10 Useful Tips for Choosing the Right Exterior Window Style

10 Useful Tips for Choosing the Right Exterior Window Style

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10 Useful tips for choosing the right windows for your home

There is nothing more comforting than sitting inside your home and enjoying a gorgeous view with warm sunlight shining through. Whether you think about it or not your windows are one of the best ways to bring the outdoors in and they help you connect with your exterior home for safety and security. If you are considering changing out your current windows or are designing your next home – look at these 10 useful tips for choosing the right exterior window style for your home.

1. Choose windows that reflect your home’s architectural style

All homes have an architectural design style that makes them unique and choosing windows that match this design aesthetic is the first step in choosing the right windows. Whether you have a modern and contemporary home that features floor to ceiling glass windows and doors or you have a traditional Tudor style home with classic diamond-shaped mullions. Adhere to your home’s architectural style for guidance.

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Choose windows that fit your home’s architectural style

2. Decide what purpose your windows will serve

While the basic function of windows are to let in light they can also serve as a doorway – as in a sliding glass window door for access to a porch for example or they can be fixed and ornamental just for aesthetics. Consider which rooms your windows will serve and if view is essential or is light into a dark space more essential as in a closet or pantry space. Consider using solar tubes that extend from the roof or a side wall to let light into dark spaces if a window isn’t feasible.

3. Colorful window frames and mullions:

Depending on the color and style of architecture of your home you may opt for frames and mullions that lend color to the exterior of your home. Whether you have wood or metal frames, look to window manufacturers that offer factory colors already infused into the frame material. If you decide to give your exterior home a makeover and paint your mullions and frames, ask a paint professional the best exterior paint to use for your application.

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Operable and fixed window varieties in your home

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Colorful frames and mullions can enhance your exterior home’s appearance

4. Choosing the best accent colors for your window frames

Choosing an exterior paint color palette can often be a challenge. Look to the outdoors and neighboring homes to get a sense of what existing colors are present. Choose a trim color for your home, and consider using the same color on your window frames. Many homes choose to have a field color to their home and two accent colors – one for the trim of their home and one for window frames, doorways, and the garage door. Look to your local paint or home improvement center for color palettes that are pre-chosen to save you time and heartache of choosing!

5. Selecting the right window for the amount of ventilation needed 

One of the most essential purposes of a window is to let ventilation and movement of fresh air in and out of your rooms. Deciding which type of window suits your needs will help determine the type of window. Many rooms have operable windows, which mean they can be opened or closed as needed. Fixed windows cannot be opened and are used in rooms that large expansive windows are small windows are used. Generally most homes have a combination of both types.

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Select windows that enhance your view from the interior

6. Choosing windows that appeal to your interiors

While the exterior aesthetic of your windows are important, remember how the window functions and appeals to your interiors can create an experience inside your home. In bathrooms – look to windows that will let in light, but not provide direct viewing angles from the outdoors (unless view is obstructed, on a higher level than the ground, etc…) In public spaces, decide if the view warrants large picture windows that let in maximum light and view or if the function of the room warrants different sized and shaped windows

7. Determine the orientation of the sun before choosing windows

If you are designing your home with the assistance of an architect or contractor consider how your home sits in relation to the sun rising and setting. Depending on where you live geographically can create too much late day sun in your family room when watching television or unwelcomed rising sun in your bedroom. This practice will help ensure your home also doesn’t heat and cool unnaturally during the seasons that cost higher utility bills.

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Determine the sun’s orientation when choosing windows

8. Different operable windows for your unique application

Many homes utilize the classic sash window – which means the moveable portion of the window can either move up or down or left to right. Double hung windows move up and down and horizontal sliders move horizontally. Awning windows are popular in apartments and older homes and they are top or bottom hinged to allow the window to open at an angle. Hopper windows that are hinged at the bottom are used mainly over doorways or windows and should be protected by an exterior eave to shield from the elements.

9. Use your windows as the focal point of your interiors

If you have picturesque views to take advantage of, or the architecture of your home is unique, use window styles, shapes, colors, and details to play up your interiors. Bay windows that are multiple pieces of glass placed together to form more floor space inside the home and are ideal in bathrooms, kitchens and sitting nooks. Look to unique mullion designs like these diamond details below to carry out in your interior details.

