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Windows Resources

9 Tips on How to Make a Small Window Look Bigger

If your home has multiple high egress or small windows, it can be difficult to leverage natural sunlight and distract from your interior design. Many homeowners have this struggle. Small windows are a frequent feature of homes built in the ’60s and ’70s. But like shag carpet, this trend is no longer stylish.

There are multiple options to disguise, reframe, and dress windows that can dramatically impact your home. Color, trim, and cleverly hung treatments can all improve a room with small windows.

Table of Contents

1. Ditch the Dark Curtains and Shades

If you have a room with less-than-luxurious windows, you need to maximize the natural light available. Avoid dark curtains and shades, which can block out or absorb light. This can make your windows appear even smaller. Opt for sheer or light-colored curtains to let the light shine through.  

2. Manipulate Height and Width  

There is no hard rule about hanging curtains three inches above the frame. Create a floor-to-ceiling effect by installing long drapes just below the junction where the ceiling meets the wall. You can also add more width using a longer curtain rod, and hang the drapes at each end. Both effects play tricks on the eyes, making it difficult to decipher where the window starts and ends.

This tactic can also be used with blinds. Look for blinds that measure three to four inches longer than the window on each side. This technique is a great choice for odd-sized windows, especially if you want a material that can’t easily fit custom spaces, like woven blinds.

3. Add Embellishments to Moldings and Trim

Decorative window moldings, like an entablature and side casing, help add gravity to diminutive window styles. If Victorian is not your style, consider a wide Craftsman molding or flat, ranch-style casing. Both provide a more subtle and minimalist look that still allows your windows to pop.

4. Install Plantation Shutters Over the Window

Installing a set of tall, wooden interior shutters over a small opening fools the eye into thinking there is actually more space. 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.

5. Play With Patterns

Horizontal stripes in clothing are not ideal if you’re trying to appear extra svelte, and the same principle applies to your window treatments. If you want a window to look taller, opt for long, vertically-oriented patterns that will draw the eye upward.

Want to make a window appear wider? Select horizontal patterns that will give that extra-wide, luxurious appearance.

6. Harness the Power of Mirrors

One of the biggest disadvantages to tiny windows is that they can put a damper on your room’s light. Reflect the sunlight you do receive by installing a large mirror beneath or across from the window. The glass reflecting the light tricks the eye into thinking that there’s more, creating a lighter and airier space than before.

7. Place Furniture Wisely

A small, high window can appear out of place without the proper furniture surrounding it. Placing a desk, hallway table, or bureau just below the window helps frames it and makes it look like the window is exactly where it belongs.

8. Paint Trim the Same Color as the Walls

Contrasting trim is a staple in most homes, but with smaller windows, painted trim can shrink the appearance of windows. Instead, choose a color that matches the wall. This will give your wall a more fluid, integrated feel. Without multiple elements breaking up the space, it will seem larger overall.

9. Purchase New Windows

You don’t need to settle for teensy windows in your home. Window openings can usually be expanded to accommodate larger models that will provide a wider, more expansive feel. Large picture or casement windows will add more sunlight to your home, and improve the overall value of your home as well.

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