25 Window Design & Feature Glazing Ideas

Looking for window design ideas? A well-planned glazing scheme is key to creating an impactful self build, renovation or extension. Be inspired by this collection of window design ideas that show the clever ways you can blend glazing with your home’s architecture
Emily Brooks
by Emily Brooks
28th July 2023

Developing a wide set of window design ideas will help you to come up with a scheme that suits both your project’s architecture and budget – whether you’re completing a self build, renovation or extension.

Windows and glazing can bring an undeniably modern and open feeling to a home, and there are plenty of ways this can be done. Especially with new technology, meaning your glazing can be used as a load-bearing material, giving rise to features such as glass link buildings. This is an approach that can work well in extensions to older properties, creating a striking contrast.

Most window design trends favour frameless glazing, providing maximum daylight and panoramic views. Light, strong aluminium frames make this possible, and have become the backbone of many contemporary builds, along with composite products.

Large glass panes are expensive, both to manufacture and install, and there are further costs associated with creating adequate structural support to take their weight. Thankfully, it’s not always about being bigger and better. Architects also use simple window design ideas to cleverly frame views, create interior features and help open up smaller spaces.

Contemporary wow factor glazing is about optimum performance, too; not just a sleek, modern look. Low-e coatings are good for thermal regulation; self-cleaning products effective for inaccessible roofs; and triple-glazed units are popular for ultra-low-energy properties.

But where should you begin with gathering your feature glazing or window design ideas? Here we take a look at some of the best window design ideas to inspire your next project, alongside discussing some expert top tips to ensure success.

Looking for window and glazing suppliers for your self build, renovation or extension? Take a look at Build It’s Company Directory of established providers 

1. Overhead Window Design Idea

The City Pad by CDC Studio features a generous rooflight from Glazing Vision, maximising natural light in this multi-functional family space.

Photo: Richard Chivers

2. Wow-Factor Two-Storey Glazed Extension

Paul Archer Design won the Build It Award for Best architect or designer for an extension project at the 2022 awards for Zucchi House, which included a double-height extension and an internal remodel.

Wow-Factor Two-Storey Glazed Extension

The award-winning, wow-factor window design opens up the house to flow through the new extension, with the upper ground floor housing a new family kitchen-dinner with a dropped ceiling and circular rooflights.

Read More: Extending a Home Under Permitted Development: What Can I Build?

3. Circular Rooflight Window Design Idea

Unagru took home the prize for Best Architect or Designer for a Renovation Project for their project ‘House for A Cellist’ at the 2022 Build It Awards.

Circular Rooflight

The owner of the Victorian terraced house, a musician and scientist, wanted to create a bright home with a wow-factor, distinctive design. The circular skylight is a key feature that draws on the clients’ brief, bringing daylight deep into the floorplan.

4. Unique Glazed Roof

Arco2 Architecture took home the award for Best Eco Home at the 2019 Build It Awards. The wow factor feature of this home is its glazed roof, which sits atop a single-storey addition – helping the property to maximise its solar gain while making an effective design statement.

Unique Glazed Roof

5. Sensitive Self Build

Dene and Debbie Happell created this timber frame home in the Trossachs National Park, which pleased local planners with its sympathetic materials and remarkable design. The couple worked with Fleming Homes to build the efficient dwelling, which features triple-glazed windows and doors to keep the build well-insulated against the harsh Scottish seasons.

Photo: Douglas Gibbs

Planning your self build project but don’t know how much it’ll cost you? Read our guide to How Much Does it Cost to Self Build a House in 2023?

QUICK GUIDE Wow Factor Window Design Ideas

As well as offering fantastic light and views, the right glazing specification can create a stunning focal point.

From glazed gables and extensions to frameless windows and glass balustrades, incorporating the right mix of glazed architectural elements can result in an impactful scheme that packs a punch. These window design ideas will create wow factor:

  • Structural glass is often used in glass box extensions and for dramatic one-off features, and is a fantastic way to get the frameless look. Thicker sheets are used so that the glazing can connect to a building, without the need for conventional framing. It looks fantastic, but you’ll pay a premium for the engineering required.
  • Glazed extensions will be designed to suit a particular spec. You could build conventional walls punctuated with wide glazed doors, oversized picture windows and top with rooflights – or perhaps go a characterful oak frame extension with face glazing. A fully glazed glass box should be designed with overheating risks in mind.
  • Glass gable ends are often found on barn conversions, but many new homes and extensions utilise this dramatic feature, helping to create bright spaces and highlight vaulted ceilings and roof trusses. It’s particularly popular in oak frame builds.
  • Glazed galleries & balustrades help filter light throughout the home and create a sense of defying gravity. You could use these on a balcony, mezzanine or statement staircase – opt for frameless glazing for an expensive but wow-factor effect.
  • Corner glazing could be made up of opening doors or fixed windows, offering panoramic views out. Incorporating glazed doors here could give you a fully open corner, extending your living space to the outside. Add a structural post for a budget-friendly option.

