If you ever find yourself standing in an empty room, the first things your eyes will be drawn to are the windows. They control the atmosphere of a room unlike any piece of interior decor. Specialty windows are a way for you to make your home as unique as the people who live in it.
Once very popular in Greek and Italian Revival homes, eyebrow windows are fixed light windows with gently arched tops, similar in curvature to the human eyebrow. In historic homes, eyebrow windows can still be identified as the small, lightweight windows that are built into attics and top moldings. Some older versions of eyebrow windows are hinged at the bottoms and open inward. The gentle curve poses a difficulty when it comes to covering the window, and most people choose not to treat them at all or to outfit them with a bendable curtain rod.
A home's windows can be subtly tinted to reduce the sun's glare and to deflect some of the heat that may otherwise be absorbed by air conditioning. People who live in extremely hot areas notice a difference in their cooling bills after they add tinting to their windows. Tinting windows can also protect furniture, wood floors and carpets from being bleached by the sun.
Stained glass can add a dimension of color to your home that changes with the weather outside. Sunny days will flood your home with joyful colors that disappear with the clouds. Conversely, the happy light of a family at dinner can provide a colorful beacon to those outside on a dark winter's night. Stained glass eliminates the need for window treatments, as the color in the glass maintains privacy and helps prevent sun damage to indoor items.
A skylight is a window in the ceiling, thus it allows natural light to enter your home from above. Skylights are a great way to brighten a dim room and cut down on energy costs. They come in 3 styles: curb-mounted skylights which sit above the roof on a wooden frame, frame-in-place skylights that are installed flush within the roof, and tubular skylights that are installed flush with the roof and have reflective mirrors built in for added sun exposure. Since installing a new skylight involves ripping out a part of the ceiling and roofline, they are expensive additions. If they aren't installed properly, water can leak inside and cause damage. Furthermore, they must be sized properly or they may allow too much light and heat into a room.
Sidelights are long, skinny windows that appear on one or both sides of an entry door. They usually run the whole door height, from floor to door top, but sometimes are limited to the upper half of the door height. They are a great option for letting in a little more light and giving residents a way to see who's at the door before opening it. Sidelights are usually fitted with tempered glass in order to prevent burglars from smashing them and easily opening the door.