Take the next step beyond simple replacement windows and doors to increase the livability and appeal of your home, inside and out.
Don’t miss a larger opportunity when you're choosing new windows and doors for your home. Sure, you want to save energy and improve the comfort of your home, but you can go beyond the norm to create options that not only look great from the curb but also enhance the feel and luxury of your interior living spaces. Often, with a bit of extra planning and remodeling, you can take advantage of the plethora of window and door options. Let’s look at a few examples where slight changes in how you think about a window or door can make a big change.
You can just replace your front door with a similar updated door. But what about going a step further? Consider adding more light with a larger glass size, or expanding the door into an entryway with narrow glass panels on each side, or even a transom window above the door. You can also coordinate with the room's decor by choosing a simple, uncluttered, modern look, or choosing a raised panel door with artistic glass or even a custom hand-carved look if the room has a traditional or old-world feel.
Photo 1: Adding extra glass to your entry door can bring light into the entryway. Sidelights on either side of the door or transom windows above the door are some of the options available from manufacturers like JELD-WEN.
If you plan to replace your patio door, first consider how the patio, deck or porch just outside can also be part of the same entertaining or relaxation space inside your home. A newer category of patio doors includes a folding patio door. This innovative door design works like a bifold door, swinging completely off to the side to create a huge opening, effectively blending the two separate areas into one large space. Without a traditional door barrier, there’s an open exchange of inside and outside. Gone is the narrow traffic pattern so familiar to sliding patio door users.
Photo 2: A foldaway patio door, like this model from JELD-WEN, can help you take full advantage of integrating your indoor and outdoor spaces.
Living or family room windows
Just as new furniture and redecorating can transform rooms, new windows can have an even greater effect. Changing a plain window to a larger bay or bow window can make the room feel more spacious without adding any square footage.
You can even go a step further by reframing the wall surface below and above standard window heights and create a floor-to-ceiling glass experience, virtually bringing the outdoor landscape right into the room. By combining different types of windows, you can take advantage of each of their benefits. For example, you can combine large fixed non-operable windows with smaller operable awning windows and maximize energy efficiency and still benefit with ventilation from the smaller awning windows. These large window combinations are a great place to take advantage of new invisible glass coatings that boost the energy efficiency of your windows, allowing intense solar rays in hot climates to reflect back outside or in colder climates to let interior warmth reflect back into your living space.
Photo 3: Tall window groupings allow you to take full advantage of the view outside and blur the concept of inside vs. outside living.
Bedrooms, bath and kitchens can also benefit from several window and door options. Bathrooms can now have textured or etched glass or even art glass that allows light to come into the room while still providing privacy. Interior hallway doors that once darkened a room when closed can be replaced with interior glass paneled doors, instead of wood, allowing brighter neighboring rooms to share their light.
Photo 4: Privacy doesn’t necessarily mean tiny windows. You can welcome light into bathrooms and still maintain privacy with textured or etched glass.
Photo 5: Window manufacturers such as JELD-WEN offer artistic options for interior spaces that can add an element of design as well as privacy to a spa or bath.
Photo 6: Solid interior doors can be replaced with glass-paneled doors in areas where more natural light is needed.
This large, sometimes unclaimed and often-overlooked area of the house has great potential for expanding a home’s livable space. Because the basement can be the darkest area of the home, adding windows can make a huge difference. Window contractors can dig down, expose the foundation wall and create an opening for large casement-style windows to bring light into the room. At the same time, they create an emergency egress, allowing you to add a bedroom, family room or a bright, new workout area.
Photo 7: A basement doesn't have to feel like a basement. Adding larger windows, like the JELD-WEN full-height windows shown here, can increase your livable space by reclaiming areas that weren't originally designed as such.
Taking the first step
To see some of the limitless possibilities that new windows can bring to your home, visit the websites of major window manufacturers. You can peruse their gallery of ideas, educate yourself about the types of windows and the energy specifications, and get directed to a local dealer or home center to help guide you and answer your questions. Some manufacturers also can put you in contact with architectural planners and designers with product knowledge who can help you make decisions and find a trained window and door contractor to help you achieve your dreams.
Images courtesy of JELD-WEN windows and doors.
— David Radtke, Contributing Editor