If you’re getting new windows and just don’t know if you need grids or not, don’t worry. At All-Weather Windows, Doors & Siding, we get that question a lot. The easiest answer is to let the architectural style of your home help you decide. Each architectural style has certain window grid patterns traditionally associated with it. You are certainly free to choose whatever style of windows you like, but just be aware that from a design standpoint, straying too far from classic design themes can be risky.
Quick Window Style History
How did grids in windows even become a thing? As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Like many details throughout history, window grids originally served a critical purpose. They held together and supported multi-paned windows and made it possible to ship window panes further without breaking the glass. As time went on and more modern conveniences like air conditioning became common, the functionality of windows shifted from focusing on ventilation to more aesthetic desires such as letting in more sunlight and providing better views. Thus other window styles with fewer grids became popular. Today’s window grids, which are mainly decorative, are really just a throwback to a classic design trend created by necessity.
First, let’s familiarize you with some window terms so you aren’t lost when we start to talk about grille patterns and styles:
Window Grilles – narrow strips of wood, vinyl, or metal used to visually separate the glass of a window into individual sections. Window grilles are also known as grids or muntins. When the lines the grilles create are purely horizontal and/or vertical, they are referred to as grids. Grids are by far the most popular style of grilles.
Lights, Lites, Panes – grilles divide a single window sash or casement into a grid system. Each small section of glass is called a light, lite, or pane.
Mullions – the heavy vertical bars between adjoining window units.
Architectural Styles and Coordinating Windows
There are many different styles of homes. Here is a broad sweep of architectural styles and the kinds of window designs that traditionally complement each.
Colonial and Cape Cod
These types of homes are square, symmetrical and formal. Double-hung windows divided into four, six, nine or even more panes complement the traditional theme and symmetrical lines. This design is often called a colonial grille pattern. These grille patterns also look great on Gregorian-style homes, popular in the south.
With their horizontal lines, flat roofs, and open floor plans, clean and simple are words that describe the prairie style home. Think Frank Lloyd Wright. Casement windows are popular on prairie-style homes. The grid pattern lines the sides of the window with small square panes in each corner. These corner panes are connected by a longer light along the top and bottom, leaving a larger square in the middle. Called the prairie grid pattern, the look is simple and clean and geometrical.
With their classic wide porches and gabled roofs, cottage farmhouses speak to utility and simplicity with a bit of charm for good measure. A basic two-pane double-hung window separated by a muntin on both the top and bottom of the window sash creates a simple four-pane glass window when closed that fits this style perfectly.
Window styles get a little fancier with the Tudor architecture. You’ll find clustered casement windows with diamond pattern grids with six or more panes. These diamond patterns echo the criss-crossing of exposed timbers over stucco or brick facades and amps up the old-world European charm.
Another old-world European style of architecture, Victorian homes are anything but plain. Embellished, decorative, and ornate are words that fit this style of architecture. Diamond-pattern grids are common on the top panel of windows in Victorian homes and sometimes even more intricate designs, but the lower panel is usually more plain, and may have only one glass pane.
Modern or Contemporary and Mid-Century
Contemporary is sometimes confused with Mid-Century Modern architecture. Let’s face it, in the big picture, they are close on the timeline. A Contemporary home means a current style. A Mid-Century Modern home refers to an era and home style that lasted from the mid 1930’s to mid 1960’s. But because they are fairly similar as far as architectural styles go, they have similar window styles. Sleek and clean is the look, so the windows are usually casement and aren’t obstructed with grilles to block the view. However, diamond-grid patterns and colonial grilles would also look great on a contemporary home.
Craftsman and Bungalow
Craftsman homes with their covered front porches, tapered columns and exposed rafter tails peeking out from under the eaves, are charming and simple, but with custom details that add some personality. Double-hung windows with elongated grille panes on the top sash of the window and no grille on the bottom sash provide the perfect look.
We hope this helps you when it comes to deciding which type of windows to install in your home. Grilles, no grilles, no matter what type you choose, you’ll get All-Weather’s quality and amazing customer service. We have been installing windows in the Kansas City area for over 30 years and we have over 40,000 satisfied customers.