6. Light-Filled ICF Home

When Ray and Ruth Davis decided it was time to downsize, they looked to the garage and artist’s studio on their existing land. Their new ICF home, designed by Cameron Webster Architects, could be mistaken for a single-storey dwelling from the front, but maximises a unique, steep plot to the rear with an extra storey and glazed apex.

Photo: David Barbour

7. Arts & Crafts Inspired Home with Striking Glazing

The remarkable structure of this new build in North London called for wow factor glazing to maximise its shape. The Arts & Crafts inspired home makes use of a geometric design, with glazed atriums and a 6m-tall angular window to the entrance, providing a theatrical connection between the inside and out.

Photo: Philip Vile

7. Ultra-Slim Frames

IQ Glass supplied these amazing slim-framed glazed doors, opening up panoramic views from this extension to a grade II listed dwelling.

8. Glazed Entrance Design

Yard Architects has brought a new lease of life to this once-cramped lower ground floor by adding a new side-return extension with wow factor eaves window and pivot door.

Photo: Richard Chivers

9. Bright & Airy Glazed Bridge

Bisca created this light-filled linking bridge featuring seamless glass balustrading, connecting a 500-year-old barn with a new extension and set beneath a glass roof.

10. Framed Design Feature

Scenario Architecture chose Trombe double glazing for this extension. The design enables light to flow from all directions, with structural beams that have been highly insulated to avoid thermal bridging.

Photo: Matt Clayton

11. Curved Glass Extension Design

Paul Archer Design masterminded this zinc-clad cylindrical glazed extension to a grade II listed home, which sits perfectly among its undulating rural surroundings.

Photo: Luke Hayes

12. Cantilevered Glazed Extension

David Blaikie Architects designed this floating-look extension that features powerful frameless corner glazing.

13. Wow Factor Curved Glazing

This curved two-storey extension to a Harrogate home was created by Niche Design. The structure is made from steel and glass, with the glazing supplied by York-based Gresson.

curved double-storey window design

On the ground floor, there are curved sliding doors, with other innovative glazing solutions inside the property.

Read More: Glazed Door Guide: Patio Door Styles, Costs & Considerations

14. Glazed Gable Window Design Idea

Aluminium fixed frame glazing features slender profiles, helping to maximise glass area and bring in plenty of natural light. This gable-end setup is by Kloeber.

glazed gable window design

15. Light Filled Office

Projecting into the garden, the window design of this study by Studio Carver features floor-to-ceiling glazing, angled to take in views of the outside space.

full height window design idea

The glass is flanked by contrasting oak cladding; instead of an openable window, a hinged section of cladding provides ventilation.

Read More: Window Opening Styles & Configurations

16. Contemporary Glazed Box

This glazed conservatory designed by UberRaum Architects shows how effective frameless glazing can be at fitting in with period buildings, providing a dining room in a part of London where space is at a premium.

full height window design ideas

The glass box has a roof and walls made from silicon-jointed glass, with a frameless door opening on pivots.

CLOSER LOOK London Renovation with Frameless Window Design

Kate and Gary Westlake renovated their urban home in south east London, adding an extension and completely reworking the interior. Side and roof extensions have created bigger bedrooms upstairs, while the ground floor has been enlarged to create more usable space and a stylish snug, complete with a sociable outdoor area and separate garden room.

snug area wrap around window design

The focal point of the renovation is the new 3m2 snug room, which features a frameless oriel window wrapping over the roof to provide the small space with as much light as possible.

It is lined with birch ply and features two hidden retractable screens in the walls, to close off the window for privacy or keep the sunlight out when watching TV.

Read More: Frameless Glass Windows & Doors – How to Get the Look

17. Striking Sea Views

Sat on a Cornish cliff, Sea Edge house is a replacement dwelling by Kast Architects. A 10m-wide south-facing balcony, with a run of sliding doors and a glass balustrade, is the house’s most striking feature; the upside-down layout means the living space gets the best views.

coastal home with wide glazing

Waugh Thistleton’s sustainable build in north Norfolk features a projecting box clad in local timber, with sliding doors recessed to create a sheltered balcony. This project includes glazing by IDSystems (the sliding doors are from its theEDGE range).

18. Statement Corner Window Design Idea

Larch House, a new build in Gloucestershire by Millar + Howard Workshop, features a rustic materials palette of timber and stone, but it is elevated with thecrisp glazing that brings its sense of modernity.

corner window design ideas

There’s a frameless corner window on the ground floor, while the aperture in the master bedroom is angled to frame a favourite view, as well as letting in the maximum amount of natural light.

