“New year, new you,” right? That’s what we say when the calendar turns to January. It’s a time of new starts, new routines, new passions. Naturally, one of the first places people look to make a change is in their own home. Why not re-paint the bathroom, or put up new curtains in the living room? While we’re at it, what about new windows? There are all kinds of ways to re-design your home using your windows.
Granted, replacing windows is a bigger project than other touch-ups around the home. But, if done correctly, you’ll find that replacing your windows – and even incorporating new window spaces – can have a dynamic effect on the aesthetics and comfort of your home.
As we enter a new year, let’s take a moment to look at some current home trends that involve windows. Based on what’s become popular over the past few years, we can say with certainty that pass-through windows, multi-slide doors, energy efficiency, and private spaces (think home office) will be a big part of home trends in the new year. Learn about how you can revolutionize your home with well-placed windows.
The phrase “bringing the outside in” has become a common mantra among builders, designers, and architects. The premise behind this idea is to blur the lines between interior and exterior spaces by extending the traditional boundaries of a home. When executed properly, this strategy allows homeowners to feel more connected to the outside while also conveying the illusion of a larger space.
A relatively new way of blending interior and exterior spaces is through the use of pass-through windows. Basically, a pass-through window is one that’s set up so that objects can easily be passed from the interior of a house to the exterior – or vice versa.
Pass-through windows are ideal for passing utensils and food outside for a barbecue, or even just handing your partner a drink at the end of the day. But they can provide so much more. Some homeowners have even gone so far as to put a small counter outside the windows, allowing multiple people to absorb the outdoor elements while still interacting with those inside.
One of the best windows for pass-throughs is a double-slider because it provides ample open space at eye level. Visit our inspiration gallery at miwindows.com/inspiration to help visualize a window pass-through in your next project.
Speaking of merging interior and exterior spaces, there’s no better way to do that than with large sliding glass doors. These doors have been popular for years, but recently “multi-slide” doors have become all the rage. As the name implies, these doors – sometimes called “window walls” – are much larger than your standard sliding patio doors; some reaching up to 18 feet wide.
Uniting interior and exterior living spaces is not all that multi-slide doors offer: They also ooze curbside appeal. Multi-slide doors bring a certain ambience to your home’s appearance, giving your house something the neighbors will envy and you’ll cherish. And when you host a large party, you can seamlessly entertain your guests inside and out.
Visit our inspiration gallery at miwindows.com/inspiration to see how an MI multi-slide door can enhance your living space.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, work from home opportunities were on the rise, making home offices a popular trend. As technology improves and employers realize they can attract workers by offering flexible schedules and routines, the need for dedicated home offices is likely to increase.
A home office can be anywhere in the house. Some people have a set-up in their basement, some take advantage of an unused bedroom, and some are actually “home” offices that are located outside the home. Indeed, an increasing number of homeowners are purchasing tiny sheds or “alternate dwelling units” (ADUs) and using them as home offices in their backyards.
Regardless of what kind of home office you have, it’s important to have a quiet space where you can get your work done. That’s why you want windows that will shield you from outside noise. Windows are assigned a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating when they’re manufactured. Most double-pane windows will have an STC rating between 28-32; the higher the rating, the better your window will be at keeping exterior noise out.
But to truly optimize your home office so you can be focused and productive, you also need a work space that receives plenty of sunlight. Why is natural light so important? It’s simple: Light helps you think and makes you more productive. According to Harvard Business Review, Cornell’s Alan Hedge has found that natural light in the workplace leads to “a 51% drop in the incidence of eyestrain, a 63% drop in the incidence of headaches and a 56% reduction in drowsiness.” Hedge’s study also found that workers situated near a window during daylight hours reported a significant increase in productivity.
Homeowners are spending more time at home, which increases the importance of energy-efficient home decisions. Obviously, no one wants to pay high energy bills, and we should all do our part to protect the environment. Now, thanks to the latest technology, you can get energy-efficient products for your home without sacrificing aesthetics or cost.
The most obvious way to keep energy costs down is by maintaining the interior temperature of your house. This can be done in a number of ways. You need exterior walls that don’t let warm air escape in the winter or cool air escape in the summer. Windows go a long way in helping this process too. In today’s fenestration industry, manufacturers design and fabricate the most energy-efficient windows we’ve ever seen. Many modern windows feature warm-edge spacers, gas between multiple panes of glass, and low emissivity (Low-E) coatings on the glass—all of which reduce thermal transfer through a window.
Learn more about ENERGY STAR®-qualified products or about all the ways glass options can enhance the energy efficiency of your windows on our website at:
Finding the right home trends for you
These are just a few of the home trends that are predicted to be big in 2021. While you’re contemplating your next home improvement project, be sure to remember all the ways that new windows can help. Whether your goal is uniting interior and exterior spaces, allowing more natural light into your home, increasing energy efficiency, or all of the above, windows could be an important consideration for your home’s new design.
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