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Window Designs for Your New House Plan

Published October 26, 2014

Each and every room in your new home plan can benefit from having taken the time to plan beautiful windows, and there are many unique architectural window design styles. The style of your house plan – from Colonial, to Craftsman, to ranch, farm, country or to a modern home plan will somewhat dictate the type of windows you will have, but in reality there are no rules.


Historically, it was the Romans who first used glass in windows in Roman Egypt in 100 AD, to allow the passage of light into space. But floor-to-ceiling windows only became feasible after the perfection of industrial plate glass making processes.


There are no specific design rules for choosing window types, shapes and sizes and many architects enjoy designing around voids and solid space on walls, placing windows so as to please the eye and accommodate natural views. There are both curvilinear and rectilinear varieties as well as custom shaped windows.  Google “window manufacturers” and you can see many styles and options available.       


Windows come in so many design styles from awning windows to bay, casement, clerestory, fixed eyebrow, hopper, tilt, slide, or sliding sash, transom, louvered, oriel or picture windows, just to name a few.  And if you have never heard of half of these styles of windows, don’t feel bad.  We have listed some of the definitions of popular window designs below:


Awning: Awning windows are often above or below another window to add architectural interest. They glide open or shut and are often used for basements because they let in both air and light.

Bay: window built to project outward from an outside wall. protruding window constructions, regardless of height. The most common inside angles are 90, 135 and 150 degrees, though triangular bays formed of two windows set at 120 degrees may be found.

Casement: Hinged on the side and open outward to either the left or right, mostly taller than they are wide, a casement window’s sash opens to provide ventilation from top-to-bottom.

Clerestory: These windows are located high up above the finished floor level, usually close to the roofline, enabling natural light to pour while freeing up wall space.

Dormer: A window that has been set into the dormer as a source of light and ventilation for top floors. Dormer windows come in a variety of styles such as these dormers located high up near the ceiling of The Plan Collection’s. This beautiful updated (Photo left) Arts and Crafts home has classic features including its windows that are complete with woodwork and craftsmanship.

Eyebrow: Popularized in the second half of the 19th century by Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson, this style of window was called “Richardson's eyebrows,” or eyelid dormers, enable vventilation in a top-floor space.

Fixed: The most common window types, fixed windows include single, or double-hung and sliding windows.

Transom: A word used for a transom light, this is the type of window over a transverse horizontal structural beam or a crosspiece separating a door from a window above it.

Louvered: A window blind or shutter with horizontal slats that are angled to let in air and or light, while keeping out direct sun, rain or snow.

Oriel: A form of bay window, this type of window projects from the main wall of a building but does not reach to the ground. Oriel windows are supported by brackets and corbels and are most commonly found projecting from an upper floor.

Picture: Designed to provide open views to the outside, a picture window is like framing a picture. It brings natural light into a home and features an outdoor view. This window style is typically found in a living and or family rooms.


There are many options today for window treatments. It is a good idea to take a look at your area’s climatic or and seasonal hot or cold temperature changes when choosing your home’s windows and window treatments. Also review the geographic location and “walk the property” to see how your house will be situated on the property in accordance with the sun’s movement. 

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