How To Choose The Right Window Style

How To Choose The Right Window Style

Congrats to you for starting this new project! Replacing your windows is an excellent way to update and improve the energy efficiency of your home.

There are many reasons why you might be replacing your windows and this might impact what window styles you decide to put on your home.

It could be that your windows are at the end of their life and are actually costing you money because of their lack of efficiency. You might want to replace your windows with the same styles but are curious about other options.

Maybe you’re interested in different color windows and consider the energy savings an added benefit. You’ve got lots of options, you’ll want to make sure you do some brand research as well to see which brands carry the color and styles you’re looking for.

You might also just be ready for a change and windows could be the focus or just one element of your remodeling endeavors. Whatever the reason we want to help provide some guidance.

Functional Considerations for Choosing Window Styles

As you choose your replacement windows, think about each window that you are replacing and what purpose that window will serve. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself as you plan your project: 

  1. Do you want to swap the window out for one of the same size?
  2. Are you looking for something larger, smaller, or a unique shape?
  3. Are you adding new windows in addition to the replacement windows?
  4. Which direction does your home face?
  5. Do you want windows for ventilation or are windows that can’t be opened an option? 

Remember windows make an impact aesthetically from both the exterior and interior of your home. Windows on the front of your house should improve your curb appeal by making your house look welcoming.

For the interior, you’ve got to think more critically as to what you want the windows to do for each room. In your kitchen, you may want additional light and ventilation but in your TV room or home office, you’ll want to think about whether the placement of the will cause a glare on your monitor.

Always keep the orientation of the house to the sun and wind in mind. Doing so can help you choose styles that will help you maximize your energy savings. Think about placing ventilating (operable) windows in areas where the wind blows most, opening the windows for cooling might help you cut down your air-conditioning bills.

Stylistic Considerations for Choosing Window Styles

Do you know what style your house is? You might want to consider more classic choices for your home.

You don’t have to go the classic route and if you do remember that you don’t have to use the exact window style described for each house. If you’re thinking about honoring the aesthetic you can also choose window styles that look similar and might be more energy efficient. For example, if you’re looking for a double or hung window with colonial grids on both sashes, you might also consider a casement window or vertically proportioned picture window with colonial grids.

Of course, the choice is always yours. Remember that talking to a designer is always an option and you’ll have to make sure your options for styles and glass meet egress codes which have to do with safety and emergency escapes.

Check out our brief guide below, inspired by Andersen Windows & Doors, to learn more about a few Traditional American Architectural Home Styles.

Cape Cod

Example of a Cape Cod Style house. This house features hung windows with grids and a yellow front door with sidelites and a transom.

Architectural Essentials

  • Steep roof with side gables
  • Chimney aligned with front door
  • Multi-pane, double-hung windows, with shutters

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Multi-paned glass (with grids)
  • Vertically proportioned windows
  • Double-hung windows with different sash heights
  • Casement windows

Grid Patterns

  • Colonial grids

Accent Window Styles

  • “Prayer” Windows
    • Double-hung or casement
    • Small, roughly square-proportioned windows, on the upper level
  • Elliptical transom
  • Rectangular transom
  • Sidelight

Craftsman Bungalow

Example of a craftsman style home with mixed material facades.

Architectural Essentials

  • Shallow-pitched roofs with deep overhangs
  • Exposed rafter tails
  • Deep porch
  • Mixed material façade

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Double-hung windows
  • Casement windows
  • Vertically proportioned windows
  • Grids on upper-sash

Grid Patterns

  • Fractional grids
  • Specified equal light

Accent Window Styles

  • Horizontally proportioned
  • Casement windows
    • Wider than tall
    • Typically placed on either side of the fireplace
    • Awning or picture windows may be substituted
  • Transom window
  • Dormer awning or picture window
  • Double-hung
    • Vertically proportioned
    • Short in height

American Farmhouse

Example of an American Farmhouse style house.

Architectural Essentials

  • Intersecting gable roofs
  • Extended roof eaves
  • Wrap around porches

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Double-hung windows
  • Vertically proportioned
  • Single windows or multiple in combination

Grid Patterns

  • Specified equal light; 2-over-2
  • Fractional; 2-over-1
  • Colonial
  • No grids

Accent Window Styles

  • Rectangular transom window
  • Square transom window
  • Half-circle window
  • Oval window
  • Circle window

French Eclectic

Example of a French Eclectic home with stucco exterior and rounded tower.

Architectural Essentials

  • Steep French, Mansard, multiple-pitch gable roofs
  • Conical-roofed round towers
  • Stucco or stone exteriors

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Casement windows
  • Double-hung windows
  • Arched top windows (radius)
  • Entertainment rooms have the largest windows

Grid Patterns

  • Colonial
  • Diamond

Accent Window Styles

  • Small casement windows
  • Small double-hung windows
  • Transom windows
  • Radius windows
  • Oval windows
  • Art glass

Georgian-Federal

Example of a Georgian-Federal style house. This house has a traditional red brick facade, two chimneys, columns at the entrance, and grids on the windows.

Architectural Essentials

  • Two-story structure
  • Medium-pitched gambrel roof
  • Two or more chimneys
  • Multi-panel front door

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Double-hung windows
  • Windows on the second floor are shorter and more narrow than those on the first floor

Grid Patterns

  • Colonial grids; 12-over-12, 9-over-9, or 6-over-6

Accent Window Styles

  • Quarter circle windows (on either side of the chimney)
  • Oval windows
  • Transom windows
  • Elliptical arch windows
  • Half circle transoms
  • Horizontally proportioned double-hung windows
  • Horizontally proportioned awning windows

International Modern

Example of an International Style house featuring narrow frame windows.

