Planning the Perfect Window Placement

by Rachel Laurendeau on July 26, 2012

Whether building a new home or doing major renovations on an older home, there are some important points to consider when planning the placement of your new windows.

• Spend your money where it counts! Place the largest windows to take advantage of the best views that will help connect the inside of your house with the outdoors. In most cases, that means nice big windows overlooking your garden, yard or adjoining green space.

• On the inside of the house, consider your furniture placement. Try not to block any windows with your sofa or other large items. Adding a window bench in front of a picture window is a great way to make the most of your natural light while still providing plenty of seating.

• When deciding on the height of the bottom of a window for bedrooms or living rooms, the window should be low enough that you can see the view when lying in bed or sitting in your favorite chair.

• Aesthetically, your house will look more cohesive if the tops of all of the windows are at the same height on each story of the house.

• Be sure to have windows on the side of the house that receives prevailing winds to allow for more airflow into the house.

• Place windows throughout the house so that they can catch cross-breezes. The easiest way to think of this placement is that when standing at one window, you should be able to see the other window that it will be cross-ventilating with. For example, from the living room picture window you can look down the hallway, through the open bedroom door and see the bedroom window.

• Ensure that your replacement windows, particularly those in the basement, meet egress requirements as per your local building code before you have them installed.

Green Tip: To make the most of passive solar heat gains, consider the solar orientation of your home. If you live in a cool climate, you will want to increase the amount of the sun’s heat that penetrates into your house. That means ensuring that you have plenty of windows on the West and South facing sides of the house. If you live in a hot climate, the reverse is true. You will want fewer windows on the West side of the house, or ensure that there are trees or roof overhangs providing some shade.

Windows provide a first impression of your house from the outside and help connect the interior of your home with the outside world. They also provide protection from the elements, allow natural sunlight into the home and offer air circulation. They can even make a difference on the energy you use heating and cooling your home. Talk to your architect, contractor or local window expert for more information on planning your window placement to make the most of your new windows.

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