Room with horizontal windows.

CREATING AN EFFECTIVE WINDOW PLACEMENT STRATEGY FOR HOMES

September 14, 2018

Window style and placement have a significant effect on the overall design of a home's interior and exterior. Selecting the wrong style or approaching placement without purpose can, at best, be a missed opportunity. At worst, it could be a frustrating flaw that negatively affects the homeowners.

Thankfully, the majority of window placement mishaps can be avoided by a conscientious approach that brings climate, window function and architectural goals into consideration.

Importance of Window Placement

Windows are a critical feature of a home for a number of reasons, but they can be summed up into three main elements: aesthetics, views and function.

First, it’s important to note that window style and aesthetics (framing and shape) have a strong effect on the final look of the home's exterior. This is very important if the home is being specifically built to a traditional type, such as a Craftsman.

Secondly, windows let homeowners look out and enjoy the scenery. You can further enhance their views by taking a more purposeful approach to where the windows are placed and the type of window you choose.

Finally, windows should be functional. This includes how they let in natural lighting, how well they protect against the elements and whether they can be opened or if they are fixed.

Matching Window Style to Architecture

Modern home in Vancouver with MINIMAL Glass + Door windows.

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A home’s window style should complement its architecture rather than detract from it. There are many different architectural styles, ranging from elaborate Victorians to simplistic Cape Cods. Selecting the right style of windows will require some research, particularly for classic home types with stricter design rules.

Contemporary and modern homes look great with windows that are grille-less and have sleek frames. You can also use large floor-to-ceiling windows or go for a glass wall look, which is ideal for living rooms, kitchens and dining rooms.

Other homes styles, such as Tudor, Prairie and Georgian, may require window designs that will need to be sought out from specialty window manufacturers, due to their complicated and specific style requirements.

Selecting and Placing Windows Based on Function

Seattle Home with MINIMAL Glass + Door. Designed by David Coleman Architecture.

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Windows have multiple functions that need to be considered when shopping for the right style, as well as figuring out placement. The four primary functions of windows are outdoor viewing, natural lighting, airflow and accessibility.

To get the perfect window placement, you need to consider the areas surrounding the home. If the yard is landscaped and has key features, such as flower beds, a relaxing patio space, a pond or just a beautiful view, you'll want to have some windows facing that direction. Using expansive windows without grilles work well for these locations as they won't inhibit the view.

Large windows without grilles or minimal grilles are also great when you want to let in plenty of natural lighting. In the northern hemisphere, the south side of the home will receive the most sunlight. For maximum natural lighting, you want to ensure there are plenty of windows on the south side of the house.

Keep in mind what rooms are on the south side of the house, however. Too many windows on the south-facing wall of a living room or bedroom might let in too much light for the homeowner.

Airflow and window accessibility go hand-in-hand in most cases. Fixed windows are perfect for floor-to-ceiling faux glass walls. But you do want to ensure you have a balance between fixed and opening windows throughout the home. This is especially important for cross-ventilation.

Folding windows are the best choice when you want maximum airflow. Not only do they allow for great window coverage, but also the folding panels help reduce the amount of space taken up inside the home when opened. This makes them an excellent choice for large rooms. For areas where space is an issue, casement, awning and double-hung windows are best.

Aside from refreshing the interior with natural airflow, ventilation is also important for passive cooling. Having opening windows throughout the home allows homeowners the opportunity to reduce their monthly bills.

Placement for Improving Energy Efficiency

Modern Seattle home project with large windows.

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Windows play a strong role in the energy efficiency of a home. Poor-quality, single-pane windows should rarely be considered, especially with the wide availability of dual-paned, glazed windows.

The advancements in window design have allowed homebuilders more freedom in window placement. In years past, windows were a weakness in the home's exterior, as the single-pane glass provided no insulation and allowed hot or cold air from the outside to leak into the home. This resulted in high energy bills and frustrating, expensive problems for homeowners.

Modern windows are designed in a way that allows them to block the outdoor air temperature, allowing the interior temperature to be more easily controlled. And being double or triple glazed allows windows to block UV rays and heat from the sun, which means homeowners who love natural sunlight can keep their curtains open without fear of the room quickly heating up.

However, when maximizing energy efficiency, you'll need to keep the climate in mind, specifically whether the homeowner is more likely going to rely on cooling (hot climate) or heating (cool climate).

Homes in cool climates should have mostly north-facing windows with their south-facing windows built with awnings or some other shading feature. Homes in warm climates will need the opposite—plenty of south-facing windows.

Putting It All Together

Window selection and placement shouldn't be rushed and keeping the individual aspects of the home in mind, rather than building cookie-cutter style, will not only be beneficial for the homeowner but will also produce a beautiful home design.

Regardless of the home you're working on and how you've decided to place your windows, the window manufacturer you choose will have a huge impact on the final result. Working with a company like MINIMAL Glass + Door ensures that the windows you select will be resilient, long-lasting and have a modern appeal. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your next project.

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