Choosing a Decorative Window for Your Home

bay window with pillow seat and trees

No other feature defines the personality of a home quite like windows, which, luNo other feature defines the personality of a home quite like windows, which, luckily, come in many shapes and styles—from regal picture windows to the cozy kitchen bay window. These decorative windows can reflect the warmth and hospitality of a home, the stately nature of a residence, a cutting-edge modern attitude, or an era long past.

The remodeling process offers an opportunity to tweak your home's personality by installing one or more decorative windows. Perhaps your home does not have a strong, defining, exterior style—a style with a specific name like Colonial, Tudor, Modern, French, or Mediterranean, but this is where a decorative window can help make a statement.

A decorative window can be large, small or in-between. By simply adding a smaller window to the existing drama of picture windows, or installing a new bay window, you can make a major design statement. A specially selected window shape or placement may turn out to be the feature you love most about your home.

Here are some ideas to help you get creative with your windows.

Window Designs from the Exterior of the House

Small Casement Windows

Smaller casement windows, strategically placed, (the type that crank outward) give a warm cottage-feel to an exterior, as well as adding a touch of European influence. This window works well on either side of a fireplace and positioned just high enough to allow for furniture placement, but a clear view of the out-of-doors. If the fireplace is on the front of the house, these pretty windows allow for a measure of privacy while being decidedly different from the customary choice of your neighbors. Try small casement windows over a kitchen sink, as well.

Standard Windows with a Geometric Transom

Adding a geometrically designed transom above a standard window increases the profile of a home's facade. This is an effective way to add a touch of formality and the WOW! factor without the need for custom windows.

Tall Slender Windows

Windows that are taller than they are wide add elegance and majesty and bring the eye upward to an interesting roofline. A bank of several of these windows can replace the Picture window and make a very individual statement about your home.

Octagonal or Square Windows

An Octagonal window with beautiful wood trim (maybe pine or mahogany) over a kitchen sink, in a powder room, a laundry room, or a stairwell landing, is a standout. This design is appropriate with more ornate trim, as well, and either inside or outside the home. Think about a bank of small Square windows with Divide Lites high above an entry hall or across an upstairs game room wall.

Window Designs from the Interior of the Home

bedroom windows

Picture Windows

Classic picture windows can be so much more than big and beautiful. Transom windows, positioned over an already large window, opens and heightens a room, allows light to filter in at alternate times of the day, a twilight sky or the drama of a flashing evening storm. Windows positioned at high points offer the best of the outdoors, no matter the time of day or night, even with the blinds closed or the draperies tightly pulled. The transom window can be one big uncluttered swath of glass, divided panes, diagonal panes, leaded panes, arched panes, rounded panes - your imagination is your only limitation.

Garden Windows

The garden window is often relegated to the kitchen. This window brings a bright spot of the outside in, along with a lively attitude and vitality - a mix of kitchen herbs growing profusely, and depending on the window's orientation, everything from African violets and orchids to bonsai and bamboo. Think of the master bath. If you have a master bath with a high degree of privacy, a garden window can be an opulent addition. Adding soft and serene plants, like ferns and orchids, are one way to use this window, but stacking lush towels, pretty bottles and soaps - maybe framed photos and favorite books for bathroom reading, turns the bath environment into the feel of a luxury spa.

Kitchen Bay Windows

In the kitchen, a bay window can work in places other than the breakfast nook. In fact, a bay window and kitchen sink can come together beautifully. A square bay window gives the appearance of pulling the yard inward, thus giving the room an open, airy feel. A bay window can also help extend your kitchen cabinet top, add display space, and illuminate the kitchen work area.

Palladian Windows

These large windows are grand above a large foyer, at the second story level. The master bedroom style is elevated to a new height when an imposing Palladian window is added. They are usually installed in three parts. The middle window is the largest, with a rounded top. The two side windows are shaped like half of a half-circle. Palladian windows add light, grandeur and openness.

Fireplace Windows

The walls on either side of a fireplace are often neglected. These walls are usually quite tall and they offer opportunity to admit good light while leaving privacy and plenty of wall for positioning furniture. Place geometric windows placed high, or long, tall windows from ceiling to floor. Think about stacking three small Square windows (the center at eye level) on either side of the fireplace. Snuggle a cozy chair, with a taller back, right up to the window.

As you select a decorative window, visualize a window seat or a wider windowsill in a high-profile location in your home. Either can add the impact of a fine piece of furniture. Add pillows to a window seat or pretty pots, collectibles, or family photos to an enlarged windowsill, and you’ve moved beyond the ordinary without spending a lot of money. It’s a small touch that adds an unexpected design element to a room.