Windows & doors: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Easily one of the most important elements in the home is the view, and how you get to see it. Windows are a fundamental part of a house, and have been since the earliest civilizations began making large living spaces. In America today, there are hundreds of building styles, and each of these has in one way or another used designs of windows to make them stand out. Whether they are Victorian style double hung sash windows or ultra modern minimalistically styled, windows are as different in style as the buildings they are built into. 

Window types and design

Quite simply put, a window is a glass or in some cases a clear PVC opening in the wall of a house which is meant for three main purposes: to view the outside, to open up and allow for airflow through the living space, and to allow natural daylight into the home. Over time there have been many designs which have been central to common building practice,but there are some which have become favored amongst architects and homeowners alike. 

Wooden windows - selected for their appearance and their durability, these windows are some of the most common. They come in may styles, such as sash windows (one of the most varied styles), casements windows which are possibly the most common being simple frames which open outward vertically, picture windows which act to frame the outside area almost like a picture, transom windows which open from the centre outwards, bay windows, stationary, sliders, and a plethora of others.

Aluminum - Usually selected because of its corrosion resistance and strength, as well as its ability to be painted and customized easily, aluminum is one of the most durable materials from which windows can be made. Often times you will have safety windows or weather specific windows (like hurricane protective windows) made from this readily available metal.

PVC and uPVC - While it isn’t a favorite amongst homeowners because it can fade and it not as easy to work with or install as the other types, it is very durable and weather-resistant. It is a very good window type for interiors as  it has very good sound dampening properties, and also can assist in being very energy efficient during winter months, especially in the colder parts of the Northern United States.

The most popular windows in America area still wooden windows, especially in places where classic styles are still a common part of the area’s architecture. You will find these in major cities all over the U.S, especially in homes which are in older neighborhoods. People in hurricane or heavy weather prone areas will often opt for the safer choice and go for a stronger hurricane or high wind proof window, especially tornado alley or in the states where heavier storms are common place.

What timeframe is good for installing a window? 

Window installation can take different times depending on the types of windows you want to install. The first thing you should note is the style of your building. Research what style you’re working with and find out which windows are commonplace for that style of home. This can serve as a starting point to assigning the amount of time you need to work with.  If you have identified what kind of window you’re looking at installing, we’d recommend you talk to a professional, and get a fully rounded idea of what the working time will be. 

On average, replacement of an old or damaged frame takes about 3 - 4 weeks after the date that the frame was measured, because the parts need to be crafted to the exact specifications that have been given to the agent making the window/s.

When installing any glass fixture, remember that the most important thing is that while glass in  a frame is strong and can take quite a beating, glass on its own is fragile. Remember when you're transporting it, and while working before you install the glass panes, to protect the glass at all costs, because breakage can occur easily if it is dropped or if something hits it, and this can be a safety concern with glass shards in your working area.

Ways to accessorize your windows

There are a number of ways to add  to the beauty of a window, and these can be chosen by assessing what kind of window you have and what style best suits you and your home. 

Curtains or shutters can be hung to add a splash of color or to accentuate certain aspects of the interior design in a room. Choose colors which match the style you’re going for on the interior of you whish to really bring out aspects of your rooms.

If your house is one which fits exterior flower beds or hanging flower pots, you can also do this to create color from the outside, with rich dark or light greens and specifically chosen blossoms  which can light up the outside scenery nicely.

Blinds, curtains or shutters, which do I choose?

Again, this choice comes down to a mix of the style of your home, and your own personal tastes. You need to carefully decide which style of light filtering would be best for you, and what would best suit your interior decor or exterior look in the case of some shutters.

Curtains come in different lengths, so decide which you need based on the size of the room you’re working with. Smaller rooms will not suit very long curtains unless the window is also very long. Stylistically, curtains also can be painted or printed with various colors and designs, or a plain blanket color which can be used to accentuate the style of the room, so choose this depending on the room itself.

Blinds are fantastic at filtering light, and are also very good devices for creating a little extra privacy at nighttime, as well as being a great way to insulate a room in colder weather. They come in natural or machined materials so once again there is a choice to be made which should depend on what the room has been decorated to look like. 

Shutters are one of the best ways to filter fresh air into your home, and are very convenient. They can be louvered on order to allow extra light in, and also provide extra protection against the elements. Hurricane shutters are a fantastic choice for those living in more hurricane prone South Eastern states. 

Maintaining your windows

Windows generally have quite low maintenance, and aren’t very difficult when it comes to keeping them looking good.

Keep the panes clean by using a window cleaner like Pledge, and a cleaning cloth and dry lint free cloth to keep them free of dust and grime. Clean the frame as well, especially if you have wooden windows, with a little dish soap in warm water and a soft sponge. 

Windows also have to be able to latch, so keep the latches in good condition.

If you are thinking of installing new windows, talk to a professional about the styles available to you and what kinds of windows and materials would be best for you. This will help minimize the time you spend searching and have you enjoying your new windows with as little hassle as possible.