If the eyes are the window to the soul, are windows the eyes into the interior? We like to think so, but they are far more than just a way to bring light into your home: they are considered, beautiful and definite design features in their own right.
Large, small and differently shaped, they have a natural ability to totally transform and alter the appearance of any room or house that they are built into but, with such a huge variety of styles to choose from, how do you decide which will look best?
Take a look at our essential guide to window designs and see if you discover a style that you didn't know about before!
A classic, bay window designs are generally polygonal or square and created by inserting a small protruding wall into the main body of the house, in order to create a little extra space. The windows themselves will always be angular, not curved, as this is a different style of window and it is common to find bay windows in living rooms or bedrooms, where window seats can be built into the new space.
This lovely example, from Architectural Bronze, looks period perfect for the house, having been completed in stonework and with black framed panes of glass. The ideal way to gain a little more space for appliances, we think this is a lovely addition to the kitchen.
Originating in 18th century England, bow window designs are essentially just a curved bay window. Designed to offer extra space, similarly to bays, bow windows do so with a more graceful and gentle curvature that is usually created by joining a minimum of four casement windows together.
We love this fantastic use of a bow window, that sees a semi-circular staircase happily mirrored by the window to create a sense of sweeping space and gentle curves. It's clear to see that this is a heritage style home, so by including old fashioned windows, the overall aesthetics are cohesive and well thought out.
Casement windows are generally attached to their frames by side hinges, which allows for easy opening and before the sash window was invented, casements were the most common design, usually being finished with detailed lead work. Still popular in Europe, casement window designs have evolved, taking on more modern appearances while losing none of their practicality or ease of use.
These examples are great, as on the face of it, this house looks to have windows that do not open, but go inside and the smaller installations will be hinged on the side, to allow for simple and effective use.
Fitted solidly in place, with a single pane and no opening mechanism, picture window designs have long been popular, especially with people who have a fantastic view to make the most of!
Usually including thin, unobtrusive frames, picture windows seek to provide an unimpeded view of the outside world, while shielding inhabitants from the elements and with that function in mind, we think bigger is better! Look at this lovely pool house example that offers views of the trees and surrounding greenery. What could be a more relaxing backdrop to a swim?
More commonly known as a sash window, double hung window designs are frequently found in period properties or those that seek to emulate older and more traditional construction styles.
A fantastic way to introduce light, ventilation and gorgeous aesthetics, original sash windows require regular maintenance to ensure that the mechanisms keep running smoothly, but reproduction pieces are far less time consuming. We think this room is a great use of a reproduction double hung window, as with old fashioned styling being used throughout the space, it looks perfectly at home, while simultaneously standing out as a main feature.
It's no secret that sliding window designs are a great way of making your home feel larger, as they effectively encourage your outdoor space to become an extension of your living quarters, but they are also beautiful in their own right, not just because of what they offer us!
Usually large and extensive, with uninterrupted glazing panels and subtle frames, sliding windows have fast become a modern architecture staple, but that doesn't make them boring and when even small spaces can take advantage of their clever functionality, with something as understated as sliding patio windows, they are a great option for everyone.
Perfect for spaces that need controlled ventilation, hopper window designs only open from the base, allowing for the fresh air that you need, but preventing the wild, paperwork disrupting cyclones that you don't.
Ideal for offices and bathrooms, hopper windows, when finished in patterned, opaque glass, have the added benefit of ensuring privacy, as you'd have to be extremely tall to be able to look down into a room through one, though they are also commonly used in workshops and conservatories too. Designed with environmental control in mind, hopper windows are a great addition to a standard pane that bring flexibility and style.
If nothing that we have shown you already really fits what you are looking for or wanting to achieve, you may have one option left; to commission a totally bespoke installation. Though likely to be a large investment, you will be assured of getting exactly what you want, made to perfectly fit your aperture and with minimal compromise.
Bespoke window designs can be as adventurous as you are, so don't think that they have to be boring. If you are keen to introduce stained glass hoppers, with huge sliding panels and a bay front, you go for it. Just make sure your budget will allow!
For more window inspiration take a look at this Ideabook: Stylish Sliding Windows.