4 show-stopping window designs for any budget

July 22, 2011

You are living in the home design age. Home makeover shows and easy-access, how-tos have given rise to a new generation of do-it-yourselfers who feel pressured--and inspired--to create a picture perfect home. The problem: in this economy, expendable income is scarce.

Fortunately, you can upgrade your home without committing to a full-scale remodel so long as you tackle high-impact projects first. Nothing makes a design statement, both in and out of the home, like bold, beautiful windows.

Worth-it windows: beauty for your budget

From Notre Dame's Rose Window to the Lal Bagh glass house, windows can transform an environment completely. For something so fragile, glass can really make a statement. Here are a few window design ideas that will pique your neighbors' envy at any price point.

  1. Warm things up with wood windows. In an era of cookie-cutter vinyl windows, wood is the traditionalist's first choice. Wood windows are warm, natural and classic, available in a variety of wood types, stains and even carved designs. They can be expensive, however, especially when replacing poorly maintained wood windows as gutting rotten or damaged sills can drive up window installation costs. According to Consumer Reports, Pella, Anderson and Marvin consistently produce quality wood and wood-clad products.

  2. Go bold with steel windows. Steel is strong, making it the ideal material for grand, over-sized windows. Steel windows are interesting, but industrial; think: New York City loft. They're durable with narrow sightlines, allowing a tremendous amount of light into a space, transforming it entirely. They can be expensive, however, as installation is tricky--expect to pay up to $1,500 per window depending on its size. Cittrall, Hope and Torrance are popular steel window manufacturers.

  3. Stand out with shapes and glazes. Windows don't have to be huge to make a statement. Round or otherwise interestingly-shaped windows pique interest, although custom designs boost window costs. Textured or colored finishes, like those that mimic rain runoff or stained glass, can create appeal within even the tightest budgets.

  4. Choose artistic grid lines. You can jazz up even traditional windows by simply choosing a style with unique grid lines, which are the support lines that divide the glass, and, in turn, partition the light as it enters a space. For an intriguing look, forgo the traditional square and rectangular divisions and choose rounded or patterned designs.

Keeping in mind that windows are not necessarily a minor home investment--materials and window installation costs can quickly add up--they provide so many design elements for the money. Take full advantage of that.

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