Window shopping? new jersey architects weigh in on window designs

photography by Lisa Russman

When building a home in New Jersey, you want to make sure the windows that keep your family safe also reflect your interior and exterior design preferences. The good news is NJ architects have many options to choose from when installing windows! Some maximize light while others promote flow, but the most important elements to keep in mind are function, safety, and design for East Coast living.

“Classic” Window Styles

Single-hung and double-hung windows, the most common and economical window types used by NJ architects, slide vertically, with both stashes able to be moved (and more easily cleaned) on double-hung windows. In cottage windows, the upper sash is shorter than the lower.

Slider windows operate much like double-hung windows, yet open horizontally and typically provide more unobstructed views to complement more contemporary New Jersey architecture.

Casement windows, hinged to open at the side, create tighter seals than double-hung and slider windows and are therefore ideal for colder climates and harder-to-reach locations, such as over sinks.

However, if natural light is most important, bay windows are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. While more expensive, these angular, multi-plane windows project out from the wall to increase viewing areas and create additional space inside the home, including window seating or shelving. Most also include side windows that can be opened. Bow windows are bay windows that create a smooth curve rather than angles in the exterior and interior of your home.

Windows for Every Function

New Jersey architects know how home builds and renovations vary drastically across the region. That’s why there are windows specifically designed for tight spaces and fickle climates, too.

Awning windows, for example, are hinged at the top to open outward – even in light rain or snow. Like casement windows, awning windows provide excellent insulation and ventilation options, while hopper windows, which open inward, make efficient use of small spaces in bathrooms, basements or closets. 

However, if you need both more shelving and natural light, garden windows, or box-style windows, extend outside exterior walls for maximum viewing and are ideal spots to grow indoor plants.

Lastly, skylight installations, while more expensive, are a good option for natural light and ventilation when exterior wall space is limited.

Aesthetic-Only Window Designs

Windows are a great way for NJ architects to add design elements to your home!

Picture windows, for example, create dramatic aesthetics and unobstructed views while filling rooms with natural light, while arched windows give New Jersey architects a way to vary architecture design by adding rounded tops to standard windows.

There are also accent windows to make your home design pop while letting in more light. Radial windows (semi- or full circles) and geometric windows (triangles, diamonds, trapezoids and more) are statement-makers, while transom windows (typically square) can help break up or accentuate door and window designs in unique ways.

Safety First

While design and function are extremely important, you must also consider your family’s safety.

Storm windows, or exterior windows installed in the same frame as current windows, are typically installed by New Jersey architects due to the region’s prevalence for hurricanes. The additional layer also blocks drafts and prevents heat loss during cold weather months.

Egress windows, often required by code, provide escape routes in attics or basements while also increasing light and ventilation.

Both window types provide great ways to increase the value of your home while keeping your family secure.

The cost of windows varies based on design, size, materials, and glass, with labor rates fluctuating based on location. Still, when building a home in New Jersey, there are many options to choose from – especially when working with knowledgeable NJ architects!