The size, shape and positioning of windows is part of the DNA of every home’s architecture. Select replacement windows that fit with your home’s style and personality.
Colonial Craftsman Victorian Contemporary Spanish
Colonial houses are all about symmetry. They’re rectangular structures of one or two stories with steep pointed roofs. The entry door is usually found directly in the center of the rectangular front façade and surrounded by symmetrical rows of windows, usually double-hung and often with decorative grilles. Colonials also typically have a big chimney, either in the middle of the house or on one or both ends. Siding is brick or wood. The term “colonial” comes from the fact that the style of home was popular with 17th and 18th-century American colonists.
A subspecies of Colonial includes Cape Cod-style which are small and typically feature symetrical dormers, often flanking a central chimney. Classic Cape Cod homes also often have shingle siding. Dutch colonial houses have broad gambrel roofs that have two slopes — a flatter upper slope flowing into a steep side slope — giving them the silhouette of American farm barns.
Windows for Colonial and Cape Cod Style Homes
Window options will typically include some type of decorative grille:
- Double-hung windows with “muntins” (the grille that divides the windows into multiple planes) dominate the Colonial category, although there is a lot of variation within double-hung. Some have differing grille patterns on the upper and lower sash, some feature top and lower sashes that are varying heights.
- Modern Colonials sometimes use casement windows that have grills that replicate the appearance of traditional double-hung windows.
- Bay and bow style windows, again with muntins, and transom windows (rectangular strips of windows) can also be found in Colonials.
Craftsman style homes are found throughout the United States. Craftsman style house characteristics include low-pitched, gabled roofs; big porches with heavy square or tapered columns sometimes set into large stone piers, and exposed wooden beams on both inside and outside. The term “craftsman” comes from the style’s focusing on showcasing the craftsmanship of the wood, stone, and brick workers who built the house.
A type of Craftsman is a bungalow, a small 1 or 1.5-story home most popular in the U.S. between 1900 and 1950. There are many variations on the theme, but in general, bungalows are small and symmetrical with verandas and/or porches, plus simple, open floor plans that make the most of natural ventilation, ideal for hot and humid climates in the pre-air conditioning era. Cottages are even smaller, simple Craftsman style homes. Cottage style windows are typically double or single hung windows that have larger bottom sashes than top sashes.
Windows for Craftsman and Bungalow style homes
Craftsman homes open up many options for windows:
- Double-hung windows are the most common window type in Craftsman homes. Usually they are multi-pane windows with the upper sash divided into four or six sections by muntins while the lower sash often remains unobstructed.
- Some owners choose casement windows but give them the appearance of double-hung by having one or more muntins dividing the glass plane.
- Transom windows in a strip of thin rectangular panes with decorative muntins or stained-glass are sometimes used for detailing and visual interest.
Victorian homes in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are from the latter half of the 19th century. “Victorian” is a historical term that refers to the span of time Queen Victoria ruled in Britain (1837-1901). The Industrial Revolution during the period dramatically expanded what was possible for home builders. Architects responded by creating expansive, highly varied, ornate houses often featuring asymmetrical facades, irregular roof shapes, huge porches that sometimes wrapped around two sides of the house, curved towers topped with turrets, bay windows and patterned shingles.
Windows for Victorian style homes
Victorian style windows are as varied in options as Victorian designs:
- Tall double-hung windows commonly decorated with colored glass.
- Transom, arched, fixed, and special-shape windows also have a place.
- Elaborate bay or bowed windows are also popular in Victorians.
Contemporary style is made to stand out with simple, clean lines with large windows without decorative trim. Almost anything goes with Contemporary homes as architects create buildings that often look like a sculpture with asymmetrical designs, flat roofs with multilevel roof-lines, curved and round elements, projected cantilevers, circles juxtaposing squares and more. Exteriors include siding, stucco, stone, brick, concrete and wood. Contemporary homes use windows in walls and ceilings in ways that introduce abundant natural light both for illumination and decorative effect.
Windows for Modern and Contemporary style homes
Contemporary designs also take advantage of many types of windows:
- Casement, sliding and fixed windows are all possibilities. Fixed windows do not open (think “picture windows”) are often large and have no screens, so they provide excellent focal points with unencumbered views. Sliding windows create a clean look that fits with the contemporary style.
Spanish/Mediterranean homes are known for their red terracotta roofs, stucco exterior, arched windows and doorways, and balconies. Predominantly in southern climates, these homes often have large, open indoor spaces with plenty of exposed wooden beams and extensive outdoor living areas.
Windows for Spanish and Mediterranean style homes
Good window choices for a Mediterranean home include:
- A wall of fixed windows extending from floor to ceiling to create amazing views. Other options include arched windows and wrought-iron or wooden window grilles.
Here’s a quick overview of the different window types:
Casement windows are actually one of the oldest types of operable windows, dating back centuries. Casement windows feature one hinged sash that swings out (often cranked open). These windows are coveted for their clean, uncluttered views and effortless operation.
Double-hung windows are found on virtually every style of home and have two sliding sashes providing efficient ventilation. Raise the lower sash to allow in a cool breeze. Lower the upper sash to pull hot air from the ceiling outside.
Single-hung windows offer the same timeless style as double-hung windows but only the bottom sash is movable.
Awning windows are hinged at the top and open out like a casement. They're often placed above or below other windows – and over doors – for extra ventilation and light.
Sliding windows have a single panel that slides open – an ideal choice for difficult-to-reach areas.
Bay and bow windows are combinations of windows that reach out into the world. Even with limited wall space, they allow you to have more windows to capture the view.
Special shape windows are available in rectangular, curved and angled. They can be used by themselves, as an accent or with other products, providing endless design possibilities.