What are the most popular window styles for homes?The most popular standard residential windows are single- and double-hung windows. These are flat windows that fit into any type or style of room and open by sliding up and down. They come in a variety of sizes, materials, and glass types, making them easy to adapt to any design. Another popular type of residential window is the casement window. Casement windows swing open on a hinge, much like a door, and typically open using a crank or lever. If you’re looking for a functional window that won’t draw attention, you can explore the difference between casement vs. double-hung windows. While these types of windows are practical and easy to find and install, they don’t add very much to a home in terms of aesthetic appeal or creativity. If you’re looking for custom windows, chances are you’ve seen these standard styles all over the place—and you’re ready for something a bit more interesting. As we dive into custom windows, do keep in mind that a standard design is usually a more affordable design. Custom windows may look stunning, but you will be looking at a higher budget. With that said—let’s dig in!
Popular Custom Windows with Unique ShapesMost windows come as squares or rectangles and there’s a simple reason for it—those shapes are easier to cut and install. But worry not! You’re certainly not limited to those shapes when designing your dream home. Here are just a few exciting alternatives to choose from when custom-ordering uniquely shaped windows:
Garden WindowsGarden windows are like mini greenhouses. These sloped glass boxes stick out from the outer wall of your home to create additional shelving and light. They’re most frequently used in kitchens as a space to grow small herbs and plants—hence, the name. While beautiful and ideal for sunny climates, garden windows might not be the best choice for stormy or cold-weather areas. Because they stick out from your walls, these windows are more fragile and allow for less thermal control than some of their flatter counterparts.
Round WindowsRound windows, also known as porthole windows, are circular—much like you’d find on an old-timey ship! They can either be one piece of glass or several divided into different sections. While it’s physically possible to create a round window that opens, the majority of porthole windows remain stationary—providing natural light and beauty rather than a breeze. Their stationary nature keeps porthole windows airtight and energy efficient. Their airtight seal also helps keep out bugs and moisture, making them ideal for attics, closets, and other small, tight spaces.
Skylight WindowsSkylight windows aren’t always uniquely shaped, but they are always a unique addition to your home. Skylight windows sit either flat or sloped within your ceiling. They can be any shape—though usually they’re rectangular—and they can either open or remain stationary depending on your design choice. Skylight windows are an excellent option for homes that struggle with natural light. However, they also come with serious risks. A poorly installed window always spells trouble, but a poorly installed skylight can bring disaster. Not only can skylights fall into the home, but they can collect large amounts of water and cause significant roof damage. If you’re looking to install a skylight, you’ll want to invest a little extra to make sure you’re hiring certified and trustworthy contractors.
Popular Custom Windows with Custom-Shaped Glass
Custom Picture WindowsPicture windows are another type of popular window made from a single large pane of glass. Usually found in rooms with strong natural light, picture windows offer an unobstructed view that sometimes covers an entire wall (you might have also heard these windows called floor-to-ceiling windows). In most cases, picture windows come as squares or rectangles, but as they’re only one piece of glass, you can get them in a variety of shapes, including:
Custom Glass Block WindowsGlass block windows are thick, stationary windows made of arranged glass blocks. While these unique windows don’t offer any ventilation, they do come with a surprising number of advantages:
- Waterproofing: If you live in a stormy climate, the thickness of glass block windows goes a long way towards keeping moisture out of your home and out of your walls.
- More privacy and security: Glass block windows let in plenty of light, but their thick, blurred nature makes them difficult to see through—making glass block shower windows a popular choice.
- Energy efficiency: Between the thickness of the blocks and the air-tight seal that holds them together, glass block windows offer superior energy efficiency, thermal protection, and insulation.
Popular Custom Windows of Different SizesOne of the easiest ways to customize your windows is to change the size. Many standard windows come in standard sizes. This makes them easier and cheaper to replace and more efficient to manufacture. That said, you can request windows in any size you like. You can even use several standard-sized windows to create one large window area. In bigger homes, you might consider using several single-hung windows to create one massive window of 3-5 panels. The most important thing to remember when it comes to custom sizing is that after 20 or so years, all windows need to be replaced—which means you need to know how to measure your custom windows for proper, safe reinstallation.
Different Window Opening StylesCustom window shapes, styles, and materials also come with custom window openings. Certain window styles are categorized based on the way they open, (casement windows, for example), but that doesn’t mean you can’t switch things up. Here are a few of the most popular window opening styles:
Side-HungSide-hung windows open in or out swinging from the left or right side of the window. They can open with a crank or handle and work with nearly every window shape.
PivotPivot windows hinge on a stationary pivot mechanism at the center of the window sash. They can pivot open on the vertical or horizontal axis, allowing for plenty of ventilation and a sleek, modern look. Keep in mind that unlike with side-hung casement or double-hung windows, you cannot install screens with a pivot window.
SlidingSliding windows are by far the most common window opening style. Sliding windows can open either up and down or left to right and work on every size of window—as long as it’s square or rectangular.
JalousieJalousie window openings aren’t found in many homes anymore, but they can still create a strong statement piece for the right owner. Jalousie windows work like blinds—except the blinds are made of glass. By opening and closing the glass panels, you can open and close a jalousie window just like a blind window covering.
Are there any shapes I can’t get a custom window in?These days, you can get a custom window in practically any shape you want. The only common restrictions on your customizations are safety concerns. For instance, if you live in tornado alley, you might have a hard time finding a professional who’s willing to recommend floor-to-ceiling picture windows. The other possible restriction on your window creativity comes down to location in the home. Certain areas of certain homes—such as basements—require windows that open wide enough to allow a human to escape through. In those cases, local law details what styles of windows are and are not allowed.
What are the benefits of custom-shaped windows?Custom windows come with all sorts of benefits. Choosing the right custom window can:
- Give your home a unique aesthetic touch
- Boost your curb appeal and resale value
- Increase natural light in the home
- Increase energy efficiency/Lower overall utility costs