What Is A Picture Window? (and should you get one)

What Is A Picture Window?

A picture window is a large, fixed window designed to frame an outside view like a picture. These windows are typically larger than other types and are not able to be opened, providing an unobstructed view and letting in plenty of natural light.

In this article, we’ll explain more about what they are, when you might not want to use them, and compare them to other types of windows.

What’s The Difference Between Casement And Picture Windows?

Casement windows are designed with hinges on the side, allowing them to swing open like a door. They can open outward to let in fresh air, making them ideal for ventilation.

Whereas picture windows are fixed windows that do not open. They are designed to provide a clear and unobstructed view of the outside.

The most significant difference here is that casement windows can open, while picture windows are fixed and do not open.

If you’re trying to choose between the 2, there’s a few pros and cons to each, for example:

  • Picture windows offer a more unobstructed view due to their minimal framing, whereas casement windows may have more prominent frames that can slightly obstruct the view. So if you’ve got a fantastic view out of that space, it might be better to go with picture windows
  • Casement windows may require more maintenance due to the moving parts and seals, which can wear out over time. Picture windows, with no moving parts, generally require less maintenance.
  • Picture windows offer no ventilation, whereas casements do. So if allowing air in is a big decision making factor, you’ll want to go with casement.

A good idea for some rooms is to try to combine your picture window with a casement window. This provides the best of both worlds – unobstructed views and ventilation. Casement windows can be placed on either side of a picture window to allow for airflow.

What Are The Benefits Of Picture Windows?

Picture windows bring in abundant natural light and provide a clear, picturesque view of your garden, landscape or surroundings – brightening up the room and making it feel more spacious. This is because the minimal framing maximises the viewing area, giving you a real connection to the outside.

Their simple design suits both modern and traditional home styles and can boost your homes curb appeal by showcasing the best views from your property

And because they’re sealed units with no openings for drafts, they’re also incredibly energy efficient.

Picture Window

What Are The Cons Of Picture Windows?

The main downside is lack of ventilation since picture windows cannot be opened. This can make rooms feel stuffy and hot in warm weather.

It’s also a lot easier to escape through an opening window during an emergency, and keep in mind that large picture windows above ground level can be tricky to clean on the exterior.

Picture Windows vs. Fixed Windows

Fixed windows are similar as they’re also non-opening, but the key difference is that picture windows usually have a single, large pane of glass for a clear view. Whereas fixed windows may have secondary glazing bars that can obstruct the view.

This means that picture windows give you a more seamless and clear view, allowing more light into the room and giving you a more aesthetic appeal of a larger space.

That’s not to say fixed windows are worse though, as they can offer more design versatility with interior grilles.

What Rooms Are Best For Picture Windows?

Living rooms, dining rooms and kitchens are ideal locations if they face an appealing view like a landscaped garden or scenic vista. They also work well in bedrooms and lofts with good outdoor views too.

It’s worth considering them in any dim areas of your home to brighten the space with natural light.

Plus if one of your rooms is a bit smaller, they can give off an impression of more space – so that’s another good use of picture windows.

How To Choose Size And Style

When it comes to selecting the right style of picture window, pick a size that fits the wall space while capturing the desired view.

And try to go for clean, slim frames as that will maximise the glass area and viewing.

Blinds, Curtains etc.

An important consideration is what sort of blinds or curtains are you going to pair with the window? As this’ll make a big impact on it’s overall aesthetic.

Here are some popular options that might work well:

  • Roller Blinds
    These are a popular choice because they can be rolled up completely, offering a clear view when not in use. They are simple and unobtrusive, making them ideal for picture windows.
  • Motorised Blinds
    For larger picture windows, consider motorised blinds. These can be controlled remotely, which means you don’t need any chains or cords that might hang in front of the view.
  • Sheer Curtains
    If you want to soften the light without blocking the view, sheer curtains can be a good option. They provide privacy while allowing natural light to filter through.
  • Window Films
    For a minimalist approach, window films can reduce glare and provide UV protection without adding any physical obstructions to the window.

Solar Neutral Glazing

Picture windows let in lots of natural light that can overheat rooms facing direct sunlight. A good option to consider to get around this is solar neutral glazing.

This helps to reduce solar heat gain while maintaining the clear views you want from a picture window. And they also provide UV protection to prevent your furniture/flooring fading.

So if the room you’re thinking about installing it in is south-facing, you’d be wise to consider using solar neutral glazing, as it keeps your home comfortable year-round while saving on cooling costs.

uPVC Picture Window

Material Options

There’s 3 main options you’ve got when it comes to picture windows. These are: uPVC, Aluminium and Wood.

  1. uPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride) is a cost-effective, low-maintenance solution that’s durable and offers good insulation for energy efficiency. The downside to uPVC is that it’s not quite as stylish as aluminium or wood – though this is personal preference.
  2. Aluminium can work really well as it’s strong enough for larger windows with slim frames. Plus it’s corrosion-resistant and can include thermal breaks to boost insulation.
  3. Wood is a classic, timeless aesthetic that works well in both traditional and modern homes. It’s got excellent insulation and is very energy efficient. However, it does require more upkeep to prevent rot and pests, and it’ll usually cost more than the other options too.

SEE ALSO: What Are Casement Windows?

Frequently Asked Questions

Are picture windows energy efficient?

Yes, since picture windows are fixed sealed units with no openings, they’re very energy efficient and prevent drafts.

Do picture windows open?

No, picture windows are designed as non-operable fixed panes purely for outdoor viewing.

Is a picture window a good idea?

Picture windows are excellent for brightening rooms and showcasing appealing outdoor views. However, they don’t allow ventilation – so keep that in mind if there are no other windows in the room.

Do picture windows last longer?

Yes, picture windows tend to last longer than opening windows since they have no moving parts to wear out over time.

When should you use a picture window?

Use them when you want maximum natural light and an unobstructed view of an attractive outdoor scenery from inside your home.

What is the difference between a picture window and a fixed window?

Picture windows have one seamless pane of glass, while fixed windows can incorporate window grilles or muntins dividing the glass into multiple panes.