A professional’s guide to window design and renovation


Sure, they fill a room with mood-enhancing sunshine and save you around 30 percent of your heating and cooling costs. But can we talk about how installing new Windows packs looks so architectural that it makes you feel like you’ve just stepped into a whole new room? As architect Jeffrey Dungan, known for building houses with inspiring views, puts it: “Windows are the eyes to the soul of a house.” Read on to learn all about the upcoming window design and renovation and to find out how what you need to know before starting your own project.

Find the right style

First and foremost, let’s break down the most common living styles and the window types assigned to them. When replacing windows or starting from scratch, choose windows that blend in with the interior and exteriorrior architecture of your home.


For historic (or historically inspired) homes like this brownstone designed by Paloma Contreras, windows with lattices – strips of wood, metal, or any other material used to visually divide the panes – are the classic choice.

contemporary window


Large panes of glass with few visual separations are a natural accompaniment to minimalist decor. They also let a breathtaking view take center stage, as in this apartment by designer Ahmad AbouZanat.

Craft window

Arts and crafts

Organic and geometric, this style is full of whimsical subtleties. Here, Paul Bertelli of JLF Architects has incorporated reclaimed materials into a domed leaded glass window (another staple for handicrafts).

rustic montana cabin modernized by designer madeline stuart

Midcentury Modern

Cross-wall windows (and windows in the back yard above eye level along the roof line) provided sufficient light for the open floor plans of houses after the Second World War. In this room by Madeline Stuart, wood emphasizes the landscape.

Know your options

Window pictures

Single or double hung

Classic in style, they open by sliding up and down.

Window pictures


The pocket door of the window world slide horizontally.

Window illustration


These use a crank mechanism to open outwards like a door.

Window illustration


The top hinge design provides ventilation and keeps rain out.

Window illustration


These create a recessed space ideal for a window seat or a banquet in the breakfast room.

Open your dining table to the outside with a double window. Extend a table on either side, like in this room by Kingston Lafferty Design, or just add one on a patio for easy serving.

Window pass

Barbara Corsico Photography

Make a note of these conditions

Anatomy window

For your information
Most new windows have some UV protection that filters out harmful rays and prevents fabric and furniture from fading – no blinds required.

Know when to replace

Do this quick test.

1. Count the slices.

Are there multiple layers of glass or just one? If it’s the latter, you might want to upgrade. “Double and triple panes reduce energy consumption and costs,” says architect RD Gentzler.

2. Feel for a breeze.

A drafty space means you spend more on heating and cooling, says Gentzler. A tell-tale sign is if your curtains move around even with the window closed (you can let your resident ghost off the hook for that window).

3. Check for rot.

Bubbling, peeling paint and puffy wood that isn’t flush with the wall indicate signs of rot. If you’re not sure, a basic home inspection will sort things out.

4. Open it.

An obvious – but often overlooked – test: just check that the window is operable. If it is difficult to open or close completely, it could indicate other problems.

Take these new features into account

Make your windows work harder.

What about shutters?

Although often decorative these days, shutters “should be wide enough to cover the window completely, even if you don’t plan to close them,” says Dungan. Add hardware to complete the look.


Eric Piasecki / OTTO

Standard closure


These are available in different styles, from simple panels and slat-like air slots to rustic boards and slats

Atlantic Architectural Raised Panel Roller Shutters, decorativeshutters.com

Bahama shutter


Also known as Bermuda shutters, these shutters are placed on the top of a window to provide additional protection from heavy tropical rain and wind.

Standard Bermuda roller shutters, timberlane.com

Inner closure


These block the light in the window, similar to blinds or curtains, but open like external blinds.

NewStyle Hybrid roller shutters, hunterdouglas.com

Keep your Windows squeaky clean

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