Is your home suffering from high egress windows that detract from the interior design of your home? You’re not alone. Many homes built in the 60s and 70s feature tiny windows—and just like shag carpet, they just aren’t that stylish now. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to disguise, re-frame, and dress windows that will give your small frames some extra oomph. Color, trim, and some cleverly hung treatments can all add to the feeling of space around your windows—here’s how!
Ditch the Dark Colors
If you have a room with less-than-luxurious windows, you need to make the little light you do have count. Dark-colored curtains and shades not only block out sunlight, they also tend to absorb light, which has the effect of making your windows seem even smaller. Either get rid of your window treatments entirely, or opt for sheer curtains in off-white, light blue, or green.
Pay Attention to Your Drapery Placement
Who says you have to place curtains three inches above the top of the frame? Create a floor-to-ceiling effect by installing long draperies just below the junction where the ceiling meets the wall. Likewise, you can add more width using a longer curtain rod and hanging drapes at each end. Hey, a little visual trickery never hurt anyone!
Add Some Extra Embellishments to Your Molding and Trim
Decorative moldings, like an entablature and side casing, add gravity to even diminutive window styles. And don’t think you need to opt for fancy cornices and rosettes—if Victorian’s not your style, go with wide Craftsman molding or flat, ranch-style casing for a more subtle and minimalist look that will still allow your windows to pop.
Mount Blinds and Shades on the Outside of Windows
Here’s another way you can break with tradition. Just because blinds typically go inside window frames doesn’t mean they have to be that way. Mounting your blinds or shades outside the window frame allows you to add a few extra inches to each side using the overlap. Look for blinds and shades that measure three to four inches longer than the window on each side—that way, you can hang them as high as the ceiling to get a very tall effect. In fact, this technique makes a great choice for odd-sized windows, especially if you want a material that can’t easily be cut, like woven blinds.
Install Plantation Shutters over the Window
A set of tall wooden interior shutters placed over a smallish opening fools the eye into thinking there’s more space there than there actually is. Try this trick on very small windows where other window treatments wouldn’t work, like a basement access window or a small privacy window in a bathroom.
Use Patterns to Your Advantage
You know how they say to steer away from horizontal stripes if you’re trying to appear extra svelte? The same principle applies for your window treatments as well. Specifically, if you want a window to look taller, opt for long, vertically-oriented patterns that will draw the eye upward. Want to make it look wider? You guessed it! Go with horizontal patterns that will give that extra-wide, luxurious appearance.
Harness the Power of Mirrors
One of the huge downsides to tiny windows is that they can put a damper on your room’s light. You can play up the sunlight you do receive, though, by installing a large mirror beneath or across from the window. The glass reflecting the light makes your eye think that there’s more of it to go around in your space, adding up to an area that’s much lighter and airier than before.
Place Furniture Wisely
A high-up, small window seems much more out of place without furniture surrounding it. On the other hand, placing a desk, hallway table, bureau, or other piece just below the window frames it and makes it look like it’s exactly where it belongs.
Paint Trim the Same Color as the Walls
Contrast can be a wonderful thing in a home, and window trim’s a great way to get it. But with smaller windows, painted trim only serves to shrink the appearance of windows. Instead, choose a color that matches the wall. That way, your wall will have a more fluid, integrated feel—and without multiple elements breaking up the space, it will seem larger overall.
Purchase New Windows
If you’ve tried everything else and can’t get the look you want for your home, you don’t have to settle for teensy windows all your life. Window openings can usually be expanded to accommodate larger models that will get you that wider, more expansive feel. A large picture or casement window adds more sunlight to your home, and it can improve the overall value of your home as well.
Need more inspiration? Visit our collection of windows articles for some new ideas!