EXPERT VIEW Contemporary window design ideas 

Daniel Rowland of Studio 1 Architects shares his expertise on contemporary window design 

What are the prevailing trends when it comes to glazing?

Most love seamless thresholds and frameless glass. But be warned: losing millimetres off frame widths will significantly increase costs. In terms of glazed doors, sliders have become preferable to bifolds as the frames are able to overlap one another.

Why should I consider a frameless window design?

If you want to maximise on the inside-outside feel, reducing the frame size is the key consideration, but by no means is this always the right solution. If you want to create a cosier home with more of a sense of enclosure and still retain a high ratio of glazing, wider frames can contribute in a positive way.

Can contemporary windows work on a period property?

Slimline steel-framed glazing is popular, and although its roots sit more in the industrial past, it works well in period homes. We tend to add slimline glazing to new builds and extensions. As a general rule, we wouldn’t replace traditional sash windows with modern aluminium framing, preferring to stay true to the original building’s character.

Listed 17th century ruins blended with glass extension

Above: The ruins of this 17th-century building were originally set to be demolished. However, with the help of Will Gamble Architects, a new extension has instead been built within its remains, combining a striking window design with the building’s history

Is it very difficult to get a neat finish with minimal glazing?

Modern detailing is all about precision. Nothing can be left to chance and everything needs to be considered rigorously from the very beginning. To achieve good precision, you’ll need to plan meticulously to pre-empt the various key decisions. This is why modern detailing tends to be most successful when done by experienced designers, who foresee things others might not.

Is it possible to make a strong impact without using lots of glass in my window design?

Definitely. A certain amount of control, rather than aimless expanses of glazing, is better. Sometimes adding large spans of glass works well; occasionally it is a lazier, less considered approach.

Open-plan internal spaces work best if there is defined zoning, and large glazed areas don’t always assist with that. Framing views with seamless glass, and features like projecting glass box seats, can provide a far more suitable solution.

Is glazing now as much about the performance as the aesthetics?

Orientation of the building is a key consideration for where you put glass. How the arc of the sun will affect direct sunlight coming into the space must always be one of the main factors when placing glazing into a building.

With careful selection of window types, you can mitigate the amount of heat, glare etc that passes through glass, but the principle consideration is orientation. Features such as deeper eaves and louvres can also be used to control some of these issues.

19. Clever Up and Over Glazing

This extension to a north London home features a sequence of different-width rooflights that run across the ceiling and down the wall, creating ethereal, ever-changing patterns of light. The glass slots are framed by steels, to prevent movement and ensure the glazing does not crack.

up and over window design ideas

Read More: Rooflights and Overhead Glazing: Design Ideas and Advice

20. Light-Filled Windmill Conversion

Freeman Brear Architects turned a 19th-century windmill into an eco-friendly home, with windows from Velfac. Triple-glazed composite units were chosen for their energy efficiency.

lighthouse conversion with contemporary window design

CASE STUDY Edwardian Home with New Picture Window

Looking for window design ideas for a period home? The homeowners of this Edwardian London property wanted to maximise light and space with a contemporary glazed extension that would complement the dwelling’s traditional features.

Zinc loft dormer extension to Edwardian house with picture window designThey were adamant the loft conversion should not look like a dormer, as the architectural style didn’t appeal. So, Studio Carver and Daniel Farshi Architects found a solution to these requests by using red zinc cladding to blend with the heritage clay tiles and fitting a large, sliding glass window to provide expansive views of the surroundings.

On the ground floor a tall oak picture window creates a framed view of the garden. The architects also chose to fit a fully glazed roof in this area, supported by steel fins to allow natural light to flood into the kitchen.

21. Corner Window Design Idea

The IDS65 range of high-performance aluminium windows from IDSystems features a 55mm square-edge profile and can be used to create designs like this spectacular glass-to-glass corner.

corner window seat design ideas

Learn More: Window Design: Choosing the Right Glazing for Your Project

22. Bright & Airy Dining Area

Heritage-style metal windows, doors and rooflights from Architectural Bronze Casements flood this kitchen-diner with natural light.

dining room window design ideas

23. Make a Statement with Sliding Doors

This extension project is kitted out with sliding doors and a large picture window from IDSystems, which brings in tons of light and doubles up as a play zone internally, with a raised platform for the young family.

24. Glass Room Window Design

Thames Valley Windows created this stunning glass room with a fully glazed roof and walls, achieved with minimal framing – perfect for bringing in tons of natural brightness.

25. Striking Glazed Gable

Winner of Best Self Build or Renovation at the 2021 awards, Jan and Diana Thompson overcame numerous obstacles when they self built their dream home on an idyllic woodland plot. The new home boasts an upside-down layout maximises views, which are enjoyed through the wow-factor glazed gable at the front of the house.

More Inspiration: Open Plan Living Ideas – Kitchen, Living & Dining Rooms

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