Architectural Essentials

  • Unadorned exterior
  • Casement and awning windows
  • Simple or no trim
  • Block forms
  • Flat roof

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Casement windows
  • Picture windows
  • Narrow frame profiles
  • Large expanses of glass
  • Same and mixed size windows are arranged to form rectangles or squares

Grid Patterns

  • No grids
  • Modern style homes try to emphasize the glass and minimize or eliminate the sash

Accent Window Styles

  • No accent windows

Miesian Modern

Miesian Modern houses blend feature floor to ceiling glass walls. This style is the ultimate indoor-outdoor living design.

Architectural Essentials

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows and doors
  • Indoor-outdoor living style
  • Rectangular form structure
  • Flat roof plane supported by a structural steel frame

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Casement windows
  • Fixed frames are used to create glass walls
  • Glass is separated by mullions or structural columns
  • Uses the largest possible windows to increase the expanse of uninterrupted glass

Grid Patterns

  • No grids
  • Modern style homes try to emphasize the glass and minimize or eliminate the sash

Accent Window Styles

  • No accent windows

Industrial Modern

Example of Industrial Modern Style House with expansive gridless glass.

Architectural Essentials

  • Façade features varied materials
  • Simple asymmetrical forms
  • Flat roof

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Casement windows
  • Picture windows
  • Operable and fixed sash windows
  • Glazed in frame windows
  • Multiple window units
  • Arranged in rectangular or irregular groupings
  • Simple rectangles and complex shapes

Grid Patterns

  • No grids
  • Modern style homes try to emphasize the glass and minimize or eliminate the sash

Accent Window Styles

  • Accent windows aren’t used on this style architecture but complex shapes may be used

Prairie

Example of a Prairie Style House with picture windows and a mixed facade.

Architectural Essentials

  • Rows of doors and small windows banded together
  • Low-pitched, hipped roofs with overhanging eaves
  • Open floor plan with central chimney

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Casement windows
  • Awning windows
  • Vertically proportioned windows
  • Large expanse of uninterrupted glass
  • Multiple window units rather than single window units
  • Art glass

Grid Patterns

  • Prairie style grids
  • Modified Prairie grids (top sash)
  • Fractional grids
  • No grids
  • Art glass

Accent Window Styles

  • Uncommon
  • More square in proportion or horizontal
  • Awning windows
  • Transom windows

Queen Anne

Example of a Victorian or Queen Anne style house with a mixed material facade.

Architectural Essentials

  • Elaborate decorative elements
    • Gables, bay windows, towers, overhangs, wall projections, textured surfaces, decorative patterns of wood or stone, various colors of shingles and slate
  • Two or more stores
  • Asymmetric

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Double-hung windows
  • Tall – height is 2 ½ times the width
  • Upper sash decorated with art, grid pattern, and/or colored glass
  • Bay windows are common with unequal sash heights
  • Cottage style windows with upper sash smaller than lower sash for the main floor

Grid Patterns

  • Queen Anne pattern grids
  • Queen Anne pattern grids with colored glass
  • Specified equal light; 2-over-2
  • Colonial; 6-over-6
  • Fractional; 3-panel

Accent Window Styles

  • Circle windows
  • Diamond windows
  • Arched windows
  • Casement windows
  • Rectangular transom windows
  • Square transom windows

Shingle

Example of a Shingle Style House with wide columns and red accent doors.

Architectural Essentials

  • Wood shingle wall surfaces
  • Asymmetrical façade
  • Conical-roofed round towers
  • Sloping gable roofs

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Double-hung windows
  • Casement windows
  • Awning windows
  • Vertically proportioned windows; height-to-width is typically 2-to-1
  • Multi-light windows

Grid Patterns

  • Colonial; square or rectangular
  • Diamond
  • Art glass
  • No grids
  • Queen Anne

Accent Window Styles

  • Casement windows
  • Awning windows
  • Picture windows
  • Transom windows
  • Square; Round; Half-round; Elliptical; and Arched top windows

Spanish Colonial Revival

Example of a Spanish Colonial Revival style house.

Architectural Essentials

  • Light-colored stucco exterior walls
  • Low-pitched red Mission or Spanish tile roofs
  • Asymmetrical facades
  • Arched doors or windows
  • Wrought iron grillwork for windows, doors, or balconies

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Casement windows
  • Vertically proportioned windows
  • Divided into horizontal panes

Grid Patterns

  • Horizontal panes that extend the full width of the sash
  • Sometimes fewer grilles are used to create more square shaped panes

Accent Window Styles

  • Arched casement windows
  • Arched picture windows
  • Small windows
  • Specialty shape windows; quatrefoil

Tudor

Tudor Style house with dark wood doors.

Architectural Essentials

  • Steeply pitched roof with front gables
  • Mixed material façade; timber, stucco, brick or stone
  • Arched entries
  • Asymmetrical door and window compositions

Essential Window Style Elements

  • Casement windows
  • Transom windows
  • Bay windows
  • Double-hung
  • Vertically proportioned windows

Grid Patterns

  • Diamond pattern
  • Colonial pattern (rectangular)

Accent Window Styles

  • Small casement windows
  • Transom windows

Sign up to get our newsletter

A monthly email with our favorite articles about design, home products, tips and the occasional inspirational life lesson.

Request Pricing

Your Contact Details
Products I'm Interested In:
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Siding
  • Roofing
Subscribe to our blog
  • Subscribe to our blog
FREE ESTIMATE