You might think a window is a window is a window — but you’d be wrong. Windows are some of the most visible features of your home, and they are also incredibly functional in how they permit light but obstruct noise and airflow. Thus, if you are planning a remodel, or if you know a window upgrade is in your future, it behooves you to know what styles and features are available to you.
To that end, here are some of the most popular and most fascinating trends in windows.
Wood has long been the sought-after frame material for a variety of reasons. First, it transfers heat and cold less efficiently than more modern materials like aluminum or steel, meaning it is better at keeping the indoors separate from the outdoors. Additionally, wood simply looks better because it looks more expensive — and unfortunately, that’s because it is more expensive.
Not only do wood frames cost more up-front; they also cost more to maintain, and they are likely to need repair or replacement sooner than other frame materials. A better option is to invest in clad wood windows, which have a wooden interior and a hardier aluminum or vinyl exterior. Then, you can get the wood look inside your home, where guests can see the expensive material, and a tough exterior to prevent high maintenance bills.
While white window frames have been ubiquitous for decades (maybe centuries) it is now much more common to see trendy homes with black frames. It’s difficult to define why the shift from white to black occurred — and so suddenly — but design experts believe that their added contrast and their modern feel are causing the new color to boom. Rising alongside black are metallics like gold and bronze, but because black is so neutral and forgiving, it is generally a safer and better choice.
You shouldn’t worry about trying to install windows with black metal frames. Instead, painted frames are ideal because they allow homeowners to easily and affordably change the color when the trend moves on. This means you should be able to get black frames right now, just for the price of a can of black paint.
Window Size and Scope
Perhaps less important than the make and color of your window frames is their size. Big windows are in — and when we say big, we mean big. Floor-to-ceiling windows and window walls are ideal because they let in the maximum amount of natural light, which is incredibly en-vogue.
Unfortunately, this is a difficult trend for most homeowners to swing. Increasing the size of your windows requires you to reframe the window in the wall, which is a relatively major renovation. However, if you are planning to gut or demolish some of your home for the sake of renovations, adding larger windows to the plan is a good choice.
Custom Grids and Grilles
The more glass you have, the better, so older windows with bulky grids and muntins are out. If you live in an older city like Chicago, you might need to schedule a window replacement soon to swap out the old-fashioned, grilled windows for simpler styles, which typically go with all architecture and decorative themes.
However, if you do like the look of grids on your windows, you might consider pursuing a custom option. Because window grilles are a purely decorative pattern — serving no function whatsoever today, when glass is easy to manufacture in large sheets — you can order a window with any pattern you prefer. You can even get removable grilles, which snap on and off for easier cleaning.
While the appearance of your windows does matter, your top priority when considering a window replacement should always be energy efficiency. Windows and doors are the top sources of inefficiency in your home because they permit the passage of air and temperature, which in turn forces your HVAC to work harder to heat or cool your home. Older windows are notorious for being drafty — and having other efficiency issues — so your first goal should always be to upgrade to a more energy-efficient window.
The specific features you should look for include multiple panes as well as inert gas filling. Gases like krypton and argon are not as conducive to transferring temperature, which means they keep the outside out and the inside in. Having multiple chambers filled with inert gas is a good way to extra-insulate your home.
Windows are some of the most influential elements of your home’s design — and you might not even realize it. By updating your windows to keep up with the latest trends, you can enjoy an inherently more stylish home.