Outdoor living is a major design trend that doesn’t seem to stop growing in popularity. These days, it seems like everyone is trying to fit living rooms, kitchens and even bedrooms into their personal great outdoors, with varying success. However, if you don’t have the space to expand with an outdoor room — or if the idea of spending more time outside isn’t quite that appealing — you have another option for bringing the light and splendor of your garden into your home: windows.
Windows have long been seen as critical elements of home construction, but only recently have they been subjected to trends as other design features have. If you are interested in adding more windows to your home to improve your outdoor views, here are a few hot trends you might consider:
Bigger Is Better
Few design elements stand the test of time; all trends eventually change, except one: daylight. It’s never a bad idea to invite more natural light into your home, which means the more windows you have, the better. These days, it’s easier for builders to make floor-to-ceiling windows even in existing structures, so if you can afford the larger panels, you should opt for them. Especially in cities, vast expanses of glass provide outstanding views; for instance, if you live in Chicago, home window replacement could provide you with a jaw-dropping panorama of the river and skyline.
Simpler Is Also Better
Modern is in, which means you should strive to avoid the fussiness of more traditional design styles, especially with your windows. While elaborate frames and intricate mullions might suit your old farmhouse style, these days homeowners and buyers want sleek and chic — which typically means a thin, simple frame and a clean plain of glass. Rectilinear designs are also preferred, which means circles and arches will begin to look gauche.
Mixed Metals Maybe
Thanks to the popularity of mid-century modern, mixed metals is en-vogue. Mixing metals is the art of combining several metallic elements, like brass chair legs, wrought-iron picture frames and a gold vase, to create a sophisticated and compelling color story in a room. Mixing metals effectively is part art and part science — especially if you are going to try throwing your windows into the mix. Consider sticking with a relatively neutral metal, like iron, to avoid letting your windows look outdated in just a few years.
Be Bold With Black
Iron is an especially good choice because black window frames — on both the interior and the exterior of the home — are terrifically chic. The dark color adds amazing contrast to the home, creating visual drama and interest. As with simplicity and size, black adds a sense of modernity to a home. If you are growing bored of plain old black, you might consider other dark and moody hues, like a deep green or navy, which are also on trend.
Screens are functional if you want to open your windows but keep bugs out (and/or pets and kids in). However, with the introduction of simplicity in window design, it is becoming less popular to install windows you can open and close because the mechanisms that allow this tend to be bulky and unattractive. Plus, screens mar what might otherwise be a perfect view. If you are willing to do away with windows that open, you shouldn’t have a problem abandoning screens.
Make Your Move
Then again, if you can supersize your windows, you might as well take advantage of them for entering and exiting your home. Pass-through windows — also known as sliding glass or arcadia doors as well as accordion-style doors — are growing in acceptance even as traditional double-hung, opening windows wane. If you can place a pass-through window to your backyard, especially moving from your kitchen to your deck, you can capitalize on another major home design trend of outdoor living spaces.
Sustainability, Greenification, etc.
Finally, one downside of adding more windows is the potential weakening of your home’s exterior envelope, which helps insulate your home and facilitate energy efficiency. Any windows you install should offer peak energy efficiency, which typically means they have at least two panes filled with a low-E gas like argon. If you can, you should also opt for sustainable window materials, like recycled glass or aluminum.
It’s a good financial move to make improvements to your home, and updating windows is a good move. If you let current window trends guide your style, you’ll be happy with the home you create.