9 Most Popular Window Styles

There are all kinds of metaphors about windows in relation to your success, your life, love, opportunities and so much more. So one thing's for sure — windows are an important part of any home! They allow you to see out of your home, allow sunlight and a cool breeze into your home and they assist with ventilating your space. They also determine the physical appearance and style of your home. Here we will discuss the different styles of windows and their pros and cons.

most window styles

1. Single-Hung Windows

A classic-style window where the bottom window panel moves up and down and the upper panel stays in place. When you open the window, the bottom piece moves up in front of the stationary upper sash by way of a track and when you put it down, you can latch it to lock.

single-hung window

Pros:

  • Affordable and cheaper than double-hung windows
  • Easy to open and close
  • Less moving parts than the double-hung (discussed next), which makes it more weather-resistant (you can even caulk for extra efficiency because the upper sash stays stationary)
  • With vertical tracks, they won’t fill with dirt like horizontal track windows

Cons:

  • Harder to clean, especially the outside of the window (however some newer styles may have a tilt-in option for the lower sash)
  • More prone to air leakage (double check that they're locked when closed)
  • Can be easy for intruders to get in when windows are big enough
  • Safety hazard for children if window is low to the floor

2. Double-Hung Windows

Along with the single-hung window, double-hung windows have a very classic look and are the most common and familiar window style. They also are vertically hung with an upper and lower sash, but unlike single-hung windows, both slide up and down on tracks. Double-hung windows latch at the bottom to lock.

double-hung window

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easier to clean than single-hung windows since the upper sash slides up and down, and in some cases tilt inward, for easy access
  • Wide selection to choose from since many manufacturers make them
  • Easy to open and close due to springs or weights
  • Allow for good ventilation for your home (both the upper and lower panels open halfway)
  • Vertical tracks that won’t fill with dirt like windows with horizontal tracks
  • The upper sash can be replaced when broken, unlike the single-hung window

Cons:

  • Prone to air leakage and requires a tug to make sure it's locked
  • Can be a safety hazard for small children when the bottom sash is open if the window is low to the floor
  • Easy for intruders to break-in
  • Can be hard to clean if both sections don’t tilt in

With the double-hung window, divisions in the windowpane called Muntins can add aesthetic value — these are smaller pieces of glass joined together in each panel to form a grid. If there are six panes of glass in each upper and lower sash of the window, you would classify this as six over six. Modern windows have wood or plastic pieces that form a faux grid on the outside of the window for a more appealing style. A Mullion is a heavy vertical or horizontal member between adjoining window units.

3. Picture Windows

A large, fixed window that doesn’t open but allows you to take in the scenery around you.

picture window

Pros:

  • Affordable — on the lower end of cost and will save money on maintenance and repair compared to other style windows
  • Offer unobstructed view of the outside
  • Allow a ton of sunlight into your home
  • Very energy efficient — It’s hard to get a draft with a tight seal that cannot open and the glass panes are mounted directly onto the frame providing awesome insulation
  • Works well with different home architectural styles
  • Can be combined with other window styles as a showcase piece (great for a two-story foyer)

Cons:

  • Offer no ventilation (can be paired with other style windows that do)
  • In case of emergency, unable to use as an escape
  • The large glass panes COULD lose or gain heat compared to a wall with insulation

4. Casement Windows

One of the oldest types of windows that open, casement windows are fairly common. They attach via hinges on the side and swing out to open using a crank-style handle (like a door). French-style casement windows open inward.

casement window

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Fit the style of most homes since they are neutral in appearance and can pair nicely with other style windows in the home
  • Able to hold large glass panes with less view obstruction, offering a lot of natural light into your home
  • Offer open ventilation and good for bringing in cool outside air
  • Great seal when closed and locked for excellent energy efficiency
  • Great for hard to fill spots in your home such as above the kitchen sink or fireplace
  • Hard for a burglar to get in since most are small and narrow when open

Cons:

  • Easy for strong wind to break the window off when opened fully
  • Mechanical issues arise with the cranking mechanisms
  • While it is hard for intruders to get in, it could also be hard to get out in case of an emergency
  • Unsafe when placed near walkways (people could get injured walking into it)

5. Transom Windows

A window becomes a transom window based on its placement. Any window that is placed above a door or larger window would classify as a transom. It could be above a picture window for example. Transom windows could be fixed or vented, but they are typically decorative accent windows meant to create a focal point.

transom window

Pros:

  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Lets more light into a home
  • Can help save electricity by keeping lights off more
  • Allows for privacy thanks to their high placement

Cons:

  • Hard to clean the outside since most are not operable
  • Offers no ventilation (can be paired with other windows that do)

6. Awning Windows

Similar to the casement window, awning windows are hinged and use a crank to open and close. The difference is the hinge is at the top and the window swings outward from the bottom. Awning windows are typically placed in a basement, or above a picture window or door.

awning window

Pros:

  • Somewhat affordable
  • Very secure against the elements — they have an excellent seal when closed and also provide an "awning" when open because of the way it opens (can be left open during a rain storm!)
  • Hard for a burglar to get in
  • Pairs nicely with other style windows and fits the style of most homes since they are neutral in appearance

Cons:

  • Unsafe when placed near walkways (people could get injured walking into it)
  • Hard to clean the outside of the window
  • While it is hard for intruders to get in, it could also be hard to get out if an emergency arises
  • Mechanical issues could arise with the cranking mechanisms

