All About the Different Kinds of Windows

From casement to clerestory, windows come in a variety of designs and styles. Here’s what you need to know to choose the right one for your home.

Related To:
Green Contemporary Kitchen With Casement Windows

Green Contemporary Kitchen With Casement Windows

Enjoy stunning view from this contemporary kitchen through a trio of large casement windows.

Windows are one of the biggest investments you’ll make as a homeowner. And while function is vital for maintenance, use and energy efficiency, curb appeal is, too. Before you choose windows, here’s a rundown of the basic designs.

Awning Windows

These windows get their name because their action – hinged at the top so they can swing out – makes them look like an awning. They open with a crank and are usually found in basements. They’re great in rainy areas because they can be opened without letting in the elements.

Bow and Bay Windows

A bay window is a series of three windows connected to each other to form an angle. A bow window is similar except the angle is less, giving it a rounded appearance. These windows create natural nooks or seating areas and give a home unique architectural detail. Choose windows with good ratings against heat gain.


Casement windows are side-hinged windows that swing outward, usually by way of a crank. They’re some of the most energy efficient because, when the wind blows against them, it pushes them tighter into their seals.


A clerestory (pronounced “clear story”) is a high wall with a row of windows along the top – think churches or gyms. They’re a great way to keep wall space without compromising privacy and light. The downside: Because they’re higher up, they can be tough to clean.

Double-Hung Windows

Double-hung windows have two vertical sashes that slide to allow you to open the window, as opposed to single-hung, which only allow one sash to move. They offer effective air circulation when both sashes are open. Customize them with grilles for architectural detail.

Picture Windows

Picture windows are a large, single pane of glass, that can’t be opened or closed. They earned their name by the way they frame the view. Common in rooms with vaulted ceilings, many are often topped with arched windows to take advantage of the space’s height. Because they’re un-paned and let in so much light, if the glass is not manufactured to reduce heat gain, they can make the room feel hot.

Knowing your window terminology can make you a smarter shopper. It can also help make your home more efficient – after all, who knew casement windows were such good insulators?

Casement Window 01:04

A look at Marvin casement windows.

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