Every tiny house design seems to be defined by its windows. Ten years ago when Jay Shafer built his first tiny house, windows were miniature, used similarly to larger, more generic home construction, in a traditional “up and down” sliding fashion. Things have changed significantly though and windows now are used to make a statement as much as to provide light and fresh air to the home’s occupants. While it is still true that the key to making a smaller space look larger is to incorporate lots of natural light (read: windows) there are so many window brands available now, in so many styles, and with so many features. The selection process is much more difficult. Becoming familiar with basic window types though can go a long way in choosing the type of window for your tiny house.
A bay window is essentially a window built to project outward from an outside wall. In larger homes they are typically used as reading nooks, indoor garden spots, and storage areas. They provide an interesting design element and a visual break from flat construction. Only recently have they become more prevalent on tiny houses. Used primarily on the hitch end or bumper end of a build, they allow for large amounts of natural light throughout the day and make a drab kitchen seem so much larger. They are also a fine way of creating a working space in the tiny house.
Awning windows were very popular in commercial architecture during post-WWII years as well as in 1970s ranch style homes that had finished basements. Awning windows swing or crank outward from the bottom assuring they can stay open even while it is raining. Today these style windows are becoming almost commonplace in sleeping lofts because they do allow for fresh air without allowing in rain or the outside elements.
As the name implies, sliding windows open by using two sashes that slide past one another. They are typically referred to as glider windows as well. They install horizontally and create an affordable alternative to more standard double hung windows. Because of their sliding motion they provide ample natural airflow while still being easy to install.
An architectural mainstay, the transom window became most popular in the Elizabethan and Georgian styles of building. Used to describe both windows that open for cross-ventilation or for windows that only allow in light above the room door, the transom windows available are more decorative than functional. They can be decorated, customized, and fashioned as an incredible focal point of an entry.
For the smaller of tiny homes the skylight can be a real saving grace. While most Americans either forget about skylights or rule them out completely, the use of a skylight can greatly increase the overall feeling of size in a tiny house bed loft or even in the “great room.” They let in natural light without sacrificing privacy. And having a 10/12 (or steeper) roof pitch as many tiny homes do, the skylight may be the only hope of installing a substantial window for natural light and passive heating/cooling.
Since becoming popular in the design of the ‘Entertaining Abode‘, the accordion window has become a kind of “must have” in the tiny house world. Named after their resemblance to the musical instrument, accordion windows are used as separators between indoor and outdoor spaces, allowing the areas to become one by eliminating the physical barrier with ease. They allow for optimum entertaining!
Windows are every bit as important as the actual walls of your tiny house. And with so many options available, the possibilities are endless. What kind of windows do you prefer? What are you going to use in your tiny house? What are you using? Let us know in the comment section below or tell us about it on our Facebook page.