While perhaps the driving force in today’s window trends continues to be energy efficiency and ease of care, homeowners also want high-quality windows that can do it all—function efficiently, provide energy savings, and add style to both the façade and interior of the home with lots of light and unobstructed views.
When shopping for windows, homeowners should pay attention to more than looks, according to industry experts. According to Don Stewart of Window and Door Concepts, “Not only are there countless design options, but there are also many operational styles and varying materials to consider before making a purchase.”
Stewart specifically points to grilles. “The bigger question is grilles or no grilles. The answer depends on the style of the home and the overall look the homeowner is trying to achieve.”
Tom Zakucia of Architectural Visions, Inc. takes a more pragmatic approach to window choices, “The installation of the windows and doors is as important as the brand you choose. What methods of waterproofing are used, what grade of installation materials, and post-installation service are often overlooked details that should always be addressed by the consumer up front.” Additionally, focusing on what works in a particular climate, region, or home style is of the utmost importance.
Bohnne Jones of Decorating Den Interiors suggests, “Consider how many days will allow opening the windows wide without letting in bugs, humidity, and allergens. Screens are essential, although non-operating windows can provide great views.” Ultimately, homeowners want a balance between energy efficiency, ease of cleaning, and respecting the architecture of the home with their choice of windows.
Energy-efficiency can hardly be considered a trend in windows due to the common desire for this trait. Efficiency is almost always the number one reason homeowners consider replacing their windows, according to Joe Mills of Sunrise Windows and Doors.
Offering a primer about window terminology, he says, “The industry has created some testing and ratings that help that process. The U factor measures how well the product keeps the heat in during the heating months. SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) is a measure of how well the glass keeps the sun’s heat out during the summer months.”
For the most accurate information to measure and compare energy ratings and performance of windows and doors, the National Fenestration Ratings Council provides detailed statistics to help consumers make informed decisions.
Stewart recommends that homeowners don’t base a purchase decision on price alone. “Often, homeowners will get short changed if they base their purchase solely on who has the lowest price.”
Today’s window often feature energy efficient glass choices including Low-e Glass (low-emissivity glass) that has a transparent coating significantly reducing heat transfer which keeps a room a comfortable temperature even in the coldest months. Low-e glass improves energy-efficiency and reduces heating bills along with the carbon footprint of the home. Additionally, the space between layers of glass may be filled with specialty substances such as argon gas which decreases temperature moving from the inside to the outside and vice versa.
Sound-proofing is also important to increase the peaceful quality within a home. Dondi Kazukewicz of Marvin Windows and Doors says, “Energy efficient windows will significantly reduce the noise from outside as well as your energy bills!”
Ease of cleaning is also important for many homeowners. Stewart recommends higher quality windows that not only provide soundproofing features but are additionally easier to maintain than lesser grade windows. “New windows are easier to open and, best of all, can reduce your carbon footprint,” he says. “In addition to upgraded energy efficiency, homeowners are looking for a window with little to no maintenance.”
While in the past window maintenance included painting, Stewart notes that cleaning is actually the most important part of window maintenance. “Tilt-in windows along with gliding and awning windows allow exterior cleaning from the interior of the home.”
As with most design influences, window trends are motivated by lifestyle. Transitional living—the ability to blur the line between home interiors and exteriors— is redefining home design. Homeowners want to live in all of the space available to them, rather than being limited by weather and environmental elements. They want windows to function as enhancements to lifestyle and design, as well as provide energy efficiency.
Zakucia says, “Larger spacious living areas are married with larger opening doors to allow a more usable flow between indoor and outdoor living.” The transitional living movement has spurred trends such as sliding glass walls, large folding doors, and expansive bi-fold doors.
Stewart points out, “Homeowners often site an abundance of big windows and natural light among the top reasons for replacing existing windows.” He also recommends using the right type of window for a particular space, “Casement windows are great for rooms where homeowners want to maximize air flow. Bay windows placed on the front of the home can make a room seem larger and offer a place to display plants or a cozy space for reading or lounging.
Large solid windows offer the most unabridged view and allow the most sunlight. Gliding windows do not protrude on the outside which makes them ideal for rooms with a porch or deck. Homeowners need to determine how they will live in a space in order to make the most functional design choices.
Although traditional designs remain popular, modern design with clean, crisp lines and squared-off edges and shapes are moving from interior design to windows. Zakucia points out, “Clean, contemporary, and modern styles have made a splash in home design in the past decade and that trend continues to grow. Traditional will always have its place, but more and more clients are interested in bigger glass, expansive doors, minimal divided lights, and unique and interesting colors in frames to make a bold design statement.”
The look of aluminum/steel-framed storefront windows is growing in popularity along with a continued interest in black hues. JELD-WEN’s Jennifer Maston says, “Everyone wants a black-on-black window.” Black is gracing both the exterior and interior of windows and homes. The trend is dramatic, though, when combined with white or natural trims, and creating a more subtle look.
A pop of color is also piquing homeowner’s interest. “We’re seeing more color, and we’re seeing a lot of darker colors,” says Ply Gem’s Montgomery. “Two of our largest selling colors are black and bronze.” Several years ago, the company introduced a co-extrusion technology for its higher-line vinyl products that allows customers to choose a darker exterior color, such as bronze, while maintaining a traditional white interior finish.
Customers are looking for products that fit the customized look and feel of their personal living space, Smith says. “JELD-Wen windows offer myriad style options to match nearly any home décor. For example, EpicVue windows make it easy for homeowners to incorporate larger panes of glass and sleek lines that are synonymous with contemporary design and create a timeless look and feel.”
Kazukewicz adds, “Beyond larger openings, many homeowners are choosing dark interior colors and high-contrast finishes. A very popular example that makes a big impact is white walls accented by windows trimmed in dark gray or black—the effect draws your eye through the room and straight to the outdoors.” To add a designers touch to the interior of the window, Rachel
Rojas of Interior Creations by Rachel recommends, “Light and airy fabrics and simplicity in style and functionality in window treatments are being influenced by the emphasis on larger windows and lots of light. Roman shades and panels are examples of this look.”
Overall, homeowners are able to customize their windows as well as the other details of their homes. Zakucia says, “Homeowners realize that windows make a dramatic difference in both the aesthetic beauty and comfort level of their home. Windows are much more than the traditional ‘white, double-hungs’ these days.”
According to the experts at Pella, one size doesn’t fit all. Whether your home is traditional, contemporary, or somewhere in between, it’s important to choose the right options to complement a home’s character. Essentially, as a homeowner, if you can dream it, a quality window brand can make the dream come true.
There are a number of sources for windows in the Nashville area including:
Architectural Visions, Inc.
Decorating Den Interiors
Interior Creations by Rachel
Spring Hill, TN
Klamath Falls, OR
Marvin Windows & Doors
Window and Door Concepts
Old Hickory, TN