The Best Windows for a Modern Home
Five Styles for an Ultra-Sophisticated Look
No architect was more influential in shaping how glass is used in modern architecture than Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Of the floor-to-ceiling windows he used in his Farnsworth House (1951) he said: “If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from outside.”
Windows—what they look like, how they’re placed—are absolutely key to providing a modern home with the transformational sophistication and smarts that define modern architecture.
So which ones will help your modern home achieve its potential? Consider the profound significance these five options can provide for your views when selecting and installing new or replacement windows in your home:
- Floor-to-ceiling windows. Mies was also famous for saying “less is more,” but when it came to windows he often went for a maximalist approach. A wall of windows can be the perfect expression of modernity for your home.
A massive picture window can do the job, but there are a lot of other options as well. Arrangements of picture windows and other types that can open (like sliders or casements) can be both beautiful and practical, letting in tons of light and a lovely breeze.
- Awning windows. This type looks like a picture window (having only a single pane of glass) but it’s actually hinged on the top, allowing the window to open outward at the bottom and let in the fresh air. Because awning windows can be made wider than they are tall, they can look very chic in hallways, bathrooms, and other spaces that traditionally wouldn’t have windows at all. A modern option for any home.
- Transom windows. Transoms are as old as the hills, but today’s modern transom windows aren’t the old-fashioned sunburst kind you’d find on a colonial home. They’re sleek, cool and provide all of the light-giving benefits of their classic forebears. Like the best of modern design, they nod to the past but look steadfastly toward the future.
- Black-framed windows. The eclectic traditional-looking homes that were popular in the 1980s and 90s mimicked old-fashioned window styles but took advantage of modern technology and construction. That mostly meant a lot of white vinyl. More modern window styles are looking back to the mid-century sleek look and that means black. It was, after all, reportedly Mies’ favorite color! Today’s vinyl, aluminum, and steel window frames can be constructed in the deepest shade of black for a strong and elegant finish.
- Casement windows. Like awning windows, casements look like the modernist picture window but are hinged. In this case, the hinges are on the side, meaning the window can open like a door to let in the breeze, or stay closed and look absolutely cool and modern (black frames are optional!).