Rustic Window Design Ideas

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The last thing you want for your log cabin or other rustic home is a dark and stuffy feel to the interior.  The right windows can make a huge difference.  Choose your windows not only to let in light but to contribute to the rustic charm of your abode.  And don’t forget to keep them clean.  It can be well worth it to contract with a service for professional window cleaning for difficult-to-reach windows.  

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Types of Windows

There are so many different kinds of windows to choose from, and it is worth learning some specific vocabulary to define them.  

  • A single hung window has two sashes (the wooden or other material around a pane of glass) stacked vertically.  The bottom one slides upward to open the window.  
  • A double-hung window is the same, but both sashes can be opened, the upper one sliding down, the lower one sliding up.  
  • A casement window is hinged on the sides or top and swings open.  
  • A slider window has two or more sashes that slide horizontally to open the window.  
  • A picture window does not open.  

Stilfehler, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

  • A cottage window has a longer sash on the bottom and a shorter one on top.  The shorter sash typically opens.  
  • A reverse cottage window has a longer sash on top and the shorter one on the bottom.  
  • A hopper window tilts outward from the bottom to open.  
  • An awning window tilts outward from the top to open. 
  • A bay window typically has three vertical panels arranged so that the center panel protrudes from the house.  These windows allow extra sunlight as the sun moves across the sky.  
  • A bow window also protrudes from the home but uses more panels to create a more rounded shape.  

This site offers a more detailed description of window types, with illustrations.  

Lites and Muntins

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Lites are simply the individual panes of a window.  Muntins are the typically wooden parts between the lites, often arranged in a tic-tac-toe grid.  Being able to manufacture and transport large panes of glass affordably is relatively recent.  Windows with more lites and muntins can create a rustic, down-home feel for your windows.  Windows with lites and muntins are available in many of the styles above.  


Using reclaimed, old-fashioned, or even distressed wood hardware for your windows and for hanging your window treatments can help make your rustic look feel authentic.  Rougher materials like cast iron or distressed metals like bronze can put a finishing touch on your decoration.  Details are essential, and a more sleek, modern look to your hardware will be jarring.  

Window Treatments

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Look for texture or a textured feel to your rustic window treatments.  If you want a rustic look, curtains and valences can be made from burlap, but don’t rule out gingham or plaid for a country kitchen look.  Roman blinds in a natural, woven texture can give you an outdoor-themed look while providing great function for privacy or selective light blocking.  And raw, reclaimed, or even distressed wood can create a beautiful backwoods feel for shutters and wooden valences.  For a living look, check out this idea for a hanging herb garden!  

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