make is between “new” and “replacement” windows. Here is the difference:

New windows are usually installed when the homeowner wants to change the size or shape of the current window opening and put a completely new window in its place. This generally requires the work of a contractor to complete the installation and surrounding carpentry.

While new windows generally do not cost more than replacement, the additional labor adds to the overall price. A big advantage of new windows is that you have the option to completely change the appearance and feel of your home both inside and out.

On the other hand, installing replacement windows involves removing the old windows without disturbing the surrounding trim or frame, and replacing them with new windows or sash that are designed to fit right into the existing opening. Replacement windows cost around the same as new windows, but there is less labor involved in the installation, so the overall cost is less.

Replacement windows are a great option when the existing frame is still in good condition or when the trim is attractive and fits the décor of the home. Obviously the savings on labor costs are helpful when budget is a consideration. Depending on the manufacturer, replacement windows can be a stock size or they can easily be custom ordered to fit any opening.

3. The right style for you

Once you have decided between new and replacement windows the next decision is the style or type of window you would like. Listed below are five most basic and popular types in any Filipino home.

Single hung windows are among the most common windows and are found in most homes. They consist of two separate sash, which open or close by sliding up or down. A single hung window opens from the bottom only by sliding up, while a double hung window can be opened from either the top or the bottom.

Double hung windows are ideal for creating air flow through the home when you lower the top sash. They are especially suited to homes where there are small children as they prevent the danger of a child climbing out the bottom window.

Casement windows usually consist of one large sash that’s hinged vertically and opens by swinging out. Usually a lever or other mechanism is used to open this style of window.

Awning Windows are hinged at the top and opened by tilting the window out from the bottom. As their name suggests, awning windows create the appearance of an awning when open. These windows are most popular in coastal areas in the Philippines and in home bathrooms.

Slider windows slide open from side to side and are an excellent choice when there is limited space outside to swing the window open.

4. Choosing the right window frame

Each component of a window --- from the insulated glass to the hardware --- is encapsulated within the frame. A well-crafted frame begins with high grade raw materials that are transformed to windows and patio doors through a strict quality-control process to provide long-lasting performance. Here are some top choices of materials for your window frames.

Wood is prized for its natural beauty and warmth. Though a delicate wooden frame is vulnerable to sun and rain, wood is nevertheless desired for its authenticity. Wood-grain texture and intricate details are only provided by solid wood and cannot be truly replicated with wood veneer. Sanding and painting is part of routine maintenance.

Fiberglass has steadily grown in popularity over the years as a low-maintenance alternative to traditional wood frames. Well-designed fiberglass windows and doors enhance curb appeal through its aesthetic flexibility to match the house’s architectural style.

Vinyl frames are especially energy efficient due to its ability to trap air. In addition to their insulating properties, vinyl frames are UV resistant, require little maintenance and are generally more affordable compared to its wood and fiberglass counterparts.

There is nothing quite like aluminum --- a recognized and established frame material that architects and builders have specified for years. The strength and distinct feel of aluminum has made it timeless. Aluminum frames are easy to maintain and are sometimes less expensive than other frame options.

Fibrex is a cutting edge material that tries to combine the best of all these options. It is a composite made from wood fibers and epoxy resin. The material is made to resemble wood, but it contains no material that will ever rot or deteriorate, making it a good choice for people who like the look of wood but also want durability. Furthermore, you can paint over it, giving you the ability to choose whatever color you like.

5. Accessorize your windows

Your home reflects your style, so should your windows. Add beauty and distinction to your home with the wide selection of interior and exterior accessories and options. You can make a bold statement with curtains, panels, or blinds to your windows. The options are endless! Here’s some tips on hanging curtains to your windows.

Hang rods as high as possible. This elongates the room and makes the ceilings appear taller. You may want to consider sheer curtains. If you have a view that’s not necessarily bad, but perhaps interferes with your privacy but you still want light to come in, consider sheers.

Use double rods. If you have space where you’d like to hang both sheers and solid panels, you can purchase double rods. They come with brackets that hold both rods on the same bracket. They are simple to hang and very efficient and versatile. They give you three options: both sets open, sheers closed but curtains open, or both sheers and curtains closed.

Consider corner curtain rods. If you have a corner that has a window on each wall, they do make corner rods so you are able to hang curtains. A regular rod would not fit between the window and wall.