Whether you’re designing a home from scratch or just sprucing things up, windows have a major impact on the look and feel of a space.
If you’re in the position to choose new windows, keeping these five principles in mind will help you compliment your design choices and create a light, vibrant space. And if you’re stuck with less than ideal windows, we’ve got tips for how to compensate and get the most out of what you already have.
Providing Natural Light
At the risk of stating the obvious, the most notable effect windows have on your design is the amount of sunlight they allow into a room. For design’s sake, there’s almost no such thing as too much natural light— it’s the perfect compliment to any interior style.
Of course, there are a few exceptions. Many people don’t want large windows to face the rising sun in bedrooms or create glare on the television in living spaces. But having too much light is an easier problem to solve than having too little. Good blinds or tints will usually solve the issue.
For rooms with too little natural light, compensate with ample interior lighting and aim for minimal window dressings. Heavy drapes will only make the space feel smaller and darker.
Controlling Your Color Possibilities
Control might be too strong of a word. After all, you can choose any colors you want for your space, but in general, rooms with little natural light tend to feel cramped and dreary if you paint and decorate with darker colors.
Rooms with small windows or too few windows are the main concern here, but even rooms with larger windows can lack natural light. If your window is just a few feet from the house next door, for example, you can’t expect it to let in much light.
To balance out a room with little natural light, choose lighter color palettes for most of the room. And no, you’re not doomed to a white-washed room if you’re space lacks windows. Add contrast by using darker hues for accent pieces like throw pillows, wall art, and small furniture.
Connecting the Indoors and Out
Even if the “outdoors” is a urban setting, good windows help your space feel larger and connected to the view outside, especially if you have oversized windows. Large windows do come at a price, so if money is a concern, allocate most of your window budget to rooms with the best views. You’ll get the most enjoyment out of oversized windows in these spaces, while smaller windows will still suffice for the rest.
For rooms with small or no windows, there’s no great way to mimic the connection to the outdoors, but you can help the space feel bigger with a large mirror or two on the walls.
Boosting the Mood of a Room
Anyone who’s worked in an office with no windows knows just how much of a mood-kill it can be. Even if you ignore the design benefits of large windows, there’s no denying that sunlight just makes us feel better.
The major drawback to sunlight, of course, is heat. No matter how beautiful and full of a light a room is, it won’t boost anyone’s mood if it feels like a sauna. Blinds and curtains do help, but they cancel out the other benefits of natural light and large windows.
Whenever possible, opting for energy-efficient windows is the way to go. Especially for oversized windows, look for the term “thermally broken” in the specs as this is the gold standard in energy efficiency.
If new windows aren’t an option, light colors, additional artificial lighting, and indoor plants are also great at adding cheerfulness to a room.
Acting as the Perfect Wall Art
When you choose specialty windows, they can become the best feature in a room. Floor-to-ceiling windows, clerestory windows, or oversized windows are favorites among modern architects for their aesthetic appeal.
Unique framing is another way to make a statement with your windows. Vintage-inspired spaces gain character from wood-framed windows, while steel-framed windows are all the rage for modern and minimalist spaces.
Good windows compliment any space, no matter the style. Choosing windows that allow for plenty of natural light gives you a wider range of color options and makes the room feel happier and larger. And when you can’t choose the perfect window, making a few intentional design choices can help you mimic the light, roomy feel of larger windows.