In a modern house, window design is important. Great windows not only let the sun shine in, but they also keep the cold out. They help us create cozy spaces to live and work in. The right windows can make your interior design. The wrong windows can break it. That’s why your choice of windows is such an important one, whether you know it or not.
There are a number of modern window styles that deliver both form and function beautifully. Choosing the right one for your contemporary home requires an understanding of what you want. Here are some things you can expect with different types of windows.
Modern Windows vs Traditional Windows
Age aside, there are some pretty big differences between modern windows and their traditional counterparts. Everything from size and clarity to energy efficiency has improved over the years. When comparing traditional and modern window styles, here are some characteristics to expect.
Historically, a lot went into creating window glass. Windows were manually poured and cut. These primitive techniques were time consuming and imperfect. The handmade nature of these old panes meant they weren’t completely transparent. When you look at traditional windows today, they have loads of character but aren’t as clear and flat as you may be used to. They also couldn’t be made terribly large. If you wanted a large window, you had to join many panes together with muntins and rails. That meant panes larger than a few feet across weren’t possible.
Luckily, technology has changed. With these improvements in technology, the performance, and available options have increased drastically.
Modern house windows are made with modern glass. We’ve perfected glass manufacturing processes over the centuries, and can now create great glass efficiently. These processes allow us to create affordable panes that are larger than we ever dreamed, and with crystal clear opacity. We can even get creative with modern window shapes like never before. If the design options weren’t enough, modern windows are incredibly energy-efficient to boot. There’s a lot to love.
There are some very real differences between traditional and modern window styles, but what does that all mean? How can a simple pane of glass add so much to our interior designs? There are a lot of modern window styles out there, and each offers different benefits.
Modern Window Styles You’ll Love
With the vast array of options out there, you’re sure to find some modern window styles you’ll love. You’ve just got to learn what they are and what they can do for you. Let’s look at some great contemporary window styles that will deliver a modern feel and timeless appeal.
You’ve probably encountered bay windows before. The main window is parallel and set out from the exterior wall, with two angled windows bridging the gap. Bay windows provide a wonderful way to increase natural light as well as the range of your views. This is due to the way windows protrude from the home, adding surface area to your windows. The protrusion allows them to pull more light into the space and extend your views to a full 180 degrees.
Bay windows also create a ledge that you can use to decorate and accentuate. Throw a few plants in there, and they’ll bring additional nature in. Bay windows make perfect planters because they ensure your greenery gets plenty of light.
Casement windows are the type of windows that are hinged at one side. They typically crank open from the other side, and can be very effective at controlling airflow. Since they open from one side, leaving the other protected, you can use them to either block or direct airflow.
Installing them so they open toward common wind directions allows casement windows to act as a chute. The pane directs that airflow straight into the house, and you’ll enjoy nice breezes all summer long.
If you install casement windows so they open the other way, they do a good job of blocking the wind. This option allows you to let air in without much wind.
Modern, large window designs are all the rage right now. If you want to go big, few options deliver as much of an impact as floor-to-ceiling windows. They let in a tremendous amount of light and deliver expansive views. If you’ve got a tree with beautiful blooms every spring, this is a great way to bring that piece of nature indoors. Some models even slide open horizontally, allowing you to pair that nature with fresh air.
Floor-to-ceiling windows will add some time to your daily cleaning regimen, however. All that glass can pick up fingerprints and dirt in short order. They’re also prone to showing any dirt that accumulates on your home’s exterior. You’ll want to wash them often.
If you don’t want a full floor to ceiling window, picture windows are another great option for going big. They feature a large, single pane and a frame. They’re capable of letting in a lot of light and framing your view, but they don’t open. If the ability to open certain windows is important to you, put your picture window somewhere that fresh air is not so important. When it comes to house window styles, pictures are a perennial favorite.
You aren’t limited to your walls when deciding what type of modern window styles work best in your space. Skylights contribute to fantastic modern window design for houses that need more natural light. They can also help reduce your energy dependency, making them a good choice for the earth.
Skylights let in a good amount of natural light. You can even choose what type of light you get. That’s because installers can angle them toward different roof slopes to produce different results. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’ll get different light from each slope.
Skylights that face east provide solid morning light and a little warmth for our morning routines. Facing skylights west provides ample afternoon light and helps naturally heat the house throughout the afternoon. North-facing skylights provide cool, diffused light all day long. South-facing windows deliver the most light and thermal energy, but the space may get hot in the summer. Consider your needs and choose your orientation wisely.
Exploring Options in Modern Window Styles
Not all windows are created equally. Like a new car, you’ve got trim options that can make or break your design. Now that we’ve covered some modern styles, let’s look at some available options.
Get Creative with Trim
When many people think of window trim, they think of wood grain or white, or the occasional metal finish. Those options define the windows we commonly see, but they are far from the only options out there.
Make Bold Color Choices
White is a nice, neutral color that works with any color palette. That makes it a natural choice for many contractors and big box stores. White trim can be mass produced and works in most situations. However, if you want your modern windows to stand out, be bold with your color choice. Since resale is on most people’s minds, don’t choose anything too crazy. It’s still best to go with neutral and muted tones.
What Wood Species Would You Really Like?
With veneers, we can now get windows in nearly any species of wood on the market. Whether you want cherry, oak, pine, or something more exotic, you can probably find it. This flexibility allows us to accent our modern window designs in ways never before available. And since we’re using veneer, these options are available at a fraction of the price of solid wood.
Consider Different Shapes
Window shapes aren’t limited to right angles. If you want to create a centerpiece for the room, consider a more unique shape. A large, round window can be a beautiful change of pace. It adds curved lines and a bold geometric shape to your interior design. Choosing an octagonal window can be equally stunning. Look into your options, and find a shape that sets your space apart.
Modern Window Styles and Energy Efficiency
Modern style windows for homes come with energy and sound benefits as well. New windows are going to be well sealed, and often feature more than one pane. This is a huge plus if you’re concerned with energy costs and noise.
The seals in older windows tend to become less effective each year. This is because they are typically sealed with silicone caulk, which can dry and crack due to years of exposure. If your current windows are in good shape, you can make them last longer with quality caulk.
Sealing windows with acoustical caulk can make them more energy-efficient and better at blocking sound. That’s because even small cracks in the seal can allow air to pass through. That air can cause cold drafts in the winter, and force your HVAC system to work overtime. Heating or cooling homes just to have that heat or AC blow out the window gets expensive.
Not All Homes Need New Windows
If you’ve got a historical home, you may not want to replace your vintage windows at all. They add a lot of character, and can be made to last a long time with proper care. The one place they fall short is in thermal and sonic performance. Luckily, there’s a solution.
Window inserts are a wonderful way to achieve the energy efficiency of new windows while keeping your old panes. They fit snugly over your existing windows, providing a well-sealed second line of defense. They also create an air gap between the two panes, which makes them even more effective.
Again, you’ll want to seal your windows with a quality caulk to get the best performance. If you’ve got historic windows that you want to keep around, acoustical caulking and inserts are the way to go.
Choose a Reputable Provider
Your windows’ performance is only going to be as solid as their construction. Choose cheap windows, and you may deal with excess noise and high energy bills. Quality windows are well sealed and perform in all weather conditions. Each of the modern window styles we’ve covered comes with a slightly different performance profile. Make sure you choose wisely.
It’s not all about performance, either. Your windows have to look great. Choosing a provider that uses quality materials and understands residential modern window design makes all the difference. Providers can even help you preserve the historic character of your home with window inserts that make windows more efficient. If you’re ready to look into great window designs for homes like yours, reach out.