No matter where you live – a city, suburb, overlooking pristine mountains or oceans or parks or your next-door neighbor – windows are the one part of your home that offers views in and out, providing frames through which you see the world outside. More than aesthetics though, windows provide a great opportunity to impact every room in your house.
Unlike selecting an exterior door, where you have one or two doors to replace, windows around your home offer multiple opportunities to tweak your interior and exterior vision of almost every room in your house.
Each room has its own needs and considerations. From lighting, to size, to temperature and air control, there are a number of factors to weigh when considering what window to choose for what space.
Light up the Living Room
Of all the rooms in the house, your main living space is where you want the best light. Light is obviously important everywhere, but when it comes to where you spend your relaxation time, natural light is better than artificial light for your mood and aesthetic of the room.
Windows impact the look, feel, vibe and overall design of a living room. Consider the light that would pour in from a giant picture window – a single, fixed, large pane Centre point of a room – versus a few smaller windows, that will provide a more dark and cozy feel.
More than just look and feel, windows have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of your home, especially in a large, focal space. Because the size and number of windows tends to be greatest in your living room, this consideration is extra important. If you’re selecting a style of living room windows, there are a few types we typically recommend to best complement the space.
When it comes to cost, Single-Hung windows tend to be more budget-friendly. These windows feature a slide able sash so you can open and close the bottom sash while the top sash remains stationary.
Casement windows, on the other hand, are a great option for larger window openings. Casement windows are attached to the frame by hinges, and are either mounted alone, or with multiple panels in a single frame. They are opened with a crank inside the house, and offer great energy efficiency, while allowing for great air flow and ventilation. Their framing also provides some beautiful views.
Casement windows are the most popular windows because it is a high performing window with a maximum functionality that allows ventilation from top to bottom.
If you are looking for a large, clean, unobstructed view that lets in lots of natural light, a fixed window is the best choice. These windows are great and low maintenance, with no moving parts. As they can’t open, it’s important to note that they offer zero ventilation for the space.
Another option for the room with a view could be the Bay and Bow window. The bay window is a combination of windows (typically three) with angled sides that extend a room outward maximizing your view.
A Bow window is a combination of windows with gentle angles that creates the illusion of a bow or curved wall that extends a room outward and maximizes your view. You can have the entire wall like this allowing you to create natural beauty within your room and you will get the bonus of natural light.
Keeping the kitchen clean
The kitchen is often described as the heart of the home. It’s where friends and family often congregate and where people will often spend hours cooking or baking.
A large window in a kitchen is ideal for ventilation and airflow. If you find your cooking sets off the smoke alarm, you’ll be glad to have a window you can open to let some steam out. Sliding windows provide great versatility to manage the build-up of heat, moisture, and smells in your kitchen.
Single sliding windows have the appearance of a traditional windows but come with benefits of the energy efficiency. They help with natural light, ventilation, and cleaning accessibility. They offer the same useful feature of the single slider plus increased airflow because both sashed are fully operational.
Comfort in the Bedroom
There is no room in the house where comfort is more important than the bedroom. Maintaining a consistent and comfortable temperature can mean the difference between a quality sleep or a restless night. When selecting a bedroom window, you’ll want to consider what method of opening makes the most sense to control ventilation and airflow.
You might prefer having casement windows in your bedroom, because they open out rather than up or down, helping to increase airflow in your bedroom. Also, if, for security reasons, you ever need to exit through your bedroom window, casement windows have the added benefit of providing the largest possible open for egress, ensuring comfort, safety, and a peaceful night sleep.
Airing out the Bathroom
Bathrooms have unique requirements due to the high-moisture created by hot showers and baths. In addition to the ventilation needs, people want and expect good-quality lighting in the space where they often get ready to leave the house.
Not all bathrooms have windows, and if you are in a house that doesn’t, you know that fans and lightbulbs can only do so much to replace the benefits of natural light and fresh-air.
Awning windows – which are secured at the top and open out – are a popular solution for bathrooms, to let air in, while keeping outside elements, like rain, out. Because they are a full pane of glass, they also provide optimal amounts of natural light into the space.
Enjoying in Basement
Depending on how you use your basement, and how below grade it is, the types of windows that are best for the space will vary.
If your basement is below grade and you intend to have someone living in it, there are legal requirements to have a window large enough for an egress, for fire safety purposes. In that case, casement windows offer the best possible opening area to allow for a person to get out in an emergency.
That said, you don’t necessarily want to go with a casement window if you don’t need it. Basements, especially below grade, can be cold, damp and dark without the right lighting and ventilation. Basement windows are often small, offering little light. To get the most natural light into the space, awning (which open out) or hopper (which open in) windows can be a good choice, allowing in light and air but keeping rain out.
Window selection can seem overwhelming, with the wide variety of options of styles and functionalities that are available. Whether you choose vinyl – which is recommended for its longevity, and high level of energy efficiency, – wood – which remains a popular and versatile option, – or fiber glass – which is growing in availability and options, – there is a lot to consider when you are choosing windows. A little bit of knowledge and understanding of what to look out for when window shopping will go a long way to create a beautiful, comfortable space inside.
When you choose windows for you house think about their functionality, energy efficiency, and, of course, beauty. Try JELD-WEN’s energy efficiency calculator to see both energy savings and purchasing rebate opportunities for your next renovation project: