Window Basics: Choosing a Style

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The style, shape, or type of your windows sets the mood for the rest of the home. So whether you are looking to replace, update, or completely start from scratch, researching the types of windows and their purpose will help create the perfect tone for your home. We have compiled a comprehensive list of window shapes and their uses, ranging from your average single hung windows to the wonder of the jalousie window.

how to choose a window style how to choose a window style

Single Hung/Double Hung

The single and double hung windows are the most familiar and common window types for residential homes. 

A single hung window has two panels or sashes vertically stacked and only the bottom panel can move to open the window.

On the other hand, in a double hung window, both sashes can be moved up and down. Airflow is better with the double hung, and maintenance is easier.

how to choose a window style


Sliding windows are the opposite of single and double hung as they are hinged horizontally. They slide easily along a track to open sideways, rather than up and down.

Since they easily slide open and closed, sliding windows (or “sliders”) are great for places in your home where the window is less accessible. For example, if there is a kitchen sink between you and the window, sliders are a good option.

how to choose a window style


Casement windows operate on a crank system and swing in or out like a door. They come in a variety of sizes, offer great insulation, and are easy to clean. 

Casement windows are also a good option for places where it might otherwise be complicated to open a window manually.

how to choose a window style how to choose a window style


Awning windows are a variation of casement windows where the hinge is vertical instead of horizontal. Like casement windows, an awning window opens outward. 

Awning windows are common in cities or for climates with a lot of rain; when opened, the window may act as an awning when opened and prevent rain from entering your home.

Hopper windows are the opposite of awnings; rather than opening with the hole at the bottom, they open with the hole at the top.

Be careful not to install an awning or hopper window where it may obstruct a walkway when opened!

how to choose a window style


One of the most picturesque windows is the picture window. A large, unobstructed panel of glass to open up the space and provide an ample amount of natural light.

If you have a gorgeous environment and want to make that part of your daily living space, or you simply are a fan of huge, modern windows, the picture window is perfect for you.

how to choose a window style


As the name suggests, these Roman-inspired windows are rounded at the top, creating an arch. These windows don’t usually open, but are still relatively easy to maintain. 

While they are derived from an ancient civilization, these arched windows will give your home a modern look and will increase its curb appeal.

how to choose a window style


The bay window has an outward frame and is usually made up of three or more windows. The bay window offers light from multiple angles and a nook to curl up in with a good book. 

Bay windows are elegant and add a unique touch to your home. While their maintenance is not always easy, they enhance your home in a classic way few windows could.

how to choose a window style


Similar to the bay window, bow windows are hexagonal in shape, but instead of protruding off the home, the bow window depends on the architecture of the home to be arced already.

Bow windows are the most elegant, and most costly, of window types.

If you are looking to install bay or bow windows, talk to a professional first: both windows require more construction than most other types.

how to choose a window style


If you live in an area with warm weather, look into the American-style jalousie window. Developed in the 1900s, the jalousie window is made of several slats of glass that open up like a Venitian blind. 

There are some jalousie windows that use wood, giving a very Japanese vibe to the home. They also provide constant airflow, no matter the weather because of their slanted exterior. Plus, they will make all your neighbors jealous.


As the name suggests, the garden window is often used as a place for an indoor potted garden to thrive. The garden window protrudes from the house, like a bay window, creating a mini greenhouse for your plants.


Egress windows are some of the most boring, but functional. They are often installed in basements to provide some natural lighting and an easy fire escape.


A fixed window is less about the shape or size and more about the function. Fixed windows can not open and are often purely decorative, like a circular window.

Since they do not open, fixed windows that are more than one story off the ground are harder to clean. 

how to choose a window style


A bathroom with a skylight over the porcelain tub is hard to beat when it comes to pure relaxation. Skylights are another window, like the bay and bow, that would take more construction during the installation. But they would provide excellent natural lighting from above.

Make sure that you hire someone who has installed skylight windows before with great success so that your roof doesn’t suffer from leaking.


Transom windows are very decorative. They are often used above or around pre-existing windows to enhance or widen the window. 

Transom windows are often found above large, rectangular windows to arch it or above and around the front door. 


Finally, if you really have your heart set on some sort of statement window and can’t seem to find the perfect one, you can design your own window! With the help of professionals, you can make your dream become a functional reality. 


While this isn’t every type of window, these are the most common that you can use to modernize or transform your home to one that sparks joy.



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