7. Skylight Windows

Also a fixed window, skylight windows are placed in the roof of a home that lets in more natural light. A roof window is the same as a skylight, but it can open and close. Before installing, make sure that your home can structurally hold a skylight.

skylight window

Pros:

  • Allows for a lot of natural light to flood into your home
  • Great for spaces that are too tight for a wall window
  • Helps heat your home in the winter thanks to sunlight flooding in from above
  • Can exhaust hot air in the hot weather months if you have a venting roof window (some come with high-tech remotes to open and close them)
  • Clear view of the night sky without leaving your home
  • Makes small spaces appear bigger

Cons:

  • Expensive due to installation, technology you install with it, etc.
  • Prone to extra maintenance because they are exposed to a lot of rain and sun
  • Not the easiest install for a typical DIYer
  • May have leaks in energy
  • Potential for moisture issues (when heated air touches the cold window In the winter, condensation is created)
  • In the summer, you may need to run your A/C continuously due to the extra heat from the sunlight
  • May cause carpets and fabrics to fade with more exposure to sun (you can correct this with the filtered window panes)

8. Slider Windows

A slider window slides open sideways on a horizontal track. On some sliders, both panels slide while others have one stationary and one sliding window.

slider window

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Grand views
  • Great ventilation
  • No crank or mechanisms to worry about

Cons:

  • A bit old school
  • May fill with dirt and require cleaning often because of the horizontal tracks
  • Seals are not as tight as other window styles
  • Limited on sizes and shapes

9. Bay Windows

A bay window has a large center window surrounded by double-hung or casement windows, which protrude from the exterior of your home at angles and allow you to put a seat or a shelf on the inside. You may need structural upgrades for this to work with your home.

bay window

There are also two window styles that are similar to a bay window and share the same pros and cons. A garden window is a small version of a bay window made specifically for plants. A bow window is also similar to a bay window except it has four or more curved windows joined together that create a circular area whereas a bay window is more square.

Pros:

  • Allows large amounts of natural sunlight in and brings the outdoors in
  • Most have side windows that can open for great airflow
  • Great showcase piece for any room, from the exterior and interior
  • Great place to grow plants on the inside seat or shelf

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Requires a lot of framing and structural work
  • Possible heat loss due to large open area and joints

More Unique Window Styles

The 9 window styles mentioned above are the most popular, but these last few are worth a mention because they're unique or beautiful:

  • Palladian Windows are three-part symmetrical windows with a fanlight on the center portion of the window.
  • Fanlights are semi-circular windows typically found over a door that get very detailed with muntins to look like sunbursts or other patterns.
  • Eyebrow Windows are placed under the eaves of the roof across the second floor of a house. Sometimes it is rectangular and sometimes it is semi-round and extends above the roofline.
  • Round windows, which are (true to their name) round in shape.
  • Arched windows have an arched shape.
  • Glass Block windows are made out of thick glass blocks that are mortared in place for a privacy feature (mostly for bathrooms).
  • Storm Windows install right inside of your window frame and are good for raising your windowpane while keeping bugs out
  • Jalousie Windows have louvers that open and close in unison like a set of blinds, made for warm-weather areas
  • Egress Windows are mainly for safety and escape in areas like a basement.

If you can’t find the perfect window you can always create a custom window for your space. This way you can create a specific design, shape and style for your home. Creating a custom window will take longer, cost more and is unlikely to open, but you will have a custom window like no other!

Most modern windows come standard as double-pane windows (also known as double-glazed, which has two sheets of glass with air or gas between them), making them more energy-efficient and a little more expensive than single-pane windows. Older windows, on the other hand, are typically single-pane glass so your heating and cooling bills will be more expensive. Older windows are very well made and offer tons of charm so it may make more sense to repair them instead of replacing them.

Many homes have combination windows with a mixture of different styles and variations, but most homeowners try to have a common window style throughout their house with occasional accent windows in special places.

Your windows will tell you when they need to be repaired or replaced. Are they drafty? Fogging up or have trapped moisture? Are you having a hard time opening them or keeping them up? Or maybe your energy bill is crazy high. Typically, if you are just replacing one window you should stick to the same style but if all of the windows need replacing, you may choose to change the look of your entire home by changing the window style throughout.

If you have just one window to repair, you may get away with a quick DIY fix before spending a ton on replacements, but if you need all new windows, it is best to leave it up to the professionals. The last thing you need is a leaky window that lets cold air in — a DIY window install nightmare.

Now that we have discussed the different window styles and the good, the bad and the ugly of each option, only you can determine which is right for you. Some are easier to open than others, some have better airflow, offer a better view, look better in your architectural style home, are more energy-efficient or fit your budget better. Before you pull the trigger on a window repair or change, check to see if your current windows are covered under warranty.

Happy Window Shopping!

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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Ready To Become A Smarter Homebuyer?

By signing up, you agree to Nestiny terms of use .
Whether you need a step-by-step guide, video resource or one of our many helpful tools, Nestiny has your back 24/7 for all things home buying and selling. You choose the pace, material, and when and where to learn. Unlock your free access to Nestiny today!
Are you a real estate professional? Go here .
By clicking this button, you'll enjoy free unlimited access to Nestiny and agree to our terms of use . And don't worry! Nestiny will not share your information with any parties without your consent.