by Lauren Busser, The House Designers' Editorial Director
Windows aren't just openings in the wall; they bring us closer to nature and let us connect better with our surroundings. Imagine walking into a sun-drenched room with an expansive ocean or mountain view. You can maximize the view by surveying your property and making adjustments to landscaping or plantings. Then consult with your builder to see exactly how you can make your dreams a reality.
Assess Your Surroundings
When you are considering where to place your new windows, contractors will tell you to walk the property. Orientation is going to determine where the sunlight falls in your new home. You want to make sure that your home is properly oriented so that a wall of windows in the bedroom doesn’t wake you up at first light, and to ensure that your home office doesn't have you working in afternoon darkness. Also take into consideration seasonal climate changes when selecting the types of windows you want for certain rooms.
Let in the Light
Humans are attracted to light. Natural light helps us relax, focus, and get our minds, bodies, and spirits in sync. That’s why you want to be sure that you have a good natural light source in every room whenever possible. When you begin thinking about window placement, take a moment to think about where the light falls and where it doesn’t. Look to see if it will cast shadows, bounce off reflective surfaces, or if it will add an indirect glow to walls and ceilings.
Design for the View
Selecting the right window or patio door configuration can make an area the focus of a room and sometimes the featured point in the home. Even when the surrounding view is less than ideal, the right window can be positioned to focus the best possible sightline and block a less desirable one at the same time. And when there is no view at all, you can still let in fresh air and light by setting windows high on the walls.
Consider a Room’s Best Features
Each room in your new home will have a personality of its own. You want to consider what that room will be like while you are designing for it. Tall ceilings and voluminous rooms can benefit from windows placed high on the wall, and the same goes for multi-story great rooms and atriums. A smaller room benefits from windows placed at a sill height closer to the floor.
While they provide great views to the scenic outdoors, windows are also an ideal source of ventilation. You can properly refresh a room by simply opening a window or two. To do this, try placing windows on opposing walls so that air can be carried straight through your home. It is worthwhile to experiment with interior windows too, in order to move fresh air to some of the home’s more remote parts.
Using a Variety of Shapes for Visual Interest
There really aren’t any hard rules when it comes to selecting window sizes and shapes. Placement will affect your view and ventilation of course, but you are free to choose what appeals to you when it comes to configurations. A great way to add some interest to your design is to use a variety of window shapes and sizes to capture a panoramic view. If you have one spectacular view on your property, using a wall of windows will not only add visual interest to your home, but may also frame nature in a way that lets you incorporate it into your interior design.
Use a Door
You really want a door instead of just windows in some cases. Integrity Windows also offers several patio door styles that will help you enjoy the view and enter and exit your house freely. If you really want an unobstructed view, take a look at the new Wood-Ultrex 4-Panel Sliding French Door. This is Integrity's biggest product ever, available in configurations up to 16' wide and 8' tall. With all the quality and durability you have come to expect from the Ultrex exterior to the rich pine interior, this patio door makes a great addition to your home.
Well thought-out window placement and design will not only enhance your views and ventilation, but may also help you save energy. A well sun-lit room will reduce the need for artificial lighting and proper ventilation may allow you to run your air conditioning less. But in all cases, well-placed windows can endow any room with the beauty of the great outdoors and dramatic, natural lighting.