As I discussed last week, windows work wonders! There is so much to talk about that I had to split it up into two parts - and that still doesn't cover it all! If it weren’t for budgets and practicality, there would be tall windows in every room. But instead of living in glass houses, we need to be smart about maximizing the effect that our windows have.
Expand the Space
Windows allow our vista to extend beyond the confines of the room itself, making the room feel bigger. The late, great Bill Pulte told me to always pair windows together whenever possible as opposed to placing two windows in the corners of the room. This is also why you will often see a window placed diagonally across the room from the bedroom door – allowing our vista to expand along the longest dimension. But be careful not to place the window too close to the corner to allow for window treatments. Lita Dirks recommends no closer than 9” in secondary bedrooms and 12” in other rooms.
Window and Furniture Placement
Furniture impacts our window placement. Prior to air conditioning, it was common to see windows on multiple walls to optimize cross ventilation. The result was often beds in front of windows. In master bedrooms, we love multiple windows at the end of the room (Mr. Pulte would be so proud). If the room is large enough, it’s nice to have an additional pair of windows at either side of the bed. Kay Green Design likes 7’ between the windows to allow room for a king size headboard.
Windows in Bathrooms
While natural light is always welcome in our bathrooms, we also need our privacy. In the past, you may have seen frosted glass or glass block utilized to have both light and privacy. Both are now considered passé. Instead, place windows up high or where you can put a blind on the window. We used to always place the window above the tub in the master bath. Lately, however, more of our designs have large showers instead of the tub. Windows in shower are a problem! If they are too low, they allow water intrusion into the wall and create a privacy problem (window blinds in showers aren’t practical). Thankfully, homes with 10’ ceilings can have a transom high enough to be above the water and maintain privacy. The effect it has on natural light is incredible.
I love a window behind the woman’s make-up vanity instead of a mirror. If you’ve ever seen a woman put on makeup, they like to be within 6” to 8” away from the mirror, not 2’. A free-standing magnifying mirror with a window directly behind it works great! I also love a window between sinks.
Whenever possible, it’s great to add a 2’ by 4’ window into the toilet room. We used to do it in lieu of a fan for ventilation. But since no one wants to stand on the toilet to open the window, the window is there for natural light, making the room feel less claustrophobic.
The best way to determine where to put the windows in a home is to do a furniture layout for each room – including secondary bedrooms. If can do all of this in the planning stages, you will love the result and won’t have to rip window out of the wall during construction.