Ideas

Circle and arched windows to round out your home

Circle or arched windows are an easy way to think outside the box and break up the right angles and straight lines of your home.
exterior image of cabin by lake with andersen circle window
Circle or arched windows are an easy way to think outside the box and break up the right angles and straight lines of your home. Their unexpected shapes have a softening effect, and they provide distinctive focal points. Keep reading to find out how these types of windows are being used in contemporary homes.

Why this? Why now?

It’s not as if round or arched windows are new concepts. From portholes to the Colosseum in Rome, windows in these shapes have been around for centuries. What’s new is the way they’re being added to homes as casually as double-hung windows. The reason for this? We think it has a lot to do with the rise of a design ethos that’s rooted in nature. Trends like biophilia and even the latest iteration of boho — call it boho modern, boho chic or California casual — are putting a renewed focus on the outside world.

Nature-based design

Biophilia focuses on bringing elements of the natural world into the built environment through plants, views of nature and more. Boho puts an emphasis on layering natural materials and organic shapes to create a richly textured environment that’s complex and dynamic, like a scene from nature itself. Round windows fit both these approaches. Their shape represents a break from the straight lines of the manmade world, while their function serves to bring in natural light and views of the outdoors. Arched and round windows are the perfect way to create a contrast that invigorates our sense and looks beautiful. This is why we think these windows are such a hit in contemporary architecture. Next up: How to incorporate them into your home!

3 easy ways to add an arch

Depending on the size and composition — an arch can be made with a single window or created through combining several different windows — there are all sorts of ways to incorporate this shape into your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Skip the standard rectangular window and instead select a specialty window in an arch or Springline™ shape. You’ll find these options in the 100, 400, A- and E-Series.
2. Add a half-circle transom above a double-hung, casement or other rectangular window. (A transom window is positioned directly above another window or door.)
3. Crown a set of hinged or French doors or side-by-side windows with two quarter-circle or two unequal-arch transoms. This creates a dramatic statement.
@Emilyijackson project in progress featuring E Series windows and doors to create arched wall of windows
“A curved window in a room adds a dramatic feeling of height and a custom element of design to any space,” said Cara Fox, the designer behind this Utah home by The Fox Group.

Pitch-perfect arch locales

Where to place an arch? The answer is simple — anywhere, really! An arch can make a dramatic statement in a two-story living room, or it can be a charming addition to your bathroom. That said, there are certain places where its shape really makes sense:

  • In a room with a low ceiling, like an attic or half-story, an arch can maximize natural light by making the most of available wall space.
  • In a tight space, like above the front door, an arched transom can be the key to adding more natural light.
  • In a stepped pattern up the stairs, a series of arched windows can open a space to light and views. This is a classic application from Spanish Colonial Revival architecture.

Next up: Get the details on circle windows!

3 places circles shine

So much more than a nautical cliché, round windows are a charming way to punctuate your home’s façade, and they’re just as nice from the inside because of the way they frame the light. Here are a few fun ways to integrate a circle window into your home.

  • Add to a landing to break up the linear experience of a stairway and flood it with natural light.
  • Put in an otherwise mundane spot to add a little drama, like above a kitchen sink or over the bed in your primary suite.
  • Place high on a wall in a space where you want to preserve privacy while also adding light, like an entryway or bathroom.
Utah mountain home with pivot door and specialty rounded windows

This pivot door flanked by complementary curving windows creates a delightful focal point in this bedroom.

Specialty shaped windows you’ll want to know about

Whether you’re looking for a single circle window or a series of curved shapes to create an arched grouping, there's plenty of room to play with the specialty shaped windows.

Here are a few specialty shapes you’ll want to know about:

Arches

  • Arch (or equal leg arch): Curved top line on a window that’s otherwise rectangular.
  • Elliptical: Straight line across the bottom, two short vertical sides and a curved top.
  • Eyebrow: Straight line across the bottom and a curved top with sharp corners where the two lines intersect. Similar to the elliptical.
  • Gothic arch: Two arcing segments that meet at a point in the center and a straight line across the bottom.
  • Half circle: Exactly what it sounds like.
  • Springline™: A picture window with a more dramatically rounded top than an arch window and a rectangular bottom.

Half arches

  • Quarter circle: Exactly what it sounds like with one right angle and a connecting curve. Pair with another quarter-circle curving in the opposite direction to create an arch.
  • Unequal leg arch: Right angles in the two bottom corners and vertical sides of unequal height, so the top curved line is a slope. Pair it with another unequal leg arch, sloped in the opposite direction, for a fresh take on an arch.

Rounds

  • Full circle: Exactly what it sounds like.
  • Oval: Elongated circle set vertically.

More inspiration

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to bring circle and arched windows into your home. For more inspiration, explore their use in traditional architectural styles where these shape figures prominently, like Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, Queen Anne (Victorian) and French Eclectic.

No matter what window or windows you choose, curves are the perfect way to break your home free from an artificial look. They soften the angles of your home, shape the light and create one-of-a-kind views.

Ready to explore more fresh ideas? 

 


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