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Interior details can mimic the exterior window architectural style

10. Windows are a great renovation project

While your first thought for remodeling may turn to your kitchen or bath, don’t forget about replacing old windows. With newer manufacturing practices out for window brands there is an increased push for energy efficient assemblies to help save on your energy costs. Many jurisdictions give income tax credits for replacing older windows with energy efficient varieties. So don’t overlook replacing windows as an essential renovation project for your home.

Freshome readers tell us what’s your favorite type of window in your home?


  • Julie October 15, 2013 at 11:27 AMLogin to Reply →

    I live in an older house and a lot of neighbours have replaced original windows with more modern PVC ones, which don’t really match the originals too well, which is such a shame. So I think 1) is the most important for me!

  • Peter Feinmann October 30, 2013 at 18:32 PMLogin to Reply →

    Energy efficient windows are worth the investment. They might cost more upfront but will help to curb your heat bill for many years.

  • pearlgrider May 28, 2014 at 04:19 AMLogin to Reply →

    This is a nice article. And photos look awesome. Windows should be selected carefully. If you install a wrong window (windowchoice.ca/windows ), it can cost badly on your energy bill as well as several other things. Windows can affect the looks and ventilation of your home. These tips provided here are very useful for any person trying to install right window correctly.

  • Amanda June 9, 2014 at 17:24 PMLogin to Reply →

    This is a great article that pretty much covers every angle that you need to think of when going through the new window replacement process. It is so important to remember that your windows will be seen from the inside and the outside of your home, so keep that in mind when choosing a style. As the article states, you want a window style that fits the overall architecture of the house, but also one that would look good with the interior decor. This is a very helpful article, with some photos of beautiful windows, too!

  • Sergio Freddson January 27, 2015 at 21:16 PMLogin to Reply →

    I think #1 is what I have spent most of my time thinking about. I don’t want my new windows to look like an anachronism. Is there any rule of thumb for purchasing new windows to meet the style of your architecture? Maybe a guide that goes through the basic architectural styles to be aware of? Thank you for sharing your expertise with us!

  • Esther Oakley February 12, 2015 at 20:34 PMLogin to Reply →

    I really like the tip to find windows that fit the style of the home. It is easy to get caught up in what looks good in a magazine and not remember what your actual home style is. Also, remember to also buy quality over cheapest, it will save you money in the long run.

  • Marcus Fillion February 26, 2015 at 19:31 PMLogin to Reply →

    Those windows in the third picture are stunning. The versatility in how they open would be nice in any house. They don’t have screens, though, which is essential in my area. We have too many bugs inside otherwise.

  • Phillius Thomas March 20, 2015 at 12:49 PMLogin to Reply →

    I was looking through these photos trying to pick a favorite, and I couldn’t! I have like five favorites of seven photos. <3 Thanks for the post, I know what I want from my homes windows now!

  • Lars Melger April 6, 2015 at 20:55 PMLogin to Reply →

    There’s so many good windows! We’re trying to find a good design for our home and I really like the fourth ones. I have to be careful though. You have to consider what it takes to install the windows and what they cost. I’m sure we can manage, but I want a lot of natural light in my house.

  • Rose Henderson April 14, 2015 at 13:41 PMLogin to Reply →

    I really like awning window idea! My bedroom gets hot so quickly because the sun beats through the window most of the day. I really think it would be nice to get just a little bit of extra coverage. Thanks for all of the great ideas.

  • RachelBlodgett April 22, 2015 at 10:40 AMLogin to Reply →

    I would like to have details about the energy saving windows. Lighting is very important for me. Right now we have old fashioned French windows and I would like to replace it with something more trendy. Recently happened to read a comparison chart at. This article’s been great in delivering it’s intended ideas.

  • Alexis Webber June 30, 2015 at 14:12 PMLogin to Reply →

    Frames can make a huge difference in curb appeal. A home down the street from where I live had upgraded their windows, to sliding windows with a cornflower blue frame to match their rich brown siding. It really pops out, and looks so much better than it did before. Great advice!